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Syracuse Lacrosse: Analyzing the Committee's Choices

The Syracuse Orange will be the eighth seed in the NCAA Tournament, supplanted by both Loyola and Marquette. The seeding this year has come with considerable surprise and we'll take a look at the numbers.

Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

I want to start off by saying that while I'm going to focus on Marquette's seeding in this article, my issue is not with the Golden Eagles. It's a huge deal for this young program to get a seed in the NCAAT, and I believe the Golden Eagles deserved to be seeded. My issue is with the Committee.

Before we get into it, I should note that all the numbers are based on LaxPower's calculation of RPI and SOS.

‘Cuse

Marquette

Duke

Loyola

SOS

16

18

10

24

RPI

10

6

9

7

Vs Top Five RPI

0-1

1-2

1-2

0-0

Vs Top 10 RPI

2-2

1-3

4-3

0-1

Vs Top 20 RPI

4-3

3-3

4-6

1-3

Losses Outside Top 20

1

1

1

0

Vs Tournament Teams

5-3

2-3

3-5

1-3

Vs Seeded Tournament Teams

0-1

1-2

3-3

0-0

Vs Unseeded Tournament Teams

5-2

1-1

0-2

1-3

Head to Head

N/A

Loss to Duke

Win over Marquette, Loyola

Loss to Duke

Syracuse

Marquette

Duke

Loyola

Top Five Wins

Denver

Notre Dame

Top 10 Wins

Albany, Duke

Denver

Notre Dame, SU, Loyola, Marquette

Hopkins

Top 20 Wins

UNC, UNC, Duke, Albany

Villanova, Villanova, Denver

Notre Dame, SU, Loyola, Marquette

Hopkins

The thing that has really bothered me over the last twenty four hours are the comments from the Committee Chair Gene Doris. In a Q&A with Inside Lacrosse, the Fairfield AD mentioned Marquette's SOS, body of work, and top wins as the major factors for giving them the six seed.

In terms of the SOS, there are six tournament team with better strengths of schedule than Marquette, and four of them were either seeded below Marquette or not seeded at all. The Duke Blue Devils had a significantly better SOS than both SU and MU while Syracuse sits two spots ahead of Marquette in SOS. As for top wins, I assume Doris is talking about the win over Denver and two wins over Villanova, because those are the only three wins worth mentioning. Both Duke and Syracuse had more wins in the top 20 and Syracuse was the only one of the three with more wins than losses against the top 20.

Specifically Doris mentioned that the Golden Eagles' body of work kept getting better. But did it?

Prior to the last six games, the Marquette Golden Eagles played three teams that finished with a winning record and went 8-1 during that period with the only loss coming against Ohio State. The Golden Eagles did beat Villanova 11-3 during that stretch. If your talking about the body of work being good during that span, then you're talking about them having a good record; that's it. There's one top 20 RPI win and one loss outside the top 20 RPI in the first nine games.

Here are the results of the team's final six games:

4/13 Notre Dame 8 -€” Marquette 7  OT

4/16 Marquette 8 -€” Providence 7

4/22 Duke 16 -€” Marquette 1

4/30 Denver 14 -€” Marquette 11

5/5 Marquette 14 -€” Villanova 9

5/7 Marquette 10 -€” Denver 9

That's a 3-3 record through the final six, a stretch in which Marquette was outscored 63-51. That being said, a win over Denver is huge and because Villanova has the #15 RPI, that is a good win too. Yes, they took Notre Dame to OT, but Marquette still lost the game. The loss to Denver really doesn't hurt the program's seeding. Then you have a one goal win over Providence. The Friars are 41st in RPI and finished the season with a losing record. Nevertheless, a win is a win. Finally, that brings us to Duke. This is the game I simply can't wrap my head around. It's not that the Golden Eagles allowed 16 goals, but more so that this team put up just one.

Marquette has been a rising program over the last few years. Joe Amplo has done an amazing job building that thing up, and I even pointed that out earlier in the season during our coaching roundtable. I'm not saying that Marquette should not have been a seeded team, just that the reasoning for placing them above Syracuse and Duke is stupid. To come out and say that the Golden Eagles' body of work got better as the season went on is to say that they had a second win over Villanova and a great win over Denver to finish out the season while forgetting that Marquette also lost to three tournament teams in the final six games.

I wish Doris had just come out and said Marquette had a better RPI and that's why they picked up the six seed. If he had done that, then I could have at least understood the reasoning.

The Syracuse Orange will host the Albany Great Danes on Sunday at 7:30 PM in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU. Of course you can always follow me for updates @OrangeLax.