Sunday, May 1, 2011

lacrosse bracketology

No new teams to the bracket, but more shakeup than you might expect this late in the process.  Check it:

The best news of the week is the return of our beloved Hoos to hosting status.  It's a tight one between Maryland, UVA, and Villanova.  UVA has by far the best metrics but also the fewest wins and that inconvenient loss to Maryland.  Having a win over 3rd-seeded Cornell is the thing here; other than Penn (which UVA has now also beaten) Nova hasn't capitalized on their chances to beat other tourney teams in the regular season.

Loyola didn't quite beat Hopkins, which would have just about slammed the door on any other at-large hopefuls, but they came close.  They stay in thanks to Yale's stumble against Harvard, which is now next up and has a golden opportunity in the Ivy League tournament to make a case.

Bucknell made themselves a friend to the bubble teams by winning the Patriot tournament - they'd have been a solid at-large and now they don't need it.  The Bison become the first tourney autobid of the year.

Here's what happened in last week's games to watch:

Harvard 9, Yale 5 - Ouch for Yale.  They might have jumped into the bracket with a win here and didn't get it done.  Harvard now has at least as good a chance as the Elis to make the tourney.

Johns Hopkins 8, Loyola 7 - Close, but no cigar.  Loyola hangs on for now but the last at-large spot is still very much under contention.  Lucky for them Bucknell didn't stumble or that would've been it, man, it.  The Greyhounds are now big Hofstra, Denver, and Stony Brook fans for conference tourney week.

Virginia 11, Pennsylvania 2 - Aw, hell yeah.  We can breathe us a big sigh of relief.  I might even allow you to get a little bit excited and optimistic again.  Penn's a good resume booster and that game was the first fun game to watch in months.

Hofstra 9, Penn State 4 - The Nittany Lions are no longer a factor, barring winning the CAA tourney.

Syracuse 11, Notre Dame 8 - It'd take a natural disaster of some kind to uproot Cuse from the #1 spot now.

It's conference tournament week.  The CAA, ECAC, and America East are all one-bid leagues - if the favorite in each wins.  That's Hofstra, Denver, and Stony Brook, respectively. Stony Brook's position would be tenuous with a loss and the A.East might remain a one-bid league anyway.  Depends on how the other tournaments go, especially the Ivy.  Hofstra and Denver are solidly in even as at-larges so if either of them lose, the bubble teams are screwed.  These tourneys start midweek and finish up Saturday, and here are the seedings:

CAA: #1 Hofstra vs. #4 Delaware; #2 Penn State vs. #3 Massachusetts
ECAC: #1 Denver vs. #4 Ohio State; #2 Loyola vs. #3 Fairfield
A.East: #1 Stony Brook vs. #4 Binghamton; #2 Hartford vs. #3 UMBC

The MAAC tourney will affect things a little differently.  Here are the seedings:

#1 Siena vs. #4 Jacksonville; #2 Marist vs. #3 Detroit

Siena is probably the heavy favorite.  Jacksonville (heh: Jax lax) probably is not a factor, but Detroit beat Siena earlier and either they or Marist could give Siena a run.  If Marist wins it won't change things, they'll just replace Siena as Syracuse's sacrificial lamb.  If UDM manages to win, then they'll probably head to Notre Dame instead, for travel purposes, and the last at-large (especially if it's an Ivy team like Harvard) will go to Cuse instead.

The Ivy League will play Friday and Sunday, with Cornell playing Yale and Penn playing Harvard.  Cornell should crush all comers, but this tourney carries the possibility of some interesting bracket shakeups.

Besides Saturday's tourney championship games, also keep an eye on a couple of non-tourney games this Saturday: Villanova at Georgetown and Colgate at Maryland.  You want an upset in either one, which would do wonders for UVA's chances of hosting a tourney game.  We still very much might, but either Maryland or Nova losing would probably write it in stone.

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