The NCAA lacrosse tournament bracket is out, and is sort of looks like the one I tossed up this afternoon.
There’s really three parts of this endeavor worth grading: Selection, seeding and matchups. And they all led to varying degrees of success. So, in the spirit of transparency, here’s a self-evaluation of my own guesswork.
Going 16-for-16 for the second straight year is significant, but most of the field is pretty much handed to you. It came down to Brown and Loyola for the last spot, and it was no surprise Brown’s defeat of Cornell lifted them into the field.
This might be the easiest part of the bracketology process, but it’s still probably the one people are most interested in.
Of the eight seeded teams, I got only one of them (Virginia) correct. Transposing Duke and Syracuse was no big deal, but from there things go off the tracks a little bit. Cornell, North Carolina and Johns Hopkins were all two seeds off, which pretty much means that portion of the projection was badly bungled.
Still, the eight seeded teams were all correctly identified, so that’s something.
Four of the games (Virginia-Villanova, Notre Dame-Maryland, North Carolina-UMBC and Cornell-Hofstra) slid together perfectly.
As for the other four, it was a matter of knowing how closely the committee would stick to the request to consider fiscal responsibility. They stuck to it very closely, limiting the first round to a single flight.
That made it easy to send Siena to Syracuse. Brown, with Princeton out because of a conference tie-in and Duke eliminated because of distance, pretty much had to go to Hopkins. That left UMass to Princeton because of geography, sending Navy down to Duke to fill out the field.
This was the anticipated field, and it’s geographically weighted to keep the best southern teams in Annapolis (Duke, Hopkins, North Carolina and Virginia) and the top northern teams (Cornell, Princeton, Syracuse) plus Notre Dame on Long Island for the quarterfinals.
There are no curveballs in this field, which is another reason to credit the selection committee for a job well done.