2021 DI NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Bracketology 3.0

(Photo Courtesy of Duke Athletics)

This week (week thirteen of the college lacrosse season) is the final week of the regular season for the majority of teams and the beginning of the postseason for the Big Ten and the MAAC.

So, without further ado, here is the third installment of the Lacrosse Bucket bracketology series for the season.


Bracketology 1.0 (4/12)

Bracketology 2.0 (4/20)

How It Works

As always, here is a refresher as to how the NCAA Tournament works for those of you who may be unaware or have forgotten. The 2021 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament will feature eight seeded teams and eight non-seeded teams. Those teams will make up the 16-team bracket.

Eight teams will be automatic qualifiers (AQ) and those eight will all be conference champions. Remember, the ACC does not have an AQ because a conference needed six teams to qualify for an AQ. The ACC only has five teams. With eight AQ’s, that leaves eight spots for at-large selections.

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. 

However, because of the uniqueness of this season, the selection process will be more different than ever before. For instance, the Big Ten opted for a conference-only schedule whereas the ACC allowed their teams to play non-conference games. Because of such instances, the committee will likely be relying more heavily on the eye test and feedback from their regional advisory committee, which is made up of 10 coaches.

Projected Automatic Qualifiers

We still have a lot of lacrosse to be played, but if the tournament started today this is what the AQ situation would look like. These selections are based on best conference record at this moment.

ConferenceTeamRecordConference RecordRPI RankSOS Rank
America EastUMBC7-26-22549
Big EastGeorgetown10-19-11116
Big TenMaryland10-010-0638
Patriot LeagueLehigh9-08-0 (4-0)*1858
NECSaint Joseph’s7-37-02626

^Manhattan, Quinnipiac, and Monmouth had a three-way tie for the MAAC regular season champion. However, the Jaspers earned the No. 1 seed in the MAAC Tournament so they are put in that AQ spot.

*The Patriot League has split into two divisions this season: North and South. Record in parentheses is division record.

Data from Laxbytes.com – 4/26.

Possible At-Large Selections

While its always interesting who gets chosen as an at-large selection, it will be even more interesting this season given all the differences in scheduling from team to team and conference to conference. And, as always, any upsets in conference tournaments could change at-large selections drastically.

For this section we are listing 18 teams that are in contention for a possible at-large bid after removing the projected AQs. Teams are listed in order based on their RPI rank. However, that number really doesn’t mean much this season at all. And as always, some of these teams listed have little to no chance of getting unless they get an AQ.

ConferenceTeamRecordConference RecordRPI RankSOS Rank
ACCNorth Carolina10-23-211
ACCNotre Dame6-32-358
Patriot LeagueArmy West Point6-34-2 (2-0)*810
Big EastVillanova6-36-399
Big TenRutgers8-28-21239
Big EastDenver10-38-1145
Patriot LeagueNavy5-23-2 (1-2)*1533
Patriot LeagueLoyola6-54-3 (3-1)*207
America EastUAlbany7-35-22745
America EastStony Brook8-46-22823
Big TenOhio State4-64-63837

*The Patriot League has split into two divisions this season: North and South. Record in parentheses is division record.

Data from Laxbytes.com – 4/26.

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 multiple bids while other may get just get one bid. Some of the bottom conferences will obviously only get that one AQ, as usual.

ACC – Five Bids

Big East – Two Bids

Big Ten – Two Bids

Patriot League – Two Bids

America East – One Bid 

CAA – One Bid

MAAC – One Bid

NEC – One Bid

SoCon – One Bid

Projected Bracket 3.0

Last Four In: Army West Point, Denver, Rutgers, Syracuse

First Four Out: Loyola, Ohio State, Navy, Drexel

Bubble Talk

Syracuse beating Virginia last week greatly increased their chances of getting in as an at-large. They can increase their resume even more this weekend against Notre Dame and in their finale against Robert Morris. However, they still, at the moment, appear to be sitting behind Denver, Rutgers and Army. However, Army’s loss to Navy has likely closed that gap a bit and raised the resume of Navy and Loyola. But those two, as well as Ohio State and Drexel, will likely not get in unless they win their conference and grab that AQ.

3 thoughts on “2021 DI NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Bracketology 3.0

  1. Your obvious ACC infatuation is obvious and while I have no expertise in ranking, I just don’t agree with a 6-3 team who has only played in conference games being ranked that as high as ND; your RPI numbers are what they are, BUT the sample size with no out of conference game skews these results. I sure hope the Committee doesn’t follow YOUR logic.


    1. Hey Tr, Thanks for reading and for the comment.

      RPI means really nothing this year, as is stated in the article and as you mentioned due to the numbers being skewed. The eye test will be huge this year, so that is what the committee will look at most. Just listed them for reference. It’ll be interesting to see how things go fore sure. As far as ACC, in a normal year the conference wouldn’t get all five in but with no Ivy and the Big Ten going conference only, unless Syracuse implodes or something crazy happens where lets say Ohio State wins the Big Ten , it looks like they will get five in. Is it right? Maybe not, but it’s just a product of this weird season.


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