Sunday, April 17, 2011

lacrosse bracketology

Note - normally I wait for the conclusion of all Sunday games, but I ain't about to hang around waiting for OSU and Air Force to finish up out in Colorado.

Strange week.  This turned out to be a really easy bracket to do, except for one fairly important part.  Explanations after you check out the May Madness:

So there's nobody new to the bracket. And in fact, the road teams all remain in the exact same place they were before. But there was a major shuffle of home teams seeded 3 through 8.

Third seed was easy enough - right now, it's definitely Duke.  After that?  You wouldn't believe how tight it gets.  Sadly, UVA drops all the way to 8th.  The good news is, that could completely reverse itself in the ACC tournament.  Teams are that close.  Cornell helped itself out big-time by smoking Syracuse this week, enough to even win a head-to-head comparison against the team that beat it: UVA.  When your resume is strong enough, you can do that.

As for Syracuse, losing to Cornell wasn't enough to bump them from the #1 spot.  Notre Dame, meanwhile, is in an interesting place; with upcoming games against the Cuse and UNC, they could conceivably either rise to the #1 seed, or drop into the churning mix below them.

Last week's games to watch went like this:

- Cornell 11, Syracuse 6 - And lo it came to pass as the prophet foretold: Syracuse kept the #1 seed even by losing, though they're on slightly shakier ground.  (No matter: if they beat Notre Dame there's really nobody who can make up any ground on them.  They've played every team seeded 4 through 8 and beaten all but one.)  But Cornell rose from the 8th seed to the 4th with the win.

- Duke 13, Virginia 11 - Piss on everything.

- Siena 20, Manhattan 6 - The Saints remain the MAAC's best on-paper team and need one more win to lock up a spot in the MAAC four-team tournament to claim the conference's bid.  Even though I don't have them in the bracket right now (thanks to Detroit's half-game lead) they're the odds-on favorite to land that spot.

- Massachusetts 11, Drexel 10 - That's just about it for Drexel.  And in triple OT, too.  They have nobody worth beating left on their schedule and they need to hope Penn State doesn't win any more conference games in order to slide into the last spot in the CAA tourney.  They're not on the bubble so much as clinging to the bottom of it by their fingernails.

- Detroit 10, Canisius 9 - The lone MAAC team to beat Siena clinches a spot in the conference tourney.

- Johns Hopkins 12, Maryland 11 - The Terps choke away a golden opportunity.  They're pretty much officially a bubble team now, and are rooting for sanity in the CAA and the Ivy League so as not to turn those conferences into three-bid leagues.  Yale and UMass are their biggest threats.  Beating Carolina in the ACC tournament would also help.

This week's games to watch:

- Duke vs. Virginia (ACC tournament) - The other silver lining in having UVA so low in this week's bracketology is that there ain't much to lose here.  I don't really think UVA will be knocked from hosting a first-round game, unless Maryland or UNC makes a championship run in the ACC tourney.

- North Carolina vs. Maryland (ACC tournament) - Loser in some trouble and relegated to watching other conference tournaments (Ivy and CAA, mostly) rooting for the chalk.  Winner breathes a sigh of relief and locks in their place.

- Siena at Canisius - Likely outcome is that Siena takes one step closer to claiming the MAAC bid.  If they slip, the MAAC becomes a total free-for-all.  That's almost certain to be effectively the 16 seed and Syracuse's sacrificial lamb no matter who wins the conference, but this is important because Siena's the only MAAC team with even the slightest chance of upsetting the Cuse.  Everyone else is a bullet sponge.

- Hofstra vs. Massachusetts - UMass already knocked Drexel down a peg, and they can put a crimp in Hofstra's plans too.  I think it's probably too late for UMass unless they get an autobid (entirely possible) but Hofstra needs this one.  Not desperately, but their fortunes would be close with a loss.

- Bucknell at Colgate - Patriot League Royal Rumble!  This is basically meaningless because both are locked into the Patriot tourney and it's probably a one-bid league. Probably.  Bubble teams like Carolina and Hofstra will be pulling for Colgate because Bucknell is on the edge of making a solid case for an at-large bid, and a Colgate win would wreck that and ensure the Patriot stays one-bid in the event that Colgate wins the conference tournament.

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