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Archive for May 8, 2023

May 8, 2023 — Whose bubble burst in Division I?

Yesterday, I made some opinions about who would make the 2023 Division I women’s lacrosse bracket.

There were 29 teams total, 15 conference champions and 14 at-large bids.

I think I made a pretty good set of choices. My top three seeds were the same as the committee: Northwestern, Syracuse, and Boston College.

I had four out of the five other seeded teams: North Carolina, Denver, Florida, and Loyola. The only one I didn’t get was Maryland, and it was James Madison who took a Top Eight seeding.

Maryland’s seeding is, I think, a product not necessarily because of its play on the field, but because of reconstruction at the Lacrosse & Field Hockey Complex (yep, we’re calling it that) and the fact that the NCAA has the Maryland men’s team hosting Army on Saturday at the school’s football stadium, which had been shared with the women during the regular season.

After the close of play at around 2:20 p.m. yesterday afternoon, we had 15 automatic qualifiers, meaning that we needed 14 at-large bids to close out our bracket. We had all of them except one: we didn’t have Drexel making the tournament.

Our back-of-the-envelope calculations had Massachusetts, Army West Point, Johns Hopkins, and Marquette as the last four teams in. Our last four out were Villanova, Drexel, Yale, and the U.S. Naval Academy.

So, who’s bubble burst? For me, it was Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights, part of one of the two finest women’s lacrosse conferences in Division I, started brightly, but lost seven of eight games starting the last week of February. Wins over Stony Brook and Ohio State late in the season and over Johns Hopkins in the Big Ten Tournament regrettably were not enough to save this team from an 8-9 overall record, and ineligibility for the tournament.

It remains a fact that the team with the sixth toughest strength of schedule in the country didn’t make the show, but it all depends on what you do with that strength of schedule that determines a team’s ultimate fate.