College Lax Bracketology

Sunday at 8:30pm on ESPNU the NCAA Tournament Men’s Lax Field will be announced. The field will be comprised of 16 teams of which 6 will be known as they will be earned via Automatic Qualifiers, winning their Conference Tournaments. The Conferences receiving Automatic Qualifiers are:

ECAC, Patriot League, America East, CAA, MAAC and the Ivy.

Denver (ECAC) and Army (Patriot) have already stamped their dance card.  That leaves 14 spots to be decided.

AMERICA EAST CONFERENCE

The America East Championship is Saturday between Albany and Stony Brook. Stony Brook has been solid all season and should get an At Large berth if they lose in the Championship game. However, no other team in America East is deserving of an At Large bid, meaning Albany must win to get in.

PREDICTION: Stony Brook is too good. They get the bid.           BUBBLE: No Bubble Teams

MAAC CONFERENCE

The MAAC looks like another 1 bid league. The tournament starts friday with Mount St Mary’s taking on Manhatten College and Siena will face Marist. I’d bet on the backet shaking out chalk with top seeded Siena facing second-seeded Mount St Mary’s. The two teams played a thrilling 8-7 game in the regular season with Siena getting the better end of the stick. Siena’s got one of the best goalies in the country in Brent Herbst and he’ll help Siena in another close one.

PREDICTION: Siena Automatic Qualifier                                        BUBBLE: No Bubble.

PATRIOT LEAGUE

Army locked up the AQ by winning the Conference. Bucknell (8-6) and Lafayette (8-6) are ranked by Lax Power, a highly respected site that uses mathematical formula’s including team strength of schedule and RPI to determine a power ranking, at 10th and 23rd. I’m a proponent of Lax Power but who did Bucknell beat this year? No one impressive if you ask me.

PREDICTION: Army won AQ                                                                      BUBBLE: No Bubble

CAA

The CAA has 4 teams with strong cases for NCAA Tourny inclusion in Towson, Hostra, Delaware and Drexel. Towson and Delaware will battle it out Saturday for the Conferences Automatic Qualifier. Hofsra and Drexel actually have the stronger At Large cases than the teams in the Championship game and the CAA will almost definately not get 4 teams in. 

PREDICTION: Delaware wins the championship

BUBBLE: Hofstra, Drexel, Towson

ECAC

Lax Power has Loyola ranked 7th, a little high, but wins over Towson and Georgetown but the on the bubble.

PREDICTION: Denver won the AQ

BUBBLE: Loyola

IVY

For the first time ever the IVY regular season was shared by 4 teams. After a series of tie breakers, Cornell earned the right to host and will take on Brown in the semi’s. Princeton will face Yale in the other semi. Look for Princeton and Cornell to advance.  Cornell is probably in the NCAA field no matter what, Princeton too, but they’d feel a whole lot more comfortable with a win.

PREDICTION:Cornell is at home and thats the difference

BUBBLE: Princeton

Big East

Being a new conference, the Big East wont get an AQ until 2012 but that doesn’t mean Syracuse isn’t a lock to make the field. Georgetown has failed to get that “resume builder” of a win. Villanova did beat drexel. Notre Dame has wins over Duke, Loyola and Denver on their resume but have stuggled mightily down the stretch. They have all done enough though to merit consideration. 

PREDICTION: Syracuse                                                                                             BUBBLE: Georgetown, Villanova, Notre Dame

ACC

The ACC doesn’t have enough teams to receive an AQ but its the best Conference in College Lacrosse. I wont waste any time here, it’s just a matter of seedings, cause they’re all in the field.

PREDICTION: Virginia, UNC, Maryland and Duke

Independents

Bryant recently beat Yale and has a win over tournament team Army. They suffered 1 goal losses to UNC and Stony Brook, and a 2 goal loss t0 Brown. I don’t like to talk about close losses though, it’s all about who you beat. They also beat Robert Morris, a fellow independent, and because of that loss I’m knocking Robert Morris off the bubble. Also notable in the field of independents is Johns Hopkins, who plays a killer schedule, but pending a game against #8 Loyola this weekend can finish no better than .500. This will likely be only the second time in school history they don’t make the tourny.

BUBBLE: Bryant

There you have it, 6 AQ’s (Denver, Army, Cornell, Stony Brook, Delaware and Siena), 5 more locks (Virginia, UNC, Maryland, Duke and Syracuse), leaving 5 At-Large spots for at least 9 bubble teams (Bryant, G-Town, Nova, Princeton, Loyola, Hofsra, Drexel and Towson) with Johns Hopkins and Bucknell long spots as two more teams in the discussion.

Bottom Line is that some very good teams will be left out. Check back tomorrow for who the Cannons Blog picks as the final field.

Of the 9 Bubble Teams and 2 Long shots, who do you think will fill the 5 At-Large berths?

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