Women's Lacrosse Bracketology: Bubble Teams Squandered Chances


Several teams that found themselves on the bubble and in need of a victory this past weekend squandered their opportunities. Thus, for the first time this cycle, we have the same 29 teams as we did last week.

Let’s do a little bubble comparison and try to select who might be in and out. Note that we will only be comparing teams that played non-conference schedules; therefore, Big Teams are not included in this exercise.

Six teams are listed for the availability of two spots. Who should make it?


Team A

Team B

Team C

RPI 14 22 27
SOS 15 8 73
Sig. Wins Temple (17), Team D (29) Loyola (9), Mount St. Mary's (24) James Madison (21)
Sig. Losses None None Team F (43)
vs. Top 20 1-5 2-6 0-0
vs. 21-40 2-0 1-1 1-1
Last 6 3-3 1-5 4-2
H2H W vs. Team D N/A L vs. Team F


Team D

Team E

Team F

RPI 29 31 43
SOS 24 1 7
Sig. Wins Denver (13) Team D (29) Virginia (23), Team C (27)
Sig. Losses Arizona State (33), USC (39) None None
vs. Top 20 1-3 0-10 0-8
vs. 21-40 2-3 1-1 2-3
Last 6 4-2 1-5 2-4
H2H L vs. Team A, L vs. Team E W vs. Team D, W vs. Team F W vs. Team C, L vs. Team E

The teams are ordered by RPI but not necessarily in the order in which they’re evaluated. We have a few head-to-head matchups, which helps beyond knowing what the PRI and strength-of-schedule (SOS) numbers are.

Team A clearly has the best RPI and two quality victories to its name as well as a head-to-head win; therefore, we will consider them in. Next is comparing Teams B, C and D. Team B has the best RPI and a Top 10 SOS as well as a Top 10 win over Loyola. Even though they’ve gone 1-5 in their last six (a secondary criteria), they have a strong profile. For now, they’re the second-best option.

Team C has the worst SOS among the six teams we’re comparing and just one significant victory. In a paradoxical bit, they carry a “significant” loss, in this case to Team F, which is rated 43rd. Team D carries losses to two teams over 31 in the RPI and lost to two of these teams we’re comparing — including Team E, which has the toughest schedule in the entire nation. They’re 0-10 against Top 20 RPI teams and didn’t beat a single team slated to be in this year’s tournament.

Then there’s Team F — the worst RPI squad that we are comparing, but with two significant victories. They’ve shown they can beat NCAA-quality competition, which is essential. Basically, they haven’t lost to anyone they weren’t supposed to. If this was a “normal” year, they wouldn’t be considered because of the .500 winning percentage rule.

Ultimately, we select Team B (Towson) to join Team A (Vanderbilt) in the at-large pool, while the other four teams are left out (Elon, Colorado, Louisville and Virginia Tech). The Tigers and Commodores are pretty solidly in at this point because it’s a weak bubble this year, and the biggest question marks come from how many teams the Selection Committee takes from the Big Ten.

Now, if there is some chaos in the tournaments this weekend, some bid thieves could change that picture.

Projected Tournament Locations

As we mentioned in last week’s bracketology, the NCAA has selected 12 predetermined sites that could host the first and second rounds. Ultimately, eight will be selected. Of our eight projected seeds, seven have been selected to host, while the eighth (Drexel) is set to travel.

Note: 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+. For the Big Ten and MAAC, we used significant wins as those over teams in the field and significant losses as those among the teams not being considered for at-large bids. All records are through May 2. * denotes Automatic Qualifiers.

