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The First Trip Down The 10 Circles Of Lacrosse

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Taking a look at the conference tournament races with under two weeks left until the first two get underway.

Gillette Stadium

We’re getting set for May and there’s been plenty of Bracketology posts written so far. We’ll start with ours very soon, but there’s also conference tournaments to worry about. Nine of them have automatic qualifiers that will get teams into the NCAA Tournament. The only one that doesn’t is the ACC, which has five teams. Six are required to get an AQ.

We’ll travel down each circle (conference) of lacrosse, just like Dante did with his circles of hell in his epic poem Dante’s Inferno, which was written in the 1400s. For a short summary, the author, Dante Alighieri, is also the main character and travels through the nine circles of hell with the ancient Roman poet Virgil. You can read the epic poem, but here’s a graphic for you as well.

All teams in bold have clinched spots in their respective conference tournament. Also of note, since all three independent teams have sub-.500 records, they are ineligible for the NCAA Tournament, so no need to discuss them.

ACC

  1. Syracuse (4-0) (clinched ACC regular season title)
  2. Duke (3-1)
  3. Notre Dame (1-2)
  4. North Carolina (1-2)
  5. Virginia (0-4) (OUT)

Notre Dame and North Carolina are in the ACC Tournament, but next week’s game between the two teams in South Bend won’t determine the ACC regular season champion like previous years. Instead, it’ll determine the third and fourth seeds. It could be the third straight season Syracuse plays North Carolina and Duke plays Notre Dame.

I think Syracuse and Duke are locks to get in, and Notre Dame should also be fine, even with their recent struggles. UNC is closer to being out than in, but they’re still on the bubble, while Virginia is out.

America East

  1. Albany (4-0)
  2. UMBC (3-1)
  3. Binghamton (3-1)
  4. Stony Brook (2-2)
  5. Hartford (1-3)
  6. UMass Lowell (1-4)
  7. Vermont (1-4) (OUT)

The Great Danes are the only team that has secured a spot in the AE Tournament. With the loss last night, Binghamton still hasn’t clinched a spot, but are at the same spot as UMBC, who gave the Bearcats their second loss of the season. Vermont and UMass Lowell only have one conference game left, but Vermont has been eliminated. UMass Lowell could still get in, unlike Vermont, but that’s very unlikely.

Right now, Albany is the only possible lock from this tournament. The other teams have to win the AE in order to get in the NCAA Tournament, like Hartford last year.

Big East

  1. Providence (3-0)
  2. Denver (3-0)
  3. Villanova (2-1)
  4. Marquette (2-2)
  5. St. John’s (0-3)
  6. Georgetown (0-4) (OUT)

Two teams have already punched tickets to Providence, while Villanova can punch theirs with a win over St. John’s, which should be easy to do. It’s not impossible for St. John’s to get in the Big East tournament however, but it sure looks unlikely.

Denver’s the only lock in the NCAA Tournament as of now, and Villanova is a bubble team. Providence doesn’t have the resume that Nova has, so them and Marquette have to win the Big East to get in.

Big Ten

  1. Maryland (3-0)
  2. Ohio State (2-1)
  3. Johns Hopkins (2-1)
  4. Rutgers (1-2)
  5. Penn State (1-2)
  6. Michigan (0-3)

Maryland’s the only team that clinched a spot in the Big Ten Tournament, while teams two through six (really five) still have a chance.

The Terps are also the only lock in the NCAA Tournament, while Ohio State, Johns Hopkins, and Penn State should get in as well. Rutgers had a very good game against Maryland last night in triple overtime, but I think they’re still a bubble team at this point in time.

CAA

  1. Towson (3-0)
  2. Drexel (2-1)
  3. Hofstra (2-1)
  4. UMass (2-1)
  5. Delaware (0-3)
  6. Fairfield (0-3)

Towson became the first team to clinch a spot in the CAA Tournament last night with their win over Delaware. Hofstra could’ve also joined them, but the loss to Drexel put that on hold for at least another week. Delaware (@ Drexel) and Fairfield (vs. Towson) could be eliminated from CAA Tournament play with losses next week, which would also set the CAA Tournament field.

