Sunday, May 6, 2012

final lacrosse bracketology

Here we are: the final projection.

A couple surprises, mostly that Yale knocked off Cornell, then Princeton to win the Ivy League and the autobid.  Second surprise: that Princeton still looks pretty strong for a bid.  An RPI higher than UNC's means they'll probably be selected.  (Canisius upsetting Siena, also a big surprise, but all it does is shuffle things around between the one-bid leagues.)

I think the eight hosts are reasonably obvious.  I'm not 100% convinced I'll have all 16 teams right - it's a little tougher than last year - but the eight hosts look pretty definite.  And by the way, I'd have set up, for the second year in a row, a Maryland-UNC battle at the 8-seed spot, but that'd essentially have forced Colgate and Lehigh to play, and they can't.

There's also a pretty big gap between Colgate/Maryland and the actual bubble teams.  It comes down to Princeton, Denver, Fairfield, and Penn State.  OSU and Cornell don't have a case.  Penn State would've had a stronger case, but Notre Dame losing to St. John's on Thursday hurt.  That was their best win.  PSU doesn't really have the RPI or quality win factor.  Fairfield and Denver - well, they're close, but Denver beat Fairfield.  Also, Duke.  So that, I think, gives them the edge.

For the #1 seed, it's between Loyola and Duke, and now that Loyola has gotten through their relatively tough conference tournament, their RPI is far and away the best, and they have a 14-1 record blemished only by a loss to Johns Hopkins.  This is an easy choice.  And Duke is a fairly clear #2.

Yale's upset of Princeton is bad news for us, at least according to this projection.  It means that UMass has a readymade New England opponent very neatly placed both geographically and resume-wise.  Otherwise I'd have put Syracuse there instead.  Now?   Well, it's kind of hard not to stick us with the Orange.  Princeton and Hopkins are natural opponents; Denver and ND, same.  This is not a very good draw for us at all, so, come 9:00 tonight (the selection show is on ESPNUVA) you better hope I'm wrong.

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