2021 DI NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Bracketology 4.0

(Photo Courtesy of North Carolina Athletics)

The regular season has come to and end (with the exception of Syracuse vs Robert Morris on Friday) and conference champions will be crowned this weekend. So, without further ado, here is the fourth and final installment of the Lacrosse Bucket bracketology series for the season as we sit six days out from Selection Sunday.


Bracketology 1.0 (4/12)

Bracketology 2.0 (4/20)

Bracketology 3.0 (4/27)

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 EastUMBC8-27-21652
Big EastDenver11-39-196
Big TenMaryland10-010-0738
Patriot LeagueLehigh9-18-0 (6-0)*1862
NECSaint Joseph’s8-38-01927

^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 – 5/3.

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 this week, we are listing 14 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 Carolina11-24-211
ACCNotre Dame7-33-357
Patriot LeagueArmy West Point7-35-2 (3-0)*810
Big EastGeorgetown10-29-11215
Big TenRutgers8-28-21439
Patriot LeagueNavy6-24-2 (2-2)*1535
Big EastVillanova7-46-41714
Patriot LeagueLoyola7-54-3 (3-1)*238
America EastVermont7-47-22530

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

Data from Laxbytes.com – 5/3.

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 – Four or Five Bids

Big East – One or Two Bids

Big Ten – Two Bids

Patriot League – Two or Three Bids

America East – One Bid 

CAA – One Bid

MAAC – One Bid

NEC – One Bid

SoCon – One Bid

Projected Bracket 4.0

Last Four In: Army West Point, Georgetown, Loyola, Rutgers

First Four Out: Drexel, Navy, Syracuse, Villanova

Bubble Talk

In the first three bracketology posts I had Syracuse in as the last team in and while I believe they still have a chance of getting in, their blowout loss coupled with Loyola’s win over Georgetown and Villanova’s victory over Lehigh did nothing to help them this weekend. At the moment, I have them as the first team out.

As with the rest of the bubble, a lot will be determined during the course of this week but I have Loyola as the last team in right now. Their conference quarterfinal matchup against Navy could really shake things up, as could Georgetown’s Big East semifinals meeting with Villanova. Those two games are, in my mind, two of the most important games of the week as far as the bubble is concerned.

Army and Rutgers are the only two teams of my last four in that I feel confident saying will certainly get in. Now, if something unforseen happens that could change things, but as we sit right now I feel confident that we will see the Black Knights and Scarlet Knights called as at-large bids on Sunday.

2 thoughts on “2021 DI NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Bracketology 4.0

  1. Great work! Nice to read a more refreshing take on lacrosse bracketology. Others go so by the book, then again so does the committee. Despite Delaware’s loss, you’d hope they still get in over Cuse, who has been terrible 80% of the season, or Loyola. But after 2019 when JHU got in over 13-3 High Point, who had 5 wins over tournament teams (including the eventual champs), I have no faith in the committee. Until there is mass expansion, they will just fall back to the ACC & blue bloods every year.


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