Bracketology: Terps a Lock as Top Seed; Ohio State Win Over Harvard Looms Large

PHOTO COURTESY OF OHIO STATE ATHLETICS

Jack Myers and Ohio State would be dancing if the NCAA tournament started today, per Patrick Stevens' latest bracket projection.


Plenty of work faces the NCAA men’s lacrosse committee over the next two weeks (and especially the tail end of next week). One thing, though, shouldn’t take much time to settle.

Regardless of what happens from here, Maryland is going to be the No. 1 seed in next month’s NCAA tournament.

The Terrapins, who had already locked up the top seed in the Big Ten tournament prior to Saturday’s 22-7 demolition of Johns Hopkins, won’t play this weekend. They’ll see either Hopkins or Penn State in the conference semifinals, and with a victory would face Rutgers, Ohio State or Michigan in the final the night before Selection Sunday.

Maryland won’t enter the postseason with more than one loss. Considering its average margin of victory in Big Ten play was 9.8 goals, chances are good it will remain undefeated. But even with a stumble, its overall profile is going to be better than anyone else’s.

There very well could be some things to quibble about regarding the committee’s final product. The identity of the No. 1 seed won’t be one of them

AUTOMATIC QUALIFIERS (10)

Maryland (12-0) Big Ten

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

1

11

1-0

3-0

6-0

Princeton (9-3) Ivy League

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

2

1

2-2

4-2

5-3

Georgetown (12-1) Big East

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

3

16

1-1

1-1

6-1

Boston University (10-3) Patriot League

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

12

23

0-2

0-2

0-3

Saint Joseph's (11-2) NEC

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

18

54

0-0

0-0

0-0

Del. (27), at Drexel (39)

Utah (8-3) ASUN 

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

20

56

0-1

0-1

0-2

at UMBC (51)

Jacksonville (13-2) SoCon

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

23

38

0-0

1-0

3-2

Towson (6-7) CAA

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

26

17

0-0

0-2

0-6

at Delaware (27)

St. Bonaventure (9-3) MAAC

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

38

73

0-0

0-0

0-2

at Siena (61)

Vermont (8-6) America East

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

48

36

0-0

0-2

0-3

@Dart (33), @Prov (46)

Maryland’s six top-20 victories have come against Princeton, Rutgers, Virginia, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Johns Hopkins. Only Notre Dame kept the Terrapins’ victory margin to less than five goals. ... Yes, Princeton lost to Harvard on Saturday. But by the numbers, the Tigers still have the second-best overall profile and a head-to-head victory over Georgetown. Princeton probably has to lose one more time to slip in the seeding. ...

On a similar note, it is difficult to envision Georgetown earning anything less than a No. 3 seed if it wins out. That includes a trip to Villanova on Friday and then the Big East tournament. ... Boston University has clinched the top seed and hosting rights in the Patriot League tournament. But with no high-profile victories, the Terriers are going to need to win the Patriot’s automatic bid to make it into the field. The PL is one-bid territory. 

Is this the year Saint Joseph’s finally breaks through and wins the Northeast Conference? The Hawks will host the league tournament for the fifth time in eight seasons (2015, 2016, 2018, 2021 and 2022) after clinching the top seed Saturday. ... Utah sealed the top seed in the Atlantic Sun tournament with its victory at Bellarmine on Saturday. ...

Jacksonville has an extra week to prepare for the Southern Conference tournament after ripping Mercer. The Dolphins have won eight in a row, including six by at least 12 goals. ... Towson can lock up the top seed in the Colonial when Hofstra pays a visit on Saturday. The Tigers are a game ahead of four teams in the CAA standings. ...

St. Bonaventure will claim the Metro Atlantic’s top seed (and tournament hosting duties) with either a victory over Canisius or a Marist loss to Monmouth. ... Vermont will host the America East tournament for the first time, locking up the top seed with a defeat of Binghamton.







AT-LARGE (13 TEAMS/8 SLOTS)

Yale (8-3) Ivy League

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

4

8

2-0

2-2

4-2

at Penn State (30)

Penn (6-4) Ivy League

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

5

3

0-3

2-4

3-4

Rutgers (12-2) Big Ten

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

6

21

0-2

0-2

2-2

Virginia (10-3) ACC

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

7

13

0-1

0-2

4-3

Brown (8-4) Ivy League

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

8

12

2-1

3-1

3-3

Cornell (10-3) Ivy League 

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

9

15

1-1

1-2

3-2

Duke (10-5) ACC

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

10

10

0-1

1-1

4-2

at Syracuse (31)

