April 16, 2013

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Sheehan: Conference Tournament, AQ Guide

by Sheehan Stanwick Burch | LaxMagazine.com

The expanded 26-team NCAA tournament field leaves more room for at-large bids, but some conferences are still likely to be one-bid leagues.
© John Strohsacker/LaxPhotos.com

Gone are the days when it was relatively easy to keep track of the race to get into the NCAA Division I women's tournament. With 13 automatic qualifying bids for conference champions and 13 at-large bids in the new expanded 26-team NCAA tournament, there are a lot of ways the bracket can shake out.

The surest way to make the field of 26 is for a team to take their destiny into their own hands by winning their conference tournament and AQ bid. Some conference tournaments are all-inclusive, while other conferences only allow for a certain number of teams into the conference post-season based on regular-season record. All conference tournaments are extremely competitive and the outcomes are very hard to predict.

The last place a team wants to be is on the bubble and hoping that the selection committee thinks they're worthy of being included in the tournament. At this point, there are still too many games to be played to determine who will receive the at-large bids. To be considered for an at-large selection, teams must have a winning record and the committee looks at RPI, head-to-head competition, results vs. common opponents, significant wins and losses, and a calculation about the team's strength of schedule. How far a team goes in their conference tournament is often a factor in who gets an at-large bid.

Here are some thoughts on what we are likely to expect over the next three weeks as teams make their final push. A lot can change and there are always some surprises but as of mid-April, here is where we stand. The bottom line? The race is on and things have started to shake out.

The conference tournament picture...

America East

Only the top four teams advance to the America East tournament, hosted by the highest seed.

When: May 3rd and 5th
Who's in: Stony Brook
Likely to be in: Albany, UMBC and New Hampshire
Who has NCAA at-large potential if can't secure AQ? Stony Brook

ALC

All six teams advance to the tournament at Johns Hopkins.

When: May 2, 3 and 5
Who's in: Northwestern, Penn State, Florida, Johns Hopkins, Ohio State and Vanderbilt
Who has NCAA at-large potential if can't secure AQ? Northwestern, Florida and Penn State

Atlantic 10

Only the top four regular-season finishers advance to tournament at UMass' stadium in Amherst, Mass.

When: April 26 and 28
Who's in: UMass
Likely to be in: Duquesne, Temple and George Washington
Who has NCAA at-large potential if can't secure AQ? UMass

ACC

All six teams advance to the tournament at North Carolina.

When: April 25, 26 and 28
Who's in: Boston College, Duke, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and Virginia Tech
Who has NCAA at-large potential if can't secure AQ? Boston College, Duke, Maryland and North Carolina

Atlantic Sun

Top four teams advance to the tournament at Jacksonville.

When: April 26 and 28
Who's in: Jacksonville
Likely to be in: Detroit, Kennesaw State and Stetson
Who has NCAA at-large potential if can't secure AQ? No one


Not one Big East team has yet to clinch a spot in the conference tournament and upto six are in the running for an NCAA at-large berth, writes Sheehan Stanwick Burch.
© TD Paulius

Big East

Top four teams advance to the tournament at Georgetown.

When: May 2 and 4
Who's in: No one has clinched yet
Likely to be in: Syracuse, Notre Dame, Georgetown and Loyola
Who has NCAA at-large potential if can't secure AQ? Syracuse, Notre Dame, UConn, Rutgers, Loyola and Georgetown.

Big South

The top four teams advance to the tournament at the highest-seeded school that has lights.

When: April 26 and 28
Who's in: Davidson
Likely to be in: High Point, Longwood and Liberty
Who has NCAA at-large potential if can't secure AQ? No one

CAA

Top four teams advance to the tournament at the highest-seeded school.

When: May 3 and 5
Who's in: No one has clinched yet
Likely to be in: Towson, James Madison, Hofstra and Delaware
Who has NCAA at-large potential if can't secure AQ? James Madison

Ivy League

The top four teams advance to the tournament at the highest-seeded school.

When: May 3 and 5
Who's in: Princeton and Penn
Likely to be in: Dartmouth and Cornell
Who has NCAA at-large potential if can't secure AQ? Cornell, Dartmouth, Penn and Princeton

MAAC

The top four teams advance to the tournament at Marist.

When: April 26 and 28
Who's in: Canisius
Likely to be in: Marist, Fairfield and Iona
Who has NCAA at-large potential if can't secure AQ? No one

Mountain Pacific Sports Federation

The top four teams advance to the tournament at Oregon.

When: May 2 and 4
Who's in: California
Likely to be in: Denver, Stanford and San Diego State
Who has NCAA at-large potential if can't secure AQ? Denver and Stanford

Northeast Conference

The top four teams advance to the tournament at highest seed.

When: April 26 and 28
Who's in: Central Connecticut and Monmouth
Likely to be in: Mount St. Mary's and Bryant
Who has NCAA at-large potential if can't secure AQ? No one

Patriot League

The top four teams advance to the tournament at highest seed.

When: April 26 and 28
Who's in: Navy, American and Holy Cross
Likely to be in: Colgate
Who has NCAA at-large potential if can't secure AQ? Navy

CBS Sports Network women's lacrosse analyst and 2001 Tewaaraton Award finalist Sheehan Stanwick Burch provides a column for LaxMagazine.com every Tuesday throughout the Division I women's college season. She'll be calling the Notre Dame at Syracuse women's game on Friday and Bucknell at Colgate men on Saturday for CBS. Follow Sheehan on Twitter @StanwickBurch.


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