by Jac Coyne | MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – I’m going to pull the curtain back a little on the journalism world and confess something that you probably already knew: when a writer rolls out a mock bracket, it’s because he has run out of resources.
It could be one of many different resources, although time is the usual culprit. That’s the case in my situation this weekend.
I’ve managed to hammer out “think pieces” on conference races, South Carolina and BYU on Friday and Saturday, but with the impending flood of conference tournament releases, I’ve fallen behind. A “date day” with my lady friend looms on Monday as well, so time is tight.
Since our friends over Virtually Varsity have already rolled out a bracketology segment for Division I, it seems like it’s time to do a little dead-reckoning in Division II.
Just so we’re clear, I don’t sit in on the weekly selection committee conference calls in either division and have absolutely zero inside information. This is all based on how I think the criteria will select and seed the teams.
Let’s start off with the eight automatic qualifiers. There’s some guessing here, but I’ll go with my (expanding) gut instincts.
LSA – Missouri State
PCLL – Central Conn. State
PNCLL – Montana
RMLC – Montana State
SELC – Florida Gulf Coast
SLC – Northern Arizona
UMLC – St. Thomas
WCLL – Sierra Nevada
I’m not breaking much new ground here. Missouri State will likely get tested in the LSA tournament, but they’ve already defeated two of the three other semifinalists.
If someone wanted to go with Kennesaw State out of the SELC, I wouldn't put up too much of a fight, mostly because I think it’ll be a moot point.
Let’s move onto the eight at-large selections.
North Dakota State (UMLC)
Grand Valley State (UMLC)
St. John’s (UMLC)
Kennesaw State (SELC)
Cal State Fullerton (SLC)
Cal State San Marcos (SLC)
The first six seem pretty obvious to me, but the last two are still a little dicey. I’m going to roll with them at this point.
To the matchups.
No. 16 Central Conn. State vs No. 1 St. Thomas
No. 15 Cal State San Marcos vs. No. 2 North Dakota State
No. 14 Missouri State vs. No. 3 Grand Valley State
No. 13 Cal State Fullerton vs. No. 4 St. John’s
No. 12 Kennesaw State vs. No. 5 Minn.-Duluth
No. 11 Montana vs. No. 6 Northern Arizona
No. 10 Florida Gulf Coast vs. No. 7 Montana State
No. 9 Dayton vs. No. 8 Sierra Nevada
I actually feel pretty good about this initial offering. The biggest threat to the set up is if the lower seeds in the UMLC tournament get frisky and start pulling some upsets.
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Auburn downs Vanderbilt today to go 2-0 on the weekend to end the 2018 season. #WarDamnEagle
A post shared by Auburn University Lacrosse (@auburnlacrosse) on
A lot of seasons are ending. Seniors days have come and gone and the realization that lacrosse is done for the year is setting in for a lot of MCLA student-athletes.
I’m here to tell you one thing: thanks.
Perhaps your team didn’t reach its goals or find the postseason, but you were part of one of the most entertaining MCLA seasons on record.
It doesn’t happen without your hard work, discipline and perseverance. All of it is very much appreciated by all of us.
Have a great offseason and we look forward to seeing a lot of you in a couple of months.
13-12 OT win! John Psyllos with the winner, Jack Dunford with the big saves in his career finale! GW ends the season 5-4, first winning season in program history! pic.twitter.com/Xbq7Xn3vGi
— GW Men's Lacrosse (@GWMensLax) April 15, 2018
Running of the Bulls
Buffalo's upset of No. 11 New Hampshire on the Wildcats home field was stunning, and might just rob the PCLL of any potential at-large berth.
That's not the Bulls' problem, however. They are tasked with winning games, and this was the biggest one in a while.
Buffalo raced out to a 7-2 lead at halftime and then hung on for the ride, taking home the 11-10 victory.
Now the Bulls have a huge game with Connecticut to end the season next Sunday and the winner will get a bid to the PCLL playoffs and the loser goes home. That's everything UB could have asked for at the start the spring.
Offense MVP of the game Ryan Crawford gets a YUGEEEEEEE timeout for the boys. HERE WE GO BULLS!!! Ride the lightning. pic.twitter.com/AnN33zlzXQ
— Buffalo Lacrosse (@UBLax) April 15, 2018
As expected, Texas A&M joined the LSA-I semifinal party with a convincing win over Texas Tech on Sunday, giving the conference its presumptive favorite. The Aggies were the last ranked the league had and are probably the most powerful.
Obviously, that means nothing considering all four teams have the ability to win two games in two days. With the home field advantage, anyone but Texas emerging next Sunday would be mildly surprising. I’ll be watching either way.
Central Conn. State's Jared Pearson received his Command head (from MLL legend Peter Vlahakis). Who will have this week's Commanding Performance? Coach's noms --> firstname.lastname@example.org pic.twitter.com/5VW58FlqMf
— MCLA (@MCLA) April 15, 2018
My Top Fives
1. Chapman (11-0) – Familiarize yourself with the name Parker Halaburda.
2. Utah (12-0) – A lot of coaches will be looking for that CSU film.
3. Brigham Young (13-1) – The Cougars have never lost to Utah. Ever.
4. South Carolina (14-0) – Gamecocks have allowed double digit goals just once.
5. Michigan State (11-1) – Spartans would rather see Davenport than Minny.
Sunny & 75 from beautiful Barringtom pic.twitter.com/drKFhUBonl
— St. Thomas Lacrosse (@TommiesLacrosse) April 15, 2018
1. St. Thomas (10-1) – Top seed in Salt Lake City seems like a lock.
2. North Dakota State (7-1) – Bison will have played one game in 28 days.
3. Grand Valley State (6-3) – Lakers are logging some serious miles in April.
4. Northern Arizona (10-1) – ‘Jacks are overwhelming faves in the SLC now.
5. St. John’s (8-4) – Who else is going here? Duluth, maybe?
The nets are frozen.. pic.twitter.com/NdC96bIOh8
— GVSU Men's Lacrosse (@GVSULAX) April 15, 2018
NOTES: The UMLC tournament field has been set and seeded. It starts Friday in Mahtomedi, Minn…keep an eye out on Monday for tournament releases for both divisions of the SLC and SELC along with CCLA Division I…get those nominations in for Commanding Performance of the Week powered by Under Armour. Send them to email@example.com.