And so it’s come to this – three games today, then a long wait before the NCAA lacrosse tournament selection committee renders its verdict.
There’s something strange about sizing up Selection Sunday on Selection Sunday that makes you toss out whatever lingering opinion remains and dwell on strictly facts and past precedent.
Which is why not only are the unofficial RPI and strength of schedule data (courtesy of Laxpower.com) considered, but also quality victories.
This, after all, seems like it could be a point of priority this year. So too could the quality of losses.
It’s why there is some minor tuning in the seedings, swapping Duke and Virginia despite the Blue Devils’ two head-to-head drubbings last month.
But first, let’s present the data heading into today’s games (Duke-St. John’s, Notre Dame-Ohio State and Siena-Manhattan):
|Duke||12-3||3||4||UVa 2||UNC 2|
|One spot left|
|On the outside|
Assuming Notre Dame completes its perfect regular season, there’s really only one obvious question left in terms of the selection process: Loyola or Brown.
Loyola’s played a reputable schedule, and lost five games by a combined seven goals. It was close-but-not-quite against Syracuse, Johns Hopkins and Notre Dame, and any one of those victories would have countered the best thing Brown has going for it – a defeat of Cornell.
The Bears, meanwhile, are 12-3 – but their only victories over teams with winning records were Bryant, Cornell, Harvard and Massachusetts. A lot of grazing took place, and Brown even lost at home to a 5-8 Penn team.
Loyola’s five losses? To Nos. 1, 4, 5, 6 and 12 in the RPI (a flawed metric, but generally speaking it’ll put most teams within shouting distance of where they should be).
So the question comes down to this: Does Brown’s one good victory outweigh the evidence that Loyola was ultra-competitive with perhaps half of the eight seeded teams?
The guess here is the committee will believe that to be the case, even though Brown trailed 8-0 at Princeton yesterday while Loyola stretched Hopkins to two overtimes on the road.
So in review: Brown takes the last spot, even though I’d probably cast my lot with Loyola.
So here is my penultimate bracket for the year:
(1) Virginia vs. CAA/Villanova
(8) GWLL/Notre Dame vs. Maryland
(5) Princeton vs. PATRIOT/Navy
(4) North Carolina vs. AMERICA EAST/UMBC
(3) Syracuse vs. Brown
(6) Johns Hopkins vs. ECAC/Massachusetts
(7) IVY/Cornell vs. Hofstra
(2) Duke vs. MAAC/Siena
Duke and Syracuse are funneled north to Hofstra, while Virginia and North Carolina are sent to the Navy quarterfinal site. More bracket notes to come this afternoon after today’s games.