Men's Lacrosse Bracketology: One Day Away from Selection Sunday

PHOTO COURTESY OF YALE ATHLETICS

The seeding range for Yale after its Ivy semifinal defeat of Cornell is now probably somewhere between No. 2 and No. 6.


Thursday’s conference semifinals were unquestionably fun, with six games decided by a goal and two in overtime.

They did not, however, spawn chaos for the NCAA lacrosse committee to sort out as the number of games remaining prior to Sunday night’s reveal of this year’s 18-team bracket dwindled to 18.

All eight No. 1 seeds won their conference semifinal, meaning this morning’s bracket projection is going to look a lot like the one from earlier in the week. There were three developments baked into the day’s schedule worth diving into briefly.

No Big Ten bid snatching. The only Big Ten semifinalist with no shot at an at-large was Johns Hopkins, and the Blue Jays fell 16-11 to undefeated Maryland. It’s one less variable for Duke, Harvard, Notre Dame and Ohio State (more on the Buckeyes shortly) to worry about over the next few days.

Villanova is Saturday’s chaos agent. The Big East was guaranteed to have someone in its title game capable of thieving a spot in the NCAA field, since it will be a one-bid league if Georgetown wins its fourth conference tournament in a row. Villanova (9-5), which fended off Denver 15-14, will meet the Hoyas on Saturday.

The same group of teams relieved to see Hopkins fall? They’ll be rooting against Villanova taking a spot in the field on Saturday.

Ohio State runs out of gas. The Buckeyes put together an admirable 35-40 minutes against Rutgers, riding a hot goalie (Skylar Wahlund made a career-high 21 saves) at one end and aces Jackson Reid (five goals) and Jack Myers (two goals, three assists) at the other.

But a well-rested and deeper Rutgers team wore down Ohio State, claiming a 12-10 victory after scoring seven of the last nine goals.

So now the Buckeyes wait. A victory would have effectively locked them into the field. A loss means they’ll watch the Big East final and Saturday’s Duke-Notre Dame game with great interest. For at-large selection purposes, those are the two most impactful games left on the board.

FRIDAY UPDATE

With only four games spread over two leagues Friday, there wasn’t going to be much movement. Certainly, the at-large picture wasn’t significantly altered.

But Penn and Yale both have to feel good about their chances of hosting NCAA tournament games next weekend after claiming top-10 victories in the Ivy semifinals, while Brown and Cornell are now much more likely to go on the road.

The full rundown, with RPI data courtesy of Lacrosse Reference.

AUTOMATIC QUALIFIERS (10)

Maryland (13-0) Big Ten

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

1

16

1-0

3-0

7-0

Georgetown (14-1) Big East

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

3

14

1-1

1-1

5-1

Yale (11-3) Ivy League

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

5

4

2-0

3-2

6-2

at Penn State (31)

Boston University (11-4) Patriot League

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

11

25

0-2

0-2

0-4

Saint Joseph's (13-3) NEC

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

19

50

0-1

0-1

0-1

Del. (27), at Drexel (42)

Utah (10-3) ASUN 

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

23

57

0-1

0-1

0-2

at UMBC (52)

Jacksonville (14-2) SoCon

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

24

40

0-0

1-0

3-1

Delaware (10-5) CAA

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

27

37

0-0

0-1

2-1

at UMass (26), at Michigan (45), Hofstar (49)

Vermont (10-6) America East

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

38

39

0-0

0-2

0-2

at UMass (26), at Dartmouth (32), at Providence (47)

St. Bonaventure (11-3) Metro Atlantic

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

39

73

0-0

0-0

0-2

at Siena (61)

Maryland is 18-0 against Big Ten opponents since the start of last season and can claim a second consecutive conference tournament title Saturday against Rutgers. … Georgetown took another step toward locking in the No. 2 seed with a Big East semifinal rout of Marquette. The Hoyas are going to end up as the No. 2 or No. 3 seed come Sunday night. …

The seeding range for Yale after its Ivy semifinal defeat of Cornell is now probably somewhere between No. 2 and No. 6, with the middle portion of that most likely. … Boston University edged Lehigh in the Patriot semifinals, and will play for its first NCAA berth Sunday afternoon against Army. …

Saint Joseph’s survived LIU in the Northeast semifinals. Now, they get the team responsible for Thursday’s most eye-opening result — more because of the scoring margin than the winner. Hobart walloped Bryant 21-5 in the other semifinal. Saint Joe’s beat the Statesmen 16-12 on April 2. … Utah escaped Bellarmine in overtime in the Atlantic Sun tournament, and the Utes will play Robert Morris on Saturday with their first NCAA berth on the line. Utah pounded the Colonials 18-8 in Salt Lake City on April 16. …

Jacksonville dispatched VMI, and the Dolphins are locked into a meeting with Richmond in the Southern final. The Dolphins, winners of nine in a row, upended Richmond 13-11 on April 9. … Less than two weeks after edging Drexel 16-15 in a shootout, Delaware smothered the Dragons 19-6. The Blue Hens need to beat Towson on Saturday to claim their first NCAA berth since 2011.

