- Chris Jastrzembski
2023 College Lacrosse Bracketology 2.0: Two teams tumble, Big Ten capitalizes
We've played 314 of 510 regular season games so far, roughly 61.6%. We're about to enter April, which means with each week, the postseason picture becomes that much clearer.
By the weekend concludes, everyone will have played at least one conference game. For many teams in college lacrosse, their record in conference play matters the most. This is in reality the season for teams like Bryant or Delaware. Reach the conference tournament and you have a chance to play into May.
Take a look at what I forecasted last week to compare with what you're about to see. And as a reminder to check out the primer I wrote earlier.
Nine out of the 10 Division I men's lacrosse conferences have automatic qualification status, down from 10 AQ conferences last season. Due to having fewer than the minimum six teams, the ACC does not have an AQ and also does not have a conference tournament.
We'll also return to one preliminary round game between the two lowest-ranked, automatic qualifying teams as determined by the Division I National Committee, regardless of conference RPI. The winner will take on the #1 overall seed.
Notre Dame was the top team in terms of RPI last week. But with the loss to Virginia, does that change? Who else moved up or down?
Automatic Qualifiers 2.0
Since most conferences either haven't begun conference play or haven't played many conference games, we'll take the top team from each conference based on who has the higher RPI. RPI and Strength of Schedule data will come courtesy of Lacrosse Reference (all data entering March 31). When we get deeper into conference play, we’ll revert to the team with the best conference record.
AQ Changes: Maryland takes over the Big Ten AQ from Penn State, Denver takes over the Big East AQ from Villanova, Manhattan takes over the MAAC AQ from Marist
At-Large Candidates 2.0
Eight more teams will be picked to join the nine automatic qualifiers. Those teams must have a record of .500 or better. Those eight teams will probably come all from the ACC, Big Ten, and the Ivy League. The Big East could also get an at-large bid.
The Biggest Losers
If you remember last week, Yale had an RPI of four and Villanova held the hypothetical Big East AQ with an RPI of eight. Both lost over the past week and each team dropped nine spots respectively.
Yale lost to Princeton last weekend and got dealt and even worse blow when Villanova lost to Brown on Monday. That was a top 10 win that decreased to a top 20 win. Along with their own loss to Brown, Villanova saw Penn State lose to Maryland which decreases that top five win to a top 10 win. Villanova begins Big East play this week against St. John's, but their at-large hopes are hanging by a thread.
The winners from the weekend don't have as significant increases as Villanova and Yale had decreases, but they are notable. Ohio State climbed up from 16 into the top 10 in RPI while Georgetown moved from 17 up to 12. Virginia went up from seven to three. Johns Hopkins also climbed into the top five after ranking ninth last week.
Bracketology Prediction 2.0
Before unveiling this week's prediction, here's the selection criteria directly from the Pre-Championship manual:
Eligibility and availability of student-athletes for NCAA championship
Win-loss record (must be at least .500 and have played at least 10 games against Division I opponents)
Results of the RPI:
Record against ranked teams 1-5; 6-10; 11-15; 16-20; 21+
Average RPI win (average RPI of all wins)
Average RPI loss (average RPI of all losses)
Results versus common opponents
Significant wins and losses (wins against teams ranked higher in the RPI and losses against teams ranked lower in the RPI)
Locations of contests
Additionally, input is provided by the regional advisory committee for consideration by the Division I Men’s Lacrosse Committee. Coaches’ polls and/or any other outside polls or rankings are not used by the committee for selection purposes.
For another week, here we go...
Last Two In: Ohio State, Rutgers First Four Out: Yale, Georgetown, Army West Point, Villanova
This week's edition is not the most ideal one in terms of travel. Committee tries to limit air travel and this edition has three flights.
I also buried the lede that the Big Ten is a five-bid league, as of now. But hey, a Denver-Johns Hopkins matchup with Bill Tierney returning to where he started his Division I coaching career would be something.
Let's see what we get next week.