Harvard (8-3) Ivy League

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

11

18

1-1

2-2

3-3

Ohio State (9-4) Big Ten

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

13

7

0-1

0-3

4-4

Notre Dame (6-4) ACC

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

14

24

0-2

1-3

2-4

Denver (8-5) Big East

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

15

14

0-2

0-3

2-4

Richmond (8-4) SoCon

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

16

25

0-1

1-2

1-3

North Carolina (8-5) ACC

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

17

4

0-0

1-3

4-5

It hasn’t always been smooth for Yale, but it can clinch a share of the Ivy League regular-season title with a defeat of Harvard on Saturday. ... Penn closes the regular season with games against Saint Joseph’s and Albany. Even without making the Ivy League tournament, the Quakers will be in good shape for an at-large berth if it wins its two games this week. ...

Rutgers is going to get by on quantity rather than quality. The Scarlet Knights’ only two top-20 victories have come against Ohio State and Johns Hopkins. They should be in the NCAA field no matter what happens in the Big Ten tournament, but winning a semifinal would be a good idea if a first-round NCAA home game is a priority. ... Virginia has a quantity-vs.-quality situation with some similarities to the one Rutgers faces, only it doesn’t have a conference tournament to navigate. The Cavaliers sure look like they’ll be seeded in the 5-8 range. ...

Teams that have as at least as many top-10 RPI victories as Brown’s three? Princeton (four) and Maryland (three). If the Bears sweep Bryant and Dartmouth this week, they’re taking an at-large berth. ... Cornell would get two things out of a victory at Princeton: a high-end item for its resume and a guaranteed chance to get another next week in the Ivy League tournament. Both are valuable for a team that’s wobbled the last couple weeks. ...

Two more victories, and Duke is a sure thing to make the tournament. But how about one more? The Blue Devils’ strength of schedule is sure to be bolstered by finishing with North Carolina (Sunday) and at Notre Dame (May 7). ... Harvard and Ohio State are going to have a lot of eyes on them the next week or two. The Buckeyes’ head-to-head victory over the Crimson on a neutral field looms large at the moment. ...

Notre Dame turned in a 4-0 April, giving it the chance to play its way in with Syracuse and Duke still to come in early May. The Irish will get a strength of schedule boost simply by cycling Detroit (RPI: 63) out of its top 10 opponents after this weekend. ... Denver is unquestionably interesting, but it is debatable whether it can land an at-large. Playing Marquette (RPI: 50) isn’t going to help the Pioneers’ metrics. ...

Richmond is another team awaiting an RPI and strength of schedule hit this weekend, win or lose. The Spiders wrap up the regular season against VMI (RPI: 70). ... North Carolina’s path to an at-large probably is gone after its loss at Notre Dame. The Tar Heels need a victory at Duke and a lot of other things to go right to even get close to the edge of the field.

PROJECTED BRACKET

A few notes worth remembering:

  • The NCAA will return to eight campus-site games in the first round this season. First-round conference matchups will be avoided, which can lead to some movement for the unseeded teams.

  • With the return of the Ivy League from last year’s hiatus and the addition of the Atlantic Sun, there are 10 conferences eligible for automatic berths. That means there will be two play-in games, featuring the four lowest-ranked automatic qualifying teams. The rankings will be determined by the committee and not specifically by the RPI.

  • Limiting air travel remains a priority for the NCAA, so this won’t necessarily be a 1-through-16 bracket. Historically, the NCAA tries to bracket the field so only two teams must travel more than 400 miles for a first-round game, though it isn’t a completely inflexible rule.

  • Quarterfinal hosts are funneled into their home sites. Whichever quadrant of the bracket Ohio State lands in will play a second-weekend game in Columbus.

  • This exercise is an attempt to project what the NCAA committee would do based on its history and on this season’s results to date. It is not an attempt to predict future results or suggest what the committee should do.

Hempstead, N.Y.

(1) BIG TEN/Maryland vs. CAA/Towson-MAAC/St. Bonaventure
(8) Penn vs. Duke

Columbus, Ohio

(5) Brown vs. SOUTHERN/Jacksonville
(4) Yale vs. PATRIOT/Boston University

Columbus, Ohio

(3) BIG EAST/Georgetown vs. NEC/Saint Joseph’s
(6) Virginia vs. Ohio State

Hempstead, N.Y.   

(7) Rutgers vs. Cornell
(2) IVY/Princeton vs. ASUN/Utah-AEC/Vermont

Last three in: Duke, Cornell, Ohio State

First three out: Harvard, Notre Dame, Denver

Moving in: —

Moving out: —

Conference call: Ivy (5), Big Ten (3), Atlantic Coast (2)

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