Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Kenyon Withdraws From GLCA

In a surprising and controversial move, top seed and #7 Kenyon has withdrawn from this weekend's GLCA tournament citing injury concerns. I'm not going to pretend this isn't a controversial move, because it is, and I have mixed feelings about it. With Pool C being as competitive as it is, when you are in a winnable conference, your conference play and conference tournament are the most important things. Coach Thielke has told me that 3 of his top 4 players are banged up and he wishes to rest them for next week's match against Denison. If you look at the 2 through 6 seeds in this weekend's tournament, Kenyon has beaten 4 of the 5 teams, so they have to feel they don't have a lot to prove. The truth is Kenyon has nothing to gain by playing this weekend, because a victory does nothing for them, but a loss could move them down in the rankings, hurt their NCAA seeding, and add additional injuries to their players. From Kenyon's standpoint, this is an excellent move, but not everyone sees things that way.

The obvious question that comes to mind is: does this decision get made if Kenyon is ranked 13 or 14 and enters this tournament as the 2 or 3 seed? I don't know, but I'd have a hard time believing they would withdraw under those circumstances. People I've talked today say you have to go play no matter what. What if these were dual matches? You can't just cancel them. Kenyon has a large enough roster to fill the voids left by their injured players, so therefore they should go play and not duck their competition and be scared of losing. This is terrible news for Carnegie and DePauw. Carnegie now has to win the tournament this weekend and then go to UAAs and finish top 3, and it's an even worse situation for DePauw, who has to beat Rhodes and Trinity (TX) on back to back days to win the SCAC tournament and qualify for NCAAs. A win this weekend doesn't do much for the Tigers in my opinion.

It's a shame for the GLCA tournament who had 4 teams in the top 20 competing last year, including 2 in the top 10, and now the #1 seed is 17 in the country. I completely understand both sides of the argument here, and the move is open for interpretation.