NCAA Tournament Bracketology: Fourth Aggregation

USA TODAY Sports

There aren't too many games left, but those games may significantly impact these projections.

Let's get right to it:

BRACKET PROJECTION AGGREGATION: APRIL 25, 2014
SYRACUSE.COM (4/22/14) INSIDE LACROSSE (4/24/14)
CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS
ACC Duke (1) Maryland (2)
America East Albany (U) Albany (U)
Atlantic Sun High Point (Play-In) Mercer (Play-In)
Big East Denver (U) Denver (U)
THUNDERDOME! Hofstra (U) Hofstra (8)
ECAC Ohio State (Play-In) Ohio State (Play-In)
Ivy Cornell (7) Harvard (U)
MAAC Siena (Play-In) Siena (Play-In)
NEC St. Joseph's (Play-In) St. Joseph's (Play-In)
Patriot Loyola (6) Loyola (6)
AT-LARGE SELECTIONS
Cornell AQ (7) In (U)
Duke AQ (1) In (1)
Johns Hopkins In (8) In (7)
Maryland In (3) AQ (2)
North Carolina In (4) In (5)
Notre Dame In (U) In (U)
Pennsylvania In (5) In (4)
Princeton In (U) Out
Syracuse In (2) In (3)
Virginia In (U) In (U)
Yale Out Out

Note: Lacrosse Magazine's projections are usually included, but they're not publishing one this week. Their projections will return next week.

The focus at this time of the season is on the fringe of the projections -- the "last four out" and the last two teams in the field. Those at-large candidates are in tough spots, both attempting to secure a position in the field and hoping that bid snatchers don't ruin their existence. Here's how those teams look right now according to the two included projections:

  • Syracuse.com: Drexel, Yale, Harvard, and Fairfield (in that order). Notre Dame and Princeton were the last two teams in the bracket (in that order).
  • Inside Lacrosse: It looks like Princeton, Fairfield, Yale, and Drexel (in that order). Notre Dame and Virginia look like the last two teams in (in that order).

Based on these projections, the Ivy League and the THUNDERDOME! look like they're prominently featured in the discussion around included and excluded teams. Thinking about this from a high level:

  • Drexel grabbing THUNDERDOME!'s automatic invitation -- not an unreasonable possibility, especially considering how bonkers that league's tournament has been -- could shuffle out one at-large and impact whether Hofstra is seeded or unseeded and who Hofstra is paired with in the bracket. That's a direct impact, but the Dragons are also at the mercy of bid stealers moving Drexel off of the bubble. Intrigue!
  • As for the Ivy League, some combination of Cornell, Pennsylvania, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale are considered in these projections (it's probably easier to just write "Everybody except Brown and Dartmouth"). The Red and Quakers appear destined for a May adventure, but Princeton, Harvard, and Yale's fates are contingent upon (1) what happens in the Ivy League Tournament (and the Tigers won't participate this year), and (2) what happens around the country -- bid-stealin'! -- that may impact their candidacies. Harvard and Yale playing with purpose and NCAA Tournament motivation in the Ivy League Tournament could create a lot of heat in an already competitive conference. These are the good times, people.
  • Notre Dame has a record issue -- the team needs to stay at or above .500 for NCAA Tournament consideration -- but the Irish could use a win against Maryland in the ACC Tournament to remove some doubt about the team's at-large potential and fend off some potential bid stealing (or at least make the discussion around Notre Dame and another at-large a difficult conversation). Based on these projections, Notre Dame is in the least desirable position possible.
  • Two league races to keep an eye on: The Big East and the Patriot League. These are currently one-bid conferences with heavy favorites in their league tournaments, but a slip up from either Denver or Loyola could create otherwise unanticipated havoc in the at-large field given that none of their members are otherwise considered in the projected brackets or on the fringe.

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