Here Is Your Projected 2018 NCAA Men’s Cross Country Field

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by LetsRun.com
November 9, 2018

The 2018 NCAA men’s cross country championship field is set. While it won’t officially be announced by the NCAA until tomorrow, we’ve run Bo Waggoner’s computer program and are confident the following 31 teams will be competing at NCAAs in Madison, Wisconsin a week from Saturday.

Teams selected:
   1 Wisconsin
   2 Notre Dame
   3 Princeton
   4 Villanova
   5 Iowa St
   6 Bradley
   7 NAU
   8 BYU
   9 Syracuse
  10 Iona
  11 Ole Miss
  12 Florida St
  13 Arkansas
  14 Texas
  15 NC State
  16 Eastern Kentucky
  17 Portland
  18 Washington
  19 Colorado
  20 Colorado St
  21 Boise St
  22 Southern Utah
  23 Stanford
  24 Tulsa
  25 Oklahoma St
  26 Michigan
  27 Purdue
  28 Indiana
  29 Wyoming
  30 Air Force
  31 Oregon
(The top 18 teams are auto qualifiers. At-large rationale is described in detail here.
If there was a mistake, Bo Waggoner says that tie-breakers are always dicey but feels confident Oreogn will get in over Georgetown at #31).

The Bradley Braves will be dancing for the first time

Bradley celebrates

Bradley celebrates

The surprise performance of the day undoubtedly belonged to the Bradley Braves, who upset No. 21 Oklahoma State to finish second on a snowy course in Peoria, Illinois, at the Midwest Regional. Bradley, the Missouri Valley Conference champions, finished 30th out of 33 teams at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational in September — 10 of which failed to qualify for NCAAs — but ran their best race of the season today.

While Bradley had never made NCAAs before, bother Purdue and Wyoming made it for the first time in more than 30 years – since 1986.

Oregon came this close to missing out

If our projections are correct, the Oregon men snuck into the meet as the last at-large qualifier, winning out in a tiebreaker over Georgetown (both teams had six wins over teams already in the field). But the Ducks, in their first year under coach Ben Thomas, had a very fine margin. They finished fifth in the West Regional with 154 points — one point ahead of UCLA. Had the Bruins beaten the Ducks — and Oregon’s #1, Blake Haney, beat UCLA’s #1, Colin Burke, by just one second — then Georgetown would have made it instead of Oregon (UCLA would not have made it in either scenario).

Georgetown Misses Out Again

For a span of 30 years from 1987 to 2016, either the Georgetown men or women qualified for the NCAA meet. But both squads missed out in 2017, and it has happened again in 2018. As mentioned above, the men were incredibly close to making it, finishing 3rd at the Mid-Atlantic Regional but losing out on a tiebreaker to Oregon for the final spot in the field. The women were not close to making it — they were only 7th at Regionals, losing to the likes of Temple, Penn, and West Virginia.

21 of 31 Teams Are Back From Last Year

Bradley was one of 10 teams to make NCAAs this year that didn’t make it last year.

That means 67.7% of teams (21/31) are returning to NCAAs from last year — the lowest amount in the last five years on the men’s side. Interestingly, the women’s field returns the highest percentage of teams in the last five years (74.2% – 23/31).

Returning NCAA Teams20182017201620152014
Men67.7% (21/31)77.4% (24/31)64.5% (20/31)71.0% (22/31)71.0% (22/31)
Women74.2% (23/31)58.1% (18/31)61.3 (19/31)58.1% (18/31)67.8% (21/31)

The 10 Teams That Didn’t Qualify in 2017 That Made NCAAs in 2018

Bradley – first-time NCAA participant
E. Kentucky – hadn’t made it since 2015.
Florida State – hadn’t made it since 2015.
Indiana – hadn’t made it since 2014.
Notre Dame – hadn’t made it in 2013.
Purdue – hadn’t made it since 1986.
Tulsa — hadn’t made it since 2016.
Villanova – hadn’t made it since 2014.
Wisconsin – hadn’t made it since 2016.
Wyoming – hadn’t made it since 1986.