Automatic Qualifiers (15)






Last 6

Sig. L

North Carolina* 1 4 10-0 6-0 6-0 ---
Drexel 4 12 4-1 5-0 6-0 ---
Northwestern* 6 67 0-0 3-0 6-0 ---
Stony Brook 7 21 1-2 4-0 6-0 ---
Loyola 9 36 1-1 2-1 6-0 ---
UMass* 10 31 3-1 2-1 6-0 UConn (32)
Florida 10 19 4-2 1-0 6-0 ---
Stanford 12 94 0-0 4-0 6-0 ---
Denver 13 51 0-0 4-1 6-0 ---
Jacksonville 15 79 1-0 1-0 5-1 Coastal Carolina (42)
Fairfield 18 72 0-1 1-0 5-1 Siena
Mount St. Mary's 24 69 0-0 2-2 6-0 ---
High Point* 37 28 0-4 0-2 5-1 ---
Robert Morris* 40 105 0-1 0-0 6-0 ---
Furman 44 61 0-1 0-2 5-1 East Carolina (58)

North Carolina was dominant in the ACC tournament, as expected … Drexel is the top seed in this week’s CAA championship tournament in Harrisonburg, Virginia … Northwestern asserted itself as the top team in the Big Ten, winning its second straight tournament title …

Stony Brook once again hosts the America East tournament … Loyola plays host to the Patriot League tournament, beginning with Colgate on Thursday … UMass roars into the RPI Top 10 after beating Davidson and Saint Joseph’s for the Atlantic 10 crown …

Florida is the overwhelming favorite to win the American Athletic Conference tournament in Gainesville; first up is Cincinnati … Stanford is the host of the Pac-12 tournament and will face the winner of Arizona State-Cal in a Thursday semifinal … Top-seeded Denver travels to Washington, D.C., for the Big East tournament and will face Villanova on Friday …

Jacksonville opens its ASUN tournament run against fourth-seeded Stetson on Thursday in Kennesaw, Georgia … Top-seeded Fairfield survived an upset big by eighth-seeded Marist by coming back to win in overtime, setting up a semifinal against Niagara on Thursday … Mount St. Mary’s is the No. 1 seed in the NEC tournament and hosts Bryant on Wednesday …

High Point took the Big South championship and awaits its NCAA destination on Sunday … Robert Morris clinched its first conference championship by winning the Mid-American regular-season title. The Colonials have two more regular-season matchups, which will serve as tuneups to the NCAA tournament … Furman is the top seed for the Southern Conference tournament hosted by Mercer, which is the No. 3 seed. No. 2 seed Coastal Carolina has eyes on being a spoiler.

At-Large (24 teams/14 spots)






Last 6

Sig. L

Syracuse 2 2 7-3 4-0 4-2 ---
Boston College 3 3 6-3 6-0 4-2 ---
Notre Dame 5 4 3-6 4-0 3-3 ---
Maryland 36 42 0-3 0-0 3-3 ---
Temple 17 18 2-4 1-0 5-1 ---
Hofstra 8 10 1-4 4-1 3-3 ---
Duke 16 15 1-5 2-0 3-3 ---
Virginia 23 6 1-7 2-0 0-6 ---
James Madison 21 29 0-2 3-2 5-1 ---
Johns Hopkins 46 53 0-2 0-3 5-1 ---
Rutgers 57 38 0-3 1-1 3-3 Michigan, Michigan
Towson 22 8 2-6 1-1 1-5 ---
Vanderbilt 14 15 1-5 2-0 3-3 ---
Penn State 73 41 0-2 2-0 1-5 Michigan
Virginia Tech 43 7 0-8 2-3 2-4 ---
Elon 27 73 0-0 1-1 4-2 Virginia Tech (43)
Ohio State 76 43 0-2 0-2 3-3 ---
Louisville 31 1 0-10 1-1 1-5 ---
Colorado 29 24 1-3 2-3 4-2 Arizona State (33), USC (39)
UConn 32 26 1-4 1-0 3-3 Villanova (54)
Albany 25 17 1-5 0-1 4-2 UConn (32)
Saint Joseph's 20 13 0-6 1-1 4-2 ---
Lehigh 34 69 0-3 1-0 5-1 ---
Arizona State 33 33 0-3 2-2 3-3 USC (39)

Syracuse (14-3) took the rubber match from Boston College (13-3), which confirms the Orange as the No. 2 seed in our bracket and drops BC to the No. 4 spot … Notre Dame (9-6), which gave UNC its toughest game of the year during the regular season, was torched by the Tar Heels in the ACC semifinals. Despite the loss, the Irish are slated for a Top 5 seed …

