by Jac Coyne |MCLA.us
LA CROSSE, Wis. – This space has typically been reserved for a lead-in story or anecdote, but we’re jumping right into business mode this week.
Let’s go conference by conference and see how the postseason is shaping up.
Michigan State’s win over Western Michigan on Wednesday eliminated the Broncos and locked the Spartans in as the No. 1 seed in the CCLA Division I tournament (there is no D-II) regardless of what happens in the Central Michigan game next Thursday.
Minnesota is in the barn at 4-1 in the league, and will be the second seed.
Davenport’s win over CMU on Wednesday eliminated the Chippewas from the postseason, meaning Friday’s contest between the Panthers and Pitt will be for the third seed.
If you assume Sparty is going to roll to the title, then Davenport needs to make it to the conference finals to keep any at-large hopes alive. Panthers need to win tonight against Pitt.
What LSA-II top seed is most susceptible to a quarterfinal upset on Saturday? #mcla18 #RaceforSaltLake
— MCLA Tournament '18 (@MCLA_Tournament) April 11, 2018
The conference tournament gets underway Saturday and everything is on the line in both divisions. There are no reasonable nationals at-large scenarios in the LSA, so it’s all or nothing.
Odds would say that there should be an upset among the eight games crossing over both divisions, but I’m guessing they could be scare. We’ll have to wait for the semifinals before things get interesting.
Getting ready for Senior Day! #GoYotes #BringTheSauce pic.twitter.com/4179b1trj0
— Yotes Lacrosse (@yoteslacrosse) April 13, 2018
There is still a ways to go before locking in the postseason matchups, but Idaho beating Oregon State for the first time in program history qualified both Simon Fraser and Washington for the four-team Division I tournament.
Oregon heads to play both of those outfits this weekend and a sweep gets the Ducks back in the hunt for the top seed. Oregon will have home field advantage regardless as they are hosting this year’s tourney in Lake Oswego.
In Division II, Montana and College of Idaho are going to be hard to unseat for the top seeds in the six-team tourney, but each could be caught if the results break right.
D-II is almost certainly a one-bid league to Salt Lake City, so the competition should be compelling during those three days in Oregon.
Other than Rhode Island, everyone is in play for the Division I race that is still relatively young.
UNH could make it very difficult for anyone else to grab the top seed if they sweep Northeastern and Buffalo this weekend, however, as the Wildcats already have a win over UConn under its belt.
Boston College and UConn square off in what could be an at-large eliminator contest for the loser. The Eagles haven’t played a competitive game in nearly six weeks, so the BC staff will be challenged to get their team to answer the bell.
In PCLL-II, all eyes are on Central Conn. State as they are three games away from grabbing the first bid to nationals.
Unlike most conferences that rely on the conference tournament to dish out the AQ, PCLL-II hands the ticket to the regular season champion (although they still play a tournament for the hardware).
Bridgewater State awaits anxiously, although CCSU has to lose two games to open the door for the Bears since the Blue Devils won the head-to-head earlier.
The Cougars don’t let them run for long. Johnson gets his 4th of the day to put BYU back up by 5. 13-8. pic.twitter.com/j2wS5NHGHf
— Virtually Varsity (@vvlacrosse) April 13, 2018
The four teams we expected to contend for the RMLC crown – Brigham Young, Colorado, Colorado State and Utah – will be in Orem after BYU's win over Colorado last night. Where the teams are in the pecking order is still to be determined.
Honestly, the semifinal matchups only matter for Colorado State, which, at this point, is on the outside looking in at a nationals bid. Wins over BYU and Colorado to close out the regular season would probably be enough to get the Rams into nationals, but that’s a tall order.
In D-II, a win by Montana State this weekend over Northern Colorado sends the Bobcats into the four-team RMLC playoffs along with Colorado Mines from the Northwest.
The Southeast is a little more muddied because there are some games that need to be made up, but it would appear Colorado Denver and MSU Denver will emerge from the miasma.
It’s game day Flames fans!! • Come on out tonight as we take on 10th ranked @hokielax at 8pm. • We will also be celebrating our seniors @mrettbiller and team manager @caroline_debnam! • #GameDay #GoFlames #SeniorNight #LibertyLax #HillCityBoys #PlayingWithFire #LibertyUniversity
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The Division I side of race has turned quite simple.
The top two teams from each of the four subdivisions has been established, and they’ll all square off this weekend to see who gets the top seed and, supposedly, the easier path in the conference tournament, which starts on Friday, April 20.
And once those games have been completed, you can plug the teams into this format for the quarterfinals:
Quarterfinals – Johns Creek, Ga. – April 20
GAME 1: No. 2NE vs. No. 1SE
GAME 2: No. 2SE vs. No. 1NE
GAME 3: No. 2NW vs. No. 1SW
GAME 4: No. 2SW vs. No. 1NW
And away we go!
Most of the six-team SELC-II bracket is known. Kennesaw State will be the top seed out of the North and Florida Gulf Coast owns that title in the South.
There are a couple of moving pieces that will be locked down this weekend, notably the UNC-Charlotte versus App State affair that will determine the third seed out of the North. It should be a compelling game.
