It was odd to look at the rankings and see no Midwest division, The sport is taking hold here in Illinois, however as even my kids high school has added it this year. I would bet in the next five years the Midwest will explode in terms of colleges that offer the sport. Yes, the North Central, Carthage game should be a good one.
NCF....It works the same as basketball. Conference strength means everything and you are still in the process of putting your conferences together when it comes to lacrosse. Check out last year's tournament bracket. www.ncaa.com/interactive-bracket/lacrosse-women/d3/2011
First round games are as ''local" as possible. With so few conferences in the Midwest and West, Denison and Adrian must play each other and Redlands and Occidental must do likewise. Two one goal margins of victory. Meanwhile Middlebury wins 19-1. Amherst wins 19-1 and Trinity wins 16-1. Middlebury and Trinity advanced to the Final Four and Trinity won it all so these were very good teams, but none of them played a very good first round opponent. They were teams that won the championship in much weaker leagues to gain an automatic berth. When the Midwest puts together a few more competitive conferences then the best teams in the region will not have to beat each other up in the opening round. If the same is happening in the West even better. The bracket will have to expand and instead of the best teams in the region having to face each other in the first round they can have the same opportunity to advance as the eastern teams do that play a much lower regional seed.
From what little I've seen Augustana, Carthage and North Central can be the nucleus of a very good conference but they won't get there just playing each other. They should try to put Denison or Adrian on their schedule as often as possible and go east for Spring Break to play some teams they probably won't beat for a while but will learn from. That's how it's done. Look at last year's bracket. Those late round teams are not facing each other for the first time. Middlebury goes South to play either Gettysburg or Salisbury in the regular season every year.