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May 10, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Inside Lacrosse

Sean Burns
  (12:04 PM)

Hey everybody, we're here at the office after a long night of coverage from the NCAA tournament selection show, where some teams saw their postseason dreams come together and others saw them fall apart. Got a question about the NCAA field? Fire away and we'll do our best to answer.

madriverlax (Mad River Valley)

Why should any No. 1 thru 4 seed ever have to play an away game before the final four?Example: Virginia at Stony Brook in Quarters

Sean Burns
  (12:07 PM)

The same reason they do in basketball - the quarterfinals in the NCAA lacrosse tournament for Division I are selected in advance of the season. We knew that Princeton and Stony Brook were going to be hosting that weekend before this year even started, so it has nothing to do with what seeds land where. Now, the fact that Virginia and No. 3 seed Maryland could be facing home teams (No. 8 Stony Brook and No. 6 Princeton) in their quarterfinal matchups could be considered unfair, but the 'road' aspect of it is never in question (unless the top seed happens to also be hosting a quarterfinal that spring).

Bill (Baltimore)

JHU at Duke on Saturday , noon. Hofstra at Univ of MD Saturday at noon. These are the only two games that are scheduled at the same time , is this correct? Or could this be a misprint?

Sean Burns
  (12:08 PM)

Bill, that is not a misprint - the Hofstra at Maryland contest will be broadcast at noon on ESPNU, while the Johns Hopkins at Duke game will be on ESPN. Unlike previous years, there is no noon game on Sunday.

Lee (New Jersey)

As a Georgetown lacrosse fan I am hoping IL can help get an explaination from the NCAA as to how the Hoyas are not in the trmt. Based on the NCAA bylaws, the selection criteria was not applied on the at large bids with an even hand. Is it conceivable to get a written explanation from the NCAA as to how they determined the AL teams. The responses on the IL podcast as well as the ESPNU broadcast by the Chairman Pavlechko did not answer the questions asked by T. Foy and the other broadcaster regarding what went into the final selection. The NCAA criteria was simply not used consistently and IL staff should help give credibility to the selection process by inquiring and uncovering the how the committee came to their decision. To say that "someone is always disappointed" is simply not an explanation when the criteria is mathematical. The Gtwn senior class, the whole team and in particular Dave Urick deserve better. The committee needs to clarify and be transparent for the dignity of the sport.

Terry Foy
  (12:12 PM)

Lee, there's no question Georgetown's exclusion is confusing. After all, I had them in the dance over Loyola in my last bracketology and that turned out to be the only miss for which 16 teams got in. That said, I don't think you can say the selection criteria wasn't applied with an even hand. The selection criteria is deliberately ambiguous to know for certain who is deserving on that basis. The criteria isn't entirely mathematical when there is no order of priority in application and the data can be conflicting - in that instance, judgment is necessary, and that's what we saw with Georgetown's exclusion. With that said, we'll continue to try to get a better explanation for how the committee came to the decision that excluded the Hoyas and report what we find.

Bill (Baltimore)

Guess I need to figure out how to work my picture in picture feature on the TV

Sean Burns
  (12:13 PM)

Its probably a scam with an electronics retailer to get you to buy another flat screen.

cornellshiner (long island)

Should SBU get past Denver, is there a chance playing at home givesthem any shot against UVA?

Sean Burns
  (12:17 PM)

Never count out a team that makes the quarterfinals to beat any other team in the quarterfinals. Obviously Stony Brook is hot right now, and don't forget that they played Virginia pretty tough early in the year, losing 13-8 at Klockner. Add a potential big crowd to the mix, you never know.

geoff (buffalo)

who u got winning it all as of now? i have cuse over virginia in the final even though uva beat them during the season.

matt (boston) [via mobile]

After having the best season in years, Carolina seems to have drawn a real hard road to the final four, not to mention any championship. Can they get past some serious team to make the final four?

Sean Burns
  (12:21 PM)

Matt, I think it's fair to say that pretty much any team is going to have a tough road to the final four. Syracuse has to play a hot Army team in the first round as the No. 2 seed... Virginia could theoretically play Stony Brook in the quarterfinals - at Stony Brook. For the Tar Heels, a solid Delaware squad at home, followed by a quarterfinal game against either Duke or Johns Hopkins - both of which the Tar Heels beat in the regular season - doesn't seem like an impossibly hard road. No matter who you face in May, it's win or go home.

madriverlax (Mad River Valley)

How do you become a member of the selection committee?

