The Weekend in Stick is exactly what it sounds like -- a recap of all the important things that happened in the universe while you were enjoying two days of not-work. Part I features thoughts on the big stories from the weekend.
There aren't too many regular season Patriot League games remaining this season. Navy and Lehigh have already put seven conference games into their record books while the rest of the league has run through six mandatory dates of pure terror. The difference between Navy's 5-2 mark and Lehigh's 2-5 mark is slim, with six teams slotting in between the Midshipmen and Mountain Hawks, three with 4-2 records and two standing at 3-3. The race toward the conference's six-team playoff is going to be thick with anticipation and movement, a table that should exhibit fluidity as it attempts to determine its function.
The top four teams in the Patriot League standings at this point all have an excellent shot at earning one of the top two seeds in the Patriot League Tournament, an important fact given that the conference's top two seeds are given byes to the semifinal round of the conference's postseason event. The following games should have a serious impact on what things like in the final full week of April:
- Army at Navy (April 11): A win for the Mids doesn't lock up the league's top seed but it does assure Navy of no worse than a share of the regular season Patriot League title. The Black Knights, contrastingly, have a chance to knock their rivals down a peg and earn a monster head-to-head victory.
- Colgate at Army (April 17): Colgate has a victory against Loyola in its bag but also has a loss to Navy this season. Picking up a victory against the Black Knights gives the Raiders the kind of win-loss balance it seeks. If Army should beat Navy the week prior, this date becomes even more important to both the Raiders and Cadets.
- Loyola at Boston University (April 11) // Loyola at Bucknell (April 17): Of the league's current top four teams, Loyola is the only one that won't face another of the Patriot League's top quartet down the stretch. The 'Hounds have the luxury of hunting with less dominant predators, and the team's 2-1 record against its three peers this season may give Loyola all it needs to surge to the top.
Johns Hopkins' NCAA Tournament engine is sputtering with black smoke billowing from all directions. The Jays are 4-6 -- four and six! -- with three regular season games remaining, and the push toward achieving a .500 record -- the minimum standard for at-large consideration -- is becoming a major issue for one of lacrosse's most decorated programs. The math just isn't in Hopkins' favor at this point: Bagging kills in at least two of its last three games before the Big Ten Tournament forces the Blue Jays to rush through its league playoff in order to finish above .500 (if that happens, though, Hopkins' at-large concerns evaporate due to the control the team would have on the Big Ten's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament).
To put this into focus: LaxPower's NCAA Tournament selection probability model ranks Hopkins 18th among Division I's 69 teams, holding a 34.66 percent overall probability for inclusion and a 20.69 percent at large probability. With only eight at-large spots available in this season's field and Maryland looking like the Big Ten's unstoppable animal, the Jays need to make up a lot of ground in a short period of time with so-so opportunities serving as the team's potential launch pad. Hopkins isn't dead, but it is in a ridiculously tough spot with a small window for error.
- If the season ended today, Notre Dame is probably the top seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Irish are first in the RPI, first in weighted RPI strength of schedule, have wins against three teams in the RPI top 10 and two more in the RPI top 15, are a silly 7-1 with a victory over Syracuse, and will likely have its metrics improved simply by playing North Carolina and Army in the regular season (as well as participating in the ACC Tournament). The only blemish on Notre Dame's profile this season is an overtime loss to Denver at came at the beginning of March at altitude. This is as balanced and capable a team as Kevin Corrigan has had in South Bend.
- Stony Brook is going to be an odd conversation point if the Seawolves are unable to earn the America East's automatic invitation to The Big Barbeque. Stony Brook is rising in the polls but the team's RPI profile isn't all that hot right now: 22nd in the RPI with a weighted RPI strength of schedule ranking of 41st, the team has one top 20 RPI win -- Princeton. The team should get a bump by playing Duke and, presumably, Albany again, but it's going to be hard for the Seawolves to have its RPI ranking and strength of schedule ranking significantly rise with dates against Massachusetts-Lowell, Binghamton, Hartford, and whatever first round opponent the team sees in the America East Tournament. The Seawolves are in an awful position for a program that is having a solid season. Stony Brook remains a concern worth investigating given the uniqueness of the team's situation.
- Virginia needs to beat Duke this weekend in order to avoid playing the showcase game against Pennsylvania during the ACC Tournament. Virginia is 1-14 against Duke in their last 15 meetings. This is not good for Virginia.
- This Week in Oof!:
The Harvard men's lacrosse won in thrilling fashion in front of a standing-room only crowd Saturday afternoon at Soldiers Field Lacrosse Stadium, as Devin Dwyer's goal with 32 seconds remaining put the Crimson over the top against No. 8/6 Cornell, 10-9.
Cornell (7-3, 3-1 Ivy League) had momentum on its side after Dan Lintner evened the score at 9-9 with just 40 seconds left in regulation. Domenic Massimilian won the ensuing face off for the Big Red, but his pass back toward Cornell's defensive third was intercepted by Dwyer, who faked once before putting the ball in the back of the net for the game winner.