Tournament time is quickly approaching folks. Let me give you a quick run down of who I have in and which teams will fall short. There are some big assumptions with the conference champions, but assuming every current, conference leader goes on to win its league. These are my projected AQ teams: ACC: Notre Dame; AmEast: Albany; Big East: Denver; Big Ten: Maryland; Colonial: Towson; Ivy: Princeton; MAAC: Marist; NEC: Saint Joseph’s; Patriot: Navy; Southern: Richmond.
After those ten AQ teams these are the teams that I expect to take home an at-large bid: Syracuse, UNC, Duke, UVA, Yale, Ohio State, Cornell, and Brown. This would leave Georgetown out, a team that I think makes a tremendous case for that final at-large bid. For me, seven out of the eight at-large bids are locked up. Brown is my first team out.
The ACC will get all five teams in, as expected. The Big Ten has an outside chance to get three teams in, but most likely will be represented by just Ohio State and Maryland.
We’ve been talking a lot about the Ivy League, and I think we should revisit them for a moment. At a minimum, I believe the Ivy League will get in two programs, but could get as many as four teams in. There are four teams that could get to 3-3. To avoid a four-way tie for the Ivy Tournament, Brown, Cornell, and Yale could all win this week and get to 4-2, leaving Penn out. Brown has to beat Dartmouth this week to get into the tournament. Yale is in, even with a loss to Harvard. Penn gets in if Brown loses to Dartmouth. Cornell gets in, even with a loss to Princeton.
With some conference tournaments starting this weekend, we have a lot of good lacrosse upcoming. You can’t call yourself a lacrosse fan if the ACC Tournament doesn’t excite you. Duke will play Notre Dame and UNC will play Syracuse on Friday in the first round. I think Duke may be peaking at the right time and has a chance to take down the Irish. UNC and Syracuse is basically a toss up. Remember, it came down to the final minute when Tar Heels beat SU, so this one will sure be fun to watch. Enjoy the ACC Tournament, we are in the midst of the ACC glory days and with the growth of the sport who knows if we will ever see such conference domination again. The Ivy League Tournament starts in two weeks, but this Saturday we get Princeton vs. Cornell. This will be a great measuring stick for these two team, both of which I expect to make the NCAAT. I also think that the Johns Hopkins, Maryland game could provide some fireworks. Personally, I would love to see the Jays take down the Terps and I think there is a good shot of that happening. Hopkins is the most underperforming teams in 2015, and now it appears there may be a goalie controversy as Pietramala appears to be finally giving up on Eric Schneider.
For me, this is the best time of the year. We have some of the best teams in the country facing off, and with the upcoming conference tournaments we will get to see some of these programs play each other for the second time this year; rematches make for excellent entertainment.
- Notre Dame – What a game between UNC and Notre Dame on Saturday. The Irish were the beneficiaries of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the final minutes, which allowed the team to come back and win the game with just second remaining. Notre Dame is the one seed in the ACCT.
- UNC – The Tar Heels, I think, got screwed by the refs with that final penalty in their game against Notre Dame. Either way, UNC will play Syracuse on Friday in PPL Park for the first round of the ACCT.
- Syracuse – SU put on a show against Hobart last week in a Tuesday game. The Statesmen did not get on the board until the third quarter, quite a feet for any team. While UNC will have just six days of rest, SU will have had 10 days off going into the #2-3 matchup on Friday.
- Maryland – The Terps got a scare at Ohio State on Saturday, barely sneaking by OSU in overtime. UMD has Johns Hopkins this week in its final regular season game.
- Denver – Providence had the lead for a significant period of time on Saturday, but DU’s six, third period goals were the difference in this one as the Friars fell to the Pioneers 13-9. Marquette is the last team on the schedule for the regular season. I expect the Big East to only get one team into the NCAAT.
- Duke – Duke beat Stony Brook and Marquette this week. The Blue Devils will be the fourth seed in the ACCT after beating Virginia last week. This is a team that may be peaking at the right time, could be a very interesting game on Friday against Notre Dame.
- Virginia – A 12-9 win over Georgetown was a nice bounce-back win for the Cavs. UVA will make the NCAAs but will miss out on the ACCT and instead will play Penn in the ACC-Penn Classic. Definitely a disappointment, but UVA cannot look past this game; a game against the Quakers can only hurt UVA, a win doesn’t help them.
- Albany – That’s four wins in a row since the loss to Syracuse. Albany is already safely in the Tournament, but the win over Yale was quite a feather in their hat. Siena and UMBC remain on the schedule for the Great Danes.
- Brown – The Bears had a huge 15-6 win over Cornell this past week. Brown is 10-3 overall and can secure a spot in the Ivy Tournament with a win over Dartmouth this week. It’s probably safe to say they make the NCAAT, but the Ivy is crazy so we’ll see.
- Cornell – The Big Red fell to Brown. Not a good look for this team. Cornell is guaranteed a spot in the IvyT, but could end up as the fourth seed and have to face Princeton. Speaking of the Tigers, Princeton and Cornell will play this week. I think these guys are as close to a lock for the NCAAT as a team can get without actually being a lock. The reason I say that is there is a scenario where a team like Albany or Denver could lose its conference tournament and eat up at-large bids.
- Yale – The Bulldogs fell to Albany last week. It’s not a killer for Yale’s at-large bid, I still think this team makes the ACCT. However, with the possibility of a four way tie for the second seed in the IvyT, there is a possibility Yale doesn’t make its conference tourney. A win against Harvard this week would secure a Ivy seed.
- Ohio State – Losses by Yale and Cornell keep OSU from falling too far after its overtime loss to Maryland. I expect the Buckeyes to make the NCAAT as an at-large bid. Rutgers is up next before the B10 Tourney.
- Princeton – I have the Tigers moving up more than a few spots this week after a win over Harvard. Princeton could lock up the #1 Ivy seed with a win at Cornell this week. I expect that we will see this team in the post-season.
- Marquette – You can’t penalize this team for a loss at Duke, but unless this team beats Denver this week and wins its first round Big East Tournament game or wins the Big East, Marquette will be on the outside looking in when it comes NCAA Tournament time. Potentially the Golden Eagles should be either the second or third seed in the BET and Georgetown, a team it has already beaten.
- Stony Brook – The fact that so many teams in the top 20 lost this week helps Stony Brook. The Seawolves lost to Duke but beat Binghamton last week, setting up a big AmEast game against Hartford this weekend. It is win the AQ or miss the NCAAs for every team except Albany in the America East Conference.
- Navy – The Midshipmen were idle this week, but sit at 8-4 overall and first in the Patriot League. They have the first seed in the Patriot League sewn up. Only the AQ winner in this league will get an invite to the NCAAs.
- Colgate – The ‘Gate has put together four straight wins and will be the second seed in the Patriot League Tourney. This team’s best win is over Loyola so they will need the AQ too.
- Towson – Only two goals against Hofstra, really? Towson needs to win the Colonial to get into the national tournament. Drexel is the only team left on Towson’s regular season schedule.
- Fairfield – Fairfield took down Delaware in a thrilling, double overtime game last week. No way this team gets an at-large bid, but the Stags could definitely challenge Towson for the CAA Championship.
- Johns Hopkins – I can’t believe I’m putting this team back into the top 20 field. The Hop beat Michigan last week, and I think there is a very small chance (very small) that they could get an at-large bid. The Blue Jays are 17th in RPI and 6th in SOS. There are no wins that stand out on the schedule but they could make a big move by beating Maryland this week.