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Syracuse women’s lacrosse: Updated NCAA Tournament at-large primer

SU’s quest continues, despite another loss.

NCAA Football: Louisville at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange women’s lacrosse team’s loss to North Carolina on Saturday dropped them from No. 16 to 19 in the IL Women Cascade Media Poll and from No. 15 to 16 in the IWLCA Coaches Poll this week.

Syracuse has two more games to go in the regular season against Boston College and Louisville. Rather than go through yet another iteration of the remaining games, I’m going to take a look at the overall conference situation in the ACC. As it stands right now, half of the eight seeds have been locked up and the remaining four will come down to a pair of games this coming weekend. Here is what the ACC Tournament looks like at this point:

1. Boston College (16-0, 6-0 ACC): The Eagles locked up the top spot in the ACC Tournament this weekend with their win over Virginia Tech.

2. North Carolina (11-3, 5-1 ACC): The Tar Heels secured the number two spot with their win over Syracuse this weekend.

3 & 4. To be determined: This one will come down to the Virginia (9-6, 4-2 ACC) vs. Virginia Tech (11-5, 4-2 ACC) game on Saturday. The winner would gain the three-seed while the loser gets the fourth. This one could be very interesting as the Hokies have won seven out of their last nine, with the only losses coming to North Carolina and Boston College by a total of three goals. Conversely, the Hoos have struggled as of late, losing four out of their last five with their lone win coming this past Saturday against Louisville.

5. Notre Dame (8-7, 3-4 ACC): The Irish gained this spot with their win over Duke on Sunday. They are finished with ACC play, although there is a non-conference game with San Diego State on Saturday.

6. Duke (7-7, 2-4 ACC): Duke has this spot due to their loss to Notre Dame on Sunday.

7 & 8. To be determined: Yep, it’s come down to the Louisville (6-9, 0-6) game on Sunday for Syracuse (8-7, 0-5). A win over Boston College could still bump SU to the bottom seed with a loss to Louisville due to head-to-head.

How do the Orange fare in the at-large situation for the NCAA Tournament? There were some changes within the conferences mentioned last week. Here’s an update:

(notes: IWLCA coaches poll is listed first followed by Cascade media, also “no bad losses” means no “WTF?!” losses to teams who will not make it into the NCAAT at this point... this will be tweaked a bit the closer we get to selection day)


(assuming a Boston College AQ)


  • North Carolina (11-3): No. 5/5; Key wins: Maryland, Northwestern; No bad losses. RPI: 3 | SOS: 1
  • Virginia (9-6): No. 12/17; Key wins: Princeton, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Duke; No bad losses. RPI: 14 | SOS: 2
  • Virginia Tech (11-5): No. 14/12; Key wins: Duke, Notre Dame, Syracuse; No bad losses. RPI: 16 | SOS: 15


  • Notre Dame (8-7): No. 20/20; Key wins: Syracuse, Duke; No bad losses. RPI: 27 | SOS: 26
  • Syracuse (8-7): No. 16/19; Key wins: Florida, Loyola; No bad losses. RPI: 23 | SOS: 3
  • Duke (7-7): No. 22/24; Key wins: Northwestern, Syracuse; No bad losses. RPI: 29 | SOS: 19

Quick notes: Notre Dame still has a game against San Diego State this weekend. If they win, they’ll be assured of being above .500. Duke has two games left against North Carolina and East Carolina (the latter is after the ACCT). A loss to UNC will require Duke to win at least one game in the ACCT to avoid mathematical elimination by finishing below .500. Syracuse has two games left against Boston College and Louisville. The Orange need to win at least one of these to be assured of finishing above .500.

Big East

(assumes a Florida AQ)


  • Georgetown (9-4): No. 23/21; Key wins: Johns Hopkins, Denver; No bad losses. RPI: 15 | SOS: 12
  • Denver (9-4): NR/NR; Key wins: Stanford, Colorado; Bad loss: Temple. RPI: 25 | SOS: 21

Quick notes: Georgetown has a big game against Loyola in a couple of weeks. A win there would certainly strengthen their resume. Denver has a big one against Florida this weekend, which could help them as well. The Hoyas have the head-to-head win over the Pioneers, which I think could be the difference. My guess is that the Big East sends only one at-large, if even that.

