May 5, 2013

Bracketology: Final MD1 Tournament Projection

by Patrick Stevens | LaxMagazine.com | updated 05.05.2013 at 4.25 p.m.

Cornell likely will draw a seed in the No. 6-No. 8 range, but could also be sent on the road for a first-round game.
© Greg Wall

The Division I lacrosse tournament field has further crystallized, with six teams securing automatic berths in the field and six more (Cornell, Denver, Maryland, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Penn State) with reason to feel as though they will be in the field when it is announced Sunday night.

As for how it all breaks down? Read on, with the RPI data courtesy of LaxPower), top-10 opponents' average RPI (which is independently calculated below and appears on the primary nitty gritty page like this one from last year) and victories against the top 20 included in a team-by-team breakdown.

ADDED at 4:25 p.m.: With Siena and Yale locked into the field and Duke dismissing Marquette, the projected field doesn't change but the profiles of most teams do a little bit. Here's the final revision entering the 9 p.m. ET selection show on ESPNU.

If there's something likely to be wrong in all of this, it is Cornell getting a home game over Yale. It is close, and both teams could make an argument. Whichever of the two that gets a fixed seed is a good bet to face Loyola, with the other team potentially headed to Penn State.

(Of course, the committee could also give both Ivies a seed and ship Penn State on the road).

AUTOMATIC BID (8)

SYRACUSE (BIG EAST)

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI   T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
13-3 3
7th (13.7)
2-0 3-0 7-1 1-vs. Notre Dame (x2), 8-Cornell   
16-@Princeton, 17-Hopkins,   
19-Virginia, 20-vs. St. John's 


The Orange blitzed through the Big East tournament, finishing the season with four straight victories and eight in nine games. The stout RPI, coupled with the pair of victories over Notre Dame in less than a week's span, makes them a strong candidate for the No. 1 overall seed. It would be a surprise if Syracuse is slotted any lower than No. 2 when the bracket is unveiled Sunday night.

OHIO STATE (ECAC)

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI   T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
12-3 2
9th (14.1) 1-2 3-3 4-3 5-vs. Denver, 9-@Penn State    
10-vs. Loyola, 19-@Virginia   


Was it really only a few days ago that Ohio State might have needed one victory to feel certain about its postseason prospects. The Buckeyes beat both Loyola and Denver to collect the ECAC title and place themselves in excellent position to play their first NCAA tournament home game. Ohio State will make its first NCAA appearance since 2008 and only the fourth in program history.

YALE (IVY)

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI   T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
10-4 7 15th (15.6)
0-0 0-2 4-4 13-@Albany, 14-vs. Penn  
14-@Penn, 16-vs. Princeton   


The Bulldogs wrapped up their second straight Ivy League tournament title Sunday, fending off Princeton 12-8. Yale will make back-to-back NCAA appearances for the first time in program history, and there's a chance the Bulldogs sneak into one of the final seeded slots. The most likely outcome is a road opener, quite possibly at Penn State.

ALBANY (AMERICA EAST)

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI   T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
13-4 13 30th (20.7)
1-0 1-1 2-3 3-@Syracuse, 17-@Hopkins       


Strange as it seems to say, the tough part might be over for the Great Danes, who had to get through the America East tournament to have the chance to bring their entertaining offense to the NCAA tournament. Saturday's shredding of UMBC ensured Albany will get a crack at someone, and let's be clear: This is not going to be a fun team for anyone to face in the opening round.

LEHIGH (PATRIOT)

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI  
T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
12-4 15 22nd (18.2) 0-1 3-1 3-2 9-vs. Penn State, 11-@Bucknell   
11-Bucknell


The Mountain Hawks are spending the weekend in enviable fashion: Sitting at home waiting to learn their exact destination as they make their second consecutive NCAA appearance. Lehigh won't get a home game this time around, but it figures to be a tough out in the round of 16.


There is a decent chance Towson will draw a first-round road game at North Carolina.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

TOWSON (COLONIAL)

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI  
T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
10-7 23
19th (17.4) 0-0 1-2 2-5 9-@Penn State, 18-vs. Drexel    


The Tigers pulled off a surprising run in the Colonial tournament, avenging losses to Drexel and Penn State to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007. It was an impressive recovery from an ugly 2-4 start in coach Shawn Nadelen's second season, and there's a decent chance the Tigers earned a ticket to North Carolina for the opening round with the victory.

