Sunday, May 1, 2011

Updated Bracketology (5/1/11)

There's one week to go in the college lacrosse season, and we're really starting to see the bracket take form. Most of the at-large selections are locked down now, and a lot of the seeding is pretty set in stone as well. Let's take a look.

As always, these rankings are based on where teams are projected to finish, not necessarily where they stand now.

No. 1 Syracuse vs. Siena (AQ)
No. 8 Virginia vs. Villanova

No. 5 Maryland vs. Hofstra
No. 4 Johns Hopkins vs. Penn

No. 3 Cornell (AQ) vs. Stony Brook (AQ)
No. 6 Denver (AQ) vs. Massachusetts (AQ)

No. 7 Duke vs. North Carolina
No. 2 Notre Dame vs. Bucknell (AQ)

Last two in: Penn, North Carolina
First two out: Army, Loyola

Guess what? Mount St. Mary's is out. Not because of anything they did wrong, but because the Mount moved to the NEC this season and I failed to realize that conference does not have an automatic bid. That opens up a new at-large spot, which Penn or North Carolina is happy to accept.

I stuck by Yale for much of this season, arguing the Bulldogs deserved to have a spot. But Yale lost to Penn head to head and its crushing loss to Harvard to end the regular season all but puts them out of contention. Their best win this year is against Georgetown, who is below .500. Not good enough.

Penn's loss to a Bratton-less UVA hurts as well, but the Quakers have huge wins over Duke and Bucknell, and finish second in the Ivy League for the regular season. They might need to make the Ivy Tournament finals to clinch it, but the Quakers should get into the dance.

The final at-large spot is literally up for grabs. If Army beats Hopkins this week, the Black Knights will almost certainly get into the field. If Yale, UMass, Loyola or Penn State advance to their conference tournament championship games, they will all have a strong argument. The guess here - and it really is nothing more than a guess at this point - is that UMass actually makes a run and takes the Colonial title. Hofstra would wrap up an at-large spot and there will be one less spot on the table.

Oh, and UNC gets in even after it loses to Notre Dame this week. The bottom of the field is too weak, and UNC does have a better resume than anyone on the outside, as sad as that may seem.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Updated Lacrosse Bracketology (4/24/11)

It's been a wild two weeks since the last bracketology. A lot has changed, but a lot has stayed the same.

No. 1 Syracuse vs. Siena (AQ)
No. 8 Virginia vs. Villanova

No. 5 Maryland vs. Stony Brook (AQ)
No. 4 Johns Hopkins vs. Mount St. Mary's (AQ)

No. 3 Cornell (AQ) vs. Hofstra (AQ)
No. 6 Denver (AQ) vs. Yale

No. 7 Duke vs. North Carolina
No. 2 Notre Dame vs. Bucknell (AQ)

Last two in: Yale, North Carolina
First two out: Massachusetts, Army

The Cornell upset at Syracuse wreaked a little havoc, but the Orange can still secure the No. 1 seed with a win over Notre Dame next week. Meanwhile the Irish should finish no worse than second, with just one loss on the season projected. Cornell and Hopkins each control the other top seeds with their strong finishes to the season.

Maryland's ACC tournament victory gets it the highest seed possible with its three losses, and Denver likely slots in right behind based on its head-to-head win over Duke. The Blue Devils and UVA take the last two seeds based on reputation and the annual ACC bump.

As far as the lower tier goes, the gap between those in and out is widening by the day. Villanova gets in despite not having a signature victory, but having a consistent body of work. As long as Yale gets to the Ivy League final, the Bulldogs should nab one of the last at large bids with a 12-3 record and some decent wins. The last spot likely goes to UNC, who could finish with six losses but sneak into the tournament based on its RPI. If any of the "locks" like Bucknell, Hofstra or Denver slip up in their conference tournament, the Tar Heels could be on the outside looking in on Selection Sunday.

Right now, UMass sits on the wrong side of the bubble after losing to Hofstra this week. The Minutemen need to win their conference tourney or get some serious help to make the field. The winner of the Army/Colgate Patriot League tournament game has a shot as well, but they'll likely need to knock off Bucknell in the final to get in.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

This can be my next tweet

Got this autogenerated from "This can be my next tweet."

Post Standard: Malcolm Cater accused of credit from my point line for tiger tomorrow. Thanks ...

Don't know what it means, but it made me laugh, when I needed it a lot following last night's lacrosse beatdown.

Fun site ... other gems:

NCAA Lacrosse primer - why you mean. SU fan. You're real tough. Nomar just did not die? That was traded.

Resavy just talking about jousting?? How do these guys the exercise bike I've been watching the most.

Just got kicked off two teams will return to dunk on the end of the dagger there. No FGs please.

Joel white gets old // John Adams: The ocean is indisputable now. Second time someone led off the last.

-The ocean is, indeed, indisputable.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

SU vs. Cornell: 3 Players to watch

Syracuse faces one of its last big tests of the season tonight when the Orange host Cornell at the Carrier Dome. Here are some key players to keep an eye on for SU.

Junior attack Tim Desko needs to find his scoring touch again
 Tim Desko
Where have you gone Timmy? The junior attack was cruising through the early part of the season, but has tallied just one goal in the last four games. Desko has been suffocated by defenses who seem to have adjusted to his game, allowing Stephen Keough to re-emerge as a scorer. Tonight would be a great time for him to snap out of his funk.

Josh Amidon
Guess what? Amidon has broken out of his slump and is finding different ways to score. The senior often relies on his long-range bomb but in each of the last two games, he's opened up the scoring with a goal from the doorstep. If Amidon can begin to contribute in different areas, it will open up lanes for his outside shot, which has eluded him for most of the year.

