2017 MEN’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Wednesday, March 22 – Saturday, March 25
- IUPUI Natatorium – Indianapolis, IN
- Prelims 10AM/Finals 6PM (Eastern Time)
- Defending Champion: Texas (results)
- Championship Central
- Psych Sheet
- Live stream: Wednesday/Thursday Prelims & Finals, Friday/Saturday Prelims / Friday/Saturday finals on ESPN3
- Live Results
With both NCAA Championships now in the rearview mirror, it’s time for everyone’s favorite game of “hindsight is 20/20.” We look back at our final team predictions to see who over- and underperformed our expectations.
When we published our final predictions, we split the teams into some relatively arbitrary tiers, with the idea that the teams in each tier had some commonalities and could fairly easily shuffle around within their tiers, though it would take a bigger performance to actually jump to the next tier of teams. That’s how we’ll break down the risers and fallers, showing which teams stayed within the places we had assigned to their tier and which teams jumped into a placing designated to a different tier.
These teams rose out of their tier:
- +8: Purdue Boilermakers (#21 to #13)
- +6: Missouri Tigers (#15 to #9)
- +6: Texas A&M Aggies (#22 to #16)
- +4: South Carolina Gamecocks (#19 to #15)
- +1: Stanford Cardinal (#6 to #5)
These teams rose within their tier:
- +2: Florida Gators (#5 to #3)
- +2: USC Trojans (#8 to #6)
- +1: Georgia Bulldogs (#9 to #8)
- +1: Alabama Crimson Tide (#11 to #10)
We actually gave Purdue a pretty sizable bump from the scored heat sheets to account for returning diver Steele Johnson. But we completely underestimated the rest of the Boilermaker dive corps, which combined to score 94.5 points. Johnson accounted for 57 of them (right within the range we projected for him), but the other 37.5 points rose the Boilermakers eight spots from our final predictions.
As with the women, Missouri was among the most underrated teams by our final predictions. Mizzou is going from a fast regular-season team to a true NCAA contender. The team actually weathered several of its top swimmers scoring less points than projected on psych sheets (Fabian Schwingenschlogl dropped from 34 to 17, Andrew Sansoucie from 14 to 12) but made up the difference with an absolute monster of a meet from Michael Chadwick (36.5 scored points after just 21 projected) along with Carter Griffin finally coming around (3 seeded points to 13 scored). The Mizzou medley relays were key, as well.
Within the top 10, Stanford had a great meet and benefitted from a rough showing from Indiana (more on them below). Same goes for Florida, who impressed both in relays and had Mark Szranek pull out a surprise NCAA co-title in the 200 IM.
These teams dropped outside of their tier:
- -6: Ohio State Buckeyes (#13 to #19)
- -6: Virginia Tech H2Okies (#16 to #22)
- -4: Arizona State Sun Devils (#10 to #14)
- -3: Indiana Hoosiers (#4 to #7)
- -3: Michigan Wolverines (#14 to #17)
These teams dropped from our final tier (spots 22-25) outside of the top 25:
- -11: UNC Tar Heels (#25 to #36)
- -8: Penn State Nittany Lions (#20 to #28)
These teams dropped within their tier:
- -4: Louisville Cardinals (#7 to #11)
- -3: Tennessee Volunteers (#17 to #20)
- -1: NC State Wolfpack (#3 to #4)
Our big miss here was Indiana, who were seeded to score 291 points without diving, which wound up accounting for 62 total points. But IU actually wound up scoring just 229.5. The Hoosier swimmers almost all went backwards: Vini Lanza (seeded to score 38, scored 21), Blake Pieroni (seeded 33, scored 27.5), Ian Finnerty (seeded 29, scored 0), Marwan el-Kamash (seeded 21, scored 12) and Ali Khalafalla (seeded 14, scored 6). That’s not totally fair to Pieroni, who had an excellent meet, but overall, it looks like the Hoosiers took a little more out of the bank than we anticipated to win their first Big Ten title in years.
Fellow Big Ten team Ohio State dropped a long way when 44-second flyer Matt McHugh slipped into the 46s in prelims. He never really recovered, and scratched the 100 free the next day to focus on the 400 free relay. Also dropping the Buckeyes: seeded scorers Jack Barone, Josh Fleagle and Noah Lense all failed to score individually, and diving wasn’t enough to overcome that loss.
And elsewhere in the Big Ten, Michigan scored only one relay and sprinter Paul Powers just wasn’t himself as the Wolverines dropped out of the top 15.
Virginia Tech‘s two scorers (Brandon Fiala and Robert Owen) weren’t far off their seeded scores, but did lose a few points. Our prediction expected at least one of VT’s four divers to score in the meet, but none did. That explains much of their drop in this list.
We were probably a little too high on Arizona State, predicting them 10th when their best asset was unproven freshman Cameron Craig. Craig delivered in the 200 free, but naturally moved down a little from what was definitely a lofty incoming seed.
We also predicted a big showing from Shane Ryan of Penn State, but he fell way off the mark, particularly in the 50 free. Same thing goes for UNC’s Henry Campbell, who got hit with a 17th in the 400 IM after coming in with the 7th seed.
Outsiders In Top 25:
- #21: Miami Hurricanes
- #25: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Miami is a diving-only program, and we didn’t realize how good Platform champ David Dinsmore would be. Notre Dame just plain had a nice meet. The Irish had nice time drops to score in two relays, and actually would’ve moved up had they not DQ’d a third scoring relay.
- #1: Texas Longhorns
- #2: California Golden Bears
- #12: Auburn Tigers
- #18: Wisconsin Badgers
- #23: Minnesota Golden Gophers
- #24: Arizona Wildcats
We even noted in our final predictions that Texas and Cal felt pretty locked in up top. Texas had the meet won by Friday morning and Cal even survived three scoring DQs without missing second.
Some of these being spot-on are just dumb luck – we knew what tier these teams would finish in, which narrowed things down pretty considerably. Auburn at 12 is interesting, given the other teams in their tier either moved way up (Missouri) or way back (Ohio State and Michigan) while Auburn held completely steady to our prediction.