Sunday, April 21, 2013

lacrosse bracketology

Things are starting to settle in, with little change from last week.  The main difference is that Villanova is gone, so this is a pretty good look at a no-surprises bracket.  If this were the final entry before the selection show, I'd feel pretty confident in going 16-for-16, too (although that's getting to be less and less impressive every year since it now involves calling just eight at-large teams.)  Yale, the ninth at-large team, is a pretty fair distance ahead of the 10th team (Drexel) but also clearly behind Bucknell and Syracuse for the tourney bid, for both metrics and common-opponent reasons.  (Yale has lost to Cornell, Princeton, and St. John's, all of which Syracuse beat.)

I am clearly proven wrong in my assertion that the Patriot League is definitely one-bid-only, as Bucknell does seem to have the chops to make it in.  In fact, they're the 7th at-large team, ahead of Syracuse, whose silly loss to Hobart is painful but not devastating.  Lehigh, however, will probably miss out if they don't get the autobid.  Bucknell still might, depending on how conference tourneys go.

Things are a touch deceiving this week, especially as far as Albany goes - they're not so well positioned as to actually be the 10th seed in the tourney, but they're close enough that it's justifiable to bump them up a couple notches for travel's sake.

Finally, Denver gets to keep the #1 seed even though they lost to Fairfield this week because if it's a question of bad losses, they have a way to go to match Notre Dame in that department.  (OK, Hofstra don't look that bad, but the only reason for that is because they beat ND in the first place.)  ND has the wins to insulate them from any challenges to second seed and the losses to keep them out of first.

Games from last week:

-- Princeton 14, Harvard 6: Princeton clinches a spot in the Ivy tourney, but there's still work to be done if they want to rescue their very slim tournament hopes.  Both of these teams could still play spoiler, though.

-- Maryland 8, Yale 7: This moved Maryland up some in the pecking order.  The RPI and schedule boost from playing the Terps keeps Yale hanging around, though.

-- Notre Dame 13, Villanova 9: It was 6-6 after three quarters, but ND probably put an end to Nova's presence in the bracket once and for all.

Games for next week:

-- Lehigh vs. Colgate
-- Bucknell vs. Army: This is the Patriot League tourney.  If anyone other than Bucknell wins, it could have bubble ramifications.

-- Maryland vs. Virginia
-- North Carolina vs. Duke: The ACC tourney is next week as well.  Maryland, UNC, and Duke are a triangle of doom, so this will help put them in order.

-- Fairfield at Ohio State: This isn't the ECAC tourney, but it'll set it up.  Denver will play Michigan, and barring the biggest lax upset of the decade, will earn the #1 seed with Loyola being #2.  Fairfield and OSU, though, are both 4-2, so the winner gets the three seed.  The upshot is that, given OSU's and Loyola's position on the ladder, the ECAC seeding will go a long way toward determining the final look.  Who wins matters, but who plays who also matters.

-- Yale at Harvard: Believe it or not, Penn is a huge Yale fan in this game.  Why?  As much as it would be nice to have a bubble team out of the way, it would be even nicer to actually get to play in the Ivy tournament.  Penn lost to Harvard, so if the Crimson pull off the upset, they'll usurp Penn's spot in the tourney.  Which would be awfully deleterious to their NCAA hopes.

-- Loyola at Johns Hopkins: It would be just like Hopkins to make a mess of the bubble by winning this one.  I know Yale wouldn't like it much.

-- Princeton vs. Cornell: An almost identical game in terms of the possible effect on the bubble.

-- Syracuse vs. Notre Dame: The Domers could threaten to take the #1 seed with a win, and if Syracuse loses it probably wouldn't damage them too much....unless something happens in one of the two above games.

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