Brian Megill
You would think Megill would be a little more mature in his sophomore season, especially having played every game as a freshman. The defenseman earned two dumb penalties Saturday against Princeton and it's starting to become a trend. Megill leads the team in caused turnovers (15), but he also leads the team in penalties (9) and penalty minutes (7:30). Lack of discipline is one of the few ways Syracuse could lose to an inferior team, and Megill could be responsible for that.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lacrosse Bracketology (Updated, 4/11)

***Note: This is not a reflection of where teams sit today, but where I project them to be at season's end***

***Note 2: This post was updated when I realized a few errors in predicting future results. Denver is added as a seeded team and Hofstra falls off the seed line. This also affected matchups due to geography***

There were a few shakeups to the lacrosse bracketology this week. Duke's loss to Denver alters the top of the bracket, while some teams that looked like contenders turned into pure, unadulterated pretenders. Let's take a look ...

No. 1 Syracuse vs. Siena (AQ)
No. 8 Denver (AQ) vs. Hofstra (AQ)

No. 5 Virginia vs. Stony Brook (AQ)
No. 4 Duke vs. Villanova

No. 3 Notre Dame vs. Bucknell (AQ)
No. 6 Maryland vs. North Carolina

No. 7 Cornell (AQ) vs. Massachusetts
No. 2 Hopkins vs. Mount St. Mary's (AQ)

Last two in: Villanova, Massachusetts
First two out: Yale, Army

The biggest winners this week are likely Yale and UMass, who were nowhere near the tournament last week, and both could end up with at large spots by the end of the season. For now, the edge goes to the Minutemen, who have racked up quality wins over Army, Ohio State and Brown. The Bulldogs are right on their heels though.

With Bucknell’s win over Army, the Bison take the Patriot League AQ spot for now. Bucknell also puts itself in the driver’s seat for an at-large bid if it stumbles in the PL tournament with another quality victory on its resume.

Army likely drops out of the tournament picture for now, but the Black Knights will have their chances to creep back in. With a game left against Johns Hopkins and the Patriot League tournament still on the schedule, Army could very possibly make its way back into the picture.

Penn and Delaware both played themselves out of tournament contention with losses to Brown and Villanova, respectively. Likewise, Villanova is now solidly in the tournament, and can possibly lose one more and still hold onto an at-large bid.

As far as seeding goes, Duke drops to fourth as its fourth loss will be too much to keep ahead of a one-loss Notre Dame or Syracuse. I still think the Blue Devils run the table in the ACC though, and finish with a high seed.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mid-Season Lacrosse All Americans

Inside Lacrosse released its mid-season All America list this week. Unfortunately they decided to follow the Big East formula for putting waaaayyy too many players on an All America team. Over here we like to actually follow rules of the game, and put 10 guys on the team - with three "specialists" coming off the bench. Take a look at both teams, and let me know if you disagree with any of the selections in the comments.

First Team
Jeremy Boltus – A, Army
Steele Stanwick – A, Virginia
Rob Pannel – A, Cornell
Kevin Crowley – M, Stony Brook
Jovan Miller – M, Syracuse
John Ranagan – M, Johns Hopkins
John Lade – D, Syracuse
Kevin Ridgway – D, Notre Dame
Tucker Durkin – D, Johns Hopkins
Pierce Basset – G, Johns Hopkins

Brian Karalunas – LSM, Villanova
Matt Dolente – FO, Johns Hopkins
Kevin Drew – SSD, Syracuse

First team analysis
The three attacks are pretty easy to decide. These guys score in multiple ways with great vision and passing and all three can finish. Easy call here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Lacrosse Bracketology

We're about a month away from the beginning of the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament, so I thought it would be fun to play Joe Lunardi and try to predict this year's field.

This is not a reflection of where teams stand now, but where I predict them to be at season's end. There are many games remaining and there will certainly be unpredicted upsets. Conference tournament games will also affect AQs and seeding, and those are hard to predict.

But let's take a stab at the field for now and see how it stacks up later on in May.

No. 1 Syracuse vs. Siena (AQ)
No. 8 Hofstra (AQ) vs. Stony Brook (AQ)

No. 5 Virginia vs. Villanova
No. 4 Notre Dame vs. Bucknell

No. 3 Duke vs. Denver (AQ)
No. 6 Maryland vs. North Carolina

No. 7 Cornell (AQ) vs. Army (AQ)
No. 2 Hopkins vs. Mount St. Mary's (AQ)

Last two in: Villanova, Bucknell
First two out: Penn, Delaware

There are basically three at-large spots up for grabs, going to North Carolina, Villanova and Bucknell. UNC is likely a lock because the phony ACC and conference tournament will boost the Tar Heels' strength of schedule.

As long as Bucknell takes care of the rest of the Patriot League - except for Army - the Bison should get in with some good quality wins and tough schedule.

Villanova controls its own destiny, with big games coming up against Delaware and Georgetown. But if the Wildcats drop one, their resume is likely not as good as their record suggests.

Penn can sneak in with a strong finish in the Ivy League and a slip up by Bucknell or Villanova. Delware can also get in if it upsets the Wildcats this week and runs the table in the regular season.

It's hard to seed the ACC with a potential for a three-way tie for second in the fake coference. Plus, the committee loves to prop up the teams' artificially inflated RPIs in the seeding. I wouldn't be shocked if UNC got a seed and ND fell to No. 5 or 6 - even with just one loss ... to the No. 1 team in the nation.