Rapid Reaction: Full Bracket, Analysis of Division I Women's NCAA Tournament

PHOTO BY RICH BARNES

Grace Tauckus and Princeton didn't get a national seed, but because of a scheduling quirk in Syracuse, the Tigers will host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament.


There was pandemonium as it pertained to the Division I men’s bracket reveal Sunday night, and the Division I women’s reveal was certainly less eventful.

A few questions? Sure. There always are.

The quirkiest piece of this year’s bracket? Syracuse, which earned the No. 5 national seed, won’t host the first two rounds. With the Carrier Dome occupied with graduation, Princeton will instead host a pod also featuring Fairfield and UMass.

NCAA committee chair Michael Scerbo, who is also the associate athletic director at Duquesne, said that Princeton’s availability to host had little to do with the construction of the bracket.

“Had Syracuse been able to host, we would have had Princeton going to Syracuse,” Scerbo said.

That gives the opportunity for Princeton head coach Chris Sailer, who is retiring at season’s end after 36 years at the helm of the Tigers, the chance to play even more home games. She received a hero’s sendoff in her final regular-season home game — a contest that clinched the Ivy League’s regular-season title — but her time at Class of ’52 Stadium isn’t over yet.

“To be able to play at that place, it’s a special place for women’s lacrosse,” Sailer said on ESPN after the bracket was revealed.







Jeremy Fallis will have a story tomorrow with more thoughts from Scerbo and others on the final bracket, but before then, a few more notables:

  • Scerbo said the last four teams in (in no particular order) were UConn, Johns Hopkins, UMass and Michigan. The first four out (in no particular order) were Temple, Arizona State, Yale and Ohio State. Scerbo said that the committee evaluated “the full body of work” and looked at “the actual wins,” which would seem to help ASU’s case. Alas, the Sun Devils are not in the field.

  • Maryland earned the No. 2 national seed, pushing reigning national champion Boston College to No. 3, in large part because of BC’s loss to North Carolina in the ACC title game. Outside of a loss to James Madison — which is looking more and more like a fluke loss with each passing week — Maryland has been fantastic.

  • Stony Brook earned the No. 8 national seed for the second year in a row and will play Drexel in the first round. That means Joe Spallina and former associate head coach Kim Hillier, now the coach of the Dragons, will go head-to-head at LaValle Stadium in Stony Brook.

  • After beating Northwestern, Rutgers was in the conversation for a national seed. At least, that’s what we thought. Instead, Rutgers will travel to Stony Brook for the second straight season as an unseeded team. The Scarlet Knights play Saint Joseph’s in the first round.

  • On the flip side, those who thought Northwestern would be penalized for its Big Ten semifinal loss to Rutgers were mistaken. The Wildcats are the No. 4 seed, followed by Syracuse — the No. 5 seed that had a legit case for No. 4 had it beaten Virginia in the ACC tournament.

MATCHUPS

FIRST ROUND
May 13

USC (13-4) vs. Virginia (9-9), 2 p.m.
Rutgers (15-4) vs. Saint Joseph’s (14-6), 2:30 p.m.
Drexel (12-7) vs. (8) Stony Brook (14-2), Noon
(5) Syracuse (13-5) vs. Fairfield (13-6), 4 p.m.
UMass (16-3) vs. Princeton (14-3), 7 p.m.
Notre Dame (9-9) vs. Michigan (10-6), 8 p.m.
Central Michigan (12-7) vs. (4) Northwestern (13-4), 5 p.m.
Vermont (14-4) vs. Denver (17-2), 1 p.m.
James Madison (13-4) vs. UConn (13-4), 2:30 p.m.
Mount St. Mary’s (15-4) vs. (6) Loyola (19-1), Noon
(7) Florida (15-4) vs. Mercer (14-4), 5 p.m.
Stanford (12-6) vs. Jacksonville (13-4), 7:30 p.m.
Johns Hopkins (10-8) vs. Duke (15-3), 3 p.m.

SECOND ROUND
May 15

(1) North Carolina (18-0) vs. USC/Virginia winner, 2 p.m.
Rutgers/Saint Joseph’s winner vs. Drexel/(8) Stony Brook winner, Noon
(5) Syracuse/Fairfield winner vs. UMass/Princeton winner, Noon
Notre Dame/Michigan winner vs. Central Michigan/(4) Northwestern winner, 4 p.m.
(3) Boston College (16-3) vs. Vermont/Denver winner, 3 p.m.
James Madison/UConn winner vs. Mount St. Mary’s/(6) Loyola winner, 1 p.m.
(7) Florida/Mercer winner vs. Stanford/Jacksonville winner, 4 p.m.
(2) Maryland (17-1) vs. Johns Hopkins/Duke winner, 2:30 p.m.

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