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April 29, 2015 — Bracketology 2015

This coming weekend is the last weekend of women’s lacrosse before the 26 teams comprising the NCAA Division I bracket are known.

Thirteen members of the field will be champions of their conference tournaments, with 13 more being at-large teams.

At this moment, the only automatics in the tournament are Syracuse, the champions of the ACC, and Loyola, the champions of the Patriot League.

Of the other 11 conferences tournaments being contested this weekend, the only intrigue for most of them is which team wins the AQ, since most of the conferences won’t send an at-large team.

So, what’s going to happen in the at-large ranks? Well, let’s start with the two conferences which have already had their conference tournaments. I believe the ACC will go five teams deep, with Boston College, Duke, Virginia, and North Carolina joining Syracuse. In the Patriot, the Naval Academy has a decent resume, but has a Ratings Percentage Index that is just 33rd amongst all Division I teams.

Similarly, I think the Northeast Conference, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, the Metro Atlantic, the Big South, the Atlantic Sun, the Big East, and the Atlantic 10 will only send their champions to the tournament.

Under this scenario, there are nine remaining at-large teams for four conferences. The Big Ten, I think, will send three teams to the dance. They could send four, depending on whether Ohio State or Northwestern, or both, make the championship game.

This leaves a lot of intrigue in the final three conferences: the Ivy League, the Colonial, and the America East. Each of these conferences have two teams in the national Top 20 in RPI ratings.

Depending on how Penn and Princeton finish in the Ivy League; Hofstra and James Madison finish in the Colonial; and Stony Brook and Albany finish in America East, they could all make it into the NCAA Tournament. But if one or more fails to make it into their conference championship game, there is one team which could make it into the tournament without ever having to play a conference tournament match.

That team is Johns Hopkins, which is ranked 21st in RPI ratings playing an independent schedule. The 13-3 Blue Jays have a game at Duke this Sunday which, if they are able to win, could pull their RPI to take that final at-large bid.

Then again, this is all speculation; I wouldn’t want to be in that room, would you?

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