Hofstra Men's Lacrosse Has NCAA Fate Out Of Its Hands

After falling to Delaware 10-9 in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) semifinals Wednesday evening, the Hofstra men’ lacrosse team has left its NCAA Tournament hopes in the hands of others and will be crossing fingers for results in some key games this weekend to break their way leading into Selection Sunday.

Despite being 13-2, the Pride will be on the bubble in its bid to be apart of the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight year. On the positive side Hofstra is ranked 12th in the current RPI rankings compiled by laxpower.com, ahead of potential competing bubble teams such as North Carolina (13), Penn (14) and Loyola (15). Hofstra also currently has four wins over the RPI top 20 including UMass (16), Colgate  (17), Princeton (18) and Penn State (20), according to laxpower. However one negative that could hurt Hofstra’s chances is having being rated 38th in  strength of schedule, which one of the criteria the Selection Committee uses when determining who receives bids.

“We will be discussed,” said Hofstra men’s lacrosse head coach Seth Tierney following Wednesday’s night’s setback to Delaware that ended the Pride’s hopes of leaving their  tournament fate out of the NCAA committee hands by capturing the CAA automatic bid. “I think we probably need some teams to win their conferences so at that point in time it leaves that at large or two at-large spots open."

The next few days in games across the country will go a long way toward determining Hofstra’s NCAA fate. Some results that Hofstra fans will want to root for include:
•    Have Denver win the ECAC automatic bid: The Pioneers have a strong at-large resume and the conference is likely a one-bid league barring an upset. Denver faces Ohio State in the ECAC semifinals tonight at 9 pm.
•    Have Cornell or Penn win the Ivy League automatic bid: Cornell is safely an at-large team and the Quakers are likely in the tournament already given their strong opening season win over Duke. The best scenario for Hofstra would be for Harvard to beat Penn in the semifinals and lose to Cornell in the Ivy League title game Sunday since the Pride defeated the Crimson on March 5 and this would boost their resume and likely add another top 20 RPI win to the table. However should Harvard or Yale come away with the Ivy League trophy this would take away another at-large spot.
•    Have Johns Hopkins defeat Army Friday night: Army is currently rated low in the RPI at 26 but a win over fourth-ranked Johns Hopkins would give the Black Knights (9-5) a major bump in the rankings. Army would then have wins over Cornell and Johns Hopkins on their resume and would be very much in the at-large bid discussion. A loss by Army however all but eliminates them from contention.
•    Have North Carolina lose to Notre Dame Saturday afternoon:The Tar Heels are one of the bubble teams Hofstra could be contending with for one of the final bids depending what shakes out in the conference tournaments. A win over the Fighting Irish (second in the RPI) would likely solidify an NCAA bid for the Tar Heels.

Last year Hofstra received an NCAA Tournament at-large bid with a 9-4 record despite not qualifying for the four-team CAA playoffs. However last year the Pride had a top 10 RPI win on their resume (Johns Hopkins) and a stronger strength of schedule.

The pairings for the 2011 men’s lacrosse NCAA Tournament selection show are scheduled to be announced at 9 p.m. Sunday night on ESPNU. The next few days will certainly be some anxious ones for Hofstra men’s lacrosse as they can only sit back and wait to see if their season has already come to a close.

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