2023 NCAA DI Bracketology 1.0

(Photo Courtesy of Duke Blue Devils)

By the end of this week, the calendar will have flipped to April, which means the final stretch of the regular season begins in college lacrosse. Across the landscape, every conference except for the A10 and Big East has begun conference play.

With that, it’s time to start taking a look at bracketology for the 2023 men’s DI lacrosse season.

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 2023 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament will feature eight seeded teams and nine non-seeded teams. Those teams will make up the 17-team bracket.

Nine teams will be automatic qualifiers (AQ) and those will all be conference champions from the America East, ASUN, Atlantic 10, Big East, Big Ten, CAA, Ivy League, MAAC, and Patriot League. Remember, the ACC does not have an AQ because a conference needs six teams to qualify for an AQ. The ACC only has five teams. With nine AQ’s, that leaves eights spots for at-large selections.

The NEC and SoCon disbanded as men’s lacrosse conferences after last season and the A10 jumped into the landscape. Those moves in conference realignment make the NCAA Tournament go back down to just one play-in game. That game will feature the two lowest ranked AQs and the winner will play the No. 1 overall 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. For the leagues that have yet to begin play, the team with the best overall record or highest RPI rank is listed. Where there is a tie at the top of a conference, highest RPI is used.

ConferenceTeamRecordConference RecordRPI RankSOS Rank
America EastBryant6-22-01824
Big EastVillanova7-10-095
Big TenMaryland6-21-047
Ivy LeagueCornell6-12-056
Patriot LeagueArmy West Point7-14-0178

Data from Lacrossereference.com – 3/27 (12:00pm)

Possible At-Large Selections

As previously mentioned, after those nine 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 16 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. And as always, some of these teams listed have little to no chance of getting unless they get an AQ.

ConferenceTeamRecordConference RecordRPI RankSOS Rank
ACCNotre Dame6-10-123
Big TenJohns Hopkins8-31-064
Big TenPenn State5-30-1712
ACCNorth Carolina7-31-1815
Patriot LeagueLoyola5-32-11013
Ivy LeagueYale3-30-21127
Big TenOhio State5-41-01218
Big EastGeorgetown4-30-01317
Big EastDenver4-30-01421
Ivy LeaguePenn3-41-11525
Big TenRutgers7-20-11610
Patriot LeagueBoston U.7-14-02011
Big TenMichigan4-40-12235
Ivy LeaguePrinceton3-41-12328

Data from Lacrossereference.com – 3/27 (12:00pm)

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.

ACC – Four

Big Ten – Three

Big East – Two

Patriot League – One or two

Ivy League – One or two

America East – One

ASUN – One

A10 – One

CAA – One

MAAC – One

2023 Projected Bracket 1.0

Without further ado, here is the first project for this season. Expect things to change quite a bit in the coming weeks as we inch closer to selection Sunday.

Last Four in: Penn State, North Carolina, Loyola, Yale

First Four out: Ohio State, Georgetown, Denver, Penn


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