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Syracuse Lacrosse: How RPI data will affect possible future scheduling changes

Syracuse will continue to look at scheduling changes this offseason due to recent RPI issues. For fun, let’s take a look at the RPI data and see who could be dropped and which teams could be added.

2013 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championships - Semifinals - Syracuse v Denver Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Last week Lindsay Kramer wrote a nice article about Syracuse scheduling. Based on John Desko’s comments at media day, the Syracuse Orange coaching staff has been, and will continue this offseason, to look at adding and subtracting a team or two to get “a couple more tigers on the schedule,” as Desko put it. The whole point is that the Selection Committee gave SU a low eighth seed, in part due to its RPI ranking. While we can expect some sort of schedule change, these things are done years in advance, so the changes may be made for 2018 or for a year farther in the future.

I’m not going to rehash Kramer’s article, take a look at it if you get a chance, but I took the liberty of putting together some of the relevant RPI data.

SU finished the regular season lower than usual, tenth, in the RPI standings. Since the beginning of the 2010 season the Orange has only ended the regular season outside of the top four in RPI twice.

Unfortunately, Virginia finished 26th and North Carolina finished 17th in 2016, which hurt Syracuse’s RPI tremendously because those programs usually finish much higher (keep in mind, all RPI data in this article is taken from pre-tournament data, the same data the Selection Committee utilizes). However, there’s nothing that we can do about ACC opponents so there’s no sense in talking about them.

For the non-conference opponents here is the RPI rankings for the last seven years:

Syracuse Non-Conference Opponent RPI Data

Team 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 Average Ranking
Team 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 Average Ranking
Siena 60 58 27 38 32 31 35 40.14285714
Albany 8 8 13 13 40 25 38 20.71428571
Army 29 24 32 32 27 27 15 26.57142857
St. John's 54 52 25 20 26 37 45 37
Johns Hopkins 11 11 12 17 4 4 8 9.571428571
Hobart 35 37 41 28 31 30 46 35.42857143
Cornell 31 10 8 8 14 2 7 11.42857143
Binghamton 48 53 31 48 55 32 50 45.28571429
Colgate 53 13 24 29 7 14 53 27.57142857
Syracuse 10 1 1 3 18 1 4 5.428571429

Given that history is sometimes a big part of scheduling, here is series records for each non-conference opponents against Syracuse:

Syracuse Non-Conference Opponent Series History Data

Team All-Time Record Played every year since…
Team All-Time Record Played every year since…
Siena 5-0 2014
Albany 14-1 2004
Army 24-39 2002
St. John’s 9-0 2010
Johns Hopkins 25-29-1 1983
Hobart 74-26-2 1986
Cornell 64-36-1 1979
Binghamton 5-0 2016
Colgate 46-11-1 2014

We can eliminate Hobart and Johns Hopkins from the discussion because those games are not going away. The Colgate game is a nice prelude to the NCAA tournament and acts as an upstate rivalry game, so that probably stays. Albany has done well over the last few years and has helped SU’s RPI. Additionally, Albany is an easy game to schedule so we will assume that stays.

Now then, of teams left to cut out we are left with: Siena, Army, St. John’s, Cornell, and Binghamton. Army is a middle of the road RPI team so it does not hurt the Orange. Cornell stays because it is usually a good team to play in terms of RPI. The program slipped last year but other than 2016 the Big Red have been in the top 14 in RPI each of the last seven years.

Taking those teams out we are now left with: Siena, St. John’s, and Binghamton. The team with the lowest average RPI rank over the last seven years is Binghamton, closely followed by Siena which was nearly at the bottom of the RPI in each of the last two years. At least one of these three teams will be off of the schedule in the coming years.

Now just for fun, here is the RPI date over the last seven years for some potential fillers. In my mind, SU does not want to add a top ten team because there’s no reason to add a potential loss on the schedule, so the teams included are those which have been middle of the road in terms of RPIs and have been trending upwards in quality.

Potential Non-Conference Opponent RPI Data

Team 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 Average Ranking
Team 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 Average Ranking
Rutgers 20 51 39 55 44 46 42 42.42857143
Towson 12 20 21 23 29 40 14 22.71428571
Harvard 19 18 16 27 36 17 24 22.42857143
Penn 27 26 2 14 33 15 28 20.71428571
Bryant 16 28 22 43 24 45 23 28.71428571
Loyola 7 22 4 10 1 20 11 10.71428571
Navy 14 19 50 50 22 44 26 32.14285714
Air Force 13 38 28 31 39 43 52 34.85714286
Richmond 21 29 54 N/A N/A N/A N/A 34.66666667
Marquette 6 17 42 37 N/A N/A N/A 25.5
Villanova 15 30 30 21 21 9 21 21
Penn State 25 35 18 9 16 22 44 24.14285714
Ohio State 32 15 26 2 19 29 34 22.42857143
Fairfield 22 34 20 24 13 23 25 23
Bucknell 23 23 37 11 20 8 32 22

So let me know me know in comment section, who should SU drop and who should the program add for future scheduling?