2022 DI Men’s Lacrosse Bracketology 2.0

(Photo Courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

It’s April, folks!

The second season has fully begun across the college lacrosse landscape and with each passing week, things seem to get wackier.

Following what was a truly wild weekend, here is a look at how things stand if the NCAA Tournament were to start today.

How It Works

Here is a refresher as to how the NCAA Tournament works for those of you who may be unaware or have forgotten. The 2022 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament will feature eight seeded teams and 10 non-seeded teams. Those teams will make up the 18-team bracket.

10 teams will be automatic qualifiers (AQ) and those 10 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 10 AQ’s, that leaves eight spots for at-large selections.

With the return of the ASUN on the men’s lacrosse scene, the tournament returns to two play-in games featuring the bottom four teams. The winners of those games will have to face the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the first round.

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.

You can find the official NCAA pre-championship manual here.

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 the moment. Where there is a tie at the top of a conference, highest RPI is used.

ConferenceTeamRecordConference RecordRPI RankSOS Rank
America EastBinghamton4-52-04336
Big EastGeorgetown8-11-037
Big TenMaryland9-02-022
Ivy LeagueHarvard7-12-0722
MAACSt. Bonaventure7-22-03362
Patriot LeagueBoston U.8-15-01028
NECSaint Joseph’s8-23-02145

Data from Laxnumbers.com – 4/4

Possible At-Large Selections

As previously mentioned, after those 10 automatic qualifiers are set in stone, there are still eight other teams that will get in via at-large berths. This portion of the selection process is always fun, but maybe even more so this year with how tight things have seem to be across the landscape.

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
Ivy LeaguePrinceton6-22-111
Ivy LeagueYale5-22-143
Ivy LeaguePenn4-31-252
Big TenRutgers10-12-0817
Ivy LeagueCornell8-12-1923
Big TenOhio State7-31-11112
ACCNorth Carolina7-31-11214
Big TenJohns Hopkins5-61-1164
Big EastDenver5-50-1178
ACCNotre Dame2-40-1163
Ivy LeagueBrown5-40-21913
Patriot LeagueArmy West Point8-20-02042

Data from Laxnumbers.com – 4/4

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 at the moment. 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.

Ivy League – Five bids

ACC – Three bids

Big Ten – Two or three bids

ASUN – One bid

Big East – One bid

Patriot League – One bid

America East – One Bid 

CAA – One Bid

MAAC – One Bid

NEC – One Bid

SoCon – One Bid

Projected Bracket 1.0

Last Four in: Rutgers, Duke, North Carolina, Ohio State

First Four out: Denver, Notre Dame, Brown, Army West Point

Who’s Living on The Bubble and Who’s Out?

After what was the wildest week of the season, all the focus is on the ACC.

Duke plowed North Carolina 15-6, Notre Dame took down Syracuse 22-6, and Virginia fell to Richmond 17-13 in a game where Petey LaSalla and Matt Moore left with injuries.

Still, Virginia is the safest ACC and will be in the tournament. I have them as the No. 6 seed right now, but I believe they will be higher than that come Selection Sunday. Duke has two games against Notre Dame and one against each Virginia and North Carolina remaining. How they fare during that final stretch will determine where they sit when the bracket is officially announced.

Carolina is in a similar boat with games at Virginia, at home against Syracuse, and at Notre Dame and Duke remaining. The same can be said for the Irish and Orange, and they may be the two teams to watch the most over the next few weeks as they both sit outside the tournament picture right now but could play themselves in. That is especially true in the case of Syracuse with a non-conference game against Cornell in the Dome next Monday. A win there would be huge.

Will all five ACCs get into the tournament? It’s not very likely. However, I do believe that the conference will get at least three in there. The question remains, which three will survive the next 33 days and prove themselves worthy to grabbing those at-large selections.

The Big East and Patriot League are probably the next two most interesting conferences when it comes to A.) how many teams will the league get in? and B.) Which teams make it?

Georgetown is the clear-cut best team in the Big East. However, this weekend’s Villanova-Denver game will be crucial to who gets that No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. If either of those teams pull off the upset in the title game, it’ll be another dose of Big East chaos impacting the tournament and they will get two teams in.

Similarly, the Patriot League could end up being just as wild. Boston U. is 5-0 in league play and had a big non-conference game against Yale tonight and another one against Princeton on Saturday. With trips to Loyola and Lehigh, and a home game Army West Point highlighting the end of their season, those two games could be huge. The same can be said for Army’s non-conference game against Cornell next Saturday.

The battle is between the Terriers, Mountain Hawks, Greyhounds, and Black Knights for that top spot in the conference, and it seems to be getting tighter each week. It’ll be a fun race to watch however it unravels.

Also, I would be inclined to watch both the CAA and the MAAC, as well as the SoCon over the next few weeks. Things, as they often do in those leagues, could get wild. In some respects, just a game in for each team, the wildness has already broken out.

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