Bracketology: Selection Sunday Evening Edition

PHOTO BY KELLY GAVIN

On paper, Villanova appears best positioned for the last at-large berth to the NCAA tournament. The selections will be revealed tonight at 9 p.m. ET (ESPNU).


Updated 05/06/17 at 5:00 p.m. ET

Selection Sunday is finally here, and the number of scenarios has dwindled down to a few. The NCAA lacrosse selection committee will reach its final decisions later today, with the 9 p.m. selection show in ESPNU revealing the full bracket.

Here’s what still has to be sorted out:

Does Cornell win the Ivy League and squeeze a team from the at-large pool?

The Big Red probably isn’t slipping into the field with a loss to Yale, which has spent the last month bludgeoning foe after foe. Cornell will have to play well to knock off Ben Reeves and the Bulldogs in the Ivy final (noon, ESPNU).

Update: Cornell is in

The Big Red emphatically took down Yale 14-8 to claim the Ivy League title. Cornell joins Georgetown as teams that squeezed others out of the field this weekend by knocking off top seeds in conference tournament finals.

Will Duke have a misstep that costs it a spot or two in seeding?

It’s not terribly likely to occur as the Blue Devils play host to Boston University (noon, ACC Network Extra). But Duke could get dinged a seed or two if it falls to the Terriers.

Update: No misstep for Duke

The Blue Devils handled Boston University 13-9 to provide one predictable result on the final day of the regular season.

STILL TO COME

Who’s the No. 1 seed?

It’s probably going to be Maryland. The Terrapins lead the pack in RPI, are tied with Syracuse for the best strength of schedule and boast the most top-20 victories in the field. If not Maryland, then maybe Yale? Or Johns Hopkins? Here’s guessing the top seed wasn’t an especially long conversation for the selection committee.

Who’s the eighth home team?

It looks like Albany, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Notre Dame and Yale will all be first-round hosts. The eighth spot probably comes down to Denver, Cornell, Syracuse and Virginia. There’s a sizable gap in the RPI between Denver at No. 8 and Cornell at No. 9, though the Big Red did finish the year with a better victory than the Pioneers managed all year.

Who is the last team or two into the field?

The condensed version is Bucknell, Ohio State and Villanova are probably vying for the last spot. The Wildcats’ on-paper resume is more complete than the other two. If Denver and Yale had won their respective conference tournaments, there would have been room for all three teams at the edge of the field. Instead, just one will advance to the field of 17.

Who lost a spot when Cornell and Georgetown won?

Probably Bucknell and Ohio State. Bucknell’s strength of schedule stands out when compared to Ohio State and Villanova. Ohio State’s RPI is unusually low for an at-large selection (Notre Dame was No. 18 when it was picked in 2010). On paper, Villanova offers less to quibble about.







Records against the top five, top 10 and top 20 and losses to teams outside the top 25 are based on performance against the current RPI rankings, not human polls). RPI replica courtesy of LaxPower. Strength of schedule numbers, which are also used by the selection committee, are the ranking of the average RPI of each team’s 10 best opponents.

Automatic Qualifiers (9)

 

RPI

SOS

T5W

T10

T20

26+ L

Albany 2 23 1-0 2-1 5-1 UMBC (42)
Johns Hopkins 3 6 1-1 2-2 6-2
Loyola 7 18 1-1 1-2 3-3
Cornell 9 20 0-1 1-2 3-2 Princeton (27), Colgate (40)
Georgetown 12 23 0-0 1-2 4-2 Drexel (37)
Robert Morris 17 48 0-0 0-0 0-2 Saint Joseph’s (31), Bryant (34)
UMass 21 44 0-1 0-2 0-2 Harvard (30), Army (39)
Richmond 29 38 0-2 0-3 1-3 UMBC (42), Furman (56)
Canisius 49 64 0-1 0-0 0-2 Colgate (40), Detroit Mercy (46), Quinnipiac (53), Hobart (54), Monmouth (58), Dartmouth (59)

So much for Albany being vulnerable in the America East final. The Great Danes crushed Vermont, and did so with Connor Fields on the sideline in street clothes. Fields’ injury status could have some influence on Albany’s seeding. … Johns Hopkins entered the Big Ten tournament without the assurance of landing a first-round home game. Now, it’s going to bag a top-four seed after beating Ohio State and Maryland. …

Loyola got hopscotched by Johns Hopkins this weekend, but the Patriot League champion Greyhounds are still a good bet for a home game. Cold Spring Lane seems like a logical first-round destination for Virginia. … There’s a case for Cornell to host a first-round game rather than Denver after beating Yale in the Ivy League final, but the Big Red has a truly noteworthy loss (Colgate) on its ledger, too. …

Hats off to Kevin Warne and Georgetown, which added to an excellent bounceback year by smothering Denver 8-3 in the Big East final. The Hoyas are back in the tournament for the first time since 2007. … Robert Morris booked passage to its first NCAA tournament appearance with an overtime defeat of Saint Joseph’s in the Northeast Conference title game. …

The two logical destinations for Colonial champion Massachusetts: Albany, Notre Dame or Yale. A trip down Interstate 91 to Yale for their first NCAA tournament matchup with another New England team since 2002 (Fairfield) and only their fourth ever (New Hampshire 1986, Brown 1990) would make sense. … Richmond edged Jacksonville in the Southern Conference title game. The Spiders are likely to host the play-in game on Wednesday. …

Canisius had dropped seven of its last 10 entering the Metro Atlantic tournament. A pair of one-goal wins later, the Golden Griffins are headed to the tournament for the first time since 2012. They’ll be on the road in the play-in game.

