When one looks at the eight remaining NCAA D1 men’s lacrosse teams, it is easy to notice that half the teams have won national championships before, and half have not. What didn’t jump out to me right away (but came to me late at night in a dream) is that no past winners are playing each other, and neither are any first time hopefuls.
Photo Credit: Craig Chase
Let’s look at the match ups…
Syracuse Vs Yale – Cuse is a King amongst title holding princes. Yale has now won their first NCAA tournament game since 1992. Technically, Yale won a title in 1883, but we’re talking modern era here.
UNC Vs Denver – UNC won three titles in the 90s, but haven’t seen the same success since. Denver went D1 in 1999, and has not won a title in that time. Is 2013 the year?
Cornell Vs Ohio State – Cornell was the place for titles back in the day and recently, and their legendary list of players like Webster, French, McEneaney, Schimoler, McClay, and Seibald can stand with anyone. Now Logan Schuss and crew want to make OSU the new home to titles and start their own run. Should be a great game!
Duke Vs Notre Dame – If the Irish want to win their first title, they need to take down the team that beat them in the finals in 2010. Sure, the teams are very different, but institutional memory carries over. Duke is a recent addition to the title club, and Notre Dame wants to join up. Who takes this awesome rematch?
Here is a crazy scenario…
If Notre Dame, Ohio State, Denver, and Yale ALL win, then we are guaranteed to have a new national champion in 2013. The Final Four would be comprised of four teams that had never won titles.
Here is a less crazy scenario…
If Syracuse, UNC, Cornell, and Duke win, we are guaranteed to have a repeat champion, and a final four made up completely of past winners.
Now, do I think that either of these scenarios is going to play out perfectly? Honestly, I have no idea. If we assume that each team has a 50% chance of winning their game (that seems fair), then there are 16 different possible A-B-A-B combinations. Two of those A-A-A-A, and B-B-B-B, would result in the above crazy scenarios. The other 14 outcomes would provide some sort of mix.
While 1/8th doesn’t seem like a staggering likelihood, it is neat to consider that is it is, at the very least, possible.
While I like UNC, Cornell, Syracuse, and Duke, the underdog/newcomer lover in me wants Yale, Ohio State, Denver, and Notre Dame to pull out the Ws, and guarantee us a brand new men’s lacrosse champion.
Will it happen? We’ll have to wait a couple more days to see.