The 2018 NCAA Lacrosse Brackets have been released, and while I don’t envy the selection committees job of choosing who gets in and who goes where, I do have a couple of serious questions about some of the placements and set ups. Some of it can be explained (and I’ll try), but the rest is a serious head scratcher! At the end of the day, teams simply need to win to move on, but a low seed can make that process a lot harder, so it’s worth a fair look!
If you’re interested in the NJCAA playoff brackets, click here. Junior College playoffs happen quickly, so don’t miss out!
NCAA Lacrosse Brackets – D1 Men
While one can argue that the Top 4 seeds weren’t perfectly doled out, I do like the Top 4, and each of those teams can make the Final Four, where anything can happen. Maryland, Yale, Albany, Duke. It’s solid and would make for a great, diverse final grouping. So that’s a pretty good start, but below that point I do have some questions.
Cornell AT Syracuse? Cornell won the Ivy and had some big wins while Syracuse was up and down and all around. When it comes to body of work, Cornell was simply better, and they got hot later on, when it mattered more. If Yale is the 3 seed, Cornell should not be 9th. That just doesn’t make sense.
ACC has a lot to prove – If the 4 ACC teams go 4-0 or even 3-1 in the first round, I’ll shut my mouth, but I have a hard time seeing how 80% of the conference deserved to get in this year so now these teams just need to win. My favorite thing about the set up however is the chance for the ACC to prove me absolutely wrong. While unlikely, it is possible for it to be an ALL-ACC Final Four this year, and that would really shut me up. I don’t think it’s happening, but it’s something to watch for. We could also see an all-Ivy final or a Big Ten semifinal, but that doesn’t compare to a Final Four with all the teams coming from one conference.
The All Important AQ – There were so many good teams left out this year that the AQ became paramount in qualifying. FINALLY! Other than most of the ACC teams, if you didn’t win your conference AQ you are probably sitting at home right now.
I love this for a couple reasons: 1) it makes regular season conference play that much more important, 2) it pushes teams to be great, not just very good, and 3) it pretty much ends the conversation around “one team left out”. This year, at least 3-5 quality teams were left out, and instead of feeling bad for one program, we take the view that you need to win to get in. And that’s the right view! The AQ should mean something big, and in 2018, it does!
NCAA Lacrosse Brackets – D2 Men
On the D2 side of things, the brackets work a little differently. Instead of a 1-8 seeding system, the D2 format has TWO 1-4 seeding systems, one for the North, and one for the South. The North is usually a much stronger field top to bottom, but the South creates its fair share of champions, mostly thanks to Limestone. But this year, No Limestone.
In the North you have Merrimack, Seton Hill, LeMoyne, and New York Tech, in that order. Mack plays Tech, Seton Hill plays LeMoyne, then the winners meet to decide who represents the North.
In the South you have Lenoir-Rhyne, Saint Leo, Tampa, and Colorado Mesa, in that oder. L-R plays Mesa, Leo plays Tampa, and then the winners meet to determine the other finalist.
Ten years ago money says Merrimack throttles some Southern team in the finals, but SMART money says not so fast, and stick picks Merrimack to make the finals, where they will face… someone. And that someone will be really, really good. Southern D2 lacrosse is on the come up in a major way, so don’t write them off. All I really know is that this is worth watching.
NCAA Lacrosse Brackets – D3 Men
The D3 NCAA lacrosse brackets keep growing, and it’s amazing how many teams get in now. 36 teams are lined up for a hectic schedule of single elimination play, and whomever can come out of this alive deserves every shred of the title of NCAA champion.
RIT is the top dog in the North, and Tufts, Wesleyan, Amherst, and a couple of other teams like Stevenson… and York… will try to knock them off. Wait, what? Yes, Stevenson and York are in the North bracket, which is… bizarre. I mean it’s not bizarre because this kind of stuff happens in D3 every year, and yes, you need to win the big games to win it all, wherever they happen, but York playing in the North seems weird to me, Stevenson doubly so.
