When I talked with Georgetown lacrosse coach Dave Urick last week, I mentioned that plenty of quality programs —- Navy, Virginia, Duke, Princeton, Syracuse —- have had losing seasons this decade and turned things around fairly quickly.
At the time, his Hoyas were 5-6.
“You trying to make me feel good?” he quipped.
Well, that wasn’t the plan. And it might not be necessary after the Hoyas dumped Massachusetts 10-7 yesterday.
At 6-6, Georgetown doesn’t pass the eyeball test for a postseason team. But if the Hoyas were to beat Rutgers and Penn State —- both at home —- an NCAA tournament berth wouldn’t be impossible.
Take a look at the unofficial RPI and adjusted strength of schedule metrics, as provided by Laxpower.com. The Hoyas are 17th in the RPI, 14th in the strength of schedule. They also own a couple top-15 victories (at Maryland and UMass).
That’s a better profile than Colgate. Or Brown. Or Harvard. Or Navy.
And those teams are the competition for the final at-large spot.
No lacrosse coach is ever going to say the 16-team field is too big. But since the field expanded in 2003, it’s hard to say any truly deserving team was left out.
In fact, there have been some rather dubious field-fillers the last few years. In 2006, a Harvard team that beat Penn and Denver (themselves recipients of first-round pummelings) got the nod despite a 6-6 record. The Crimson promptly got routed at Syracuse.
Last season, a 10-6 Denver squad with decent RPI (18) and strength of schedule (10) numbers got in despite laying an egg in its conference tournament and beating only one remotely relevant team without the aid of altitude all season. The turnover-plagued Pioneers didn’t last long, losing at Maryland.
Denver’s stats don’t look that much unlike Georgetown’s. And as a result, it would come as no surprise if the Hoyas squeak their way into the field in another two weeks —- presuming, of course, they hold serve at home.
—- Patrick Stevens