Big Ten

(assumes a Maryland AQ)


  • Northwestern (12-3): No. 7/7; Key wins: Penn, Penn State; No bad losses. RPI: 6 | SOS: 7
  • Penn State (9-5): No. 17/15; Key win: Virginia; No bad losses. RPI: 24 | SOS: 8


  • Johns Hopkins (8-6): No. 25/NR; Key win: Loyola; No bad losses. RPI: 19 | SOS: 9

Quick notes: Johns Hopkins still has three games left against Ohio State, Towson and Rutgers. I’m keeping them on the bubble, but leaning towards a lock. The Towson game can help their resume.

Colonial Athletic Association

(assumes a James Madison AQ)


  • Towson (12-2): No. 8/6; Key wins: Penn State, Florida; No bad losses. RPI: 9 | SOS: 14

Quick notes: Not much to say other than the Tigers will be in regardless of what happens at this point and they do have games against Johns Hopkins and James Madison left.

Ivy League

(assumes a Penn AQ)


  • Dartmouth (8-3): No. 23/16: Key win: Princeton; Bad loss: UMass (who could win the A10 AQ and are 11-3, but very much unranked). RPI: 11 | SOS: 28
  • Princeton (7-5): No. 18/20; Key win: Penn. State; No bad losses. RPI: 18 | SOS: 24

Quick notes: Dartmouth has four games left, but none of any real consequence. However, a loss in any of them, however, could definitely hurt their standing as they already have a not-so-great loss to UMass. Princeton, on the other hand has Penn left on their schedule. An upset there would definitely give them a boost. Both the Big Green and the Tigers could very well face each other in the opening round of the Ivy League Tournament with the winner getting an at-large prize. I don’t think this conference will field more than one team this year, but that could change in the next couple of weeks.


(either Stanford or Colorado likely to win AQ)


  • Colorado (11-4): No. 15/13; Key wins: Virginia Tech, Stanford (2x); No bad losses. RPI: 13 | SOS: 20
  • Stanford (12-4): No. 13/14; Key wins: Duke, USC (2x); No bad losses. RPI: 17 | SOS: 27
  • USC (8-7): No. 21/NR, Key wins: Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Colorado; Bad loss: Oregon. RPI: 22, SOS: 8

Quick notes: Wow, what a crazy conference. Just when I thought Stanford would move ahead, Colorado beats the Cardinal this weekend and will wind up with the top spot in the Pac-12 Tournament. Stanford will get the No. 2 seed while USC and Oregon (8-7) will most likely get the 3 and 4 seeds. As it stands, Oregon pretty much deep-sixed any chance to get into the at-large conversation by losing to Cal and Colorado. The loss to the Golden Bears was particularly galling as they are 6-10. USC is in trouble as well and could find itself on the outside looking in if they can’t get into the Pac-12 finals. I don’t think there is much margin for error here as this conference will probably send only one at-large.

Patriot League

(assumes a Loyola AQ)


Navy (11-3): No. 11/11; Key win: Virginia; No bad losses. RPI: 12 | SOS: 33

Quick notes: I said a couple weeks ago that Navy needed a win against either Loyola and/or Virginia if they wanted to see an at-large possibility. They got that needed win against UVA last week. For some really odd reason, the Midshipwomen are hovering just outside the top 10 even though they have the weakest SOS by far of any of the bubble teams (for that matter, why is Stony Brook no. 1 with a SOS of 26 instead of Boston College with an SOS of 16, or even Maryland?). Their biggest game left will (likely) be Loyola in the PLT finale. I think that they’ll probably have to get an AQ to get in at this point.

NCAA Tournament Picture

  • At Large Spots: 13
  • Total Locks: 6
  • Total Bubbles: 12 (although several of these might be eliminated mathematically)

Projected NCAAT Seeding: (where would SU go if they get in?)

  1. Maryland
  2. Boston College
  3. Stony Brook
  4. James Madison
  5. Florida
  6. North Carolina
  7. Northwestern
  8. Penn

Syracuse has only four bubble teams behind them in RPI, which is not good and two of them are Duke and Notre Dame — two teams that beat them already. However, they have a No. 3 SOS, which the committee does take into consideration and should help the Orange a bit. SU also has a pair of top 10 victories (Florida, Loyola), which none of the other bubble teams can claim. Again, this should help SU. At this point, I’d say that we’re barely in but we definitely won’t be seeded. But we need to get at least one more win to feel a lot better about our prospects.