Quick reminder before I break into this: the team plays two home games this weekend (for the only time this season). They play Western Michigan tonight and Central Michigan on Saturday. Both games take place at 7pm in Oosterbaan Fieldhouse. I encourage everyone to make it out and support the team.
On to the show...
The MCLA regular season still has several weeks left to go, but CollegeLax.us blogger Buffalowill has already started breaking down the bubble watch for the 2010 MCLA Tournament, taking place May 11th-15th in Denver. The tournament consists of 16 teams, including the 10 conference champions and 6 at-large bids.
Michigan's conference, the CCLA, has traditionally been a 1-bid league, while the national scene has been dominated by the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference (Colorado State, BYU, and others) and the Southwestern Lacrosse Conference (Chapman, Arizona State, and others). Will, however, predicts that the CCLA should get two teams in this year, giving the Wolverines an in-conference companion out in Denver.
Moving on to the bracket at large, here's a very enlightening chat from the selection committee last year on some of the specifics about how they select the field gives us a great idea of the criteria. I won't go into quite as much detail this far out from the tournament, since there's still a lot of lacrosse to be played, but down the road, I'll compare using their criteria:
[MCLA Tournament Selection Committee member] Tony Scazzero: A team’s body of work was the overall focus; quality wins, quality losses, strength of schedule, quality of schedule, OOC games, and record and scores against top divisional opponents.
Team factors that were also considered included; conference playoff seeding and record, injuries/circumstances affecting team performance, when wins/losses occurred, and travel.
Committee members used a variety of information during this process. Statistical analysis, various polls, first-hand game accounts, common opponents.
So that's the general criteria, much like the NCAA Basketball tournament, and unlike the NCAA Hockey tournament, which results from a pretty strict adherence to the PWR numbers. Last year was also the first year of a committee-based approach, rather than using the polls.
[Committee member Ken Lovic] klovic: We did not look at who was where, rather, who deserved to be where. We also did NOT (though people want to believe it) look at conference match ups. We as a committee came to a decision that we should not factor that into seeding.
So, unlike the hockey tournament, they do not switch teams compared to their seeds to avoid early-round conference matchups, and since all the games are played at the same site, there is no need for swaps based on location, such as how Michigan got shipped to Fort Wayne.
Autobids (bids per league are according to Will's breakdown, though I adjusted based on current poll rankings):
Boston College - PCLL - 1 bid regardless of who wins.
Cal Poly - WCLL - 1 bid regardless of who wins.
Lindenwood - GRLC - 1 bid regardless of who wins.
Texas - LSA - 1 bid regardless of who wins.
The at-large bids, according to current rankings, would go to #4 Arizona State (SLC), #5 BYU (RMLC), #8 Michigan State (CCLA), #10 Florida (SELC), #12 Virginia Tech (SELC), and #15 Loyola Marymount (SLC).
According to Will, it's more likely the SELC loses one of its bids (Virginia Tech) by the end of the year, and that ends up going to Colorado or Utah, both languishing out of the MCLA The Lax Mag rankings at this time (and, as noted above, Colorado is pretty bad this year, and shouldn't be ranked in the other two polls). I think the more likely situation is that either the SELC holds onto that bid or the CCLA gets three bids. Since Virginia Tech is currently projected in by the rankings, I'll say they get in.
Without further ado, your 2010 MCLA Tournament Bracket (by the way, if anyone knows of a web-based bracket program that's a little more aesthetically appealing, let me know):
Last 2 in: Virginia Tech, Loyola Marymount.
First 2 out: UConn, Indiana.
Next Bracketology: April 15, 2010
Very rough draft with a lot of lacrosse still to be played. For this edition, I just went by my composite of the 3 main MCLA polls, but now that I have most of the background information out of the way, I'll compare teams a little more in-depth for future editions.
Michigan State would be a possible opponent in the second round for the Wolverines, but they have an opportunity to improve their seeding with a trip to play #3 Colorado State and Colorado this coming weekend. Other than that, they should be expected to win the rest of their games, except against Michigan to close the regular season and in the CCLA Tournament. I'll go into much more depth at a later date, but a strong Michigan State lacrosse team is good for Michigan.
Man, these lacrosse updates always seem to be filled with bonus info at the bottom. H/T CollegeLax.us for bringing this to my attention, as there's now a video of (HD!) highlights from the Michigan/Oregon game in Dallas a couple weeks back, thanks to Claude Lyneis of Oregon:
It's pretty NFL Films-y with narration and such, so if you want the goods, items of note can be found at:
2:13 Jamie Goldberg
2:58 Svet Tintchev
3:29 Trevor Yealy
3:58 Josh Ein
5:47 Trevor Yealy
6:17 Brief interview with Coach Paul
Two of the Oregon goals (including the 4th, to send it to overtime) came on pretty weak play by Michigan. It was sloppiness that wasn't weather induced leading to a couple turnovers. The first led directly to an easy breakaway goal, and the second gave the Ducks the ball in Michigan's end with just 11 seconds left.
I am happy to see that the CCLA is getting a little bit more respect this year, due to Michigan State have a good season. I think that CCLA is often overlooked due to its weak bottom teams such as Eastern Michigan and Ball State. This of course always creates the appearance that Michigan faces little to no competition during their conference schedule and conference tourney. This may be true, but i think Michigan deserves a lot more credit for winning 46 games in a row, even if some are against far inferior opponents, it is easy to look past lower level teams when you got a BYU game coming up.
They should absolutely be varsity. It almost takes the fun out of it (not all of it, but you know what I mean). I think people would really show up to lacrosse games if M was a varsity squad and played legit teams.
If they are drawing about the same number of fans as softball and baseball as a club team playing in a practice facility with uncomfortable seating if you can find it, no concessions and no space. And if they are doing this with almost no media coverage (mgoblog duly noted for getting on board before most others) and no athletic department marketing support, what does that say about the potential for lacrosse? I think it's pretty encouraging. If varsity is in the works, and you'd have to figure an outdoor stadium and indoor games in Glick eventually, could lacrosse here draw as well as it does at some of the eastern schools? Some of them average crowds well into the thousands, with bigger regular season games and events drawing between 10,000 and 20,000. This is not counting the 40,000+ who watch Ohio State play one of their games in the horseshoe every year before their spring football game, and the 50,000+ who go the NCAA finals.
The club team already plays in front of as many as 5000 every year when they play Michigan State at a neutral site. (East Grand Rapids on April 24 this year). The new soccer stadium beyind the tennis center will seat around 2200, according to mgoblue. I think it's safe to say lacrosse would need a bigger facility than that. Is this is a potential impedement to varsity status (the fact that the sport might need a bigger stadium) or is the fact that the sport has the potential to draw so well more of a selling point to the new AD?
I was there last night. 1st quarter was a little shaky at times, but they poured it on after that. Michigan emptied the bench shortly after halftime, with freshman Conor McGee playing in net (not sure what the deal is with Andrew Fowler, who I thought was the better goalie for much of last year, but hasn't played much lately). At least 2 (maybe 3?) guys scored their first goals in a winged helmet. The Wolverines scored a couple behind-the-back goals, including Joey Hrusovsky's first as a Wolverine.
Last night was Michigan's 49th win in a row, going back to the start of the 2008 season. They go for 50 this Saturday against a struggling but talented Colorado team in Boulder, and then on Sunday they play a very good, undefeated Colorado State team in Fort Collins. With Chapman losing to Oregon this weekend, CSU will probably move up to #2 this week. #1 vs #2. What's better than that?