Lacrosse bracketology: April 20

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Princeton was the No. 1 seed in last week’s tournament projection.

Of course, the Tigers lost. And tumbled, too. To what amounts to a coin flip for the No. 4 or No. 5 seed. It’s the difference of a jersey color in the quarterfinals, but Duke edged the Tigers out thanks to owning something no one else does – a victory against Virginia.

The big question heading into the May 3 selections will revolve around what to do with Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are unbeaten, and have knocked off North Carolina, Loyola … and then a few decent teams (Bucknell, Penn State, Villanova).

It makes for a curious profile featuring no losses and little schedule strength. The rest of the GWLL is down (well, actually Air Force is better than usual, but the Falcons are still a .500 team), so the conference tournament won’t help Notre Dame all that much.

The Irish’s RPI is good. Their strength of schedule is poor. It’s difficult to envision Notre Dame getting rewarded for plowing through a so-so slate, just as it’s hard to see them not getting a home game. Hence, they’re plugged into the No. 8 spot for the second straight week.

Onto the projection:

(1) Virginia vs. PATRIOT/Bucknell
(8) GWLL/Notre Dame vs. Loyola

(5) Princeton vs. Maryland
(4) Duke vs. Georgetown

(3) Johns Hopkins vs. AMERICA EAST/UMBC
(6) North Carolina vs. ECAC/Massachusetts

(7) IVY/Cornell vs. CAA/Hofstra
(2) Syracuse vs. MAAC/Siena

Last four out: Colgate, Navy, Brown, Harvard

More bracket notes…

* Yes, that’s Georgetown in the field. If the Hoyas win out, they might just have solid enough RPI and schedule strength numbers to seize that last at-large spot. They’re edging out Colgate at the moment.

* Virginia and Johns Hopkins are funneled into Annapolis. Syracuse and Duke are sent to play its quarterfinals at Hofstra.

* Two teams that would fly in the first round are Loyola and Massachusetts. Bucknell is well below the mileage threshold with its trip to Charlottesville.

* Both UMBC and Hofstra really cost themselves with losses this weekend. Hofstra’s setback to North Carolina wasn’t too unusual, and the Pride was probably hurt with their victory over Princeton getting devalued a bit. Still, they have a shot at seed.

UMBC isn’t so fortunate. The victory over Colgate took a hit, but more significantly, the Retrievers absorbed a bad loss at Hartford. That’ll hurt the RPI enough to send them on the road (to any number of places) if they make the tournament.

* Maryland is playing for a home game at this weekend’s ACC tournament. It would be tough to ship the Terps out if they finish with five straight victories (including a finale at Yale) and have four wins against conference competition.

* The Patriot looks like a one-bid league after losses by Colgate and Navy this weekend. Maybe the winner of their semifinal can squeak into the field if it loses the conference final, but some help would be required. Even then, it’s a maybe.

* You’d think North Carolina would be viewed with some wariness after losing its starting goalie. Winning at Hofstra helps alleviate that quite a bit. Beating Maryland (well, any ACC team, really) would help even more.

* One team outside the field that could potentially surge in the final two weeks: Brown. The Bears can capture the Ivy League with back-to-back defeats of Cornell and Princeton. It’ll be tough, but Brown is the obvious spoiler lurking outside the current bracket.

Patrick Stevens<

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