The college lacrosse season is going strong and the next two weeks will be deciding a lot for the futures of teams with the hope of being NCAA Tournament bound in May. Recent upsets are giving more teams hopes of getting in and with the tournament expanding now to 18 teams, the fight is on until the last day of the season.
Look at looming conference tournaments; there are some names that might not make it to their own tournaments let alone the NCAA. If ever there was a time when teams on the bubble are holding their breath it is conference tournament time. The last couple of weeks have also proved one other fact that teams will be looking to avenge one goal wins and losses in the upcoming conference tournaments.
Here is a mid season look at the possible hopes for teams to make it to the NCAA Tournament:
The Ancient Eight have been battling each other in some grueling contests this spring. Harvard ran away from Cornell recently. Princeton lost to Brown but defeated UPenn. UPenn lost to Cornell big, but won their last two against Brown and Yale. Harvard is undefeated and Princeton is out of the top four at the moment. The league will get more than one team into the tournament; my prediction is Harvard and Cornell. Yale has a chance, but it will depend on their finish heading into the tournament.
Loyola has enjoyed a good start to their career in the Patriot League, but it hasn’t always been easy. They were nearly upset by Navy this past weekend, Colgate played them to two goals, and Army lost to the Greyhounds by one. Army defeated Lehigh by one, losing each of their three losses this season by a combined three goals. Upset brewing in the conference tournament, as Army will upset Loyola. Both teams will be making the tournament with Loyola being a high seed as they have a contest with Johns Hopkins before the tournament begins.
If you were watching TV this weekend, I believe that you have seen the tournament championship game round one. Villanova has the ability to play very well, but the consistency has not been there. They will be hitting their stride and have a chance to get vengeance on Denver, who clipped them in overtime this past weekend. Denver and Villanova will be dancing this May.
Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)
The ACC has had the privilege of being college lacrosse best conference. Even the conference “showcase” game will be an event for lacrosse. It may be the edge that a team like Notre Dame needs to stay ahead of the pack. With the Ivy and Patriot Leagues pushing strong and an upset or two in conference play, the last place team in the league might be the only member not allowed to dance in May. Notre Dame defeated North Carolina and Virginia. They lost to a Penn State team that is spiraling well out of the Top 20.
After taking their lumps early, Syracuse had a nice win against Cornell. They have North Carolina upcoming that decides their fate in the conference tournament. It is a home game and I am sure the Orange faithful will be ready for UNC since the article was written about Casey Powell wishing to go to school there.
Maryland, Virginia, Duke, and North Carolina are bound for the NCAA Tournament. Maryland has one loss to a good North Carolina team. North Carolina has two ACC losses, soundly defeating everyone else they have faced. Duke will be playing their best ball like they always do in the late season. Virginia’s four losses are to all Top Ten teams.
Albany will win the automatic bid in their conference tournament. They will scare any team having to face them in the opening round with their ability to turn on their game in a flash. Coach Taylor Wray will have Saint Joseph’s dancing, a first for the team. High Point will be making their first trip to the dance as well. Coach Torpey has to be happy with the progression his team has made over the course of his tenure there. Fairfield will be the ECAC invitee to the dance as well. After pushing the limits before, Drexel will be on the inside looking out after being snubbed in the past.