Bracketology 101: Predicting the Women’s Lacrosse Bracket
By Joe Puccio
CitrusTV’s Women’s Lacrosse Beat Reporter
One of the greatest pastimes as a sports fan is filling out a March Madness bracket. Before millions of fans try to create the world’s first perfect bracket, a selection committee meets to discuss the 64-team tournament. In the Women’s Lacrosse world, 29 of the country’s best teams are selected to fight for a national championship.
I’m here to predict the 29-team field. Welcome to May Madness.
Here’s how the tournament works. Every conference champion (16 teams) receives automatic bids to the dance. The other 13 bids are decided by the selection committee. The top 8 teams are seeded accordingly, with the top 7 receiving a first-round bye. According to my bracketology expertise, the top 8 teams will follow as such:
- NORTH CAROLINA (18-0, 9-0 in ACC, ACC Champions)
Predicted Result: National Champions
2. NORTHWESTERN (13-0, 11-0 in B10, Big 10 Champions)
Explanation: Almost fell to number 3 in my rankings, but mounted an 11-goal comeback to defeat Maryland in the Big 10 Championship. The no. 1 scoring offense in the country is pioneered by Izzy Scane. Her 6.23 goals per game leads the nation.
Predicted Result: Upset City in Final Four
3. SYRACUSE (14-3, 8-2 in ACC, ACC Finalist)
Explanation: 14-1 against teams not named North Carolina.
Predicted Result: National Runner-Up with an upset over Northwestern.
4. BOSTON COLLEGE (13-3, 8-2 in ACC ACC Semifinalist)
Explanation: In the same echelon, but only has 1 win against the top-3 combined. Leading scorer Charlotte North was one of two players to score more than 70 goals in the ACC (71).
Predicted Result: Final Four victim to UNC.
5. STONY BROOK (12-2, 8-0 in AE, America East Championship on Thursday)
Explanation: If SB wins the AE (which I think will happen), they’ll be safe at 5. Only two losses are against North Carolina and Syracuse. Defeated USC by 12.
Predicted Result: Elite Eight, maybe sneak into Final Four
6. FLORIDA (14-2, 10-0 in AAC, American Athletic Tournament begins Thursday)
Explanation: The Gators are the best team in the AAC. The 3 other AAC teams in the tournament; Cincinnati, Temple, and Vanderbilt; don’t stand a chance.
Predicted Result: Elite Eight, but watch out for the Gators.
7. NOTRE DAME (9-6, 5-5 in ACC, ACC Semifinalist)
Explanation: Currently ranked at no. 5, I see the Irish slip after their conference tournament performance. Solid regular season, but lost by 14 to UNC in ACC Semifinals and sneaked by Duke in the Quarterfinals.
Predicted Result: Elite Eight, but barely
———————————-FIRST ROUND BYE LINE——————————–
8. DUKE (9-6, 4-6 in ACC, ACC Quarterfinalist)
Explanation: Almost jumped Drexel over Duke, but the Dragon’s lack of top-10 opponents leads me to think the Blue Devils snag 8. Duke was the victim of a strong ACC and I don’t think it’ll help them in the tournament.
Predicted Result: First-Round Exit
Those are the top-8 teams in the country. Some of those teams above receive automatic bids to the tournament as it is. Only 5 teams have secured the automatic bid to the tournament.
ACC: North Carolina (18-0)
Big 10: Northwestern (13-0)
Atlantic-10: UMass (15-3)
Big South: High Point (10-7)
MPSF: UC Davis (12-4)
We’ve got a lot of conferences to go through, but this is one of the last steps in our bracketology. With the remaining conference championships up for grabs, I will predict the remaining 11 automatic bids.
AAC: Florida (14-2)
America East: Stony Brook (12-2)
ASUN: Jacksonville (9-1)
Big East: Denver (13-1)
CAA: Drexel (12-1)
MAAC: Siena (10-2) *BID STEALER*
MAC: Robert Morris (13-2)
NEC: Mount St. Mary’s (12-2)
PAC12: Stanford (9-0)
Patriot: Loyola (9-2)
SOCON: Furman (11-4)
16 automatic bids, four at-large bids (Syracuse, Boston College, Notre Dame, and Duke), and nine more spots up-for-grabs. These nine teams have a shot at upsetting Notre Dame and Duke in the basement of the top-8. The final stage in my bracketology is listed below. Note that “Team 21” doesn’t mean the team will be that specific seed. Teams like Maryland will be ranked higher than Furman. Sorry, Furman.
Team 21: Maryland (9-6) Big 10
Team 22: Johns Hopkins (8-6) Big 10
Team 23: Virginia (8-8) ACC
Team 24: Lehigh (8-3) Patriot League
This is where it gets interesting.
Team 25: Fairfield (11-1) MAAC
Explanation: Upset by Siena in the title game. Heard it here first.
Team 26: Vanderbilt (12-5) AAC
Explanation: A loss to Temple still puts them in.
Team 27: UConn (11-5) Big East
Explanation: If they make it to the Big East title game vs Denver, UConn is safe.
Team 28: Temple (11-4) AAC
Explanation: A good loss to Vanderbilt puts them in. A bad loss could see them booted.
Team 29: James Madison (9-4) CAA
Explanation: Very good resume. Played UNC and Virginia, defeated High Point and Elon. A win over Elon in the CAA Tournament catapults them in.
First Four Out: Navy, Rutgers, Elon, Coastal Carolina
There it is. As of May 4th, the Women’s Lacrosse Tournament Bracketology is official. It’ll be fun to see how horrible my predictions are on May 9th.
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