BRYANT (NORTHEAST)

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI   T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
8-10 43 48th (26.5)
0-0 0-1 0-3 ---


The Bulldogs will make their debut in the Division I tournament after routing Robert Morris 14-7 in the NEC title game. That's a solid recovery for a team that opened with seven straight losses (though, admittedly, it is also a bunch that dropped nine games by a combined 13 goals). Look for Bryant to get sent to Notre Dame or Syracuse to open the tournament. 

DETROIT (METRO ATLANTIC)

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI   T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
5-9 
51
52nd (34.0)
0-1 
0-1 0-1  
---

A little more than a week ago, the Titans were 2-9 and in need of a victory in their regular-season finale just to make the MAAC tournament. Three games later, they're off to the NCAA tournament for the first time after upending Marist and Siena in one-goal games. Detroit's presence in the field makes life a bit easier for the selection committee, which can bus the Titans to Notre Dame and not face questions about flight restrictions this year. Detroit is the first team from the Wolverine State to make the tournament since Michigan State in 1991.

AT-LARGE FIELD (13 for 8 spots)

Projected in

NOTRE DAME

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI   T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
10-4 1
2nd (10.5) 3-2 4-2 5-3 2-Ohio State, 4-North Carolina   
5-@Denver, 9-@Penn State   
12-@Duke


There's a real chance the Fighting Irish finishes No. 1 in the RPI, regardless of its back-to-back blowout losses to Syracuse. That's a good illustration of why the RPI isn't an end-all, be-all. Realistically, Notre Dame has earned a top-four seed with its overall play from start to finish, and there should be no complaints from anyone if the Irish land somewhere between the No. 2 and No. 4 seeds.

NORTH CAROLINA

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI   T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
12-3 4
11th (14.8) 0-1 1-1 6-2 6-@Maryland, 12-Duke
16-Princeton, 17-Hopkins   
19-@Virginia, 19-Virginia


The Tar Heels haven't earned a top-three seed in the NCAA tournament since they earned a No. 1 nod back in 1993. That happens to be the last time North Carolina advanced to the final four. The ACC tournament champions are in solid shape to wind up with one of the top three places in the draw, and there's little doubt Carolina will be expected to end its two-decade absence from Memorial Day weekend thanks to a potent offense an a dangerous faceoff game.

Denver dropped out of contention for the No. 1 overall seed by losing to Ohio State in the ECAC semifinal, but the Poineers should land in one of the top five spots of the draw.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

DENVER (ECAC)

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI   T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
12-4 5
4th (11.3) 1-2 2-3 5-3 2-@Ohio State, 10-@Loyola  
12-@Duke, 14-Penn   
15-Lehigh


Denver's 11-10 loss to Ohio State in the ECAC final was its seventh one-goal contest in its last 11 games. If nothing else, expect the Pioneers to find themselves in a tight contest or two in the postseason. Their latest defeat, though, effectively knocks them out of contention for the No. 1 overall seed. Look for Denver to land one of the top five spots in the draw, and there's a real possibility that Round Three with the Buckeyes could loom in the quarterfinals.

MARYLAND

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI   T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
10-3 6
19th (17.4)
0-1 2-1 4-3 7-Yale, 10-@Loyola
12-@Duke, 19-@Virginia    


The Terrapins probably locked up a home opener in the NCAA tournament with its 18-6 thrashing of Colgate. Whether the sudden offensive explosion is a mirage remains to be seen, but the Terps should have the luxury of playing the first two weekends of the postseason at home. Whoever Maryland draws will have to contend with a miserly defense that has yielded only 99 goals (7.62 per game) all season.

CORNELL

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI   T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
12-3 8
18th (16.6)
0-1 1-1 4-3 7-@Yale, 14-Penn
16-vs. Princeton, 19-@Virginia   


The Big Red lost in overtime to Princeton in the Ivy League semifinals, ending any chance of making a push for a better NCAA seed on the final weekend of the season. Instead, Cornell is in decent shape for a home game, but it appears likely the Big Red will wind up in the No. 6-No. 8 range for a seed.

PENN STATE

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI   T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
12-4 9
8th (14.0)    1-2 1-2 3-3 5-vs. Denver, 11-@Bucknell     
18-Drexel


The Nittany Lions did no favors to borderline tournament teams on Friday, losing 11-10 to Towson in a Colonial final that lived up to the league's reputation for postseason wackiness. Nonetheless, Penn State is almost certainly headed for its first NCAA bid since 2005 and is in line to host an NCAA game for the first time in program history.

