The field is set and 17 teams remain in the battle for supremacy in Division I men’s lacrosse.
When the bracket was revealed Sunday night, Big Ten champs Penn State were the overall No. 1 seed. Duke, getting admittance to the tournament through an at-large bid, is the No. 2 seed.
In the first round, Penn State will face the winner of a play-in game matching up UMBC and Marist. The Retrievers are the lone team in the tournament with a losing record, but got in by winning the America East championship.
There’s a lot to discuss about the tournament field, so let’s get into it.
Title defense for Yale won’t be easy
The Bulldogs were ranked No. 2 in the latest Inside Lacrosse poll, but those rankings came out before Yale fell in the Ivy League tournament championship to Penn. Had Yale won that game, it likely would’ve been given a better seed than fifth.
Yale’s path to defending its 2018 championship won’t be a walk in the park. They’ll start the tournament off by facing Big East champs Georgetown, which brings a high-powered offense with it. The Hoyas are sixth in scoring this season, putting up 14 goals per-game. Leading the charge for Georgetown are Daniel Bucaro and Jake Carraway, who ranked fourth and ninth in the nation in scoring, respectively.
Should Yale escape Georgetown, it would face the winner of Penn and Army. Penn just beat Yale for the Ivy title, and Army isn’t an easy out either. The Black Knights have the second best defense in the country, allowing just 8.35 goals per-game.
High Point, Cornell left out
High Point and Cornell were both ranked in the top 11 of the latest Inside Lacrosse poll and both had double-digit wins. Cornell was 12th in RPI and High Point was 20th.
Still, both teams will be watching the NCAA tournament from home. Cornell fell in the Ivy League tournament semifinals, while High Point came up short in the SoCon tournament final against Richmond.
Cornell had just two wins over teams that made the NCAA tournament, beating Towson and Notre Dame in the regular season. High Point on the other hand beat five NCAA tournament teams during the regular season, taking wins against Duke, Virginia, Robert Morris, UMBC and Richmond. However, High Point did lose to St. Johns and Jacksonville, two teams nowhere near cracking the tournament field.
Three teams with less than double-digit wins received at-large bids, with Syracuse, Notre Dame and Johns Hopkins making the field. Notre Dame made the ACC tournament final, Johns Hopkins beat Maryland and then forced Penn State to overtime. Syracuse had regular season wins over Army, Duke and Johns Hopkins.
In RPI, Notre Dame was eighth, Syracuse was 10th and Hopkins was 11th.
Towson, Maryland first round match-up pits in-state foes
Despite being only about 40 miles apart, Towson and Maryland haven’t met on the lacrosse field since a regular season match-up on March 12, 2011. The Terps took an 8-4 road win over the Tigers.
The two sides have played in a few exhibition preseason matches since then, but this will be the first time in nearly a decade where they have faced off in a game with real consequences.
Maryland is No. 5 in the latest Inside Lacrosse poll, while Towson was 12th. In RPI, Maryland is seventh and Towson is ninth.
Junior Alex Woodall has had a big hand in the Tigers’ success this season, posting the country’s second best face-off winning percentage at 74.5 percent. The Terps have gotten a boost this year from sophomore Logan Wisnauskas, who is 11th in the nation in points per-game with a mark of 4.73.
Towson has the 17th best offense, while Maryland is just behind it at 18th. This game at Johnny Unitas Stadium is sure to be a fun one.
Mitchell Northam is a graduate of Salisbury University. His work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Orlando Sentinel, SB Nation, FanSided, USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times. He grew up on Maryland's Eastern Shore and is now based in Durham, N.C.