With Hofstra’s loss, right now I think the only team from the CAA that gets in is the winner of the CAA Tournament. Towson has the best resume out of the six CAA teams and has the best chance to get a possible at-large.

Ivy League

  1. Yale (5-0)
  2. Princeton (3-1)
  3. Brown (2-2)
  4. Cornell (2-2)
  5. Penn (2-3)
  6. Harvard (1-3)
  7. Dartmouth (0-4) (OUT)

Yale will host the Ivy League Tournament after a win over Brown on Saturday. Princeton can get in the tournament with a win against Harvard next week or Cornell in two weeks. Brown, Cornell, and Penn are still alive for what looks like the two remaining seeds. Harvard takes on Princeton and Yale and will probably be eliminated.

Yale is starting to build an okay at-large resume, but at this point, there might be only one Ivy League team in the NCAA Tournament.

MAAC

  1. Monmouth (4-0)
  2. Canisius (3-1)
  3. Detroit Mercy (3-2)
  4. Marist (2-2)
  5. Siena (2-2)
  6. Quinnipiac (1-3)
  7. Manhattan (0-5) (OUT)

Monmouth is the only team in the MAAC Tournament, and is probably the best team in the conference by a ton. Canisius, Detroit Mercy, Marist, and even Siena are the best teams still alive for three spots. After starting 0-10, the Saints have defeated Manhattan and Canisius for their first two wins of the season. Quinnipiac has had a very disappointing season after winning the conference last year.

No team will be able to get an at-large birth, so the conference tournament is the only way to get in the NCAA Tournament.

NEC

  1. Robert Morris (4-0)
  2. Hobart (3-1)
  3. Bryant (3-2)
  4. Sacred Heart (3-2)
  5. Wagner (1-3)
  6. Mount St. Mary’s (1-3)
  7. St. Joe’s (0-4) (OUT)

The Colonials are in the NEC Tournament, while Hobart can get in with a win over Mount St. Mary’s next weekend. If that happens, the season finale between Hobart and Robert Morris in Moon Township will be for the top seed in the NEC and for the opportunity to host the NEC Tournament. Bryant and Sacred Heart are in the driver’s seats for the final two spots, while Wagner and Mount St. Mary’s need significant help along with some wins.

Again, no team will be able to get an at-large birth, so the conference tournament is the only way to get in the NCAA Tournament.

Patriot League

  1. Army West Point (6-1)
  2. Loyola (5-2)
  3. Boston University (4-3)
  4. Holy Cross (4-3)
  5. Navy (4-4)
  6. Lehigh (3-4)
  7. Bucknell (3-4)
  8. Colgate (2-5) (OUT)
  9. Lafayette (1-6) (OUT)

Five teams have already clinched spots in the Patriot League Tournament, and only one remains with Patriot play wrapping up this weekend between Bucknell and Lehigh. It’s really simple: Win and you’re in. Lehigh hosts, so the odds might be slightly in their favor. They’ve also alternated between a loss and a win since their loss to Holy Cross back in late February. They lost to Cornell on Saturday, so if the pattern continues, they should win.

The Patriot League will have the AQ team move onto the NCAA Tournament. Could they have an at-large bid as well? If Army loses, are they in? The league isn’t as strong the ACC or the Big Ten this year, so it might be very tough to get an at-large. The Black Knights might be the only team that could get an at-large bid.

SoCon

  1. Richmond (5-0)
  2. Furman (5-0)
  3. Air Force (4-1)
  4. Bellarmine (2-3)
  5. Jacksonville (2-3)
  6. Mercer (1-4)
  7. High Point (1-4)
  8. VMI (0-5) (OUT)

With undefeated records, Richmond and Furman are already in. Air Force can get in with a win against either Richmond this week or at High Point next week. Bellarmine and Jacksonville could face-off for the final spot next weekend if they beat Mercer and High Point respectively this weekend. Mercer and High Point need help.

The interesting case here is with Richmond. The Spiders have been ranked for most of the season, but they’ve suffered one goal losses against Duke and Virginia this year. Their at-large chances are probably very small, so just like every other team in the SoCon, they have to win the conference tournament in order to make the NCAA Tournament.