The 10 Teams That Made NCAAs in 2017 That Didn’t Qualify in 2018
(Number is their finishing place in 2017)

14. Alabama – had made it 1 year in a row.
16. Virginia – had made it 6 years in a row.
20. Virginia Tech – had made it 1 year in a row.
21. UCLA – had made it 4 years in a row.
23. Middle Tennessee State –  had made it 2 years in a row.
24. Washington State – had made it 3 years in a row
25. Michigan State – had made it 4 years in a row.
26. Furman – had made it 1 year in a row.
27. Utah State – had made it 1 years in a row.
31. Navy – had made it 2 years in a row.

The Longest NCAA Qualifying Streaks

Iona, which has made ever NCAAs since 2001, went into the Northeast regional unranked and just third in the region but they auto qualified by finishing second to extend their NCAA streak to 17 – the fourth best in the country.

Colorado – 27 years – last didn’t make the meet in 1991.
Stanford – 25 years – last didn’t make the meet in 1993.
BYU – 20 years – last didn’t make the meet in 1998.
Iona – 17 years – last didn’t make the meet in 2001.
Oklahoma St – 16 years – last didn’t make the meet in 2002.
Syracuse – 10 years – last didn’t make the meet in 2008.
Texas – 10 years – last didn’t make the meet in 2008.
Arkansas – 7 years – last didn’t make the meet in 2011
Oregon – 7 years – last didn’t make meet in 2011.
Ole Miss – 5 years – last didn’t make the meet in 2013.
Southern Utah – 5 years – last didn’t make the meet in 2013.
NC State – 4 years – last didn’t make the meet in 2014.
Boise State – 4 years – last didn’t make the meet in 2014.
Iowa St – 3 years – last didn’t make meet in 2015.
Colorado St – 3 years – last didn’t make the meet in 2015.
NAU – 3 years – last didn’t make the meet in 2015.
Portland – 3 years – last didn’t make the meet in 2015.
Air Force – 2 years – last didn’t make the meet in 2016.
Michigan – 2 years – last didn’t make the meet in 2016.
Princeton – 2 years – last didn’t make the meet in 2016.
Washington – 2 years – last didn’t make the meet in 2016.
10 teams at 1 year – see above.

6 Ranked Teams Didn’t Make It To NCAAs

In term of casualties at regionals, the highest ranked team to be left out of NCAAs was #20 Furman. At the Southeast Regional, Furman finished 4th behind three other ranked teams – #16 Eastern Kentucky, #26 NC State, and #28 Virginia. Like Furman, UVA didn’t make it either. Even if Furman had finished third in the Southeast, they wouldn’t have made NCAAs as they didn’t have enough at-large points. They needed to be top 2 to qualify.

Ranked teams that didn’t make NCAAs

20. Furman
22. Washington State
24. UCLA
T-28. Gonzaga
T-28. Virginia
20. Tennessee

By definition with a 31-team field, since six ranked teams didn’t make it, that means seven unranked teams did make it.

Unranked teams that qualified

Texas (RV #31), Southern Utah (RV #35), Villanova (RV #36), Tulsa (TV Tied #38), Bradley (no votes), Iona (no votes), Florida State (no votes)

In terms of upsets, we think it’s more informative and interesting to look at the pre-season national poll to see what teams really disappointed.

Nine nationally ranked teams in the preseason didn’t make it to NCAAs, including six in the top 20:

Ranked Teams From The Preseason That Failed To Make NCAAs

6. Alabama
12. Campbell
13. Washington State
17. Virginia
19. Middle Tennessee State
20. UCLA
22. Michigan State
T-30. Furman
T-30. Georgetown


What do you think? Post your comments in on our world famous fan forum / messageboard. MB: Official 2018 NCAA D1 XC Regional Discussion Thread – Who Is Going To The Big Dance? 

More: Women’s Article: LRC Breaking: Here Is Your Projected 2018 NCAA Women’s Cross Country Field The field will include first-time NCAA participants Oregon State and Southern Utah but not pre-season #10 Utah State or #11 Providence.


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