May 4, 2014

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Bracketology: Selection Sunday Final Edition

by Corey McLaughlin | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter | McLaughlin Archive


Duke is in line to nab the top seed in the 18-team NCAA Division I men's postseason tournament. The other five ACC schools are also expected to be in the field, with each of them possibly hosting a first-round game. (Peyton Williams)

updated 05.04.2014 4.18 p.m.

Penn claimed the final NCAA tournament automatic qualifying berth with a 7-5 win over Harvard in the Ivy League title game. The win helped the Quakers case for a high tournament seed, and put Harvard into at-large consideration, but the Crimson's resume still stacks up well against fellow at-large bubble team Hofstra.

With the 10 AQ bids set, it's up to the selection committee to pick eight at-larges, seed teams one through eight and set the pairings for the first-round and play-in games. The full 18-team bracket will be announced at 9 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

Bracketology is updated for the final time this year with the latest RPI numbers after the Ivy League title game and Duke's 16-11 win over Boston University on Sunday. Notably, Penn jumped to No. 2 in the RPI and Duke fell to No. 3 after Sunday's results.

Also of note: Drexel and Atlantic Sun champ Richmond will play in their first-ever NCAA tournaments, with the Spiders qualifying in the program's first varsity season. Air Force, which won the ECAC on Saturday, last made the NCAAs in 1988.

Check back to LaxMagazine.com for comprehensive Selection Sunday coverage this evening.

What counts

-- RPI, of which an unofficial variety can be found on LaxPower.com.

-- Top 10 opponents average RPI, or RPI Strength of Schedule that is found on LaxPower.com. It is based on a team's 10 highest-ranking opponents in RPI from the season.

-- Record vs. the top 5 RPI, top 10, top 15 and top 20, as well as record versus teams 21 and below. Good wins and bad losses.

-- Average opponents' RPI in wins and average opponents' RPI in losses, which speaks to the quality of wins and the quality of losses.

-- Overall win-loss record

-- Head-to-head results

-- An important note: A team must have a .500 or better record against Division I opponents to be considered for at-large selection.

What doesn't count

-- When a game is played. A February result will have the same impact as an April one. "When a game is played is irrelevant," NCAA tournament selection chair Jim Siedliski said.

-- Unavailable players at the time of a game. If a key player is suspended for a game or multiple games, his absence will not factor into weighing a particular result.

-- Margin of victory

FIRST ROUND AQ QUALIFIERS (6)

Conference Team
(*in)
Record RPI RPI Strength of Schedule Record vs. RPI 1-5 vs. 6-10 vs. 11-15 vs. 16-20 Top 20 Wins Outside Top 20 Losses
Ivy Penn* 11-3 2 6 0-1 2-1 0-0 3-0 Denver, Cornell, Harvard (twice), Yale  
Patriot Loyola* 15-1 4 10 1-0 0-1 1-0 1-0 Duke, Johns Hopkins, Penn St.  
ACC Notre Dame*
9-5 5 4 1-2 3-2 0-0 0-1 Syracuse, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina
 
Big East
Denver*
14-2
7
27
1-2
0-0
0-0
1-0
Notre Dame, Penn St.

CAA Drexel* 12-4 11 18 0-0 0-1 2-1 2-0 Albany, Hofstra, UMass, Penn St. Bryant, Villanova
America East Albany* 11-5
13
19
0-1
0-0
0-2
3-0
Harvard, Penn St., UMass
Bryant, Canisius

The skinny: Of these six, only three — Penn, Loyola and Notre Dame — will likely host a first-round tournament game, and all three are in position for potentially top-six seeds. With Penn's leap to No. 2 in the RPI after the Ivy League title win and Duke facing Boston U. on Sunday, the Quakers have an even better argument for a high seed, possibly third, with five RPI top-20 wins. Loyola, ranked No. 1 in the human polls, is also likely to be no higher than third behind Duke and Syracuse based on the criteria the selection committee will weigh. Notre Dame has a case for a good seed as well, with a late-season surge, although its chances were nearly dashed with a high-scoring 18-17 thrilling win against Army on Saturday. Denver, Drexel and Albany just don't have strong enough resumes to stack ahead of the ACC and at-large teams nor likely Ivy at-large team Cornell, and are most likely headed to away games next weekend.


