Women's Lacrosse Bracketology: A Week of Fluctuating Results

PHOTO COURTESY OF BC ATHLETICS


A week in fluctuating results created new sorting throughout the projected field of 29 for this week’s bracketology.

Let’s start at the top with the two most notable performances: Boston College’s dominating sweep of Notre Dame and Drexel’s trouncing of Towson backed up by a four-goal win over Hofstra.

The Eagles moved up to No. 3 in the latest RPI, just behind fellow ACC foes North Carolina and Syracuse. We place Boston College at the No. 3 seed, leapfrogging Northwestern, in this week’s projection with an upcoming two-game series at Syracuse that could decide who gets the No. 2 seed.

In the CAA, Drexel (11-1, 3-0 CAA) is clearly the top team in the league. The Dragons have won six straight heading into this weekend’s rematch with Towson. The impressive week gets Drexel into the seeded picture at No. 7 on the strength of three wins over NCAA tourney teams.

Drexel’s gain comes at the expense of Virginia, which drops to No. 8 and is in serious danger of losing a seeded slot, and Stony Brook. The Cavaliers, rated 12th in the RPI, are hanging onto wins over Duke and Louisville, while Stony Brook has just a solitary win over Towson as notable on its resume.

Biggest Winners

We’ve already covered Drexel, but Rutgers had an exemplary week with victories over Penn State and Maryland. The Scarlet Knights have solidified their profile and have a great chance to make their first NCAA tournament in 22 years.

Another Big Ten team that gained some traction in the field is Johns Hopkins, which earned a hard-fought victory at Penn State. The Blue Jays have a split with Rutgers but dropped both contests with Maryland. A sweep of Michigan this weekend may be a necessity to maintain their place.

James Madison finally grabbed a win over an NCAA-worthy team by beating Towson. The Dukes’ RPI of 31 isn’t great, but if they can take care of William and Mary and Elon, they’ll climb the rankings.

Biggest Losers

The biggest drops in our S-Curve are by Penn State (losses to Rutgers and Johns Hopkins), Elon (a pretty ugly loss to Virginia Tech) and Michigan (loss to Ohio State, which means the Wolverines likely have to win the Big Ten tournament to get a bid).

Bubble Trouble

The bubble remains unclear because of the Big Ten situation. It’s a quality league that hasn’t had the chance to shine against non-conference competition, and in turn has repeatedly beaten itself. This will either be to its great gain or detriment. For now, Maryland is the league’s No. 2, followed by Rutgers and Johns Hopkins at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively. Penn State is hanging on, albeit slightly, as one of the final four teams in.

Joining the Nittany Lions are James Madison (No. 31 in the RPI), Louisville (RPI No. 22, still without a win over an NCAA team) and Elon (RPI No. 23).

You’ll note we haven’t been using the Big Ten’s RPI numbers. Because it’s a closed system, it’s impossible to use that metric compared to the rest of the country, which has experienced non-conference play. Predicting how the committee will view those teams takes some guesswork.

First Six Out

Vanderbilt (RPI No. 20) is the first team out and missed out on two opportunities against Florida. If the Commodores don’t manage a split against Temple, they’ll be looking to the AAC tournament for a bid.

Colorado (RPI No. 26) sits behind Vanderbilt because of RPI and head-to-head considerations despite a win over Denver. A loss to USC also doesn’t help.

Ohio State (4-8) completed a sweep of Michigan, so it remains among the teams on the fringe. Next week’s Big Ten tournament provides new life for wins over higher ranked teams.

Hofstra’s RPI is 11, but the Pride have dropped four of five. A win over Towson on Sunday could change that.

Michigan (3-6) has a sweep of Rutgers and a split of Penn State, but being swept by Ohio State doesn’t give the Wolverines any wiggle room. A key two-game set against Johns Hopkins is pretty much a must-win scenario.

Arizona State (RPI No. 27) has a split with Colorado, but the Sun Devils will rue Friday’s 22-21 overtime loss to Stanford. The Pac-12 tournament is the likely path into the final field.

Notes: First place teams are listed as automatic qualifiers. In the event of a tie, the AQ goes to the highest rated team in the RPI. There are a total of 15 automatic qualifiers and 14 at-large teams to comprise a 29-team field. Significant wins include all teams in the RPI Top 30 and projected NCAA teams; significant losses are those RPI 31 or higher. Records are through April 18.

Automatic Qualifiers (15)

 

RPI

W-L

Conf.

