MD1 Bracket Announcement: Orange, Notre Dame, Ohio State Top Three
Syracuse took the top seed in what's considered a wide-open 16-team NCAA Division I men's tournament field, announced Sunday evening on ESPNU.
Notre Dame is seeded second with surprise ECAC tournament champion Ohio State grabbing the third seed. Denver, the ECAC finalist, is seeded fourth.
Syracuse plays Bryant, the Irish host Detroit, the Buckeyes play CAA champion Towson in Columbus, and Albany heads to Denver in a meeting of two of the nation's most prolific offenses.
North Carolina, the ACC champ that finished ranked first and both the coaches' and media regular-season polls, was seeded fifth. The Tar Heels host Patriot League champion Lehigh at noon Saturday.
NCAA selection committee chair Jim Siedliski said on the ESPNU broadcast that Ohio State, North Carolina and Denver were all in the running for spots three, four and five.
Two-time returning NCAA finalist Maryland is seeded sixth and will welcome Rob Pannell and the Big Red to College Park at 1 p.m. Sunday. The Terps and Cornell were for a good chunk of the season thought of as the top two teams in the country.
Duke earned the seven seed and plays defending national champion Loyola in Durham, N.C. The two teams met at Duke on March 8, with the Blue Devils winning a one-goal game that started them a nine-game winning streak.
Penn State, in coach Jeff Tambroni's third season in Happy Valley, returns to the post-season for the first time since 2005. The Nittany Lions host Yale at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
Detroit (5-9) and Bryant (8-10), with sub-.500 records, make their first Division I tournaments by earning automatic qualifying berths in the MAAC and NEC, respectively.
Bryant's presence marks the return of Mike Pressler, the former Duke coach who was fired amid scandal, to the NCAA tournament with a team that turned Division I in 2009.
As for who's out? Bucknell, Princeton, Penn and Johns Hopkins, Drexel and St. John's were all on the wrong side of the bubble, with Bucknell as the first team out, Siedliski said. Notably, the Blue Jays' streak of 41 straight NCAA tournaments has come to an end, and both Johns Hopkins and Virginia missed the NCAA tournament in the same year for the first time ever.
"We did not earn our way into the tournament this year," Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala said. "It's unfortunate but things do come to an end, and streaks do come to an end... For us, it signifies that we have to re-group."
NCAA Division I Men's Tournament First-Round Games
Saturday, May 11 (All Times Eastern)
Lehigh at No. 5 North Carolina, Noon
Yale at No. 8 Penn State, 2:30 p.m.
Detroit at No. 2 Notre Dame, 5 p.m.
Albany at No. 4 Denver, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 12
Cornell at No. 6 Maryland, 1 p.m.
Towson at No. 3 Ohio State, 3 p.m.
Loyola at No. 7 Duke, 5:15 p.m.
Bryant at No. 1 Syracuse, 7:30 p.m.