2022 DI Men’s Lacrosse Bracketology 3.0

(Photo Courtesy of Yale Athletics)

Three full weeks remain in the regular season and, in many respects, things begin to get a little wackier and tighter, but also more clarity starts to creep in as well. All I can say is buckle up for the final stretch.

Here is how things could look if the NCAA Tournament started 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 EastVermont6-63-05256
Big EastGeorgetown9-12-0312
Big TenMaryland10-03-011
Ivy LeaguePrinceton8-22-122
MAACSt. Bonaventure8-23-03264
Patriot LeagueBoston U.8-35-01415
NECSaint Joseph’s9-24-01841

Data from Laxnumbers.com – 4/12

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 LeagueYale7-23-146
Ivy LeagueCornell8-13-1618
Big TenRutgers10-22-178
Ivy LeaguePenn4-41-281
Ivy leagueHarvard7-22-1925
Big TenOhio State8-32-11013
Big EastDenver6-51-1113
ACCNotre Dame4-42-1127
ACCNorth Carolina7-40-31311
Ivy LeagueBrown6-41-21717
Big TenJohns Hopkins5-71-2205

Data from Laxnumbers.com – 4/12

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 recieve. 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

Big East – One or two bids

Patriot League – One or two bid

ASUN – One bid

America East – One Bid 

CAA – One Bid

MAAC – One Bid

NEC – One Bid

SoCon – One Bid

Projected Bracket 3.0

Last Four in: Penn, Harvard, Ohio State, Notre Dame

First Four out: Duke, Denver, North Carolina, Brown

Breaking It Down

Right now, I have the ACC getting just two teams in with Notre Dame being the other team in there with Virginia, who is a practical lock at this point. North Carolina and Duke are both on the wrong side of the bubble at the moment, but I could very well see one of those two getting in should one of those Ivies in right now drop out. I’d say that would most likely be Harvard. Also, the ACC would like to avoid any chaos in the Patriot League or Big East as well.

Both the Ivy League and Big East saw some action this past weekend that likely impacts the postseason. Starting in the Big East, Denver earned a big win over Villanova in what looks like it was the battle for the No. 2 seed. That win gives the Pioneers another quality, or ranked, win outside of Ohio State and thus pulls their RPI up. However, I still think they will need to win their conference to get in.

In the Ivy League, the Brown Bears pulled out arguably their biggest win of the season as they defeated Penn at Franklin Field. It now looks like it’s Brown, Harvard, and Penn fighting for that fourth spot in the Ivy League Tournament. Cornell, Yale, and Princeton are the three top teams and look like they have a postseason berth in their futures no matter what. Right now, Brown is on the outside looking in as far as the bubble is concerned, but with a game against Yale this week and Cornell next week, they have the opportunity to play their way in. Penn-Harvard on Saturday will also be impactful on how the Ivy League shakes out.

Also, watch the Patriot League over these next few weeks. Loyola plays Boston U. this week, Lehigh plays them next week, and Army West Point ends the season against them.

Any craziness in the Patriot League or Big East would likely impact the ACC most in terms of at-large selections go. Secondly, would likely be the Big Ten. However Ohio State looks safer now than they did a week ago and I think Rutgers is a likely lock. Only way I see those two moving is if one of them loses out the rest of the way to teams other than Maryland, who beat Rutgers last week and who Ohio State plays this week.

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