Road

Sig. Wins

Sig. Losses

North Carolina 1 14-0 7-0 3-0 Syracuse, Boston College, Notre Dame, Florida, Stony Brook, Virginia, Virginia, Duke, Louisville, High Point ---
Drexel 4 11-1 3-0 7-1 Hofstra, Towson, Temple, Albany ---
Florida 6 11-2 8-0 5-2 Vanderbilt, Vanderbilt, Louisville ---
Loyola 7 8-2 5-0 3-1 Drexel ---
Stanford 8 8-0 6-0 6-0 Colorado, Arizona State, Arizona State ---
Northwestern 9 11-0 11-0 6-0 Maryland, Maryland, Johns Hopkins, Johns Hopkins, Rutgers, Rutgers, Penn State, Penn State ---
Stony Brook 10 9-2 4-0 4-2 Towson, Albany ---
UMass 13 11-2 6-0 5-2 --- ---
Jacksonville 15 6-0 1-0 4-0 Florida, High Point ---
Denver 18 10-1 8-0 4-1 Arizona State ---
Mount St. Mary's 28 11-2 8-0 5-1 --- ---
Furman 30 9-3 2-0 4-3 --- East Carolina (48)
Fairfield 36 8-1 8-1 4-0 --- Siena (45)
High Point 37 6-7 4-0 2-4 --- ---
Robert Morris 46 10-2 5-0 4-2 --- ---

North Carolina dominated in a sweep of Virginia. It is next to impossible to knock the Tar Heels out of No. 1 … Drexel had a big week with wins over Towson and Hofstra. The Dragons can complete the sweep of Towson on Friday … Florida clinched a share of the AAC with a sweep of Vanderbilt …

Loyola continues to cruise through Patriot League play. Its Saturday game against Navy was canceled, as the Mids need to play other league opponents. The Greyhounds are set to play SoCon leader Furman on Sunday instead … Stanford squeaked out a pair of one-goal wins over Arizona State and USC heading into this week’s regular-season finale at Cal … Northwestern had no issue with Michigan to wrap up the regular season a perfect 11-0 …

Stony Brook has a rematch with Albany on Saturday, which will determine who gets the America East’s No. 1 seed … UMass is rolling through its Atlantic 10 North Division competition by an average of 11 goals per game … Jacksonville (6-0) was idle last week after a pair of canceled games and has played just one ASUN contest thus far …

Denver has a two-game set against Villanova this weekend before a pivotal matchup against Colorado next week … Mount St. Mary’s had a pair of six-goal wins over Bryant and Wagner, which were its tightest victories since March 24 (11-6 at Wagner) … Furman has a busy three-game week with SoCon contests at Wofford and Delaware State before taking on Loyola on Sunday.

Fairfield bounced back from its surprise loss to Siena with a pair of wins at Iona. The Stags are scheduled to face Marist on Saturday … High Point dropped a non-conference game to Liberty on Sunday but is still perfect in Big South action … Robert Morris is closing in on an automatic berth from the Mid-American Conference. The Colonials host second-place Central Michigan on Saturday, when a win would all but clinch that AQ, as there is no postseason tournament.







At-Large (22 teams/14 spots)

 

RPI

W-L

Conf.

Road

Sig. Wins

Sig. Losses

Syracuse 2 11-1 7-1 6-1 Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Loyola, Stony Brook, Virginia, Duke, Louisville, Albany ---
Boston College 3 11-1 7-1 2-1 Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Hofstra, Virginia, UMass, Duke, Louisville, Albany ---
Notre Dame 5 6-5 3-5 3-4 Hofstra, Virginia, Duke, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Robert Morris ---
Duke 14 9-5 4-5 4-3 Virginia, Louisville ---
Virginia 12 8-6 3-6 2-4 Duke, Louisville, James Madison ---
Towson 16 8-4 1-2 3-2 Loyola, Mount St. Mary's ---
Temple 21 10-3 6-2 5-0 Towson ---
Maryland 38 7-5 7-5 1-5 Johns Hopkins, Johns Hopkins, Rutgers, Rutgers ---
Johns Hopkins 42 5-5 5-5 3-1 Rutgers, Penn State, Penn State ---
Rutgers 59 5-7 5-7 1-5 Maryland, Johns Hopkins, Penn State ---
James Madison 31 7-4 2-2 2-2 Towson, High Point ---
Penn State 73 4-8 4-8 0-6 Maryland, Maryland, Rutgers ---
Louisville 22 5-9 1-7 3-3 Colorado ---
Elon 23 8-1 2-0 4-0 James Madison, Furman Virginia Tech (33)
Vanderbilt 20 11-4 6-2 4-4 Colorado, High Point ---
Colorado 26 7-5 4-3 2-4 Denver USC (39)
Ohio State 71 4-8 4-8 1-5 Penn State, Penn State ---
Hofstra 11 4-5 1-2 1-3 James Madison ---
Michigan 82 3-6 3-6 1-5 Penn State, Rutgers, Rutgers ---
Arizona State 27 8-4 5-3 2-3 Colorado ---
UConn 34 9-5 4-2 5-3 UMass, Albany Villanova (57)
Albany 25 9-5 6-1 2-4 Hofstra UConn (34)
Virginia Tech 33 4-9 0-7 2-5 Elon ---
Davidson 24 10-2 5-0 4-1 --- ---
Richmond 40 8-1 4-0 5-0 --- ---
Lehigh 29 6-3 5-1 3-2 Navy Saint Joseph's (32)
Navy 19 6-3 2-2 3-1 Mount St. Mary's ---

