The most exciting time on the college lacrosse calendar is officially upon us, lax fans!
That’s right, today is Selection Sunday for the 2023 NCAA Division I Women’s Tournament, airing at 9 PM on ESPNU. May Madness is back, baby!
The Syracuse Orange stumbled in the final game of the regular season and the ACC Tournament, but the NCAA Tournament offers a chance at a brand new start. Records no longer matter; only where you’re placed and who you’re facing. One game to win and move on, otherwise it’s season over.
So, where exactly will the Orange be placed tonight? Let’s take a look and see what we’ve got.
After yesterday's action, here is how the WLAX LaxElo Bracketology looks. pic.twitter.com/Ml9GCeLlCJ— Lacrosse Reference (@laxreference) April 30, 2023
- RPI 1, SOS 4
- 2-1 vs. Top 5, 3-0 vs. Top 10, 6-0 vs. Top 20
- Key Wins: North Carolina, Boston College, Stony Brook, Notre Dame, Maryland (2x)
- RPI 2, SOS 2
- 2-2 vs. Top 5, 3-0 vs. Top 10, 3-0 vs. Top 20
- Key Wins: Northwestern, North Carolina, Loyola, Stony Brook, Maryland, Notre Dame
- RPI 3, SOS 3
- 2-3 vs. Top 5, 0-0 vs. Top 10, 4-0 vs. Top 20
- Key Wins: Syracuse, North Carolina, Notre Dame (2x)
- RPI 4, SOS 1
- 2-3 vs. Top 5, 2-0 vs. Top 10, 1-1 vs. Top 20
- Key Wins: Syracuse, Boston College, James Madison, Florida
- RPI 5, SOS 20
- 1-0 vs. Top 5, 1-0 vs. Top 10, 4-0 vs. Top 20
- Key Wins: Boston College, Maryland
- RPI 6, SOS 14
- 0-1 vs. Top 5, 2-1 vs. Top 10, 3-0 vs. Top 20
- Key Wins: Florida, Maryland
- RPI 7, SOS 12
- 0-1 vs. Top 5, 2-2 vs. Top 10, 2-0 vs. Top 20
- Key Wins: James Madison, Loyola
- RPI 8, SOS 21
- 0-1 vs. Top 5, 0-1 vs. Top 10, 4-0 vs. Top 20
- Key Wins: Army (2x)
- RPI 9, SOS 5
- 0-4 vs. Top 5, 1-1 vs. Top 10, 3-0 vs. Top 20
- Key Wins: Florida
- RPI 11, SOS 11
- 1-4 vs. Top 5, 0-0 vs. Top 10, 1-1 vs. Top 20
- Key Wins: North Carolina
In my estimation, the above 10 teams are the primary contenders for the eight seeded spots in the tournament.
Despite the Orange’s late-season swoon, I think they may not have fallen from the top spot as much as initially feared because their computer numbers are still among the absolute best in the country. Being able to hold on to the No. 2 RPI ranking and the No. 2 SOS while having the second-most RPI Top 20 wins puts them, I think, in a good position to hang on to a Top 3 seed in the tournament. That would be great because the top three seeds get a bye into the second round and only have to play once next weekend as opposed to twice in three days.
It’s very clear that Northwestern, who’ve won 17 games in a row since their season-opening loss to SU, have locked down the No. 1 seed after winning the Big Ten tournament yesterday. After the Wildcats, it becomes a serious battle of jockeying for position between ‘Cuse, Boston College, and North Carolina, who I think will fall into the next three seeds.
The three teams all beat each other at various points throughout the season, with BC going 2-1 against the other two, UNC going 2-2, and SU going 1-2. The Orange do have the best computer numbers of the group, as well as the most Top 20 wins (8) among the three.
It’s extremely close and arguments can be made in all directions, but I’m thinking that BC might get the leg up because they have the best record in the season-long series among the three teams, including their head-to-head win over SU. I’m going to say the Eagles get the No. 2 seed, and the Orange slide in at the No. 3 seed over UNC because of their superior computer numbers and their win over a Northwestern team that beat the Tar Heels. Like I said, it’s super close. You can make an argument for placing them in basically any order.
Denver won the Big East Tournament earlier today to remain unbeaten, and I think they’ll take the No. 5 seed despite the fact that they’re the only unblemished team in Division I. While they do have two strong wins over BC and Maryland, I think their low SOS and a RPI behind the big four keeps them from the top four seeds.
Florida and James Madison are locked in another extremely close battle for seeding after splitting in their two meetings this season. The numbers ever so slightly favor James Madison, but I’m going to say Florida edges them out because their best win (Loyola) is better than JMU’s (Maryland). I’m going with Loyola sneaking into the No. 8 seed ahead of Maryland (who has a loss to a +20 RPI team) and Notre Dame, who does have an argument because their win over North Carolina is better than the other team’s in this part of the seeding discussion.
What do you guys think? Do you agree that ‘Cuse will hold on to a Top 3 seed, or did they do too much damage to themselves at the end of the season?
We’ll all find out tonight at 9 PM on ESPNU.