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Syracuse women’s lacrosse: Final look at NCAA Tournament bubble

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The Orange’s situation is looking fairly positive as conference tournaments wrap up.

2014 NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Championship Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

We’re in the final weekend before the NCAA selection committee decides which women’s lacrosse teams head to the dance and who will stay home. The Syracuse Orange continues to sit comfortably in the pool and should get an invite as an at-large bid. Half of the automatic qualifiers are all set, but there are seven more that will be decided on Sunday.

Automatic Qualifiers

  • ACC: North Carolina (15-3)
  • Atlantic Sun: Jacksonville (16-3)
  • Big East: Florida (16-3)
  • MAAC: Fairfield (13-6)
  • Pac-12: Stanford (15-4)
  • NEC: Wagner (13-5)
  • Southern: Mercer (9-10)

Sunday Finals

America East

Championship: 1. Stony Brook (19-0) vs. 2. Albany (9-8)

Projected AQ: Stony Brook

The Seawolves have dominated the America East all year long and it’s hard to see how that will suddenly change in this tournament. The Great Danes have finished strong after an 0-7 start to make it to the final.

Atlantic 10

Championship: 1. UMass (14-4) vs. 2. Richmond (15-3)

Projected AQ: Richmond

Both of these teams have done well towards the end of the regular season and any game between these two teams are generally pretty close. This one could go either way (regular season matchup went to the Minutewomen, 17-13) but I have a feeling that the Spiders are due.

Big South

Championship: 1. High Point (16-2) vs. 3. Winthrop (14-5)

Projected AQ: High Point

The Panthers finished undefeated in the regular season, but Winthrop could give them a challenge as this was only a 16-14 win a couple of weeks ago.

Big Ten

Championship: 1. Maryland (17-1) vs. 3. Penn State (10-8)

Projected AQ: Maryland

Although the Terrapins will probably get the AQ, the big news is the Nittany Lions’ upset of Northwestern in the 1st Round on Friday night. The win gets Penn. State. out of the danger zone following their loss to Michigan at the end of the season.

Colonial

Championship: 1. James Madison (17-1) vs. 2. Towson (15-3)

Projected AQ: James Madison or Towson... pick ‘em

These two teams played to overtime last weekend in the regular season and this one could literally go either way.

Ivy League

Championship: 1. Princeton (11-5) vs. 2. Penn (13-3)

Projected AQ: Princeton

I think the final with Penn will be closer than the 21-8 blowout by the Tigers a couple of weeks ago, but Princeton seems to be peaking right now.

Patriot League

Championship: 1. Loyola (15-3) vs. 2. Navy (15-3)

Projected AQ: Loyola

It’s Navy and Loyola again for the Patriot crown. Navy won it last year and I think this will be incentive for the Greyhounds to get revenge this time.

Here is an updated list of the potential at-larges.

Although there are 18 teams, two of them are head-to-head conference tournament final matchups so that’ll result in two AQs. There are also three other teams on this list that will be in their conference finals but are not the favorite to win an AQ. Locked at-larges (five teams, but see JMU/Towson).

Here is my revised list of locks for the NCAAT:

  • Boston College (19-1, RPI 3)
  • Northwestern (13-5, RPI 10)
  • Colorado (13-5, RPI 11)
  • Virginia Tech (13-6, RPI 15).

These teams will certainly make it into the dance. The Eagles won the ACC regular season and were runners-up in the ACC Tournament. Northwestern finished 2nd in the B1G regular season, but will still get in despite a first round loss in the B1G Tournaent. The Buffaloes finished first in the Pac-12 regular season and are the runners-up in the Pac-12 Tournaent. Virginia Tech placed third in the ACC regular season and made it into the ACCT semifinals.

James Madison (17-1, RPI 5) or Towson (15-3, RPI 7): These two teams will meet in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament final and the loser will easily be a lock for the NCAAT. The problem is that both teams are about as even in capabilities as they come (JMU won the regular season matchup last weekend 17-16 in OT) so that championship game could go either way.

Likely in (three teams but see Penn/Princeton)

Penn (13-3, RPI 8)

  • Biggest wins against Georgetown (RPI 16), Johns Hopkins (RPI 19) & Dartmouth (2x, RPI 21)
  • Losses to Maryland (RPI 2), Northwestern (RPI 10) & Princeton (RPI 14)

Finished second in Ivy League regular season. Was ranked in top 10 for most of year. Their win over Dartmouth in the Ivy League first round should get them in despite a relative weak SOS. They could win the Ivy League AQ which would remove them from this list.

Princeton (11-5, RPI 14)

  • Biggest wins against Penn (RPI 8) & Penn St. (RPI 23)
  • Losses to Maryland (RPI 2) Loyola (RPI 9), Syracuse (RPI 18) & Virginia (RPI 20) & Dartmouth (RPI 21)

Finished 1st in Ivy League regular season. The Tigers were on the bubble until last week with their blowout win over Penn. They could win the Ivy League AQ which would remove them from this list.

Syracuse (9-9, RPI 18)

  • Biggest wins against Florida (RPI 4), Loyola (RPI 9) & Princeton (RPI 14)
  • Losses to North Carolina (2x, RPI 1), Maryland (RPI 2), Boston College (RPI 3), Northwestern (RPI 10), Virginia Tech (RPI 15), Virginia (RPI 20), Notre Dame (RPI 27) & Duke (RPI 29, bad loss).

While it’s true that the Orange ultimately compiled a 1-7 record against ACC opponents, they also went 8-2 in their non-conference schedule. They tout one of the strongest SOS’s and no one in the bubble list has the kinds of wins that Syracuse has. SU should get in.

