Division I Bracketology as of 4/15: Who's in, Who's out?

Forum user humb le has done a very nice job of examining the NCAA's criteria for selecting at-large teams for the Division I tournament as well as looking at the remainder of the teams that will come via an automatic qualification [AQ] berth. What follows is his analysis, lightly edited and used with permission. To read or participate in the discussion, visit the thread on the Forum.

By humb le

As in previous years, I will attempt to rationally discuss and predict the NCAA tournament selections. I am by no means an expert on this, but I do try to use due diligence in regards to respecting the criteria and focusing on the numbers. This thread is meant to encourage respectful, thoughtful conversation. All of my projections are based on the criteria explained below:

The Division I Men's Lacrosse Committee employs criteria specified in NCAA Bylaws. When selecting teams for possible at-large berths, primary factors considered when reviewing teams' won-loss records and strength of schedule are (not in priority order) as follows:

1. Strength of Schedule Index, which is based on the 10 highest-ranking opponents in the ratings percentage index RPI. Two games against the same opponent will count as two contests.

2. Results against teams in descending order, as determined by the "normal RPI [Ratings Percentage Index] rank" used during the selection process, that is, the record against teams ranked 1-5, 6-10, 11-20, and team ranked greater than 20.

3. Average RPI win (average RPI of all wins)

4. Average RPI loss (average RPI of all losses)

5. Head-to-head competition

6. Results against common opponents

7. Locations of contests

8. Significant wins (wins against teams ranked higher in the RPI)

9. Significant losses (losses against teams ranked lower in the RPI)

From this page on LaxPower, you can see the numbers I am using for my analysis.

To be eligible, a team must have a .500 record or better. It is important to remember that the NCAA committee doesn't care about poll rankings or "quality" losses.

The selection of Brown in 2009 over Loyola highlights how the criteria can be used. Loyola had good numbers (RPI, SOS) but lacked quality wins (QW). Brown had a very weak SOS but had quality wins and beat UMass on the road, while Loyola lost to UMass at home.

The selection of Notre Dame and Hofstra in 2010 over Georgetown highlights the importance of wins against teams in the RPI Top 20, especially teams in the top 10. While Georgetown had a better RPI and SOS than Notre Dame and Hofstra, they did not have a top 10 RPI win, while the Irish and Pride did.

In 2011, the committee acknowledged that they do not view the ACC as a conference, since they do not have an AQ. This is why UNC and Maryland played in the first round when conference match-ups are ordinarily to be avoided.

For the 2012 tournament, there are 7 AQs (America East, Big East, Ivy, Patriot, Colonial, ECAC, and MAAC) and 9 at-Large teams. All teams in the ACC and NEC can make the tourney only as at-large teams (the ACC has only four teams, while the NEC hasn't been around long enough to qualify for an AQ).

Inside the parentheses for each team is their RPI rank, SOS rank, and a listing of their top 20 RPI wins at the moment. Projected seeds have it listed in front of their names. The projection is based on the numbers as they stand today.

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