The Washington Times - May 8, 2011, 10:57AM

Just three games remain before Sunday’s NCAA lacrosse bracket selection show.

Saturday’s rash of upsets (or at least mild surprises) – Colgate over Maryland, Georgetown over Villanova, Hartford over Stony Brook – shook up the projected field considerably.

SEE RELATED:


Let’s take a look at three groups of teams before sorting everything out.

As always, data courtesy of LaxPower.

AUTOMATIC QUALIFIERS

School (W-L)
RPI  
SOS  
T5T10T20
Hartford (11-6)
26420-00-11-3
Delaware (11-6)
16170-10-23-4
Denver (13-2)
6240-21-22-2
Cornell (12-2)
2141-11-15-1
Siena (12-4)
31510-10-20-2
Bucknell (14-2)  
8400-0  
1-0  
3-1   

 

Hartford will make its first NCAA tournament appearance, and do so after snapping a run of seven straight losing seasons. It would be stunning if the Hawks weren’t sent to Cornell, Hopkins or Syracuse. … Delaware’s CAA tournament victory certainly made the Blue Hens’ body of work look better. Their inclusion will make the selection committee’s work easier; Delaware is within 400 miles of any possible host on the east coast and won’t require a flight. … Losses by Maryland and Villanova are going to make it tough to not give Denver a home game in the first round. The Pioneers won the ECAC final on Saturday. … Cornell will be an at-large certainty if it falls to Harvard in Sunday’s Ivy final. … Siena meets Detroit in Sunday’s Metro Atlantic final. It’s a one-bid league. … Bucknell looks better and better by the day. Virginia, Notre Dame and possibly Maryland seem like sensible first-round destinations.

WILL BE IN ANY FIELD

School (W-L)
RPI  
SOS  
T5T10T20
Syracuse (14-1)
133-1  
6-1  
7-1  
Notre Dame (10-2)
3150-13-23-2
Hopkins (12-2)4131-12-15-2
Virginia (9-5)
521-22-44-5
Duke (12-5)
712-23-35-5
North Carolina (10-5)  
1061-21-34-4
Maryland (10-4)
1291-13-33-4

 

The safest prediction about the field is that Syracuse will be the No. 1 seed. … Notre Dame still has more top-10 wins than anyone other than Syracuse. The Fighting Irish will open the tournament at home. … Hopkins will end up a top-four seed even if its schedule strength is weaker than usual. The Blue Jays have won seven straight. … Virginia’s seeding remains a bit of a wild card because of the Bratton factor. But after this week’s chaos, there’s no chance the Cavaliers hit the road to start the tournament. … Duke is 1-4 against top-20 teams outside the ACC. The lone victory came against Penn. … It might just come down to North Carolina and Maryland for the final seeded slot. The team not playing at home probably gets shipped to Denver. The question: Will the Tar Heels’ slightly better computer numbers trump the fact Maryland snagged its three top-10 wins in road/neutral settings?

 

EIGHT FOR THREE SLOTS

School (W-L)
RPI   
SOS  
T5T10T20
Villanova (11-4)
980-20-33-3
Hofstra (13-2)
11390-00-04-2
Stony Brook (10-4)
13410-20-21-2
Colgate (11-5)
14330-00-01-3
Penn (8-6)
1550-22-44-5
Harvard (10-5)
17110-10-13-3
Massachusetts (10-5)  
19340-00-01-3
Loyola (8-5)  
20350-1  
0-3  
0-3  

 

It’s very difficult to believe Villanova’s computer numbers won’t secure a spot in the field. The Wildcats did, though, throw away their shot at a home game with a loss at Georgetown. … No one is going to want head-to-head to mean more than Hofstra. The Pride beat Colgate and Harvard early in the season, and those victories may well be their ticket into the tournament. Still, they need Cornell to beat Harvard today. … There’s just little substance to Stony Brook’s resume. A victory over Delaware and a shaky schedule won’t get the Seawolves in … Colgate is similar, though it should remain on the board a bit longer for its victory at Maryland. But the Raiders don’t have much else going for them besides a decent RPI. … Penn has two top-10 wins. None of the other bubblers have any. Plus, the Quakers computer numbers don’t raise eyebrows. Look for them to get in despite closing with back-to-back losses. … Harvard will either earn an automatic berth or have its numbers damaged with a loss. The Crimson’s 15-9 loss to Hofstra in March looms large. … Massachusetts and Loyola don’t have much going for them as at-large options: Weaker RPI than the rest of the bubble, middling schedule strength and one top-20 win between them. Like Stony Brook, they are extreme long shots, at best.

To offer a guess at the two lingering questions:

* The No. 8 seed: North Carolina’s computer numbers are better than Maryland’s but not by much. Maryland won the teams’ most recent meeting in late April, and the Terps played without two of their best offensive players (Grant Catalino and Joe Cummings) in Saturday’s loss to Colgate. The committee will have to weigh the likelihood of their return (coach John Tillman said they would but wouldn’t specify what their exact ailments were, which creates a bit of a guessing game) and the value of Maryland’s wins away from home. It sure looks like a toss-up. The pick here is Maryland, but it could easily turn out to be the Tar Heels.

* The final at-large picks: Villanova and Penn look a bit better than the rest of the bubblers. That leaves Hofstra and Harvard as the next most palatable options. If Harvard wins the Ivy, Cornell is bumped into the at-large pool and Hofstra will likely be left out. If Harvard loses, Hofstra would have a decent claim to the last spot.

And that leads to this projected field, which will be updated once more this afternoon:

Hofstra quarterfinal

(1) Syracuse vs. METRO ATLANTIC/Siena
(8) Maryland vs. PATRIOT/Bucknell

Foxborough quarterfinal

(4) Notre Dame vs. Penn
(5) Duke vs. COLONIAL/Delaware

Hofstra quarterfinal

(3) Johns Hopkins vs. Hofstra
(6) Virginia vs. Villanova

Foxborough quarterfinal

(2) IVY/Cornell vs. AMERICA EAST/Hartford
(7) ECAC/Denver vs. North Carolina

Patrick Stevens