As Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala recounted his thoughts on yesterday’s 15-7 rout of Navy, one of his final comments seemed particularly noteworthy – that he believed his Blue Jays had just beaten a team in the NCAA tournament field.
Navy could only wish to be so fortunate. The Mids aren’t quite in yet, and neither are some other teams in the region.
With just two weeks left until the 16-team bracket is unveiled, here’s a rundown of the nine local/semi-local Division I lacrosse teams.
GEORGETOWN (6-6, 2-3 ECAC)
Remaining: Rutgers (Saturday), Penn State (May 2)
Outlook: The Hoyas are effectively a long shot, and possess neither an RPI or strength of schedule in the top 10 – but both metrics are in the top 20. Any slim hope they possess requires them to win out and have the best teams they beat (Maryland and Massachusetts) look good. Still, Georgetown has a chance to finish strong and make an unpleasant season just a little more palatable – and maybe, just maybe, squeak into the tournament if things break right.
MARYLAND (8-5, 2-1 ACC)
Remaining: at North Carolina (Friday), possibly Duke/Virginia (Sunday), at Yale (May 2)
Outlook: The Terrapins will be in the NCAA tournament for the seventh straight year in all likelihood, and a victory at Yale pretty much locks that up. So too would a win at North Carolina in the ACC tournament. Pick up a couple wins in Chapel Hill, and the Terps might just rally to collect a home game in the NCAA tournament – especially with UMBC and Hofstra losing yesterday.
NAVY (9-4, 4-2 Patriot)
Remaining: vs. Colgate (Friday), possibly Bucknell/Army (Sunday)
Outlook: The computer numbers do not look good for the Mids (per laxpower.com, No. 19 in the RPI and No. 33 in the strength of schedule index utilized by the selection committee). It would seem Navy’s best bet is to wrest back the Patriot League title with a pair of victories this weekend; anything else might not be enough.
VIRGINIA (13-1, 2-1 ACC)
Remaining: vs. Duke (Friday), possibly Maryland/North Carolina (Sunday)
Outlook: The Cavaliers have the profile for a No. 1 overall seed if they can win the ACC tournament. Both their RPI and strength of schedule are superb, and they are the most accomplished team this season with defeats of Syracuse, Hopkins, Cornell, Maryland and North Carolina. They seem like a good bet to anchor one of the southern quarterfinal quadrants regardless of next weekend.
JOHNS HOPKINS (6-4)
Remaining: at Towson (Wednesday), at Mount St. Mary’s (April 27), Loyola (May 2)
Outlook: The computer says the Blue Jays are the top team in the RPI and played the toughest schedule. While common sense suggests the Hop isn’t the No. 1 seed based on the course of the season, there’s no reason to think the Jays aren’t a top-four seed if they win out. That’s definitely possible, since Hopkins hasn’t lost to Towson since 1996 or Loyola since 1999.
LOYOLA (8-4, 5-1 ECAC)
Remaining: Hobart (Saturday), at Hopkins (May 2)
Outlook: The Greyhounds now have top-10 RPI and strength of schedule indicators, which means a split should be enough to secure an at-large berth if the ECAC title (via a Massachusetts loss) doesn’t fall in their laps. But don’t count out the sweep. Loyola hasn’t lost by more than two goals all season and has its best team since Dave Cottle left for Maryland in 2001. The Greyhounds will be a tough out in the tournament.
MOUNT ST. MARY’S (3-8, 3-3 MAAC)
Remaining: at VMI (Wednesday), Wagner (Saturday), MAAC tournament (May 1 and 3)
Outlook: The Mountaineers get a pair of foes with a combined 3-23 record to close out the regular season. Nab both and it’s likely the Mount makes the conference tournament. But once there, the favorite will be Siena – who the Mountaineers lost to 9-6 on Saturday.
TOWSON (6-7, 4-2 CAA)
Remaining: Hopkins (Wednesday), at Penn (Sunday), CAA tournament (April 29 and May 2)
Outlook: The Tigers can get a home game in the CAA tournament if Hofstra beats Villanova next weekend. That’ll be crucial, since Towson’s postseason hopes rest on winning its conference. The Tigers are coming off a victory at Delaware, but are 2-7 against teams with winning records. Expecting to double that total in the last week of the season is probably a bit of a stretch.
UMBC (9-3, 3-1 America East)
Remaining: Vermont (Saturday), America East tournament (April 29 and May 2)
Outlook: The Retrievers had a chance to earn a top-eight seed, but a loss to lowly Hartford (which was less than a week removed from ending a 26-game losing streak) probably dashed those chances. Instead, the Retrievers might have to scramble just to make the tournament. One thing that makes things easier – they don’t have to leave Catonsville to do it. Despite the upset, consider UMBC the most likely America East champion.