The Washington Times - May 2, 2011, 10:50AM

A week from now, the NCAA will have its 16-team men’s lacrosse tournament field seeded, slotted and delivered for a wild ride through the rest of May.

For now, plenty of questions remain.

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The first team to secure a place in the field did so yesterday. Bucknell blasted Colgate 10-3 to win the Patriot League, earn its first NCAA berth since 2001 and ensure the bubble didn’t add a fairly qualified team to chase after the last available spot.

Also this weekend: Syracuse effectively sewed up the No. 1 seed by handing Notre Dame its first defeat.

Before getting to the projection, let’s take a peek at some informal (though generally pretty spot-on) data gleaned from LaxPower for four categories: Automatic qualifiers, at-large certainties, at-large probables and the bubble.

AUTOMATIC QUALIFIERS

School (W-L)
RPI  
SOS  
T5T10  
T20  
Cornell (11-2)
3161-1  
1-15-2
Denver (11-2)
7260-21-22-2
Hofstra (13-1)
9410-00-05-0
Bucknell (14-2)
10340-01-05-1
Stony Brook (9-3)  
12420-20-20-2
Siena (11-4)
33510-10-20-2

 

Cornell will host the Ivy League tournament, getting Yale in the semifinals … Denver is in good shape for an at-large if it doesn’t defeat Ohio State and then the Fairfield-Loyola winner in the ECAC tournament. The Pioneers host that event. … Hofstra gets home-field in the CAA tournament, but must play Delaware – the only team to beat the Pride this year – in Wednesday’s semifinals. … Bucknell could wind up playing any number of places in the first round. The best bets are Johns Hopkins and Cornell, but Maryland, Virginia and even Villanova are also logical possibilities.

AT-LARGE CERTAINTIES (7)

School (W-L)
RPI   
SOS   
T5T10T20
Syracuse (13-1)
133-1   
6-1   
8-1   
Notre Dame (10-1)
2100-13-14-1
Johns Hopkins (11-2)  
4151-11-14-2
Virginia (9-5)
521-11-34-4
Duke (12-5)
612-22-35-5
Villanova (11-3)
880-20-33-3
Maryland (10-3)
11121-12-23-3

 

It’s pretty difficult to argue the Orange doesn’t own the best overall profile. It’ll be a wide-open tournament, but they’ll be worthy of being considered the favorite in the field. … Notre Dame can still claim the No. 2 seed with a victory at North Carolina on Friday. A loss, though, means the Irish may tumble down to a No. 4 or No. 5 – and maybe even a No. 6, depending on how closely the committee sticks with the numbers. … Hopkins owns a profile almost identical to Cornell’s. The seeding of those two teams is strictly a coin flip, though the Big Red’s defeat of Syracuse could well be a tiebreaker. … For all of its foibles, Virginia comes out looking decent. Not great, but decent. The Cavaliers shouldn’t be seeded ahead of Duke, though, after losing twice to John Danowski’s team. … Speaking of the Blue Devils, they’ll safely get a home game. The five top-20 wins ties for the second most in the field. … Villanova’s computer numbers are excellent, but its resume is a bit skimpy. In short, the Wildcats played a lot of teams hovering around .500. Don’t consider them a lock for a home game, especially if North Carolina topples Notre Dame. … Maryland snagged all of its top-20 victories in April, and could add another with a defeat of Colgate. The ACC champs should wind up with a home game with one more victory.

AT-LARGE PROBABLES (2)

School (W-L)
RPI   
SOS  
T5T10   
T20  
North Carolina (9-5)   
1350-20-33-4
Penn (8-5)
1460-2   
2-34-4

 

Even with losses this weekend, the only way the Tar Heels or Quakers will miss the tournament will be with chaos in conference tournaments. Even then, both teams are fairly safe. … North Carolina can help itself with a victory over Notre Dame, but it can get an additional bump if Maryland can climb a spot in the RPI and move into the top 10. The Tar Heels’ profile would look a lot better with two top-10 wins. … Penn, with its defeats of Duke and Bucknell, is actually closer to certainty status. The Quakers can further solidify things by beating Harvard in the Ivy semis on Friday.

BUBBLE (9 for 1 spot)

School (W-L)
RPI   
SOS   
T5T10T20
Colgate (10-5)
15310-0   
0-3   
2-3  
Loyola (8-4)
16350-10-30-3
Penn State (7-6)
18170-10-41-4
Massachusetts (9-4)   
19370-00-10-3
Harvard (9-5)
20240-10-22-3
Drexel (8-6)
21220-20-41-5
Yale (10-3)
24360-10-11-3
Delaware (9-6)
25180-11-21-5
Army (9-5)
26191-11-21-5

 

This scrum is no clearer today than it was a week ago. Chances are, though, one of them will be in the 16-team field. … Colgate visits Maryland on Saturday. The RPI favors the Red Raiders, and it can make a case over Army thanks to two victories against the Black Knights. … Loyola’s one-goal loss to Hopkins didn’t help. The Greyhounds need to win the ECAC tournament; they just don’t have a defining victory. … Penn State has top-20 RPI and schedule strength marks, but it is pinning its hopes on a defeat of UMass. The teams meet again on Wednesday. … With no top-20 wins, UMass needs to win the CAA tournament. … This week’s best guess of the bunch is Harvard, which has victories over Princeton and UMass to go along with defeats of Georgetown and Yale. It’s not an overwhelming resume, but the Crimson might be the most accomplished of all these teams. Defeating Penn in the Ivy semis would go a long way for Harvard. … Drexel is in the clubhouse. The profile simply isn’t going to be enough to get the Dragons in. … Yale took a step back by losing to Harvard, but at least it gets a shot to make things right. The Bulldogs draw Cornell in the Ivy semis. … Delaware has a defeat of Hofstra and nothing else. The teams meet again Wednesday on Long Island. … Army needed something to complement its defeat of Cornell. It didn’t get it in the Patriot tournament. A loss to Hopkins on Friday would probably squelch the Black Knights’ postseason hopes.

PROJECTION

Hofstra quarterfinal

(1) Syracuse vs. METRO ATLANTIC/Siena
(8) Villanova vs. North Carolina

Hofstra quarterfinal

(4) Johns Hopkins vs. Harvard
(5) Duke vs. COLONIAL/Hofstra

Foxborough quarterfinal

(3) IVY/Cornell vs. PATRIOT/Bucknell
(6) Virginia vs. ECAC/Denver

Foxborough quarterfinal

(2) Notre Dame vs. AMERICA EAST/Stony Brook
(7) Maryland vs. Penn

Patrick Stevens