Sunday, April 28, 2013

lacrosse bracketology

The teams don't change this week, only the order.  And you can basically consider the non-seeded teams to be in their places as the 9-16 teams, with only a move one spot upwards or downwards in a couple cases.  It fell into place nicely this week, which means next week, when it counts, it won't.

One autobid was earned this weekend: Lehigh, which knocked off Bucknell for the Patriot League title.  Bucknell made it into the ranks anyway, but they're idle next week and are the likely victim should somebody in, say, the CAA, steal a bid.

For giggles, I included UVA in my factoring this week, even though they proved ineligible with a loss today in the ACC final.  They slide in place between Hopkins and UMass.  In other words, far enough down that you'd have to correct more than one "if only" this season to get the Hoos into the tournament.  From a purely bracketology standpoint it's a relief they didn't beat UNC because it would only have stirred controversy when they didn't get in, and there'd probably be a bunch of UVA fans making us look like spoiled whiners insisting we got screwed.

Last week's games of import:

-- Lehigh 11, Bucknell 5: Both favorites got through the first round with few issues, and Lehigh's win over the Bison was surprisingly dominant to earn the first autobid of the season.

-- North Carolina 16, Virginia 13: The ACC tourney, on the other hand, produced some interesting results.  Maryland's loss to UVA knocked them down a couple pegs on the seeding ladder to the point where hosting a first-round game is no guarantee at all.  UNC, on the other hand, now sports a 4-1 record among its ACC brethren and is an easy choice for #3 - and knocking on Notre Dame's door.

-- Ohio State 14, Fairfield 8: This sets up a very interesting ECAC tourney game between OSU and Loyola, whose RPIs are equal at the moment.  Both are very close to earning hosting duties, and the winners could do it.

-- Yale 11, Harvard 10: Yale would be the last team in if Lehigh were not an autobid team.  Now, it's Penn, who will get their chance to defend that spot against the Elis next week.

-- Loyola 8, Johns Hopkins 4: Solid defensive effort by the Greyhounds keeps them solidly in the tournament (ECAC autobid or not) and puts a final stake into the Hopkins tourney hopes.  The Jays will either join UVA in watching from the sidelines or rival Qatar's World Cup bid for fishiest selection ever.

-- Cornell 17, Princeton 11: There'll be a rematch in the Ivy tournament, but Princeton's RPI is probably unrecoverable at this point.

-- Syracuse 10, Notre Dame 4: At least ND finally has a respectable loss now amirite?  ND's bulletproof resume was put to the test here and passed - meaning, they're still the #2 seed - but the invicibility is gone.  Fortunately for their claim to that seed, UNC is idle next week.  Cornell isn't, though.

Next week's games worth watching:

-- Penn State vs. Massachusetts
-- Drexel vs. Towson: Of the non-favorites in the CAA, Drexel is the most likely to rise up and surprise the Nittany Lions.  This is rare for the CAA, but it'll be a one-bid league if PSU is the champion, a two-bid league otherwise.

-- Villanova vs. Georgetown
-- Syracuse vs. Notre Dame: The Big East tourney is a mess, man.  Somehow, 6-7 Villanova managed the #1 seed, and their opponent will be 6-8 Georgetown, because they won tiebreakers over 11-3 Syracuse and 9-4 St. John's, respectively.  Obviously the likely champ is the winner of the Cuse-ND rematch.  Since one upstart or the other is guaranteed to be in the championship game, however, the possibilities for mischief increase.

-- Denver vs. Fairfield
-- Loyola vs. Ohio State: As mentioned, there's a pretty decent likelihood the winner of the Loyola-OSU matchup gets to host a first-round game.  If either wins this ECAC tourney, they definitely will.

-- Cornell vs. Princeton
-- Yale vs. Penn: The prize for the winner of Yale-Penn might easily be an NCAA berth as well as that trip to the Ivy finals.

There aren't any games of major import outside the tourneys, although Maryland's tilt against Colgate is a chance for them to defend their potential home-field advantage against certain ECAC interlopers.  The A-East, MAAC, and NEC tourneys are happening too, and each will send the winner, no more and no less.

The week's conference tourney schedule is like this: CAA is Wed/Fri, MAAC and Ivy are Fri/Sun, and everyone else is Thu/Sat.  I'll post a midweek bracketology on Thursday, and then, of course, one final one before the selection show on Sunday.

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