Another day, another rout of an America East team for Vermont. The Catamounts have outscored league foes 116-48 over seven games this season and get UMBC on Saturday. They rolled the Retrievers 12-3 on April 2. … The Metro Atlantic winner is going to be a fresh face in the tournament. St. Bonaventure is seeking its first NCAA appearance, while fellow finalist Manhattan made its only NCAA trip in 2002.







AT-LARGE (13 TEAMS/8 SLOTS)

Princeton (9-4) Ivy League

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

2

1

2-2

4-3

5-4

Penn (9-4) Ivy League

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

4

2

0-3

3-4

5-4

Rutgers (13-2) Big Ten

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

6

21

0-2

0-2

4-2

Duke (11-5) ACC

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

7

14

0-1

1-1

5-2

at Syracuse (29)

Cornell (11-4) Ivy League

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

8

8

2-2

2-3

4-4

Virginia (11-3) ACC

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

9

18

0-1

0-2

4-3

Brown (10-5) Ivy League

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

10

9

2-2

3-2

3-4

UMass (26)

Ohio State (10-5) Big Ten

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

12

10

0-1

0-4

4-5

Harvard (8-4) Ivy League

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

13

17

1-2

2-3

3-4

Richmond (10-4) SoCon

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

14

32

0-1

1-2

1-3

Notre Dame (7-4) ACC

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

15

23

0-2

1-3

2-4

Army (12-3) Patriot League

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

17

28

0-0

1-1

2-1

Lehigh (28), Navy (30)

North Carolina (8-6) ACC

RPI

SOS

T5

T10

T20

25+L

18

4

0-0

1-4

4-6

Princeton can rest up this weekend, all but assured of a home game in the first weekend of the tournament. It’s possible the Tigers wind up benefiting from losing out on the Ivy League tournament tiebreakers as May unfolds. … Penn, winners of five in a row after dispatching Brown in the Ivy semis, should finally feel secure about getting a first-round home game. It would be hard to deny the Quakers one based on the numbers. …

Rutgers climbs up to No. 5 in the RPI after collecting a second victory over Ohio State. The Scarlet Knights aren’t going to be hurt by playing No. 1 Maryland in Saturday’s Big Ten final. They should be good to go for their first NCAA home game since 2003. …  Duke is looking more and more like a team that will get the chance to play at home in the first round of the tournament — and get in even if it loses at Notre Dame to close the regular season.

Both Cornell and Brown will have to wait to learn if their Friday night losses cost them a first-round home game. Might the Bears’ lopsided victory in Ithaca last month be a difference-maker on that front when the overall numbers are so close? … Virginia’s chances of playing in Charlottesville to open the tournament might very well hinge on Duke losing its finale. The Cavaliers’ numbers just don’t match up to the other contenders for a tournament seed. …

The argument for Ohio State comes down to this: The Buckeyes beat Harvard and Notre Dame, and those may well be the two teams they’re compared to for the last spot in the field. Just remember, head-to-head doesn’t always serve as a trump card. Just ask 2021 Army, which pounded Syracuse on the road and lost out to the Orange for the last spot in the field. … The numbers are going to make it hard to argue Harvard over Ohio State, and that’s even before the head-to-head variable is accounted for. It’s pretty much impossible to conjure a scenario where both of those teams earn at-large nods. …

Notre Dame may as well look at its game against Duke as a play-in game. The Fighting Irish just do not have the metrics to get in if they lose to the Blue Devils. … Richmond isn’t landing an at-large berth, but it can still get into the field with a defeat of Jacksonville in the SoCon final. ...

Army reappears in the chart, but the Black Knights’ strength of schedule and home losses to Lehigh and Navy still stand out for the wrong reasons. They need to beat Boston University on Sunday to get to the tournament. … North Carolina regained a top-20 victory when Johns Hopkins nosed back in Friday, but the Tar Heels aren’t going to be in the field.

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 (assuming it makes the tournament) 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., quarterfinal   

(1) BIG TEN/Maryland vs. COLONIAL/Delaware-METRO ATLANTIC/St. Bonaventure
(8) Brown vs. PATRIOT/Boston University

Columbus, Ohio, quarterfinal

(5) Penn vs. Virginia
(4) IVY/Yale vs. SOUTHERN/Jacksonville

Hempstead, N.Y., quarterfinal

(3) Princeton vs. NORTHEAST/Saint Joseph’s
(6) Rutgers vs. Cornell

Columbus, Ohio, quarterfinal    

(7) Duke vs. Ohio State
(2) BIG EAST/Georgetown vs. ATLANTIC SUN/Utah-AMERICA EAST/Vermont

Last three included: Cornell, Virginia, Ohio State
First three on the outside: Notre Dame, Harvard, North Carolina

Moving in: ---
Moving out: ---

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

Suggested

Most Recent

Early 2023 Rankings: Nos. 20-16 (Division I Women)

We take a crack at breaking down the 2023 Division I women's season ahead of the fall.

Lacrosse Prepares J.P. Morgan Staffers for the Daily Grind

Traders and sales people on the J.P. Morgan trading floor meet to play lacrosse.

Early 2023 Rankings: Nos. 20-16 (Division I Men)

We take a crack at breaking down the 2023 Division I men's season ahead of the fall.

Early 2023 Rankings: Nos. 25-21 (Division I Women)

We take a crack at breaking down the 2023 Division I women's season ahead of the fall.







Twitter Posts