Maryland (9-6) regained some positive mojo by dispatching Michigan and Johns Hopkins before falling to Northwestern in the Big Ten title game … Temple (11-4) faces Vanderbilt (12-5) for a third straight time in the AAC semifinals, as the Owls look to put the Commodores’ at-large chances in doubt …

Hofstra (6-5) is surging at the right time by completing a season sweep of Towson, which has lost five of its past six games. The Tigers take on Elon (8-2) in the CAA’s first-round game on Wednesday in what could end up being an elimination game. James Madison (9-4) is the No. 2 seed in Friday’s second semifinal game against Hofstra …

Duke (9-7) and Virginia (8-8) were unable to snag wins in the ACC tournament and both have fallen well off the pace of seed lines as their respective RPIs have plummeted … Johns Hopkins (8-6) and Rutgers (6-8) won their opening games in the Big Ten tournament before falling in the semifinals and should feel fairly confident about their inclusion in this year’s tournament … 

The decision about Penn State (4-9) will be the most interesting one. Will the committee actually deny a team that beat Maryland twice entry to the tournament? … Virginia Tech (5-11) has 11 losses, many of them uncompetitive, and a poor RPI (43). Nevertheless, the Hokies have a win over a bona fide NCAA squad in Virginia and another over fellow bubble dweller Elon …

Ohio State’s (4-9) entire resume rests on its two-game home sweep of Penn State, which probably isn’t enough … Louisville (5-11) doesn’t have a victory over a team that would make the NCAA tournament and lost nine of its last 10 games …Colorado (7-6) could have made a real case for an at-large selection with a second win over Denver, but its previous losses to Arizona State and USC hamper its candidacy …

UConn’s (11-5) loss to Villanova derailed any chance of an at-large bid, and the Big East tournament is its pathway … Albany (10-6) holds the early season win over Hofstra, a loss to UConn and two missed chances against Stony Brook. The Great Danes have to pull the upset in the America East tournament … Saint Joseph’s (10-7) was emphatic in its 18-7 Atlantic 10 semifinal win over top-seeded Richmond but fell to host UMass in the final. The Hawks’ RPI of 20 is impressive, but it’s a season of what-ifs. SJU lost one-goal games to Hofstra, Drexel and Temple as well as a two-goal loss to Towson …

Lehigh (8-3) eliminated Navy in the Patriot League tournament Monday afternoon to end the Mids’ season. The Mountain Hawks have to get by Army in the semifinals … Arizona State is in a unique position by playing in Wednesday’s Pac-12 tournament opening-round game against Cal to setup a rematch with Stanford, where another win could get them to the bubble.


Bracketing procedures:

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

  • 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.


Chapel Hill, N.C.

James Madison vs. Furman (SOUTHERN)
Winner plays at (1) North Carolina (ACC)

Stony Brook, N.Y.

Florida (AAC) vs. Johns Hopkins
Penn State at (8) Stony Brook (AMERICA EAST)

Newton, Mass.

Hofstra vs. UMass (A-10)
Fairfield (MAAC) vs. (3) Boston College

Notre Dame, Ind.

Stanford (PAC-12) vs. Denver (BIG EAST)
Robert Morris (MAC) at (5) Notre Dame


Syracuse, N.Y.

Rutgers vs. Towson
Winner plays at (2) Syracuse

Baltimore, Md.

Temple vs. Virginia
High Point (BIG SOUTH) vs. (7) Loyola (PATRIOT)

Evanston, Ill.

Vanderbilt vs. Jacksonville (ASUN)
Winner plays at (3) Northwestern (BIG TEN)

College Park, Md.

Maryland vs. Duke
Mount St. Mary’s (NEC) vs. (7) Drexel (CAA)

Last Four In: Rutgers, Towson, Vanderbilt, Penn State
First Four Out: Virginia Tech, Elon, Ohio State, Louisville
Next Four Out: Colorado, Connecticut, Albany, Saint Joseph’s

Moving In: N/A
Moving Out: N/A

Multi-bid Conferences: ACC (6), Big Ten (5), CAA (4), American (3)

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