Bracketology: Predicting the 2021 NCAA Men's Division I Lacrosse Tournament
We have played a total of eight Division I men's lacrosse games. Eight.
So let's do a very early version of bracketology! Why not.
For obvious reasons, this will just be a prediction of what I think the NCAA Tournament will look like, and there's still a ton of questions left to be answered.
Let's start off with the one that will lead into the other. What's going on with the Ivy League? They still haven't officially made a decision on the season, but we do know that Yale has opted out of the season. That currently leaves six programs in the conference, including Harvard and Princeton (who don't have a number of players), Cornell (who have a "group of players" not playing this year), and Brown, Dartmouth, and Penn. The latter three have had no significant news since the fall began and even have 2021 rosters posted on their respective websites.
In the end, I don't think the Ivy League will be participating in the spring. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see Ivy League presidents moving forward with spring competition. They'll focus on a normal fall sports season, but it comes at the cost of spring athletes losing another season of competition.
Which leads us to our second question: How would the field look if the Ivy League doesn't play?
As of now, there's nine automatic qualifiers out of 10 conferences (the ACC has five teams, one short of an AQ). The remaining eight spots are for at-large teams. It would make sense to eliminate the spot that would be for the Ivy League's AQ and have the field set for 16 teams this year. That would also eliminate the play-in game, which would be very helpful for this season.
Finally, what will be the criteria that the selection committee will use for selecting and seeding teams? Most conferences are playing some nonconference games, but the Big Ten and the MAAC are sticking to conference-only play. That would make using the RPI, SOS, and other factors extremely difficult to use to compare everyone.
The eye test could be the easiest way to decide teams, but that should be avoided at all costs. I don't think the eye test will be used. College hockey is in the same boat, with everyone playing a conference-only schedule this season. A decision will be made, and it'll result in at least one team mad about being left out of the NCAA Tournament.
So with all of that, here's who I think will make the NCAA Tournament in 2021:
America East: Stony Brook Seawolves
Big East: Georgetown Hoyas
Big Ten: Maryland Terrapins
CAA: UMass Minutemen
MAAC: Marist Red Foxes
NEC: Bryant Bulldogs
Patriot League: Army West Point Black Knights
SoCon: Richmond Spiders
Denver Pioneers (Big East)
Duke Blue Devils (ACC)
North Carolina Tar Heels (ACC)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (ACC)
Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten)
Penn State Nittany Lions (Big Ten)
Syracuse Orange (ACC)
Virginia Cavaliers (ACC)
Last 2 Teams In
Ohio State Buckeyes
First 2 Teams Out
Lehigh Mountain Hawks
#1 Duke v Bryant
#2 Maryland v Marist
#3 Virginia v Richmond
#4 Syracuse v Stony Brook
#5 North Carolina v UMass
#6 Penn State v Denver
#7 Notre Dame v Ohio State
#8 Georgetown v Army West Point
Looking forward to laughing at this in early May.