Syracuse and Boston College square off in the Carrier Dome in a matchup that could determine the ACC and NCAA tournament’s No. 2 seed … Notre Dame was no match for BC and thus drops to the No. 5 seed this week …

Duke has won three straight after a three-game skid; can the Blue Devils shock UNC? … Virginia has lost its past four games and was thoroughly handled by the Tar Heels. The Cavs need to hold serve if they want to hold onto a hosting slot … Towson likely needs wins over Drexel and Hofstra to get back into the seeded conversation …

Temple travels to Vanderbilt in one of the most intriguing matchups of the weekend. A sweep by the Owls cements their spot in the bracket … Maryland’s loss to Rutgers was unexpected, but the Terps completed a sweep of Johns Hopkins. The Blue Jays completed a sweep of Penn State. JHU needs to hold serve against Michigan this weekend.

Rutgers had an exceptional week with wins over Penn State and Maryland and now waits for their Big Ten tournament matchup to try and snag another resume-building win … With a win over Towson, James Madison finally secured a victory against a team already in the field. Beating Elon on Sunday would be of additional help … Penn State had two chances to sew up its at-large bid, but tight losses to Rutgers and Johns Hopkins put the Lions in danger of dropping out of the field.

Louisville has great numbers (RPI No. 22, No. 1 strength of schedule) and is effectively in the field based off a non-conference win over Colorado. There’s a decent chance that won’t be enough in a couple weeks … Elon is hanging by a thread after its loss to Virginia Tech. A rematch with JMU, as well as a road game at High Point, present opportunities to regain footing … Vanderbilt remains our first team out, but a win or two against Temple could get the Commodores into the field …

Colorado got by UC Davis and Cal over the weekend to push its win streak to four games. The Buffs have to hold serve at Oregon on Friday … Ohio State completed the sweep of rival Michigan and now awaits the Big Ten tournament … Hofstra has an incredible RPI (11th) but just a win over James Madison to show for it. A win over Towson on Sunday might get the Pride into the picture …

Michigan has a crucial two-game set against Johns Hopkins that could make or break its postseason chances … Arizona State came so close to a program-defining win over Stanford. USC and San Diego State are must-wins to remain in the at-large conversation … Connecticut has lost three of four in Big East play, including Sunday’s decision against Villanova that sinks the Huskies’ at-large chances …

Albany has a great opportunity against Stony Brook. A loss means winning the America East tournament is the only chance … Virginia Tech snuck back into the conversation with a win over Elon. The Hokies can really muddy the picture with road games at Notre Dame and Virginia … Davidson (RPI No. 24) and Richmond (RPI No. 40) square off on Friday in an A-10 South duel. The winner will boost its at-large profile, but the automatic qualifier is probably the only path …

Lehigh beat Navy on April 10 to boost the Mountain Hawks’ chances. A win over Loyola for either one of them in the Patriot League tournament will be necessary for a berth to the NCAA tournament.

PROJECTED BRACKET

Bracketing procedures:

  • The committee seeds the top eight teams to host first- and second-round games. All other teams are unseeded and will be placed geographically, while keeping bracket integrity when possible.

  • It’s possible a seeded team may not host due to factors such as facility availability or public health measures. We anticipate each seed hosting and bracket them accordingly, but the committee may not have that option.

  • The top three seeded teams will receive a bye into the second round and host one first-round game between two other teams. The remaining five seeded teams will be bracketed with three unseeded teams.

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

  • This year there are 29 slots with 15 automatic qualifiers, unless the Ivy League declares a champion before Selection Sunday, which would make it 16. As it stands now, 14 at-large teams will be selected. There are no play-in games this season.

UPPER BRACKET

Chapel Hill, N.C.

Johns Hopkins vs. James Madison
Winner plays at (1) North Carolina (ACC)

Charlottesville, Va.

Stony Brook (AMERICA EAST) vs. Mount St. Mary’s (NEC)
High Point (BIG SOUTH) at (8) Virginia

Evanston Ill.

Florida (AAC) vs. Stanford (PAC-12)
Denver (BIG EAST) at (4) Northwestern (BIG TEN)

Notre Dame, Ind.

Jacksonville (ASUN) vs. Louisville
Robert Morris (MAC) at (5) Notre Dame

LOWER BRACKET

Syracuse, N.Y.

Temple vs. Maryland
Winner plays at (2) Syracuse

Philadelphia, Pa.

Loyola (PATRIOT) vs. Penn State
Fairfield (MAAC) vs. (7) Drexel (CAA)

Newton, Mass.

Rutgers vs. UMass (A-10)
Winner plays at (3) Boston College

Durham, N.C.

Elon vs. Towson
Furman (SOUTHERN) at (6) Duke

Last Four In: James Madison, Penn State, Louisville, Elon
First Six Out: Vanderbilt, Colorado, Ohio State, Hofstra, Michigan, Arizona State
Moving In: James Madison
Moving Out: Michigan
Multi-bid Conferences: ACC (7), Big Ten (5), CAA (4), American (2)

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