Naturally, the final day of the regular season had a wrinkle to account for.
Canisius became the second team with a losing record to clinch a spot in this year’s tournament, rallying to upset Siena in the Metro Atlantic final.
Meanwhile, Yale thrashed Princeton 15-7 to earn the Ivy League tournament crown.
It’s probably an appropriate way to set up a tournament with no true favorite.
Anyway, that brings on the final bracket projection. The selection show is at 9 p.m. Sunday on ESPNU.
You can see LaxPower’s RPI numbers here.
You can see the strength of schedule data for each team’s 10 best opponents here, also via LaxPower.
And now, let’s zip through the field …
AUTOMATIC BIDS (7)
|Loyola||14-1||1||17||1-1 ||1-1 ||6-1 ||4-Duke, 13-@Fairfield|
13-vs. Fairfield, 14-@Denver (x2)
|Massachusetts ||14-0||2||37||0-0||0-0||5-0||16-@Penn State, 17-Drexel|
17-vs. Drexel, 19-@Ohio State
|Lehigh||14-2 ||6||19||0-0||1-1||5-1||7-@Colgate, 11-@UNC|
12-Yale, 16-@Penn State
|Yale||11-4||12||33||0-0||1-2||2-3||10-@Princeton, 15-vs. Cornell|
Any objections to Loyola as one of the top two seeds? Anyone? Probably not thanks to that victory in March over Duke. … Honestly, it’s anyone’s guess how the committee treats Massachusetts. Remember, 2007 Cornell was unbeaten and given a No. 4 seed and 2009 Notre Dame didn’t lose in the regular season and was handed a No. 7 seed. No one should be surprised by anything between a No. 3 and No. 7 seed. Considering the Minutemen didn’t face a top-15 opponent, no one should complain about any fate in that range, either. …
One of Lehigh’s top-10 wins trickled away when North Carolina’s RPI dropped for playing Michigan. But compare the numbers in the next chart and it’s understandable why the Mountain Hawks and just a tick ahead of Colgate for the No. 8 seed. … Congrats to Yale. So much for being the Kings of the One-Goal Game. The Bulldogs dismantled Cornell and Princeton over the last three days to reach the tournament for the first time since 1992. Thus ends the longest postseason drought in the Ivy League. …
Fun with (selective) numbers: Coach John Desko 171-53 in 14 seasons, a stout .763 winning percentage. Take out 2005, 2007 and 2012, and the record is 150-32 (.824). Life’s pretty good when you make the tournament in two of your three least impressive seasons. Just sayin’ … Instead of poking fun at Stony Brook’s losing record (especially since Jim Nagle’s team now has some sub-.500 company in the field), consider that the Seawolves suffered their last seven losses by a combined eight goals. …
Canisius is the surprise winner of the Metro Atlantic. The Golden Griffins’ only game against a top-20 opponent all season was a 19-4 loss to Cornell in their opener. And yes, that game came afterRob Pannell’s injury for the Big Red.
AT-LARGE LOCKS (7)
|Johns Hopkins||11-3 ||3||15||1-0||3-1||4-2||1-@Loyola, 8-@UVa|
|Duke||13-4||4||2||0-2 ||2-3 ||5-4 ||8-@UVa, 9-vs. Maryland|
11-vs. UNC, 11-UNC
|Notre Dame||11-2||5||24||1-0||1-0||5-1||4-Duke, 14-Denver|
|Colgate||13-3 ||7||20||0-0 ||2-1 ||5-1 ||6-Lehigh, 9-Maryland|
12-Fairfield, 20-Bucknell (H & A)
15-vs. Cornell, 17-@Drexel
18-Syracuse, 19-@Ohio State
|North Carolina||11-5||11||1||1-2||4-4||5-4||3-vs. Hopkins, 8-@UVa|
9-Maryland, 10-vs. Princeton
16-vs. Penn State
All is well at Johns Hopkins, where the Blue Jays collected their three best victories on the road. The Hop is in line for a top-four seed. … Historically (at least recently), RPI and strength of schedule carry an immense amount of weight. Even with its two North Carolina victories slightly diminished, Duke should be one of the top two seeds. It would be an upset based on past committee decisions if the Blue Devils were lower than No. 3. …
Notre Dame’s profile isn’t vastly different than Massachusetts’ body of work. The Fighting Irish have a high-profile win and slightly better strength of schedule, while UMass has the RPI edge and the absence of losses (especially one to a team outside the top 20). Don’t expect a wide divide in seeding between those two. … Colgate did its best (Lehigh in the regular season, Maryland) and worst (Dartmouth, Navy) work at home this season. Nonetheless, the Raiders should find themselves visiting one of the three bottom seeds if the committee doesn’t push them ahead of Lehigh.