I was kind of hoping for an RIT-York final (even though I went to Wesleyan) and now the most I can hope for is a York-RIT quarterfinal game. A lot has to play out before then, but that’s a doozy of a QF game match up!
Here are some other match ups, which are all strange for one reason or another, which will occur in the FIRST ROUND:
Cortland vs Wesleyan
Ithaca vs Stevenson
Roanoke vs Christopher Newport
Dickinson vs Lynchburg
Here are some more thoughts!
- If Gettysburg doesn’t make the Final Four, I will be shocked. SHOCKED! They can play their way to the Final Four without facing a Top 10 team.
- The #4 team could play the #2 team in the round of 16. The #2 could play the #1 in the quarterfinal. I predict the ultimate winner comes from this quadrant of the field.
- Somehow F&M didn’t get in. They would have done well! That’s not a prediction, just reality.
- I’ll pick RIT, Wesleyan (I’m a total homer), Salisbury, and Gettysburg to make the Final Four.
- I also really like Tufts, York, and Washington & Lee as spoilers to my plan.
Teams have to win against the best to get in, it’s always come down to that. In the above case, certain teams just have to win more games against the best than others. It happens, and it will make for an exciting playoff series of games. I can’t wait to see how it all shakes out.
NCAA Lacrosse Brackets – D1 Women
Ok, so I’m not as well versed in the women’s game as the men’s, so I’m going to talk about one thing here, and one thing only – Stony Brook and BC being in the same bracket, and slated to meet up in the quarterfinals. That should be a fantastic game, and it’s great to see a quarterfinal match up like that anytime you can, but to me that’s a potential finals match up, or at the very least a Final Four match up. That’s something the people want to SEE, because it could be the game of the decade. It’s not a slight to any other teams out there, but I just think that the SBU-BC game could be one for the ages. I would have done anything I could to see it play out in primetime. Now, a lot of this presupposes a lot of things, and there is a ton of great lacrosse out there still, but the women’s game has so much to offer, I just wanted to see this game played on Memorial Day Weekend, not the week before.
I guess this also brings up the fact that Stony Brook was a 5 seed, even though they haven’t lost a game. Who took all the top seeds? Well BC took the 4 spot, James Madison took the 3, UNC took 2 and Maryland is #1. Ok, fine, that’s also fair. Whatever, we’re going to see great games, at the end of the day I’m happy.
NCAA Lacrosse Brackets – D2 Women
Four groups of three means everyone is a #1-#3 seed. I don’t like the idea of seeding everyone as a 1-3 as it becomes absolutely meaningless, but it’s an all-regional set up, reduces travel costs, and allows the game to grow, so I’m more than OK with it.
Regional heavy hitters in Florida Southern, West Chester, Le Moyne, and Lindenwood are all favored to make the Final Four, and from there anything can happen. They might not be the best four teams in the country, but they are the best teams from each of the four regions, and that’s as good a way as any to determine a champion!
NCAA Lacrosse Brackets – D3 Women
If you thought the 36 team men’s D3 bracket was big, just wait until you see the 42 team women’s D3 bracket. So big. So many teams. In fact, there are so many teams that SIX NESCAC teams all made it in to the tourney. The men had 3, which is fair as they are all top 10 teams, but six seems like a lot. Oh well, it is what it is.
But here’s something neat, it’s also possible for us to see an ALL NESCAC final four set up, and while it won’t happen, it could, and that makes even less sense. So here’s the deal – women’s D3 is SO big, but some of the conferences are still SO strong, that this stuff happens. The end result may seem a little different from what we are used to in other places, but it doesn’t make it any less glorious. In fact, this kind of set up is so neat because it’s so different, and to see 42 teams engaged in a single elimination tourney set up is what we’ve always been waiting for in lacrosse.
So sit back, enjoy the women’s D3 playoff bracket for all its differences, and appreciate the fact that these women play some really good, really fun, really exciting lacrosse.