I thought ESPN was going to draw this out but thankfully we got the bracket in the first few minutes. The Syracuse Orange picked up the eighth seed on Sunday night in what can certainly be described as a reach for this season.
I think most folks would have given that last seed to Cornell and then had SU travel to Ithaca. When asked about it, John Hardt, the Chairman of the selection committee mentioned that the reason Cornell is headed to Syracuse is because: SU had a better record against common opponents, Syracuse had a higher quality of opponent, and Cornell had some bad losses. Sure, SU had one more win that Cornell against a common opponent, but SU got BLOWN out by Albany and Johns Hopkins (and really Rutgers too). The Orange also had a bad loss to Navy. I guess head to head doesn’t matter either. Five goals. Cornell beat Syracuse by five goals. I’m not a huge Quint guy, but he’s right, why even bother having a committee? Do it with a computer and call it a day, at least it would be consistent.
In my opinion, the only reason to give the ‘Cuse the seed is because Syracuse will draw a bigger crowd at the Dome and the accessibility for television is much better.
I’m now a little nervous, Cornell is going to come into the dome feeling slighted, and rightly so. I would expect a game plan to stop Jeff Teat, but if that doesn’t happen you will hear from the #firedesko crowd. The SU-Cornell game will take place at 7:15 on Sunday night, due to graduation in the Dome.
Maryland, as the one seed, is in the SU regional and will play the winner of Canisius and Robert Morris. Further down on the Syracuse side of the bracket is fifth seeded Johns Hopkins taking on Georgetown as well as number four Duke versus Villanova.
I have eventual National Champions UMD beating Cornell in the regional. Yes, I know, but Syracuse has proven itself to be so wildly inconsistent this year it is hard to pick this team.
Georgetown could be this year’s Cinderella, and wouldn’t that be just fantastic if they could beat the Jays! I wouldn’t put money on it though, and I certainly wouldn’t put money on Villanova either, that could be a blowout.
The opposing side of the bracket will feature the below first round matchups:
#3 Yale - Massachusetts
#6 Loyola - Virginia
#7 Notre Dame - Denver
#2 Albany - Richmond
At first blush I have Yale taking UMass, but there is tremendous momentum behind the Minutemen and this is a team that only lost to Yale by three early in the season, before ripping off eleven straight wins.
While it would be possible for an all-ACC final four, that seems very unlikely. The Virginia-Loyola game should be a good one. It will be a rematch of an early season battle in which UVA took home the W, I don’t think there is a repeat there but it will be close.
I am not a Notre Dame fan this year, but I think the Irish will take the UND-DU game and get its second win over Denver this year.
Finally, I still have Albany getting to Championship Weekend this year. To start the year, anything short of a championship game appearance would have been a massive disappointment. At this point I still have them in Championship Weekend but I’m not as confident about this team anymore. It’s not like this would be the first time Albany would fall short in the tourney, and Notre Dame could be the one team that could stop the Great Danes early.
As I mentioned, Sunday at 7:15 p.m., the Syracuse Orange will host the Cornell Big Red. I’m sure there are a lot folks who disagree with me so let me know and give me your picks in the comment section.