|(above) Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun doesn't think much of the DU lacrosse team, its soft schedule or lack of quality wins this season|
From: Baltimore Sun
by Mike Preston
University of Maryland lacrosse coach John Tillman has a reputation of being positive, and it was never more evident than on Sunday night after the NCAA Division I 16 team-field was announced.
Maryland should have been one of the top eight seeded teams and hosting a first-round game. Instead, they have to travel to No. 8 North Carolina, a team they've already played twice.
That was a mild surprise because in the past the selection committee has tried to avoid league rematches in the opening round. Even more startling was that Denver (13-2) was the No. 6 seed and Virginia (9-5) was No. 7.
The selection committee uses a lot of criteria in choosing the field such as strength of schedule, RPI, quality wins, head-to-head competition and travel. But the Pioneers had only one quality win all season -- against Duke -- and they lost to Syracuse and Notre Dame.
Meanwhile, Maryland plays in the toughest conference in college lacrosse and also plays Johns Hopkins and Navy as well as local rivals Towson and UMBC.
There a concerted effort across the country to spread the sport of lacrosse, but this was an injustice.
Denver will host Villanova (11-4) Sunday and become the first school west of the Mississippi River to host a first-round game in the NCAA tournament.
While the game is spreading, it just goes to show that the good old boy network in lacrosse still exists with former Hopkins assistant and long-time Princeton coach Bill Tierney getting to play a home game with his new team in Denver.
"It really is good for the game of lacrosse to get Denver an opportunity to host out in the West for the first time," said Dermot Coll, associate athletic director at Air Force, who also chairs the NCAA Division I men's lacrosse selection committee. "It was pretty unique as we went through it.
"We have a two-flight guideline for the tournament and try to do no more than two flights in the first round. And we knew that with Notre Dame and Denver in the mix that we were going to have two flights right off the bat. It was a tough decision to do that, but Denver has certainly earned the right to host a home game. With only two losses and both to top-five teams in the RPI, it'll be great for Denver to get Villanova out there and host a game."
Tierney said: "As lacrosse continues to grow from east to west, we appreciate the opportunity to be a part of another 'first' in our sport. Our players, staff and university are looking forward to hosting Villanova, and we hope to show the lacrosse world what a special place Denver is."
No. 3 Hopkins seems to have the easy draw of the top eight teams as far as getting to the final four.
The Blue Jays don't have another traditional favorite in their bracket. Hopkins plays Hofstra (13-2) Saturday before meeting the winner of the Villanova-Denver game the following week. Unlike Denver, which has one quality win, Villanova and Hofstra have none.