We've been discussing this all week and the time is finally here. We are about 90 minutes away from Selection Sunday and four teams are fighting for two spots. After today's crushing loss to Cornell, I have taken Harvard off my watch list. Matt might have something else to say about that, but a lot has changed in the past eight hours.
Let me start by saying why Harvard won't be in the tournament, and why they are not in my final four or final five fighting for the chance to get in.
10 wins is very nice. Looks good on paper, then you break it down and wins over Canisius, Bellarmine, Holy Cross and Quinnipiac don't do it for me. Big win over Penn on Friday, but unfortunately, Penn beat them earlier in the year, so that win is almost wiped out as of now.
Being smoked by Cornell won't help them, even though Cornell is the second-best team in the country. The fact that the Ivy League was strong this year helped their strength of schedule, but their RPI isn't as strong as some of the others below.
Four Teams, Two Spots:
Hofstra: 13-2, #8 in final poll
Key Wins: For sake of arguement, Harvard and Colgate stand as Hofstra's strongest wins, which as of now, isn't helping their strength of wins or RPI. Yes, Hofstra does have 13 wins, but their strength of schedule truly hurts them. Even though the THUNDERDOME! (CAA) was a tough conference, Penn State and UMass wins as of now aren't as strong as they were two weeks ago (UMass particularly).
Key Losses: Only two losses come at the hands of the CAA champion Deleware Blue Hens. Respectable losses, as each were by one goal. That being said, the CAA tournament was Hofstra's to lose and like Stony Brook, should never have let that loss happen.
Final Take: Hofstra is in due to their win count and their only losses coming at the hands of a tournament-bound team whose stock rose greatly over the past four days.
Stony Brook: 10-4, #13
Key Wins: Deleware and a Hartford win are really their only strong wins of the year. Does Hartford taking the America East crown mean that win is now a little stronger? I'd say no. Long story short, in the words of Syracuse play-by-play man Brian Higgins, "Stony Brook should have never put themselves in a position to lose."
Key Losses: Towson
Final Take: With an RPI of 12, which is one below Hofstra, and higher than both Colgate and UPenn, Stony Brook has an outside chance to make the tournament. Losses to Virginia and Cornell prove that their strength of schedule was above par in 2011. It's a shame this may be the last we see of midfielder Kevin Crowley. Like Hosfstra, the America East tourney was the Seawolves to lose and they blew it in the final seconds yesterday.
UPenn: 8-6, #14
Key Wins: Duke, Bucknell and Harvard (some could argue Yale was a key win at the time).
Key Losses: Brown
Final Take: I think UPenn makes it in because of the strength of their schedule and some key wins. The argument can be made that a six-loss team shouldn't be up for a final spot. It can also be said that wins to Duke and Bucknell, while extremely impressive, were so early in the season, it doesn't stand out as much. I've heard both sides of the story. Losses to UNC, UVa and 'Nova didn't exactly hurt the Quakers, as all three of those teams will most likely be in the tournament. Let's not forget their RPI is 14.
Colgate: 11-5, #15
Key Wins: Maryland
Key Losses: Binghamton and Vermont.
Final Take: Huge, huge, huge win for Colgate over Maryland yesterday and has given the Raiders a pulse on Selection Sunday. But is it enough? An RPI of 14 is strong but unfortunately their Army wins aren't as strong as some would have thought at the time. That being said, if Colgate could have beaten Bucknell just once, they would be in for sure. As of now, I am going with no on Colgate making the tournament. Tough for coach Jim Nagle as he really turned the team around from a 3-10 season in 2010.
As of 7:27, Inside Lacrosse is reporting that Hofstra and UPenn are in. As we all know, its just a rumor. We all won't know for another 90 minutes or so. That is when the real fun begins. Seeing who will play who and where the games are, etc. Also fun to see what the road to the final four will look like for some teams.
Of course arguments can be made for all teams. Some will say a team with 13 wins and 11 wins should be in, no if, and, or but's. Some believe in RPI and strength of schedule as deciding factors. Sound off in the comments.
As always, we will all be around with an open thread to talk lacrosse and Selection Sunday so join us here for the rest of the night. Also talk to us on Twitter @collegecrosse.
NCAA Lacrosse fans, this is what we all live for.