LOYOLA

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI   T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
11-4 10
13th (14.9)
1-2 1-3 2-4 2-@Ohio State, 17-@Hopkins   


The defending national champions are in for a nerve-wracking weekend, though their regular-season defeat of Ohio State looks better and better. Of course, it's the Buckeyes that have left Loyola in such a tenuous situation in the first place after Thursday's 18-11 defeat of the Greyhounds. Loyola got some help this weekend with both Princeton and Villanova losing, but it still isn't going to be a fun wait for the selection show. Look for Loyola to get shipped on the road; Cornell and Penn State are sensible destinations.

DUKE

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI   T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
12-5 12
4th (11.3) 1-3 2-4 3-5 4-@North Carolina, 10-Loyola    
19-Virginia


With final four trips in their last seven NCAA appearances, there's no doubting the Blue Devils' ability to string together some decent performances in May. Chances are, though, Duke will have to go on the road in the first round to get such a run started. Duke ripped Marquette in its regular-season finale Sunday, though that game won't be of much use to its profile. However, an impressive schedule strength will help the Blue Devils' standing with the selection committee.

Projected out

Bucknell just misses the tournament in Patrick Stevens' final bracket projection. The Bison find themselves in the same predicament as Loyola — hoping for mercy from the selection commitee — but trail the Greyhounds in RPI.
© Kevin P. Tucker

BUCKNELL

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI   T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
12-4 11
26th (19.3) 0-0 1-1 3-3 8-@Cornell, 13-@Albany    
18-Drexel


The Bison, who closed out their season with a Patriot League tournament loss to Lehigh on Sunday, are in the same spot as Loyola: Grateful Princeton and Villanova both lost and now hoping for mercy from the committee. Bucknell trails Loyola in both the RPI and the top 10 opponents' average RPI, but has an extra decent victory. However, an early-season loss to Mount St. Mary's (RPI: 44) very well might do the Bison in.

PENN

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI   T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
8-5 14 10th (14.3)
0-1 0-4 3-4 12-Duke, 15-@Lehigh     
16-Princeton


The Quakers have a decent set of victories against the second 10, but they really needed to do a little bit more this weekend to make a better case for themselves. Instead, Penn fell to Yale (for the second time) while both Cornell and Penn State were bumped into the at-large pool. All in all, it was a lousy Friday for the Quakers, who could have used more help over the course of the season from Duke to lift them up a bit.

PRINCETON

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI   T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
9-6 16
6th (11.4) 0-2 2-4 3-5 7-Yale, 8-@Cornell   
17-@Hopkins    


As nice as the schedule strength numbers are, Princeton won't receive clemency for an Ivy League title game loss for the second straight year. The Tigers' RPI works against them, as does a severely damaging loss at Dartmouth in April.

JOHNS HOPKINS

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI   T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
9-5 17 16th (15.9)
0-2 1-3 2-5 6-@Maryland, 19-vs. Virginia    


The Blue Jays wrapped up their season with a 9-4 defeat of Army, but it probably won't be enough to extend their season. Hopkins' profile is relatively limited, and it might be one of the teams most let down by Towson's upset of Penn State in the Colonial final. The Blue Jays' remarkable 41-year NCAA tournament streak is likely to end unless the committee veers considerably away from the way it has interpreted data over the last several seasons.

DREXEL

W-L      RPI     T10 OPP. AVG RPI   T5     
T10    
T20    
T20 wins     
11-4 18 31st (20.9)
0-0 0-1 1-3 13-Albany      


There wasn't enough going for the Dragons before the CAA tournament, and an 11-8 loss to Towson in the semifinals effectively finished them off. Drexel's RPI is decent, but not overwhelming. It played a middle-of-the-road schedule, and lost by a combined margin of 30-14 in losses to Bucknell and Penn State. The Dragons have four 10-win seasons in the last seven years and no NCAA bids to show for it.

PROJECTED BRACKET

As a reminder, the projected bracket reflects that only the top eight spots in the field are seeded, with geography playing a role in sorting out several of the other matchups in the bracket. Seeded teams will host all first-round games, with the winners funneled into quarterfinal sites in College Park, Md., and Indianapolis.

College Park

(1) BIG EAST/Syracuse vs. NORTHEAST/Bryant
(8) Cornell vs. Loyola

Indianapolis

(4) ECAC/Ohio State vs. PATRIOT/Lehigh
(5) Denver vs. Duke

College Park 

(3) North Carolina vs. COLONIAL/Towson
(6) Maryland vs. AMERICA EAST/Albany

Indianapolis

(2) Notre Dame vs. METRO ATLANTIC/Detroit
(7) Penn State vs. IVY/Yale

Last four out: Bucknell, Penn, Princeton, Johns Hopkins


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