Blogs and Commentary

posted 04.30.2013 at 11.30 p.m. by Gary Lambrecht

Look Who Is Not Or Might Not Be In The NCAAs

In the 42-year history of the NCAA Division I men's lacrosse tournament, there has never been a year when Johns Hopkins or Virginia have failed to participate. From 1987 through 2009, the national champion always was named either Hopkins, Virginia, Syracuse or Princeton.

Those days are a changin' in dramatic ways, thanks to the parity that has been encroaching on the sport for the past decade and has accelerated in more recent years. For starters, Duke — now a final four staple — won its first crown in 2010. And in 2012, Loyola broke through the blueblood wall by winning the first Division I title in school history, and executing a throwdown for all of the small schools trying to be heard in the landscape previously dominated by the few.

Next up is something truly unprecedented in tournament history. Among the old guard, only Syracuse is a sure bet to be playing in mid-May.

Virginia, by virtue of its 7-8 finish, is out of the NCAAs, meaning the 2011 national titlist is gone. Johns Hopkins, which has the longest tournament qualifying streak of any D-I school in any sport at 41 straight years, is a long shot to make its next appearance. Princeton, which won six NCAA titles under former coach Bill Tierney but hasn't been to a final four since 2004, must upset top-seeded Cornell in this weekend's Ivy League tournament semifinals to maintain a fighting chance to reach the national tournament.

Ten years ago, who would have thought this could happen?