Top-ranked Heels get No. 5 seed
North Carolina holds the No. 1 ranking in the polls but that wasn't enough to sway the selection committee, which gave the top-ranked Tar Heels (12-3) the No. 5 seed in this year's NCAA men's lacrosse tournament.
Syracuse (13-3) earned the No. 1 overall seed and will host Bryant when the tournament kicks off next weekend.
The Orange overcame a season-opening loss to Albany to wind up with the top overall seed, something Syracuse coach John Desko said was a long time coming.
"It's come a long ways," Desko told ESPN. "The guys have gotten better every week and I think we learned a lot from that loss to Albany. ... I think we grew from that."
While one perennial power found itself on top of the NCAA tournament bracket, another found itself in an unfamiliar position -- out of the postseason all together.
For the first time in 42 years, Johns Hopkins failed to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament.
The Blue Jays were a part of the conversation for a berth according to NCAA lacrosse committee chairman Jim Siedliski, though he said Bucknell was the first team out of the 16-team tournament field.
Siedliski also offered an explanation for North Carolina's low seed.
"When you look at a Carolina, their body of work is outstanding, as is the other four in the top five, but when you start to get down to it, there were a couple of things relative to say, significant wins, which really weren't bearing out," Siedliski told ESPN. "As far as their common opponents they had with Ohio State was pretty much a push. They did have a significant loss in UMass at [No.] 22 where Ohio State's lowest loss was [No.] 10 at Loyola (Md.). You get to this level and you are splitting hairs but we feel pretty good about remaining consistent to the NCAA selection criteria."
Notre Dame, which lost twice to Syracuse this year, earned the second seed while the Buckeyes were seeded third and Denver earned the No. 4 spot. The Irish face Detroit on Saturday; Ohio State faces Towson on Sunday and Denver hosts Albany on Saturday.
The Tar Heels at No. 5 earned the highest seed for any of the ACC schools in the field. They open Saturday against Lehigh. Last year's national title runner-up Maryland was seeded sixth while Duke garnered a 7-seed. Penn State rounded out the seeded teams with the No. 8 slot.
The reigning champion Greyhounds will open up their title defense against the Blue Devils in Durham, N.C.
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