Each week I’ve been asking if the D1 Lacrosse Polls Are Serious, and each week it seems like the answer is yes. Really, it’s immaterial, as all that matters is making the big dance, and then going on a run to glory.
Well, we’ve reached that point in the season, and the NCAA D1 Lacrosse Tournament Field has been set. Let’s see if the 2013 NCAA D1 Lacrosse Tournament Field is serious, shall we?
I’ll run through the seedings, and first round match ups, and provide analysis on the selections and placements.
1) Syracuse Vs Bryant
The selection committee uses Strength of Schedule, RPI, and Head to Head competition to select the field, and while Cuse is a strong contender, I fail to see how they got the #1 seed over UNC. Their RPI scores were similar, but UNC had a much tougher SOS, and from a purely anecdotal perspective, UNC was ranked higher in every single poll. Bryant won the NEC, and brings one of the best FoGos in the game to the table. Bryant won the AQ, but their draw as the last seed was fair.
2) Notre Dame Vs Detroit
Detroit won the MAAC, and they are the only first-time NCAA tourney team this year. Not too shabby. Notre Dame gets the two slot even though they dropped their last two games to Syracuse. Guess Cuse being number 1 allows for ND to be the #2 team, but this is a suspect placement at best. Yes, they have a great SOS and RPI, but ND also has two losses to teams outside the Top 20, and two six goal losses to Cuse.
3) Ohio State Vs Towson
Really, we’re not going to seed UNC in the Top 3? At least it’s OSU in this spot. Ohio State earned this bid with two great wins, over Loyola and Denver, in the ECAC tournament. I can’t see how UNC is ranked below OSU, ND, and Cuse, but of the three, OSU makes the most sense. This team is HOT right now. Believe. Towson topped PSU for the CAA AQ bid. For their effort, they get to play another big state school currently killing it in lacrosse.
4) Denver Vs Albany
Denver can be ranked high, I can see it, but AGAIN, it should be impossible that they are seeded over UNC. They have a lower RPI and SOS. It makes no sense. Albany is also pretty low in my book at a #13 seed. They kept climbing the polls, and have a head to head win over Cuse, the committee’s #1 team. That’s a bizarre slot for a good team, but you can probably blame it on the Dane’s weak SOS.
5) UNC Vs Lehigh
Finally, UNC gets a seed. Top 5 is good, but I’d still love to hear why they are as low as they are. I get it that it’s tight at the top, but UNC is right there, aren’t they? Lehigh is a TOUGH first round game, although it’s no easier than Albany. The top 3 seeds got the easiest routes, and that’s why I make such a fuss over this seeding. It matters!
6) Maryland Vs Cornell
I know Cornell lost in the Ivy semifinals, but their other losses were to Cuse (the #1 seed) and Bucknell (the best team not playing in the NCAAs), and that was it. Maryland’s losses came to Hop and Virginia (two teams behind Bucknell) and UNC, who is only a 5 seed. I don’t mind different thinking, but I do dislike inconsistency… and in this case, these two teams should probably be switched. Yes, Maryland has a higher RPI and harder SOS, but not by that much. Is it really worth 5 seeding places?
7) Duke Vs Loyola
This is another set up that could easily be switched around. Duke and Loyola are both in the contender range, and both deserve to be in the tournament. Loyola has a higher SOS and RPI ranking, but Duke won the head to head game 9-8. Sure, Duke can be considered better, but 4 seeding places seems like a lot.
8) Penn State Vs Yale
I was a little surprised when PSU lost to Towson in the CAA Championship game, and it definitely makes the Nittany Lions lucky to get an 8 seed. With a CAA win, they might be a little higher, and have an easier game, but in this case, they play Yale, and it’s guaranteed to be a tough outing. Yale hasn’t won a tourney game since 1992, and they are hungry after last year’s first round departure. PSU is my pick to win it all as a dark horse. You’re looking at the best first round game right here!
Bucknell is out, and that is a bit of a shocker. If PSU wins the CAA, then Towson doesn’t go, and Bucknell is in. If Cornell beat Yale in the Semis and then won the Ivy, Bucknell might have made it in… but then again, if Bucknell had beaten Lehigh for the Patriot, they’d also be in, so it’s just a rough way to end the season. No undefeated teams getting the boot this year.
Penn was also tough to exclude, and I’m sure committee members grappled with excluding Princeton, Virginia, and Hopkins, as well, but the fact is that those teams simply didn’t do what they needed to in order to dance. It was a tight year, filled with parity. These things happen.
I think Cuse is a bit high, but I can see the argument for their placement. Notre Dame seems really high to me, and Maryland also got a big boost it seems. UNC is low in my book, and I like OSU. Penn State is still my sleeper.
Interesting Note: This is the first time in 41 years that Johns Hopkins has not made the postseason. Streaks must come to an end, but a tip of the old hat to Hop for one heck of an impressive run. The next one starts in 2014. Wait for it.