PLAY-IN GAMES 'FIRST FOUR' AQ QUALIFIERS (4)

ECAC
Air Force*
10-5
28
41
0-0
0-0
0-0
2-0
Fairfield (twice)

NEC Bryant* 14-4 22 45 0-0 0-0 2-1 0-0 Drexel, Albany
Colgate, Brown, St. John's
MAAC
Siena*
11-5
27
49
0-1
0-0
0-2
0-0

Robert Morris, St. John's
Atlantic Sun Richmond* 6-10 54 54 0-0 0-1 0-0 0-0   Virginia, Hartford, Mercer, UMBC, Holy Cross, St. Joseph's, Rutgers, Bryant, High Point, VMI

The skinny: Assuming Duke and Syracuse are the top two seeds in the tournament, expect Air Force and Richmond to play with the winner going to face Duke, and Siena and Bryant squaring off for the right to play Syracuse. Geography and limiting flights will be taken into consideration when determining the play-in pairings and where the winners are sent. The play-in games are set for Wednesday with arrangements being made for the teams as soon as the selection show wraps up on ESPNU on Sunday night.


AT-LARGE TEAMS (8)

ACC Duke 13-3 3 1 3-2 3-1 0-0 1-0 Syracuse, Notre Dame, Virginia, Penn, North Carolina, Denver, Harvard  
ACC
Syracuse
11-4
1
3
2-2
3-2
1-0
0-0
Duke, Notre Dame, Cornell, North Carolina, Johns Hopkins, Albany
 
ACC Virginia 10-5 6 2 2-2 1-3 2-0 0-0 Syracuse, Loyola, Johns Hopkins, North Carolina, Drexel  
ACC Maryland
11-3 9 15 3-1
1-1
0-1
0-0
Duke, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Virginia
 
ACC
North Carolina
10-4
10
7
0-3
2-1
1-0
2-0
Virginia, Maryland, Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Princeton
 
Ivy
Cornell
11-4
8
8
1-2
1-0
1-1
1-1
Virginia, Penn, Yale, Princeton

Independent Johns Hopkins 10-4 12 12 0-2 1-2 1-0 1-0 Maryland, Albany, Princeton  
Ivy Harvard 10-6 16 5 1-3 2-2 2-1 1-1 Penn, Cornell, Yale (twice), Princeton  

The skinny: Duke's resume actually strengthened since our last round of Bracketology with two of its top-10 RPI wins becoming top-5 RPI victories. The Blue Devils, Syracuse, Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina should expect to host first-round games, although the Tar Heels could just as easily be on the road in a No. 8 vs. No. 9 situation with Cornell. It's just a matter of seeding. The Tar Heels may be a bit of a surprise as a top-eight seed, but with Cornell losing to Penn on Friday and the fact now that three of North Carolina's four losses are top-5 RPI teams (Duke, Notre Dame and Syracuse), and the fourth is to RPI No. 6 Virginia, North Carolina has an argument to host. No other school has "better losses" than that. Johns Hopkins is headed on the road. Harvard's loss to Penn on Sunday put the Crimson into the at-large pool. Their resume will be compared most directly with Johns Hopkins and Hofstra. The Pride figure to be the odd-team out, with a pair of outside top-20 losses hurting them.



FIRST FOUR OUT

CAA Hofstra 11-5 14 24 0-0 1-0 1-1 2-2 Cornell, Drexel, UMass, Fairfield St. John's, Marquette
Ivy Princeton 7-6 17 14 1-0 0-2 1-2 0-1 Hofstra, Penn Brown
CAA Penn St. 7-6 18 16 1-1 0-1 1-2 0-1 Notre Dame, Hofstra Villanova
Ivy
Yale
9-5
15
17
0-1
0-1
0-0
1-3
Princeton

The skinny: Hofstra is the only team here with a realistic chance to make the NCAA tournament, but it's going be tough when compared to Harvard. The teams have similar RPIs, but Harvard has a much better strength of schedule and five RPI top-20 wins to Hofstra's four. The Crimson also don't have any bad losses while Hofstra has defeats to St. John's and Marquette on its record. Harvard's average RPI loss is 8.5 while Hofstra's is 22.8. Princeton and Penn St. creep up the board with nearly identical resumes, but each would be long shots to make May Madness. Yale played its way out of contention by losing to Harvard in the Ivy semifinals on Friday night. Fairfield, which lost in the ECAC final on Saturday, doesn't have enough good things going for them to make it as a bubble team.


PROJECTED BRACKET 

Delaware quarterfinal

1) Duke vs. Air Force/Richmond winner
8) North Carolina vs. Cornell

Long Island quarterfinal

5) Notre Dame vs. Denver
4) Loyola vs. Drexel

Delaware quarterfinal

3) Penn vs. Albany
6) Virginia vs. Johns Hopkins

Long Island quarterfinal

7) Maryland vs. Harvard
2) Syracuse vs. Bryant/Siena winner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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