Cutting the Selection Committee a Break, In Advance
Start first with the locks: Johns Hopkins, Syracuse, Georgetown and Virginia are etched in stone, regardless of how the Hop-Loyola or Orange-Georgetown dustups turn out Saturday. Even if both Hopkins and Syracuse suffered setbacks, it's unlikely either would say bye-bye to a first-round bye. With an upset, however, the Greyhounds could possibly join the elite quartet, forcing Virginia to play in the opening round. Then again, if Loyola takes it on the chin in its season finale, could the 'Hounds possibly miss the final cut? Are things really that tight? For the answer to these questions, all eyes will be on the Ivy League showdown that same afternoon when Princeton (7-4) hosts Brown, which just threw a monkey wrench into Cornell's quest for its first mid-May game in two years.
Inequities you say? If Mt. St. Mary's (5-10, 5-2 in conference) wins the MAAC Tournament this weekend, they are in the tournament as an AQ. Maryland (8-5, 1-3 in the ACC conference) beat them 18-1 early in the season and won't get in!
Whichever way it goes, UMass Coach Greg Cannella will be feeling for the loser. He knows all too well what it feels like to be left out in the cold when postseason play heats up. Last year, Cannella's Minutemen went 12-2 and were overlooked, despite those two setbacks being of the "good" variety. "I know what those coaches are going through," said Cannella, whose squad dropped one-goal decisions to Georgetown and Syracuse in 2001. "For anyone going through it, it's really tough. It's as bad as anyone could imagine. I feel for those guys." Oh, by the way, the Minutemen have to take care of business Saturday against Rutgers in order for them to be the ECAC champ outright.
WHO GETS THE AUTOMATIC QUALIFIERS?
- Fairfied is in from the Great Western.
- UMass will represent the ECAC.
- In the Ivy, the winner of the Brown @ Princeton match-up Saturday has an invite.
- The Patriot Conference sends three 5-1 contenders, Bucknell, Army and Hobart to the comittee for consideration.
- In the MAAC they have a tournament to play at Marist this weekend. The seeds are Manhattan, Providence, Mt. St. Mary's and St. Joseph's.
- In the America East Conference Albany will play Stony Brook on Saturday for the honor.