Terry Foy
  (12:23 PM)

Not sure if all this is gospel, but here's my best shot. For all three divisions, a qualified member of an NCAA athletic department sponsoring lacrosse is eligible. Like any job or spot on a committee, there are different ways an applicant can become qualified to be selected for service by the NCAA Championships committee - for a coach, that typically entails serving on the NCAA Selection advisory committee, which is made up of only coaches and serves as the eyeball testers for the selection committee. You can find more info in the NCAA Championship Handbook, available here:

Terry Foy
  (12:23 PM)

http://web1.ncaa.org/web_files/champ_handbooks/lacrosse/2009/mlacrosse_handbook.pdf

TR (Boston)

Does Denver have a chance of knocking of Hofstra?

Sean Burns
  (12:25 PM)

I'm sure Denver would have a chance at knocking off Hofstra. It would be a pretty big story, since that would mean they were playing in the NCAA finals... If your question was about whether Denver could knock off Stony Brook, the possibility is certainly there, considering Denver beat Stony Brook during the regular season.

Ben (DC)

How big of an impact did Cornell's loss yesterday have on their tournament chances given that they probably got a different seed?

Sean Burns
  (12:27 PM)

I don't think the Cornell loss Sunday impacted their ultimate tournament chances THAT greatly. Consider the possibility that Cornell wins in the final and is granted the No. 6 seed in the tourney with Princeton at No. 7. The first-round game is against Notre Dame rather than Loyola - which you could probably call a wash because neither school is coming into the tournament hot but both are certainly capable of putting together good games. Then the next round is going to be (if the top seed advances) Maryland instead of Syracuse. Both would be (will be) tough games. Long story short, I don't think the difference between where Cornell landed after Sunday's loss and where they would have landed with a win is all that significant.

Dan (Gaithersburg, Maryland)

How did Maryland snag the third seed ahead of Carolina despite splitting games and having one more loss than the Heels? (Does the regular season mean nothing?) Also, do you think Carolina still has a decent chance at making a run in the tourney?

Sean Burns
  (12:31 PM)

They split games and Maryland had the higher RPI - the Terps also beat North Carolina later in the season, which could have carried some weight. Both definitely have a chance to make a run if they get hot. They've shown they can play. Carolina's road to the final four would be through Delaware at home and then through two teams that they have already beaten. That's not impossible.

Bill (Baltimore)

I think the seeds will hold up and UVA will face 'Cuse in the final- pick em

Sean Burns
  (12:32 PM)

I don't think there are a lot of people that would vote against that being a strong possibility. But there's a reason they play the games rather than just feed some numbers in a computer and declare a champion.

Terry Foy
  (12:34 PM)

The biggest distinguishing factor appears to be that Maryland's SOS was higher than North Carolina's. Also, given the way the bracket broke down, you could argue that since UNC's performance against Duke was better than their performance against Princeton (who was without Chad Wiedmaier in that game), drawing opposite fifth-seeded Duke makes a run more likely than drawing opposite sixth-seeded Princeton.

Andrew (Newark, DE)

Not only did Hopkins entry take away a spot from one of the at-large teams, but if Hopkins was admitted, Hofstra had to be too, which didn't even make the CAA tournament. How was this allowed to happen?

Sean Burns
  (12:36 PM)

Andrew, I don't think that it quite works that way. The teams are weighed on their own, so for Hopkins to get in and for Hofstra to get, one had nothing to do with the other. Now you can easily argue that Hopkins taking down Towson and Loyola right at the end of the year helped Hofstra a TON because it probably improved their final RPI due to having a win over the Blue Jays, but one had nothing to do with the other in the sense of 'we can't let Hofstra in unless Hopkins is there'.

madriverlax (Mad River Valley)

I understand that locations are selected well in advance. The committee could have easily have avoided away game scenario for a 1-4 seed with simple adjustments to the 8 unseeded teams and the two fairly close locations. Basketball shouldn't be the precedent for lax.

Sean Burns
  (12:38 PM)

You make a good point that it wouldn't be that difficult to move things around a bit, but the point of the NCAA selection committee is to set up the bracket the way they see it should be. It's already a byzantine process to make sure they adhere to all of the qualification processes while at the same time keeping the travel costs in place, so to have to add another layer of making sure that teams go to a truly 'neutral' site for their QF when two teams that are in the tournament are hosting, would be almost impossible.

Andrew (Newark, DE)

Here is what Hopkins tourney ticket says to me: I can schedule the best teams in the nation, and don't have to win those games, and can still make the tournament with a .500 record. Is this what the committee wants Georgetown and the other snubs to do in order to get in? All this will lead to is more top tier match-ups (which I do not mind), and the lower-tier struggling to get high quality opponents.

Geoff Shannon
  (12:39 PM)

Its a good point, and part of the problem is the small pool of information the NCAA committee is working with making these decisions. Strength of Schedule and RPI are two of the established three prongs that the committee has historically used. Big wins is the third, and JHU definitely won on the two former and less on that latter piece. I don't know if this is what the committee wants teams to do so much as its how its always been done since the NCAA tourney started. SOS and RPI have always ruled this tourney, and if you look at its history, there have been quite a number of issues concerning SOS and RPI (Bucknell's 12-0 '96 run, but missing out on the tournament standing as most prominent). The bigger question to me, at least, was how Notre Dame got in with a 20 RPI. Did big wins over Duke and Loyola bump them up that significantly?

