- The Washington Times - Friday, May 4, 2007

The five-man NCAA lacrosse selection committee won’t have some old standbys to choose from this weekend in Indianapolis. And in a way, it might just make the group’s job just a bit easier.

Syracuse, which has clinched its first losing season since 1975, won’t be on the board. Neither will Army, a team usually lurking on the fringe of tournament discussion stuck with a sub-.500 record. Hofstra, last year’s No. 3 seed, went 6-8.

In order to qualify for an at-large berth, a team must have a winning record.

Even Massachusetts, a finalist last year, is a shaky commodity. The Minutemen are 7-6 with no victories over teams with a winning record entering the weekend.

“Just forecasting ahead based on what I see right now, if people hold court so to speak, the bigger issue will be getting the field planted in the fairest possible way,” said Butler associate athletic director Jon Hind, the committee chairman. “I’m not sure the headaches will come from figuring out who the 16 teams are.”

The area will be well represented when the field is unveiled tomorrow night. Georgetown (ECAC) and Navy (Patriot) already possess automatic berths, and both Virginia and Maryland are safely in the field.

By the time the committee convenes tonight when coaches Dave Cottle (Maryland) and Scott Marr (Albany) arrive in Indianapolis, only three regular season games will remain. Even so, there will not be a rush to fill out the field.

“We will have some general conversations, but we are not selecting the field until Sunday,” Hind said. “Even if we have a darn good idea on Saturday, I’m a big believer in having a lot of thoughts and compartmentalizing those thoughts and going to bed and seeing where you end up in the morning.”

The committee again will be limited to flying no more than two teams to first-round games, although teams will be permitted to bus 350 miles, up from 325 miles last year. The field is unlikely to have two western representatives, as it did last year.

Hind said those differences probably will permit the committee to come closer to a true 1-through-16 seeding than last year, when travel limitations forced unbeaten Virginia to face a Notre Dame team clearly not the weakest in the tournament.

A league-by-league breakdown entering the final weekend:

• America East (1-2): Tonight’s Albany-UMBC winner will earn a berth, and the loser might get in, too. Albany won at Johns Hopkins and owns several other solid victories, while UMBC has won six straight games and played a solid nonconference schedule.

• ACC (4): All four ACC teams will make the field for the first time since 1998. Duke and Virginia likely are top-four seeds, while Maryland and North Carolina could play host to first-round games.

• Colonial (1-2): Towson (9-5), which might have the schedule strength for an at-large bid anyway, plays host to Delaware (10-5) tonight with an automatic berth at stake. Drexel (11-5) lost to Delaware on Wednesday but owns a victory at Virginia.

• ECAC (2-3): Georgetown is already in and Loyola probably is safe for its first berth since 2001. Massachusetts needs to both upend Rutgers and receive some help.

• GWLL (1): Notre Dame locked up the automatic bid last week. A weak RPI and strength of schedule and no notable victories should keep Ohio State out of play.

• Independent (1): Johns Hopkins (8-4) will reach its 36th straight tournament and perhaps be a top-four seed. Syracuse (5-7) will miss the postseason for the first time since 1982.

• Ivy (2-3): After last year’s surprising four-bid effort, anything could happen. Cornell is the nation’s only unbeaten team and could be the No. 1 seed, while Princeton should be in the mix for a home game. Yale (7-5) probably requires a victory at Maryland to earn a look.

• MAAC (1): The winner of this weekend’s conference tournament will be the league’s lone NCAA rep.

• Patriot (1-2): Navy has earned an automatic berth for the fourth straight season. The Patriot might be a one-bid league again, but Colgate could slip in with a victory at Syracuse.

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