THE STAKES: GUARANTEED ACCURATE PREDICTIONS
Using the incredible power of lacrosse computers to analyze hundreds of college lacrosse games played in 2017, the machines that will eventually join together to overthrow the human race in a bloody and dispassionate uprising have determined the likelihood of how conference tournaments will shake out this spring. Two models were utilized — the Massey Ratings and an SRS system. These predictions are guaranteed to be right, unless they turn out to be smoldering garbage.
TITLE FAVORITE: Denver (1): 63%
MOST LIKELY FINAL: Denver (1)-Villanova (2)
BLENDED WIN PROBABILITY OF MOST LIKELY FINAL: Denver (1) (73%)-Villanova (2) (27%)
THREE FRIGHTENINGLY BRIEF AND INCOMPLETE THOUGHTS
- The idea of Denver heading to Rhode Island, gorging on Rocky Point clam fritters and forgetting to smash skulls on the lacrosse field, is a possibility — the Pios did fall to Marquette last season in the Big East Tournament final in one of the most stunning conference tournament upsets in recent memory — but there isn’t all that high of a likelihood that it’s going to happen. Denver is a massive, overt favorite in this playoff and no team is within close quarters to the Pioneers. (Even messing around with Pat McEwen’s Pythagorean ratings in a log5 environment gives Denver a 53% probability of capturing top honors with Villanova nosing just above 21%.) This is an impressively powerful team situated among a cast of average opponents, none of which are in the top 10 neighborhood to which Denver owns substantial property. Ear-bleedingly weird stuff happens all the time in lacrosse, but the failure of Denver to meet its expectations in Providence would be shocking in a way that make even the most I-knew-that-would-happen butthole you know raise his eyebrows. The Denver Machine is coming — with Trevor Baptiste hiding Denver’s defensive problems and Connor Cannizzaro and Ethan Walker causing all kinds of problems for Denver’s opponents — and it may only bust a gasket if there’s some kind of internal combustion problem.
- There is an awful irony stabbing at Villanova’s heart — even though the Wildcats are the second best team in the Big East Tournament (and therefore best positioned to possibly haunt Denver’s future), Villanova will have to start its hunt playing a true road game at Providence. (Have you seen the Providence mascot? It’s terrifying. If that thing is anywhere near the field, the inherent evil within its dead eyes are sure to drown Villanova’s soul.) The Wildcats are more than a goal stronger than the Friars on a neutral field, but shuttling up to Southeastern New England adds a layer of difficulty for the ‘Cats. I’m not sure if Big East officials care about this — is it better to have circumstances wherein its more conducive to potentially getting two teams into the field or is better to have your deathray assured of easier path to the NCAA Tournament? — but it ultimately doesn’t matter: Villanova got a raw draw, but them’s the breaks.
- If you’re an animal, this tournament is part of a potential three-way championship trip. Hear me out: Saturday noon: America East final at Albany; jump in the car and drive 150 minutes to Providence for the Big East final; then, on Sunday, pound it west to Poughkeepsie for the MAAC final or down I-95 to the Ivy final in New Haven. Two days, three opportunities to watch teams register their name in the NCAA Tournament ledger. Who out there has the guts to make it happen?
POLL: BEAT THE MACHINES AND WIN ABSOLUTELY NOTHING
Which team will win the 2017 Big East Tournament?
This poll is closed