Sunday, April 27, 2014

lacrosse bracketology

All hail the mighty Showcase Game.

So, yeah... all that talk about whether Notre Dame deserved a bid to the tournament just became moot as hell; the Domers can't be left out now.  The ACC looks to be a very secure six-bid league.

If things don't change much, this could be a very good test of the system I've put together here.  Notre Dame as high as #4 seems a little crazy, but that in fact is the way things are.  They beat Maryland and Syracuse on their way to the title, which is gonna give you a boost no matter what; I admit I was a little surprised to see it be that much of one.

The second excellent test of the system could be Hofstra.  During the UVA/UNC game, much talk was talked about who was going to get a tourney bid, and Hofstra might as well have been on Neptune for all the attention they were paid.  This system, however, likes them quite a bit - relative, at least, to the general feeling about them.  The line between the last two in and the first two out is a huge, gaping, possibly insurmountable chasm.  The Ivies ate each other up, and it's highly, highly possible that league is only a two-bid affair; its saving grace is that Cornell vs. Penn is a first-round game, and thus, someone is going to have a shot to be a bid thief.  (Also, just to be on the safe side, rooting for Hofstra in the CAA tourney.)

Last week's games of interest went thus:

Patriot League tournament: Loyola took the prize, and rather handily, too.  This 9-team conference comprised mostly of teams that have had some legitimate success in the recent past, is a one-bid league.

ACC tournament: Discussed above.  The strength-of-schedule party went absolutely as well as the ACC could've schemed, and the conference looks like it'll send all six teams to the dance.  Notre Dame goes from potentially facing a win-or-die game against Army next week to an automatic invite.

Denver 17, Marquette 9: This was only here because the Big East regular season title was on the line; Marquette is nowhere near actual tourney consideration.  I spoke of the Patriot League as a conference that has seen better days than this year, but they've got nothing on the Big East in that regard when two-year-old Marquette is running roughshod over the sorry competition.

Penn State 8, Hofstra 7: The system didn't seem to mind that Hofstra flopped in this one. 

Harvard 11, Yale 10: Harvard weed-whacked Yale's shot at an at-large bid, much to their delight, I'm sure, but not to the Ivy in general.

Cornell 12, Princeton 10: The last-ditch effort for the Tigers falls flat.

Virginia 13, North Carolina 11: Showcase game forever.  UVA gained a very, very good shot at a home game to start the tournament in two weeks.

This week's games that matter:

CAA tournament: The Biggest Disappointment of the Year (Penn State) is ineligible for the tourney because they're leaving the conference after the season, which is good news for a lot of other teams because they were just hitting their stride.  The matchups are Towson/Drexel and Hofstra/Delaware. Only Hofstra has a legit chance at an at-large bid.

A-Sun tournament: One bid for a play-in game on the road is up for grabs.  Matchups: High Point vs. Jacksonville and Mercer vs. Richmond.  High Point is the favorite here.

NEC tournament: St. Joseph's vs. Hobart and Bryant vs. Sacred Heart.  Not gonna lie: am rooting hard for St. Joe's here, as they've been a great story to follow all season.

Big East tournament: One of the biggest questions is this: Does Denver get a bid if they fail to win this tournament?  Likely moot because the teams in this conference stink, but I think the answer's yes.  Matchups: Denver/Rutgers and Villanova/Marquette.

A-East tournament: No, Albany is not getting a bid if they lose.  Matchups: Albany/Stony Brook and Binghamton/UMBC.  You haven't seen Binghamton's name all year in this bracketology, but lately they've been popping up at the very bottom of my list of teams under consideration, which is a tremendous leap forward in and of itself.

MAAC tournament: A while back, somebody on the LaxPower forums posited that if A, B, C, and so on through like N happen, the MAAC would end up with one undefeated team, one winless team, and five in the middle at 3-3.  This then proceeded to take place.  The tiebreaker, as it turns out, was goal differential, leaving two teams out in the cold and three in.  The matchups here are Siena/Canisius and Marist/Detroit.  Should Siena lose, it would be a tremendous upset, but this conference tourney has become known for those in recent years.

ECAC tournament: A similar mess is going on here, with three teams at 3-1 and one at 1-3.  (And winless Bellarmine sopping up all the other losses.)  The tiebreaker is RPI, so they won't be officially announcing the matchups til tomorrow - it takes the NCAA stat monkeys a while to get the difference engine fired up - but here they are anyway: Fairfield/Michigan and Air Force/Ohio State.

Johns Hopkins at Loyola: Besides all the tournaments, there's this one very interesting game going on here, with a tourney home game on the line in all likelihood.

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