Virginia (9-9, RPI 20)

  • Biggest wins against Princeton (RPI 14), Syracuse (RPI 18) & Notre Dame (RPI 27)
  • Losses to North Carolina (RPI 1), Maryland (RPI 2), Boston College (RPI 3), James Madison (RPI 5), Loyola (RPI 9), Navy (RPI 12), Virginia Tech (RPI 15), Penn St. (RPI 23) & Notre Dame (RPI 27)

The Cavaliers have been a true Jekyll and Hyde this year. They started 8-2 and finished 1-7, placing 4th in the ACC regular season, but losing in the ACCT 1st round. They also have one of the strongest SOS’s in the country and I think this is enough to get them in this year.

Right on the Bubble (6 teams)

One of these teams will not get into the NCAAT.

Denver (12-6, RPI 17)

  • Biggest wins against Colorado (RPI 11), Stanford (RPI 13) & Georgetown (RPI 16)
  • Losses to Florida (2x, RPI 4), Stony Brook (RPI 6), Virginia Tech (RPI 15), Georgetown (RPI 16) & Temple (RPI 44, bad loss)

Finished 3rd in Big East regular season, runners-up in the BET. The Pioneers likely avoided a bounce from the NCAAT selection with their 1st round win over Georgetown on Thursday night. Their loss to Temple does loom large as it’s the second worst loss in the bubble group.

USC (10-8, RPI 25)

  • Biggest wins against Colorado (RPI 11), Virginia Tech (RPI 15) & Notre Dame (RPI 27)
  • Losses to Boston College (RPI 3), Stony Brook (RPI 6), Northwestern (RPI 10), Colorado (RPI 11), Stanford (3x, RPI 13) & Oregon (RPI 40, bad loss).

Finished 3rd in the Pac-12 regular season, got to the Pac-12T semifinals. Strong strength of schedule, but the loss to Oregon hurts a bit. They did beat Notre Dame which will help their head-to-head standing there.

Johns Hopkins (10-8, RPI 19)

  • Biggest win against Loyola (RPI 9)
  • Losses to Maryland (2x, RPI 2), Stony Brook (RPI 6), Towson (RPI 7), Penn (RPI 8), Northwestern (RPI 10), Georgetown (RPI 16) & Penn St. (RPI 23)
  • Finished 4th in B1G regular season, lost in the B1G first round. The Blue Jays have no bad losses, but have only one big win against the Greyhounds. The problem is that they also have head-to-head losses against Georgetown and Penn St.

Georgetown (12-6, RPI 16)

  • Biggest wins against Denver (RPI 17) & Johns Hopkins (RPI 19). Finished 2nd in Big East regular season.
  • Losses to Maryland (RPI 2), Florida (RPI 4), Towson (RPI 7), Penn (RPI 8), Loyola (RPI 9) & Denver (RPI 17).

The Hoyas have no bad losses and did have a strong out of conference SOS. Despite the 1st round loss to the Pioneers in the BET, Georgetown could still get in due to their head-to-head win over Johns Hopkins.

Notre Dame (10-9, RPI 27)

  • Biggest wins against Syracuse (RPI 18) & Virginia (RPI 20)
  • Losses to North Carolina (RPI 1), Boston College (2x, RPI 3), Northwestern (RPI 10, Virginia Tech (RPI 15), Virginia (RPI 20), High Point (RPI 22), USC (RPI 25), Albany (RPI 50, bad loss).

Finished 5th in ACC regular season, made it to the ACCT semifinals. The Irish have played a tough schedule and I don’t think High Point was a bad loss as the Panthers are currently in the top 20. The low RPI and Albany loss really hurt them and it’s the biggest loss of any of the bubble teams. It’ll come down to SOS vs. quality wins although they probably wouldn’t catch USC as the Women of Troy have the head-to-head advantage.

Penn State (10-8, RPI 23)

  • Biggest wins against Northwestern (RPI 10), Johns Hopkins (RPI 19) & Virginia (RPI 20)
  • Losses to Maryland (RPI 2), James Madison (RPI 5), Stony Brook (RPI 6), Towson (RPI 7), Northwestern (RPI 10), Loyola (RPI 9), Princeton (RPI 14) & Michigan (RPI 34, bad loss)
  • Finished 3rd in the B1G regular season. The Nittany Lions were on the cusp of being left out due to their regular season finale loss to Michigan. However, their win over Northwestern in the B1G first round moves them out of the danger zone. Their strength of schedule and a head-to-head win over Johns Hopkins should help out as well.

In Trouble (2 teams)

Navy (15-3, RPI 12)

  • Biggest win against Virginia (RPI 20)
  • Losses to Boston College (RPI 3), Florida (RPI 4) & Loyola (RPI 9)

Finished 2nd in Patriot League regular season. The Midshipmen will have to win the PLT to get in. Their weak schedule and their only win coming over Virginia will probably not be enough to gain an at-large spot for them.

Dartmouth (11-5, RPI 21)

  • Biggest win against Princeton (RPI 14). Finished 3rd in Ivy League regular season, lost in the ILT first round
  • Losses to Boston College (RPI 3), Penn (2x, RPI 8), UMass (RPI 24), & Brown (RPI 35, bad loss)

Like Navy, the Big Green have played a relatively weak schedule with their only big win coming over the Tigers. A questionable loss to UMass and a bad loss to Brown does not help their situation.

***

I will continue to update the remaining conference tournaments on Sunday in the comments section as there will be seven going on through the afternoon.