The RPI gap between Virginia and Colgate can be measured in ten-thousandths of a point. The Cavaliers are also one of only two teams in the top 10 of both RPI and strength of schedule. Bank on a game at Klockner Stadium next week. … Maryland went 0-4 in games decided by two goals or less in the regular season (UMBC, at North Carolina, vs. Duke, at Colgate). If the Terrapins won even one of those tight games, they’d probably be hosting a game next weekend. …
North Carolina’s schedule strength and top-10 wins – both of which pace the field – should get the Tar Heels a home game. Carolina will be a scary entity in the tournament so long as they can control possession with faceoff man R.G. Keenan.
REST OF FIELD (10 for 2 spots)
|Princeton||11-4 ||10||23||0-1 ||0-1 ||2-4 ||12-@Yale, 15-Cornell|
|Fairfield||12-4||13||21||0-2||0-3||2-4||14-Denver, 19-vs. Ohio State |
|Denver||8-6||14||4||1-3||1-3||2-6||4-Duke, 16-@Penn State|
|Cornell||9-4||15||31||0-0||0-2||3-3||12-Yale, 14-vs. Denver|
|Penn State ||9-6||16||5||1-1||1-2||3-6||5-@Notre Dame, 17-@Drexel|
|Ohio State||8-7||19||3||0-3||0-4||2-6||13-@Fairfield, 14-vs. Denver|
|Bucknell||9-7||20||13||0-1||0-4||2-4||16-@Penn State, 17-@Drexel|
Denver and Penn State played top-five schedules. Both collected top-five wins. Neither team suffered a truly questionable loss. Considering how tightly scrunched together the RPI calculations are between Nos. 13 and 16, schedule strength and marquee victories could be the difference. …
Put on the spot, Denver belongs in ahead of Penn State. The numbers slightly favor the Pioneers, with Denver’s victory in Happy Valley a component of that verdict as well. …
The last two teams out in the final projection are Princeton and Fairfield, two teams with strikingly similar resumes. If one of them does slide in, bank on Princeton. The Tigers’ RPI is better, as are (ever-so-slightly) their victories in the second 10. …
Losses count, too. Cornell would be in much better shape if it didn’t have to answer for a loss to Brown – and at home, no less. The Big Red can point to the value of head-to-head performance with regard to their defeat of Denver, but they would face the same argument in reverse against Princeton. It doesn’t look good for the folks in Ithaca. …
Ultimately, Drexel, Ohio State and Bucknell each went 0-4 against the top 10. Snag even one win, and each of them would be closer to the center of the conversation. …
Villanova beat four top-20 teams. The Wildcats also dropped four-goal decisions to Delaware and Providence. It’s not hard to argue their exclusion. …
Navy owns two top-10 wins and outplayed North Carolina for three quarters. It also lost to Jacksonville. If the committee still valued great wins over everything else, the Midshipmen might hear their name called. Navy’s computer numbers, though, all but ensure that won’t happen.
(1) ECAC/Loyola vs. METRO ATLANTIC/Canisius
(8) PATRIOT/Lehigh vs. Maryland
(4) North Carolina vs. Denver
(5) COLONIAL/Massachusetts vs. IVY/Yale
(3) Johns Hopkins vs. BIG EAST/Syracuse
(6) Virginia vs. Penn State
(2) Duke vs. AMERICA EAST/Stony Brook
(7) Notre Dame vs. Colgate
It’s going to be difficult to avoid three flights unless Maryland gets shipped to North Carolina for the first round. At the same time, that would take more liberty in unbalancing the bracket than the NCAA would be wise to take.
(Insert joke here about the wisdom of the NCAA).
In any case, here are the mileages for each of these trips, with teams more than 400 miles from a game site considered a flight by the NCAA’s rules.
Buffalo (Canisius) to Baltimore (Loyola): 377 miles
College Park (Maryland) to Bethlehem (Lehigh): 187 miles
Denver to Chapel Hill (North Carolina): 1,648 miles (FLIGHT)
New Haven (Yale) to Amherst (Massachusetts): 90 miles
Syracuse to Baltimore (Hopkins): 322 miles
University Park (Penn State) to Charlottesville: 258 miles
Stony Brook to Durham (Duke): 541 miles (FLIGHT)
Hamilton (Colgate) to South Bend (Notre Dame): 628 miles (FLIGHT)
There are a handful of distances just outside the 400-mile range, including Yale-to-Virginia (421 miles), Colgate-to-Virginia (449 miles), Penn State-to-Duke (456 miles), Syracuse-to-Virginia (459 miles) and Penn State-to-North Carolina (469 miles).
REGULAR SEASON REMATCH DATA
* This bracket includes only one regular-season rematch in the first round: Syracuse-Hopkins. That could easily be avoided by sending Syracuse to Massachusetts and Yale to Johns Hopkins.
NCAA TOURNAMENT REMATCH DATA
* Only two of these games would be rematches of any past NCAA tournament games.
* Colgate and Notre Dame played in the 2008 NCAA first round.
* Hopkins and Syracuse have met 12 times in the NCAA tournament, most recently the 2008 national title game.