Total Lacrosse Magazine
On Sunday May 6 the NCAA men’s Division 1 selection committee revealed the 16 teams that will compete for the opportunity to play on Memorial Day, May 27th at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia for the 2019 NCAA Championship. These 16 teams will be narrowed down over the next two weeks to a final 4, before the Memorial Day weekend. How is it determined who will be the sweet 16? “It takes a lot of hard work and a lot of time,” said the chair of the DI men’s lacrosse selection committee, Gene Doris. The committee reviews the previous season and amends the selection principles and procedures if there were any obvious problems with the year before. These amendments must be approved by the NCAA in order to keep selection criteria similar across all NCAA sports. The committee uses a three layer philosophy to the selection 1.) Select 2.) Seed 3.) Place. Nine of the teams are easy they are the automatic qualifiers. The winner of the conference tournaments from America East (Vermont), Big East (Villanova), Big Ten (Penn State), CAA (Towson), Ivy League (Penn Quakers), MAAC (Marist), Northeast Conference (Robert Morris), Patriot League (Lehigh) and Southern Conference (Richmond) automatically receives a bid. The next eight seeds are given priority for hosting, from there, the committee looks at games geographically (attempting to avoid teams having to travel over 400 miles) then based on the integrity of the matchup. Members also try to avoid creating rematches from the previous year. The Committee wants to get it right in a fair and consistent way but this is a committee that applies wins to losses and not the growth of the team they are seeding. Those Eight games are played from May 9 to May 11. Out of that weekend comes the Great Eight. These four games will determine the final 4. Rentschler Field, Connecticut, May 19, 12:00PM Penn State No.1 vs Loyola No. 8. Loyola will have their work cut out for them. Loyola had a good year with a 12 and 4 record but never played Penn in regular season. Loyola does know how to compete at this lever and can elevate their game when they need to. Wins vs Virginia (17-9) and Syracuse (15-13) attests to that. Penn State earned their No. 1 ranking with a 12-1 regular season their only loss came at the hands of the defending champion Yale Bulldogs. Rentschler Field, Connecticut, May 19, 2:30PM Yale No. 5 vs. Penn Quakers No. 4. Yale are the defending champions and that is significant. Penn (12-3) played Yale (13-3) twice this year and the Quakers are 2-0 vs Yale for the season which explains Yale’s drop to No. 5 seed and Penn is No. 4. Penn University has never played in the final on Memorial Day. This might be the year the program has a balanced attack and a powerful defence. A Yale vs Penn game March 30th took 3 OT periods to determine Penn as the 13-12 victors. James M. Shuart Stadium, Hempstead May 18, 12:00PM Maryland unranked vs Virginia No.3. Maryland had a 12-4 season and are coming off a 14-13 win over Towson. The regular season saw Towson win 2 of their 14 games in OT so this team can handle high pressure games. Virginia had their share of OT wins. Three of their games went to OT and Virginia came out on top in all three. This team can handle the pressure too. James M. Shuart Stadium, Hempstead May 18, 2:30PM Duke No.2 vs Notre Dame No.7 Duke had a up and down season this year. 11-3 and it seems like they lost some games they should have won. The overtime loss to Syracuse comes to mind. Then they defeated the Penn U Quakers decidedly 17-7. The biggest question for the Blue Devils might be they have not been as consistent as they would like. Notre Dame has not played a game on Memorial Day and it will be tough to beat the big Blue machine. Duke has played in a number of the finals but their No. 2 ranking might be a little shaky this year. This next weekend will determine which four teams will claim 2019 as a successful year, and four teams season will end in disappointment. In any event some of the best lacrosse players in the world will battle for a chance to play on the Memorial day weekend and two of them will play for the NCAA Championship on Memorial Day. Get ready for some of the best lacrosse on the planet.