Sunday, March 23, 2014

lacrosse bracketology

Sunday is here, so while I hyperventilate a little bit about the upcoming basketball game, I'll squeeze in a little lacrosse bracket action.

If I were you I'd be looking at this bracket and seeing maybe at least two WTFers in the field.  Yale and UVA, specifically.  In both cases, but in Yale's especially, RPI is to blame - the problem with tournament selection for lacrosse is that the tools at the committee's disposal are all RPI-based.  RPI has its issues.  I am more of a defender of the RPI than most people but it's a blunt instrument that isn't real useful this early in the season.  Nevertheless, bracketology is not "what I think just based on watching a couple games this year."

So no, I don't think either UVA or Yale is the Xth best team in the country based on the seed number.  But the RPI does also happen to like Hopkins and Loyola, so it also turns out good numbers when you beat them.

Reminder on autobids: in this exercise they go to the team currently holding the best record in the conference (and 2-0 is better than 1-0), ties broken by the LaxPower computer.  This means that the likely best teams in the ECAC and NEC are hanging out on the bubble instead of in the field right now.  That said, the bubble is where they'll almost certainly stay, and on the wrong side of it, unless and until they do get that autobid.  Neither Bryant nor Fairfield has the schedule to keep up with the horses. 

And what about Albany?  That depends on what they do against Hopkins in a couple weeks.  Right now they would actually slot in between Penn and UNC in the "last four in" section.  I think it's likely they'll need the autobid too, but the nice thing about what they've done is, if they get it, they'll avoid the play-in round.  Oh, and for the record, UMass is also in the "needs autobid" category.  The CAA has a chance to be a multi-bid league, but PSU kind of fell on their face some and that conference is more likely than not to get just the one.

Last week's games that mattered:

Cornell 15, Colgate 10: I would not have guessed it'd be Cornell as the runaway #1 seed at this point, but here they are.  Colgate has failed to gain much traction this year, and has a really ugly loss (Lafayette) on their resume, but they've still got some chances left.

Fairfield 11, Massachusetts 5: This really did more to hurt UMass than help Fairfield.  Last week I said UMass didn't need the autobid - now they do.

North Carolina 13, Harvard 10: UNC had a big week, and vaulted from the bottom of the bubble to the very top and just inside the field.

Denver 17, Rutgers 11: Probably banished Rutgers for all time.

Mercer 10, High Point 9: Now this was a surprise.  Since Mercer's beginning days (not that long ago) they have been seen as a doormat on which other doormats wiped their feet.  Somebody completely weird has to come from the A-Sun, but still.  This one's not going to be over til the conference tourney, though.

Albany 17, Penn State 10: Albany's good, but Penn State is the flop of the year.

Cornell 17, Penn 9: Penn has this at-large in their hands still, somehow, but they've got work to do to make the Ivy tourney let alone the national one.

North Carolina 11, Maryland 8: Like I said - big week for Carolina.  This results in another eyebrow-raiser of a seed, as Maryland is almost definitely better than 8th in the country.

Virginia 11, Johns Hopkins 10: Woot.  I don't do a Bubble Watch (though maybe I should) but if I did, UVA would now have "should be in" status, with probably one more big win to call it a lock.  With VMI tomorrow, the Hoos will (barring a complete disaster) win their 8th game and thus clinch an over-.500 finish - which as you know is necessary for at-large consideration.

Duke 21, Syracuse 7: Part of the reason the #2 seed in this bracketology sets off a bit of a BS alarm is that Syracuse really isn't all that good - and they beat Hopkins despite getting absolutely murdered in the faceoff battle.  So I'm not real sold on the Hop, either.

Games that matter this week:

Loyola at Colgate: Big PL battle that should give a boost to the winner.  You definitely want a Loyola win, as a UVA fan.

Notre Dame at Syracuse: Any time the ACC gets together, it matters.  Cuse will be all but eliminated from the ACC tourney if they lose.

Penn at Yale: Probably only going to further inflate Yale, win or lose.

North Carolina at Johns Hopkins: If I'm right about the Hop, they'll lose and quite probably take UNC's place as the last team in.

Virginia at Maryland: Hit a Terp with a stick.

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