Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

May 8, 2017 — Bracketology 2017, the aftermath

Last night’s unveiling of the 2017 NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse tournament field left some long-time observers — including your Founder — a bit perplexed.

For last evening, a number of bubbles burst when it came to teams which were located somewhere around 21st or 22nd when it came to Ratings Percentage Index, that formula which takes into account your record, the record of your opponents, and the record of your opponents’ opponents.

The biggest burst bubble had to have been that of Johns Hopkins University. The Blue Jays were 19th in RPI, had an 11-7 record, and were 3-3 in their last six games. One of the three losses was a game when they scored 16 times against the No. 1 team in all the land. (Problem is, Maryland scored 19.)

Compare that tournament resume to Louisville, ranked No. 31 in RPI, also had an 11-7 record, and were 2-4 in their last six games. Louisville defeated bubble team Duke (which finished below .500 and were ineligible for the tournament) and lost to fellow bubble team Denver earlier this season in a triple-OT thriller.

What gives? Perhaps the single most overlooked of the five ratings criteria used by the NCAA Tournament Committee: significant wins and losses.

If nothing else, Louisville’s 9-8 win over Syracuse on Apr. 22 had to have been the key to the entire puzzle. Syracuse is a Top 5 side, and Hopkins did not have a win of that quality this season.

Another team with an argument had to have been Loyola. The Greyhounds may have been 0-6 to start the season, but finished with an 11-8 record. Even with a loss to Navy in the Patriot League final, Loyola maintained a lofty 21st in RPI rankings. But the one loss smack in the middle of Loyola’s season was a 16-11 loss to Syracuse.

When you think about it, the Orange seemed to be the one comparison school used by the committee to figure out which teams made it and which teams didn’t. Given the fact that S.U. played 15 games this season against teams making it to the tournament, it’s a pretty good benchmark.

But that still doesn’t diminish the hurt on the part of the bubble teams.



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