Joeheel (Tampa, Fla)

Down the stretch, the Tar Heels defense has struggled. They've given up 14 to RMU, 13 to UM and 13 to OSU. What do the Heels need to do to get back to the shut down defense they played for most of the year? Also, do you think that coach Breschi sticks with Restivo in the playoffs or goes back to Madalon?

Tommy Kehoe
  (12:39 PM)

I expect the UNC defense to hone in through the playoffs and tighten up their end of the field. Defense is a tricky animal, but come tournament time, it's all about adjustments and grinding out wins. 14 to RMU and 13 to UM aren't great results, but those aren't pushover offenses either. The RMU and OSU scores tell me UNC was having a hard time keeping the defense tight and a stick on the crease, in both games RMU and OSU had an attackman finish with 5 or more goals, which tells me there was a seam inside. I think they'll learn from it but it is a potential weakness to exploit.I imagine Breschi sticks with Restivo, the opening round of the NCAAs isn't the time to try out new goalies, but if a change is needed, he certainly has confidence in his depth at that position.

Steve (New York City)

Is there any way of telling which quarterfinal site a team will go to before first-round games are played? Obviously if the hosts, Princeton and Stony Brook win, we know where they're going.

Sean Burns
  (12:41 PM)

Yes, the bracket is already set up. Stony Brook will be hosting the winners of UVa/Mount, Denver/Stony Brook, Loyola/Cornell and Army/Cuse while Princeton will host Hopkins/Duke, Delaware/UNC, Notre Dame/Princeton and Hofstra/Maryland

brian (hyderabad, india)

heard it here first: 3-peat for the cuse. shouldn't even bother playing the games.

Sean Burns
  (12:49 PM)

I don't believe we'll hear the same statement out of John Desko.

Andrew (Newark, DE)

Riding this emotional run with Noah Fossner and Curtis Dickson's scoring streak (now the all-time leading scorer in school history), does Delaware have a chance against the Tar Heels and Billy Bitter down in Chapel Hill?

Tommy Kehoe
  (12:49 PM)

Delaware certainly has a chance; the UNC defense has struggled with pure finishers in games against RMU and OSU, which means Curtis Dickinson could find seams in tight to keep the score close. However, UNC will be the best team they've seen all year by far; I don't see them slowing down the UNC offense so they'll have to go goal for goal and hope for some timely defense in the fourth to pull off the upset.

YoUDee (Newark, DE)

Do my Blue Hens stand a chance against North Carolina, and could they survive either Duke or Hopkins for another magical run to the Final Four?

Terry Foy
  (12:52 PM)

I don't see any team being, out of hand, incapable of winning their first-round matchup. That Delaware has a group of seniors that have been to the final four (something that North Carolina doesn't) certainly has to bolster your hopes. They'll need big games from their top six middies - Jordan Hall and Dan Deckelbaum's play in 2007 is one of the forgotten elements in that run, lost in Alex Smith's dominance. But, even though he scored four goals against UVa as a freshman, the way Curtis Dickson is playing is otherworldly - my best comparison is to the way that Kobe Bryant can close out Lakers wins. When you have a guy like that on your team, anything's in play.

laxbrah (Baltimore)

Of the top 4 seeds, (uva, cuse, md, unc) which team do you think will make the first exit?

Sean Burns
  (12:57 PM)

Tough question. Lets just assume for a second that all four advance out of their first round game - which is never a given. Syracuse would have either a Cornell squad that took them to the final whistle this year or a Loyola team that has given them fits in the past and would love to knock them off. Maryland would get Notre Dame - which would love revenge for last year's NCAA loss in South Bend - or a very capable Princeton team. Carolina would have Duke - which it beat earlier but you can never bank on a rematch - or a Hopkins team that appears to finally be playing to its potential. Virginia would have either a very hot Denver team or Stony Brook at home. Obviously any of these top teams have the capability of winning that QF matchup, but in the pure sense of who probably has the toughest draw, it would be Carolina. But that's just one man's opinion.

Mike (Wilmington)

Alright, let's hear some predictions. Who do you think makes the Final Four/wins the championship? Upset specials?

Sean Burns
  (1:00 PM)

Loyola over Denver for the championship. Put it in the bank.In all honesty, this is as wide-open of a bracket as you could hope for as a lacrosse fan. The top teams are clearly Virginia and Syracuse, but that doesn't mean that either of those two could run into a hot squad and fall before they make it to Memorial Day. We'll get into all sorts of debate later this week and throughout the tournament, but for now this is all the time we've got, so thanks again everybody for checking in with your questions.