- The Washington Times - Monday, May 8, 2006

Virginia’s installation as the No. 1 seed in this month’s NCAA tournament was expected. Nearly everything else about last night’s selection announcement was not.

The Cavaliers (13-0) predictably took the top spot in the 16-team field, while Maryland claimed the No. 2 seed. Georgetown, which won the ECAC regular season, plummeted to the No. 8 seed and will play host to Navy on Sunday.

Hofstra, which was ranked No. 2 for the final month of the regular season, fell to the No. 3 seed. Defending champ Johns Hopkins is the No. 4 seed.

Virginia, which completed its first perfect regular season, will meet surprise at-large pick Notre Dame (10-4). With a win, the Cavaliers will face Georgetown or Navy at Towson in the quarterfinals May 21.

“I think we’re quite proud to be the No. 1 seed,” Virginia coach Dom Starsia said. “It may not have been a surprise at the end of the day, but I think we’re quite proud of our regular season. Of course we realize that as of this moment, it doesn’t matter what we did in the regular season. It’s a blank slate for everyone.”

Georgetown (10-2) will make its 10th consecutive tournament appearance and meet a familiar foe. The Hoyas defeated Navy 9-5 on April 1 and will need to do so again to reach their fifth straight quarterfinal.

“I’d say it is a little bit interesting to sort out,” Georgetown coach Dave Urick said. “The committee changes their focus sometimes. The emphasis changes, and I’m not sure exactly what you read into this one.”

Navy (11-3) won the Patriot League for the third straight season and added a victory over Maryland, but a schedule ranked 32nd of 57 teams helped send the Midshipmen on the road.

“We pretty much figured we were going to play Georgetown,” Navy coach Richie Meade said. “As far as our deal is concerned, I thought we would be anywhere from 7 to 10. It doesn’t surprise me where we are.”

Maryland (10-4) capitalized on its fine RPI (4) and strength of schedule (3), as well as victories over Georgetown and Johns Hopkins to earn a first-round date with tournament newcomer Denver (12-4) on Saturday. The Terps will meet either seventh-seeded Princeton or America East champ Maryland-Baltimore County on May 21 at Towson if they advance to the quarterfinals.

“You feel good that your schedule was recognized,” Maryland coach Dave Cottle said. “People recognize how tough a schedule we play. We had some quality wins and were rewarded for such a difficult schedule.”

Without the presence of preseason No. 1 Duke, which canceled its season last month in the wake of rape accusations against three players, the selection committee was left some at-large berths for some teams that might not always merit serious consideration. That helped Notre Dame and Harvard (6-6), which will visit Syracuse in its first NCAA appearance since 1996.

That winner will play either Hopkins or Penn in the quarterfinals. The other quadrant of the bracket includes Hofstra-Providence and Cornell-Massachusetts.

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