Division I is waiting on the result of the Arizona-Arizona State rivalry game on Saturday to finalize the entire bracket.
If Arizona State wins, they’ll be the No. 2 seed in the South and host No. 3 seed San Diego State in the first round. If the Wildcats win, it will create a three-way tie that will be cracked by the conference tie-breaking protocol.
By my math and reading of the rules – and this is NOT official – Arizona would have to beat ASU by six goals to ensure a postseason berth. That would be an impressive feat, but certainly not impossible.
The D-I North is already wrapped up as Chapman is the top seed regardless of how the UC Santa Barbara game plays out and the Panthers will have the bye into the semifinals. Concordia-Irvine will host UC Santa Barbara in the first round in the North with the winner drawing Grand Canyon in the semis.
Cal State San Marcos and UC San Diego clash on Saturday to see who is the top seed in SLC-II South while a San Diego victory over winless UC Irvine slots the Toreros at No. 3
In the North, Northern Arizona has the bye into the semifinals while Loyola Marymount will clash with Fullerton in the first round.
Shoutout to our own Dennis Bell for hitting the 200 career points milestone!
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Sunday’s rivalry clash between Indiana and Purdue will determine who is the top seed out of the East that earns a bye to the semifinals of the eight-team tournament that will take place in Ames, Iowa.
With a sweep of Illinois State and Illinois this weekend, Oakland will lock down the No. 3 seed out of the East. If Illinois State wins out, they’ll be the No. 2 seed. Lots of interesting action left in this conference.
In the West, Kansas will play three games in 18 hours with a sweep locking up the top seed and a bye. There are still too many games left to move much past that.
The West division of UMLC-II is all wrapped up with North Dakota State, St. John’s and Minn.-Duluth filling in the Nos. 1 through 3 seeds, respectively.
The East will be hashed out this weekend outside Chicago (see notebook item below).
Chico State’s win over Dominican qualified both Cal and Santa Clara for the four-team WCLL-I tournament. Now the race is on for the final two spots.
That’s about all we can surmise at this point, although all eyes will be on Cal Poly’s road trip to face Sonoma and Dominican this weekend.
Sierra Nevada will wrap up the top seed in Division II with a win over San Jose State this weekend and a UC Davis win over Santa Cruz guarantees them a spot in the four-team tourney.
The rest may take another week to hash out.
* * *
What is the D-I Game of the Week for the period ending April 15? #mcla18
— MCLA Tournament '18 (@MCLA_Tournament) April 10, 2018
OK, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s dive into some of the weekend’s bigger games.
None will be any bigger than No. 2 Utah visiting No. 3 Colorado on Saturday in what could be a statement game for the Utes. They rallied very well (with the aid of a fortuitous lightning delay) to edge No. 24 Colorado State in overtime last night, but this is the first chance to drop a Top 10 win in front of the committee for seeding purposes.
Yes, I’m well aware that Cal was Top 10 when they played. I’m also aware that it’s not a particular teams fault when the schedule ends up not being as strong as it looked like in the preseason. It’s just a fact of life and Utah will have to deal with when they get to the NCAAs, as well.
The fact is that Utah’s best win is against the No. 20 team in the country. If they were in the PCLL or CCLA, the Utes would be ranked in the 15-25 range with their resume. Alas, we know they are better than that, and they’ve received the respect they deserve.
Now, we get the true litmus test. The Buffs are coming off 14-12 loss to BYU on Thursday, so CU will obviously be looking for a bounce-back victory. If Utah rolls back to SLC with a perfect weekend, they will have answered a lot of questions. At least the ones I have.
What is the MCLA D-II Game of the Week for the period ending April 15? #mcla18
— MCLA Tournament '18 (@MCLA_Tournament) April 10, 2018
The way UMLC Division II is currently set up, one of the four Minnesota schools rotates into the UMLC East with No. 6 Dayton and No. 5 Grand Valley State. Top-ranked St. Thomas drew the short straw this spring.
As a way to mitigate the travel for all involved, the Tommies are meeting the Flyers and Lakers in South Barrington, Ill., this weekend to hammer out the seeding for the tournament.
In order to keep St. Thomas from having to play fresh teams back-to-back (and to make the trip a little more worthwhile for GVSU and Dayton), Duluth has joined in on the fun, making for sort of a Mini-Judgement Weekend.
Who has the most to gain over the weekend? All four programs are headed to Salt Lake City with a Top 8 seed, but a pair of wins by the Lakers could vault them into the No. 1 spot in the poll and at least a Top 3 seed. That’s the position where you can make a deep run at nationals.
Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney sporting a Clemson lacrosse shooter in preparation for Friday night's clash with No. 4 South Carolina. #mcla18 #RaceforSaltLake pic.twitter.com/zyCdXOphsa
— MCLA (@MCLA) April 12, 2018
NOTES: Keep an eye on that Davenport-Pitt game. Could be something special brewing in that contest…follow the @MCLA Twitter feed for live stream information of games all weekend…Simon Fraser has been under the radar all season, but the Clansmen are immensely talented. I’ll be following their game with Oregon tonight…monster tilt in the PCLL when No. 12 BC visits No. 13 UConn this evening.