Thursday, May 3, 2012

lacrosse bracketology

I promised a supplemental issue of bracketology sometime this week, and necessitated by some shenanigans in the Biggish Eastish tourney, here it is.  And guess what: they're baaa-ack.

Ist das nicht ein Syracuse?  Ja, das ist ein Syracuse!  A truly uninspired effort by Villanova that ended about an hour and a half ago - either that or Syracuse finally flipped the desperation switch - sank Nova's tourney chances for good and put Cuse, at least for now, in the autobid.

(Yes, it's been more or less confirmed that the Biggish Eastish media guide was in error.  To the tourney victor go the spoils.  I've also tweaked the rules for conference autobids for now, since it makes no sense to put Notre Dame in the Big East slot anymore; Notre Dame was also the victim of shenanigans and lost to St. John's.  The rules now are the same as before except teams who lost in their conference tourney are, for obvious reasons, ineligible.)

So what to make of this?  Let's talk "last four in."  Really it's last three; Maryland's in no danger for now.  A loss to Colgate this weekend - that might put them on shaky ground.  (And even then I still don't think they drop out.  They could, but I don't think so.)  But for purposes of now, they weren't a threat to fall out of contention.  I had five candidates for three spots: Colgate, Denver, Penn State, Fairfield, and Ohio State.  No more Villanova.  Game ova.

OSU was easy to drop.  They just don't have the RPI or the quality win factor anymore.  Losing to Fairfield put a stake through the heart of that particular zombie.  Colgate was easy to keep in.  I don't see them falling out of the tourney even if they lose to Maryland.  That left DU, PSU, and Fairfield fighting for two spots.

Denver also lost their first-round matchup, but it was to Loyola and mein Gott, somebody's got to stay in with all these first-round losses.  Their numbers are still relatively strong - solid RPI and SOS - and they beat Penn State to boot.  (OK, they lost to Fairfield, but at Fairfield and in OT, whereas they smoked PSU in State College - the committee will notice that kind of thing.)

Then we have an agonizing choice between Penn State and Fairfield.  They have nearly identical RPIs.  PSU gets it from strength of schedule; Fairfield from win%.  PSU beat Notre Dame; Fairfield's best win is Denver.  It comes down to philosophy: do you like the team with the wins, or the SOS?

Well, the committee usually seems to go with SOS and signature wins, which side with Penn State.  That's not always popular.  Fairfield would be the people's choice here, I think.  But the logic is sound, or at least defensible: invite Fairfield over PSU and you motivate teams to play weaker schedules.  If PSU hadn't been upset by Drexel we wouldn't be having this conversation, of course.  Nor would we if Notre Dame was still alive in the BE tourney.  Dammit Notre Dame.  Win your game and this could've been all neat and tied in a bow, because there's a big enough gap between Fairfield and OSU that nobody would've felt bad leaving out the Buckeyes, even as the first team out.

One other choice was razor-close: whether Lehigh or Notre Dame should get the 7 seed.  They're awfully close in everything now, but a slightly better RPI and having the country's best "average RPI of their wins" gave the nod to the Irish.  That's still a precipitous drop from #2 with a fair case for #1.

The purpose of all this is to let you know how things stand going into the weekend tournament games:

-- Penn State is a huge UMass fan.  And Loyola fan.  Another interloper into the tournament and they're done.

-- Fairfield needs the autobid.

-- Penn State is also a mild Princeton fan.  I don't know how badly it would hurt Princeton to lose in the first round, but I wouldn't rule out the idea of Princeton making the tourney even if they lose in the Ivy final.  Princeton as they stand right now would have a decent case for an at-large.  I don't think Penn State - or Denver, for that matter - wants to find out if they can withstand a loss in the Ivy final.

-- I wonder if UMass fans would be ecstatic or furious to get Syracuse?  Won't be any in-between.  Those UMass folks can be a touchy bunch about the "lax mafia" - that is, the ACC, Hopkins, and Syracuse, organizing the lax world to benefit themselves, Illuminati-style.  But Syracuse is who they're getting unless Cuse loses the BE.  Or unless Fairfield wins the ECAC.

Next and last bracketology will be up ASAP after the Ivy and MAAC tourney finals on Sunday afternoon.  That'll serve as the official prediction.


Anonymous said...

OT: Been pondering this of late, but I wonder which juniors will turn pro after this year (baseball). Kline seems like a lock, a guy who could go anywhere from late first to 3rd.

After that? I had hoped that Bruno might sneak through the year and be able to come back, but with the dominant season he's had, plus the fact that he's really not going to be able to go back to short while Chris Taylor is here, I wouldn't be surprised if he turned pro. Seems like he's a possible top 10 round guy, if not top 5, and pro teams seem likely to give him the chance to play short. Tough to see Chris Taylor as a top 10 round type, but if he is, he might have to think about turning pro. That said, he may be better off going back to school for another year. At least, I'm hoping.

That'd be three big losses, but admittedly, the issue entering 2013 would still be replacing the pitching, as losing Kline/Silverstein/Halley/Thompson would take away a lot of innings from this past year.

Anonymous said...

well, I sure didn't realize how loved Bruno was. I mean, I knew he was well-liked, but I wasn't thinking of him as a possible top 3 round pick. Looks like he's going to be a goner, and Taylor sounds like a solid top 10 round guy too, which probably means he's gone as well.