At-Large Bids (14 teams/8 spots)

 

RPI

SOS

T5W

T10

T20

26+ L

Maryland 1 2 2-2 2-2 7-3
Duke 4 8 1-1 4-1 4-3
Notre Dame 5 3 1-2 4-2 5-3
Yale 6 11 1-0 2-1 4-3
Denver 8 15 0-1 0-2 3-3
Virginia 10 4 0-4 2-5 3-5
Syracuse 11 1 2-2 3-4 3-6
Villanova 13 16 0-1 1-2 2-4 Brown (33)
Rutgers 15 12 0-3 0-3 2-4 Princeton (26), Army (39)
Bucknell 16 32 0-0 2-0 2-2 Richmond (29), Boston U. (32)
Navy 18 26 0-1 0-2 2-3 Lehigh (28), Jacksonville (35)
Ohio State 19 7 1-3 1-4 2-4 Towson (26)
Penn State 22 13 1-1 1-2 3-5
North Carolina 23 9 1-2 2-4 2-5 Richmond (29), Hofstra (41)

Even with a loss in the Big Ten title game, Maryland has the most complete resume on paper. The Terrapins could become the first team to be a No. 1 seed three years in a row since 2002-05 Johns Hopkins. Others who have done it include 1972-74 Maryland, 1979-81 Hopkins, 1983-85 Hopkins, and 1988-90 Syracuse. …

Duke might have needed a little help to do better than a No. 4 seed. It got it when Yale fell to Cornell in the Ivy final. … Yale’s RPI took a slightly bigger hit than anticipated with its loss to Cornell. Here’s guessing the Bulldogs don’t fall beyond the No. 5 seed tonight.

Notre Dame followed up its ACC title with a pummeling of Army. The Irish lead the field with five top-10 victories. … Denver doesn’t own an overwhelming set of victories, but it’s getting into the field. The Big East title game loss might push the Pioneers onto the road, but the large RPI gap between Denver and everyone below it could be enough to get one more game at Peter Barton Stadium this season. …

If Denver isn’t at home, then Syracuse and Virginia are the obvious alternatives. The Orange has done a little bit more, and the teams split two games this spring. … Villanova is going to ride its victory over Yale, its solid computer numbers and its minimal missteps to an at-large bid. …

It’s not a likely outcome, but it would still be amusing if Rutgers took the last spot in the field after having a better case for inclusion last season. … Bucknell just couldn’t catch a break the last couple days. At the same time, the Bison had a chance to improve their lot in the Patriot League tournament and did not capitalize.

Navy is this year’s best proof that every game counts. That season-opening loss to Jacksonville could very well be the difference between an at-large bid and a season that ends in April. … Ohio State’s chances probably fizzled when Denver and Yale slid into the at-large pool. ...

Penn State and North Carolina are included more for comparative purposes than anything else. The chances either gets in are quite slim.

PROJECTED BRACKET

A few reminders on piecing together the bracket. …

  • The committee seeds the top eight teams and then assigns the unseeded teams based on geography in an attempt to limit air travel while trying to maintain bracket integrity.

  • Conference matchups are to be avoided in the first round.

  • If applicable, quarterfinal host schools are funneled into their own site. Hofstra and Navy are this year’s quarterfinal hosts.

  • Of the nine automatic qualifiers, the two with the weakest resumes are assigned to the preliminary round game the Wednesday before the first round. At-large teams are not selected for play-in games.

Annapolis, Md.

(1) BIG TEN/Maryland vs. SOUTHERN/Richmond-METRO ATLANTIC/Canisius
(8) Denver vs. IVY/Cornell

Hempstead, N.Y.

(5) Yale vs. Villanova
(4) Notre Dame vs. COLONIAL/UMass

Hempstead, N.Y.

(3) Duke vs. BIG EAST/Georgetown
(6) AMERICA EAST/Albany vs. Syracuse

Annapolis, Md.

(7) PATRIOT/Loyola vs. Virginia
(2) BIG TEN/Johns Hopkins vs. NORTHEAST/Robert Morris

Last four in: Denver, Syracuse, Virginia, Villanova
First four out: Ohio State, Bucknell, Rutgers, Navy

Multi-bid conferences: Atlantic Coast (4), Big East (3), Big Ten (2), Ivy (2)

Moving in: Cornell
Moving out: Ohio State

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