Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Treatise Upon Thunder

So if you go to and enter the word "bracketology," it'll give you a bunch of other suggestions as the word you're looking for isn't really a word. The first choice is "brontology," which is defined as "a treatise upon thunder." TigerBlog has no idea what that means and chooses not to attempt to use it in a sentence.

Going to the much more reasonable, the definition becomes "the study of thunder." This leaves TB to wonder if there are professional brontologists out there.

Back to bracketology, who cares if it's a real word or not. As TigerBlog mentioned Monday, everyone knows what bracketology is, and in many ways, the sporting public likes the subject more than the actual NCAA tournament games that follow.

All of that brings us to the little brother of the original bracketology, the one about the NCAA men's lacrosse tournament that Inside Lacrosse put out today on its Website.

According to this version, Princeton will host Maryland in the first round as the fourth seed. The winner would be sent to the quarterfinal at Navy to play the winner of UMBC and fifth-seeded North Carolina.

Cornell, as the eighth seed at home against UMass, and Brown, unseeded and at No. 7 Notre Dame, are also in the field. Duke earns the No. 1 seed, according to IL.

So what are we to make of this? Seeding for a 16-team has to be infinitely easier than seeding for a 65-team men's basketball tournament. The history of the selections makes the criteria well-known, and the NCAA released the RPI yesterday (Princeton, who fell to seventh, was actually hurt by a 14-7 win over Dartmouth).

Are the IL folks onto something here? They could be, but it doesn't matter. If they get only 15 of 16 right, the one they get wrong trickles down to the whole bracket. In the case of men's lacrosse, there are issues related to travel that impact the bracket, and the eight unseeded teams are matched up by geography and other factors, so it's not like No. 1 plays No. 16, No. 2 plays No. 15, etc.

Princeton's seed will be affected for the negative with a loss to Brown this weekend, while a win would add one more quality win to the resume. Either way, it appears that the three Ivy schools can feel pretty comfortable about their postseason status, which makes this weekend's game at Class of 1952 Stadium different from last year's between the teams in Providence, after which neither team got in the tournament.

Will it really be Princeton vs. Maryland next weekend at Class of 1952 Stadium? Maybe. Maybe not.

Either way, it doesn't change this fact: TigerBlog was probably not the only lacrosse fan interested in checking out IL this morning to see what was in store for his favorite team in an imaginary bracket.

TigerBlog hasn't quite figured out yet why seeing something that has no impact on the actual final tournament field holds such an allure, though he's pretty sure it has something to do with one of his deepest beliefs: People believe everything they read.

Or maybe there's more to it than that. Maybe TB needs someone smarter to explain it to him.

Is there a brontologist in the house?

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