How Syracuse makes — or misses — the NCAA tournament

first_imgSyracuse (9-9, 1-6 Atlantic Coast) women’s lacrosse has made the NCAA tournament for eight consecutive seasons and been a top-six overall seed each of the past two. This year, struggles in conference and a blowout loss at the ACC tournament mean that SU’s tournament berth isn’t secure. After the Orange lost, 21-12, to North Carolina in the conference tournament, SU head coach Gary Gait said his team would approach everything as normal in the week-plus that followed. Now, at the selection show on Sunday at 9:30 p.m, Syracuse will find out its NCAA tournament fate.Here’s a primer on where SU sits in Ratings Power Index and what could happen this weekend to help or hurt the Orange’s chances. All RPI used is as 7 p.m. on May 3.RPI BreakdownThe tournament has a selection committee. All rankings and suppositions in this breakdown are based on the formulaic RPI, which could be favored or not be the committee.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThirteen teams get automatic bids by winning their conferences, and another 13 get at-large bids. Right now, per analyticslacrosse.com, Syracuse has the 11th best RPI of a non-automatic qualifier. Essentially, the Orange would be the third last team to get into the field.Right now, RPI would have both Notre Dame and Duke missing out on the NCAA tournament, even though both beat Syracuse and both finished higher in the ACC. Although RPI factors in strength of schedule and raw results, the committee could very well take into account the individual matchups of Syracuse with those teams, along with how SU did against common ACC opponents, as a strike against the Orange.What can change this weekend for teams around SyracuseDukeDuke plays one more game this weekend, a nonconference bout with a struggling East Carolina team. The Blue Devils are currently ten spots below the Orange in RPI, but a win will boost them up a few spots. The committee could also look favorably on a blowout victory for Duke, while Syracuse’s last game was a nine-goal loss to North Carolina.Penn StateThe Nittany Lions are firmly on the bubble, and before Friday night’s Big Ten semifinal against Northwestern, it looked like PSU might come up just short. A 21-16 win over Northwestern changed that in a hurry. The Wildcats should be in to the dance regardless, as will Penn State’s conference finals opponent, Maryland. But an auto berth — or even a convincing loss to Maryland — by the Nittany Lions probably means one less spot for Syracuse.Stony BrookSouthern California, the first team out based on RPI, can root for one still alive that it played but SU didn’t. Stony Brook will play in the America East final on Sunday to attempt to preserve an undefeated regular season. Since SBU’s winning percentage is already perfect, a win by the Sea Wolves wouldn’t actually raise USC’s opponents’ winning percentage and therefore RPI. But a Stony Brook loss would hurt that portion of the Trojans RPI. High Point and JacksonvilleNotre Dame, the third team out based on RPI, can root for two mid-majors to close out the season with conference tournament titles: High Point and Jacksonville. Both of those schools are looking at automatic bids with conference titles, but UND could use the boost provided to its opponents’ winning percentage.What can Syracuse root forFlorida, Maryland, LoyolaThe opponents’ winning percentage theme is alive for three of SU’s opponents from earlier this season: Florida, Maryland and Loyola, all three of which will play for conference titles Sunday. The Orange pulled off a big upset over Florida and also beat Loyola, so for the more subjective part of the committee’s process, conference titles by those teams would help Syracuse.The committee to favor RPIThe Orange also better hope the committee loves RPI, because a 21-12 loss to UNC has been sitting on the docket as SU’s last result for more than a week now.What to watch for in the selection showFates of the ACCSyracuse needs to hope three ACC teams miss out to have a chance of getting in. UNC, Boston College and Virginia Tech should all be locks to make the tournament based on RPI. But the Orange can only afford for one of Virginia, Notre Dame and Duke to get in for its chances of getting in to be relatively safe. If two or three of those teams get in — and the committee could justify them over Syracuse, considering they all beat the Orange — then SU is in trouble.Johns HopkinsJohns Hopkins bowed out of the Big Ten tournament in the semifinals. The Blue Jays should still be safe, though. If JHU happened to miss out, there’s a lot more space for Syracuse. But a Blue Jays team that safely makes the tournament means Syracuse has to hold off a lot of bubble teams.Penn State and USCPenn State and USC. If either of these teams gets in, they could be the last straw that knocks Syracuse out of the big dance. If Syracuse gets in, what’s nextThe top six teams in the field of 26 get first round byes and await opponents in the second round. SU certainly wouldn’t be in that group. The Orange would most likely have five of the automatic bids seeded below it, along with maybe one or two at-large teams, putting the Orange around the 18 or 19 overall seed.That would lead to a matchup with a team seeded around 15th overall in the tournament, which could be a team like Princeton (an SU victory earlier this season), Virginia Tech (an SU loss earlier this season) or Georgetown or Navy, two teams Syracuse hasn’t played this year. Comments Published on May 5, 2018 at 2:04 pm Contact Billy: wmheyen@syr.edu | @Wheyen3 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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