Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Recapping Round 1 Of A Tournament Without Princeton

TigerBlog was midway through the North Carolina-Colgate men's lacrosse game Sunday when he finally drew the line.

It was, after all, his seventh NCAA lacrosse game of the weekend. All on TV. None in person, which is where he'd rather have been, had Princeton been in the tournament.

So where to start with the eight games that made up the first round of TigerBlog's favorite NCAA tournament?

Let's start with the Ivy League, which went 0-3 in the first round as Cornell lost to Albany, Yale lost to Maryland and Brown lost to Denver.

The performance of the league has led some to question whether or not there should have been three Ivies in the tournament or if the Ivy League should have had multiple bids this year after a similar 0-3 record a year ago. TigerBlog finds this thinking ridiculous.

First of all, saying the Ivy League didn't deserve the three teams it had in the tournament means that there was another team that should have been there. In this case, the next team in the tournament would have been Princeton, another Ivy team.

Performance in the tournament does not equate to a justification of getting a bid. It's about who else should have had one.

An even bigger reason to TigerBlog why the Ivy League shouldn't be looked down on in this tournament is that he thought from the first time he saw the draw that it should have been done differently. And this isn't about Princeton's exclusion.

If TigerBlog had to take the teams that were selected and seed them and match them up, he would have changed the bottom three seeds. The first five were fine - No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 2 Syracuse could have been in either order, followed by Carolina, Denver and Duke.

From there, TigerBlog would have had Albany six, Yale seven and Maryland eight. Cornell wouldn't have been seeded.

Why? Because TigerBlog believes a team's overall body of work, to use the committee chair's words, should count more than head-to-head results from February. Yes, those games matter, but they shouldn't matter nearly as much as they do.

Cornell's win over Albany - in an ice storm in Dallas on Feb. 28 - was what got the Big Red a home game. By the end of the season, Albany, winner of nine straight, was playing as well as anyone.

So, in the matchups, Cornell would have been at Albany. The result would probably have been the same, but it wouldn't make it look like the seeded team lost and that it was an upset.

And a side note on Albany-Cornell: the goal by Great Danes' goalie Blaze Riorden was extraordinary on a lot of levels, not the least of which was the velocity he had on his shot. Didn't see it? Click HERE.

As for the rest of the matchups, Virginia should have been at Denver. Brown should have been at Maryland. Hopkins should have been at Yale.

Brown and Yale? Those would both have been 50-50 games.

Oh, and speaking of Virginia, the Cavs were run off their home field by Hopkins, losing 19-7 in a game that wasn't nearly that close.

As a reminder, Virginia was 0-4 in the ACC and unbeaten outside of it prior to the Hopkins game. Of UVa's 10 non-league wins, seven were: Loyola, Drexel, St. Joe's, VMI, Richmond, Rutgers, Georgetown. That's one top 20 win - Georgetown.

The other three were: Hopkins 16-15 in OT, Cornell 15-14 and Penn 12-6.

Princeton, who didn't get in, had a 16 -15 win over Hopkins in OT, a four-goal win over Cornell (and a five-goal loss) and a six-goal win over Penn. Princeton had one more top 10 win than UVa did, with its wins over Cornell and Yale.

Princeton and Virginia had very, very similar resumes. Princeton didn't get in. Virginia got in - and was a seed who played at home.

Why? Because UVa is in the ACC.

Speaking of the ACC, Virginia lost big at home and Duke lost big at home. The top three seeds all won, but they aren't going to be judged by getting past Round 1.

If all three remaining ACC teams making it to Philadelphia for the Final Four, then the league will have solidified its claim to being by far the best league in lacrosse. To do so, it will require Syracuse to beat sizzling Johns Hopkins, Notre Dame to beat even more sizzling Albany and Carolina to beat a Maryland team that can throw a blanket over anyone and who already owns a win over the Tar Heels.

Oh, and one more thing about Round 1.

Yale lost 8-7 to Maryland and may or may not have tied it on a shot from Michael Keasey that may or may not have gone in in the final 20 seconds.

Keasey's shot beat Terps goalie Kyle Bernlohr and hit the pipe, dropping either into the goal or just outside of it. The officials said it was no goal.

It was close.

In college lacrosse, there is no replay except in the NCAA tournament and only to determine if a shot was out of a player's stick prior to the end of a quarter. TigerBlog wants to keep it that way.

First of all, if there had been replay in the Yale-Maryland game, it wouldn't have changed that call, because it was so microscopic one way or another. And if replay were to be introduced, it would be like college basketball, where the flow of games are completely destroyed by replay reviews.

Besides, TB doesn't want to see replay unless it can be used to review judgement calls as well, like the one that gave Yale possession after a Conrad Oberbeck shot on the possession that led Keasey's shot.

So there you have Round 1. TigerBlog is looking forward to this weekend to see how it shakes out and of course the Final Four next weekend.

And the 2016 tournament. Hopefully with Princeton in it.

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