Bracketology 4.0: Conference Tournament’s Loom

Photo Courtesy of Penn State Athletics                                                                                                            

It’s the last week in April and thus the last week of the regular season for teams across the DI landscape. The ACC tournament starts this week (Doesn’t really mean much) and the rest follow suit next week. Last weekend was big and this weekend is crucial, especially for teams sitting on the verge of getting in or being left out of their conference tournament. Perhaps the biggest conference races are in the NEC and the MAAC where there could be multiple tiebreakers to decide the field, and even the possibility of the entire field having the same conference record. The Big Ten conference race will also be interesting as either Ohio State or Johns Hopkins will not make it in.

With all that ruckus going on it’s time to look at this fourth edition of Bracketology. The bubble is starting to look more clear and things are falling into place. While there is still plenty of uncertainty, the one thing that is certain is that Penn State still sits atop the rest for the time being as the Nittany Lions have been dominate all season long and continue their tear through the college lacrosse world.


Third Look: Bracketology 3.0: What’s Going On?

Second Look: Bracketology 2.0: The Field is Still Wide Open

First Look: Bracketology 1.0: Fully Immersed in Conference Play


As a little refresher for those of you who may not be aware, this is how the NCAA tournament works. 

In the NCAA DI men’s lacrosse tournament there are eight seeded teams and nine teams that are not seeded. Two teams will be in a play-in game and the winner will have to play the number one overall seed in the first round. 

There are nine automatic qualifiers and those nine are all conference champions. Remember, the ACC does not have an AQ because they just have five teams and a conference needs six teams to be given an AQ spot in the NCAA tournament. With nine AQ’s that leaves eight teams that get in as at-large bids. 

Now how does the NCAA selection committee pick teams for at-large bids and seed teams for the tournament? According to the committee they consider a multitude of things. The committee looks at record, strength of schedule index (based on team’s 10 highest rated games), RPI results, average RPI wins and losses, head-to-head results, record against ranked teams (1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, and 21+), significant wins and losses, location of games, results versus common opponents, and any polls do not matter. 


When looking at who the automatic qualifiers could be, conference record is used and not highest RPI rank. However, in the case that some teams have the same conference record then RPI will be used.

Conference Team Record Conference Record RPI Rank SOS Rank
America East Albany 5-7 4-1 42 32
Big East Villanova 8-5 3-1 13 4
Big Ten Penn State 11-1 4-0 1 10
CAA Towson 8-4 3-1 11 9
Ivy League Penn 8-3 6-0 4 6
MAAC Marist 7-6 5-1 36 43
Patriot League Loyola 10-3 6-1 6 11
NEC Hobart 10-3 4-1 24 70
SoCon Richmond 8-5 5-1 26 35

Data From LaxBytes – 4/24


Again, there are still so many teams that have a very good case at this point to be at-large bids. While we have started to see a little more clarity, anything can happen on any day and that is part of what makes this sport so great. 

For this section the next 16 possible at-large candidates will be listed. Again, the number of teams displayed here has shrunk from 20 to 16 as we have gotten deeper into the season and things look more clear now. Also, those last few don’t have much of a shot unless they win their conference anyway. 

Those next four teams are: High Point, Rutgers, Hobart, and Princeton

Conference Team Record Conference Record RPI Rank SOS Rank
ACC Duke 11-3 2-2 2 1
Big Ten Maryland 11-2 3-1 3 12
Ivy League Yale 9-2 4-1 5 15
ACC Syracuse 9-3 2-2 7 7
ACC Virginia 11-3 3-1 8 8
Big Ten Ohio State 8-3 1-3 9 16
ACC Notre Dame 7-5 2-2 10 2
Ivy League Cornell 9-4 3-2 11 5
Big Ten Johns Hopkins 6-6 2-2 14 3
Big East Denver 8-4 3-1 15 18
Patriot League Army 9-4 5-3 16 28
Big East Georgetown 10-4 2-2 17 29
SoCon Air Force 9-4 5-1 18 31
Patriot League Boston U. 10-4 5-2 19 34
CAA UMass 9-4 3-1 20 38
ACC North Carolina 7-6 1-3 21 14

Data From LaxBytes – 4/24

Bids Per Conference

Before getting into what I think the bracket could look like at this time, let’s take a look at how many bids each conference could receive. There are a few conference that are sure to get 3-4 bids while other may get two at the most depending on what happens in the conference tournament. Some of the bottom conferences will obviously only get that one AQ bid as usual. 

ACC – Four Bids 

Big Ten – Three Bids

Ivy League – Two/Three Bids

Patriot League – One/Two Bids

Big East – One/Two Bids

CAA – One Bid

SoCon – One Bid

NEC – One Bid

MAAC – One Bid

America East – One Bid 

Projected Bracket 4.0

This was very tough as it’s difficult enough to pick the teams, but then to seed and place them is even more difficult. I used the criteria that the NCAA selection committee uses was used as beast as I could to put this bracket together. 

While the hardest part was picking the at-large teams and seeding the top eight, it was even harder picking who to leave out at the moment. Even with what transpired last weekend, there are still teams that you could make a very strong case for getting in and vice versa. 

Last Four In: Yale, Notre Dame, Army, Denver 

First Four Out: Cornell, Johns Hopkins, North Carolina, Ohio State 



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