Blogs and Commentary

posted 05.08.2011 at 12.18 a.m. by Corey McLaughlin

Bracketology: Selection Sunday Edition

The intrigue started Wednesday night, when Delaware knocked off Hofstra in the CAA semifinals. It continued Friday, when North Carolina beat Notre Dame, and intensified Saturday afternoon, when Colgate beat Maryland and Hartford pulled out a last-second win against Stony Brook. Then Saturday night Villanova played its way onto the bubble by losing at Georgetown.

The bubble may appear cloudier than ever, but I've tried to simplify it. Here's a look at the Division I men's tournament, as of Sunday morning.

The Seeds

1. Syracuse (At-Large)
Record: 14-1; SOS: 3, RPI: 1*
Wins of note: Notre Dame, Johns Hopkins, Denver, Duke, Villanova, Virginia, Army

2. Cornell (Assuming Ivy League automatic qualifier)
Record: 12-2; SOS: 8, RPI: 3
Wins of note: Syracuse, Penn, Yale, Stony Brook, Harvard
Sunday: Plays Harvard in Ivy League championship at 2 p.m.

3. Johns Hopkins (At-Large)
Record: 12-2: SOS: 10; RPI: 4
Wins of note: Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Loyola, Delaware, Army

4. Notre Dame (At-Large)
Record: 10-2; Strength of schedule: 4; RPI: 2
Wins of note: Denver, Duke, Villanova, Penn State, Drexel

5. Duke (At-Large)
Record: 12-5; SOS: 16; RPI: 6
Wins of note: Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia (twice), Loyola

6. Virginia (At-Large)
Record: 9-5, SOS: 2, RPI: 5
Wins of note: Cornell, North Carolina, Penn, Stony Brook, Drexel

7. Maryland (At-Large)
Record: 10-3; SOS: 11; RPI: 11
Wins of note: Duke, Virginia, North Carolina

8. North Carolina (At-Large)
Record: 10-5; SOS: 5, RPI: 13
Wins of note: Notre Dame, Maryland, Penn

The Rest

After the top eight, teams are unseeded in the NCAA tournament. Rankings of Nos. 9-16 here are included only to help paint a picture of how the unseeded teams compare to each other.

9. Denver (ECAC automatic qualifier)
Record: 11-2; SOS: 28; RPI: 7
Wins of note: Duke, Loyola

Denver is the best of the unseeded. It's quite possible they end up with an eight seed, but either way I think North Carolina-Denver is the 8/unseeded matchup.

10. Bucknell (Patriot League automatic qualifier)
Record: 14-2; SOS: 35; RPI; 9
Wins of note: Villanova, Army, Penn State, Colgate (twice)

The next best unseeded team outside of Denver; will almost certainly be on the road to face one of the ACC teams in the first round.

11-13. Bubble teams (see below)

14. Delaware (CAA automatic qualifier)
Record: 11-6; SOS: 34; RPI: 16
Wins of note: Hofstra (twice), UMass, Drexel, Detroit

Delaware is in theory locked into the 14th overall seed at this point, unless Hofstra makes the tournament. Then the Hens would hold an edge over the Pride, whom they've beaten twice this season. This is one reason to think Hofstra shouldn't make the tournament. Any of the other bubble teams would likely be regarded higher than Delaware.

15. Hartford (America East automatic qualifier)
Record: 11-6; SOS: 45; RPI: 26
Wins of note: Stony Brook, UMBC

The Hawks are in; this much we know. But they lost to Siena early in the regular season, which could hurt them matchup-wise.

16. Siena/Detroit Mercy (MAAC automatic qualifier)
These two play noon Sunday for a bid to the tournament. If Siena wins, it probably has a first-round matchup with Syracuse waiting. Detroit could head to Notre Dame based on geography.

The Bubble

If Cornell beats Harvard in the Ivy League championship, the bubble looks like this: Three at-large spots up for grabs among Villanova, Hofstra, Penn, Harvard and Colgate.

If Harvard beats Cornell in the Ivy League championship, Cornell slips to No. 3/4, with Johns Hopkins at No. 2 and Notre Dame at No. 3/4, and the bubble looks like this: Two at-large sports up for grabs among Villanova, Hofstra, Penn, Colgate

The resumes for the bubble teams (if Harvard wins Sunday, the Crimson's in anyway):

Record: 11-4; SOS: 20; RPI: 9
Wins of note: Penn, Penn State, Delaware

Record: 13-2; SOS: 37, RPI: 11
Wins of note: Colgate, Harvard, UMass, Penn State, Drexel

Record: 8-6; SOS: 6; RPI: 15
Wins of note: Duke, Bucknell, Harvard, Yale

Record: 10-5; SOS: 26; RPI: 17
Wins of note: Penn, UMass, Yale

Record: 11-5; SOS: 22; RPI: 14
Wins of note: Maryland, Army (twice)


None here. No matter how you slice it, two teams Sunday will have legitimate beefs about not getting in the tournament. Just which two will they be? We report, and you can let your mind wander. Leave some comments below, or send me an email at Check back to Sunday night for the brackets in all divisions and back often this week for analysis and breakdowns of the selections.

* Strength of Schedule rankings and RPI numbers are from, which uses the NCAA formulas.