This week the blog breaks from its usual pattern with News & Notes kicking things off with an overview of what we know about the NCAA tournament. Then we'll get into reviewing the win over Fairfield and looking forward to the game vs. Colgate, .
News & Notes:
• The NCAA tournament field will be announced on Sunday night, so we should get into that. Maryland is still ranked third in both major polls, but has moved to No. 2 in the latest, and final, public RPI, which was released by the NCAA on Monday.
One thing people need to understand is that the polls are great for the fans in the regular season, but they mean absolutely nothing when it comes to the postseason. A team's RPI, strength of schedule and quality wins vs. teams ranked 1-5, 6-10 and 11-20 mean everything.
Here's what we know: there are six automatic qualifiers (America East, CAA, ECAC, Ivy, MAAC and Patriot) and 10 at-large selections. The top eight teams are seeded with the first round match-ups being based both upon "seeding" and travel restrictions (400 miles is limit for bus travel and a maximum of two flights are allowed in the first round).
We also know that as of right now Army and Denver are in the field by taking the Patriot League and ECAC AQ's, respectively. The other four AQ's will be decided by conference tournaments this weekend.
America East: Vermont at Stony Brook; UMBC vs. Albany
CAA: UMass at Towson; Drexel at Delaware
Ivy: Yale vs. Princeton; Brown at Cornell
MAAC: Mount St. Mary's vs. Manhattan; Marist vs. Siena
The four ACC schools and Syracuse are considered locks for the top five seeds in the tournament and will take up half of the at-large field.
And that's all we know! There are way too many scenarios to go into to try to predict who will play who and which teams will be seeded sixth, seventh and eighth. Too many things can happen. Don't believe me? Think about this: there was a four-way tie for the regular season title in the Ivy League. Cornell won the tiebreaker and gets to host the first-ever conference tournament. Sounds good, right? Well, Cornell has lost three of its four games this season on its home field. Cornell and Princeton look to be in good shape to make the tournament, but what if Brown or Yale win the AQ? Is the Ivy League a three-bid league this year?
How about this? The CAA team that has the best RPI is Hofstra (#13), which did not even qualify for the CAA tournament.
The other big question is whether or not Johns Hopkins will make the tournament. The Blue Jays have been in every tournament since the second one. But in order to even be eligible to make the tournament Hopkins has to beat Loyola on Saturday. Here's the rub: the Greyhounds are currently No. 8 in the RPI and would most certainly drop with a loss to the Blue Jays. That would mean that the Hopkins win would be an 11-20 victory and not a 6-10 win. But that would still give Hopkins two 11-20 victories (Loyola & Towson). Factor that with Hopkins' RPI, which will be near if not in the top 10, and a top five strength of schedule and the Blue Jays will probably be in the field of 16. Don't forget what matters: RPI, SOS and quality wins.
The NCAA will not make the final RPI public, but LaxPower publishes its RPI and it is as close as it gets to the official one. You can check that out here, along with some other good charts to make your speculation and arguing more fun.
Essentially, we don't know a lot about the field as a whole right now, but I'm pretty confident that the Terps will be making their eighth-straight NCAA tournament appearance and will be hosting a game next weekend. It's the against who and when that's still to be decided. Tune in to ESPNU at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 9 to find out how it all shakes out.
• The Terps went 1 of 3 on extra-man on Saturday and dropped to No. 2 in the nation behind North Carolina, which was idle. But the Terps moved into the nation's top spot in caused turnovers this week. Maryland caused 19 Fairfield turnovers and is now No. 1 with 11.15 CTs per game. Individually, two Terps are in the top 10 this week. Ryan Young moved back into the top 10 in assists per game with a 2.0 average, while Brian Phipps is ninth in the country with an 8.28 goals-against average.
• Congratulations are in order for Phipps. The senior from Annapolis, Md., earned two honors at the athletic department's annual President's Cup Brunch on April 25. All 27 head coaches vote for student-athletes nominated for individual year-end awards and Phipps was chosen for the Maryland Watch and as one of three recipients of the Silvester Watch. The Maryland Watch is given annually to the male athlete of the year, while the Silvester Watch is given to the Maryland student-athlete who typifies the best in college athletics.
• Grant Catalino reached a significant milestone this past weekend vs. Fairfield. His five points gives him 50 for the season, marking the first time he's hit that plateau. In the 85-year history of Maryland men's lacrosse there have only been 32 times, including Catalino, that a player has reached the 50-point mark.
• Ryan Young also reached a personal milestone, hitting the 40-point mark, which ties his career high. Young continues to crank out assists and is just nine away from tying Joe Walters for the most in the "Cottle Era."
• John Haus also made some news with his 10th goal of the season. The freshman from Lutherville, Md., is the first Maryland freshman midfielder to score 10 or more goals in a season since Brian Zeller had 12 in 1997.
The "surprise" senior was Chris Ready, who has been listed all year as a junior on the Terps' roster. Ready has been out all season due to a knee injury and can often be seen running (or trotting) around the practice field as part of his rehab. He has one year of eligibility remaining, but he will be graduating this month. He is not sure if he will be returning to Maryland for graduate school and the coaching staff wanted to make sure he was honored for his contributions to the program. Ready came to Maryland as a short stick d-middie, but was converted to long pole prior to the 2009 season. That move proved to be significant due to Brian Farrell's injury and Brett Schmidt's move to close defense. Ready ended up being the team's No. 2 long pole last season and did an admirable job considering he'd been playing the position for less than nine months.
The Colgate Game:
• This game is part of the Indians Rock Day of Champions event at Manhasset High School. Tickets and information can be purchased by clicking here.
• This will be the first-ever meeting between the Terps and the Red Raiders. That doesn't bode well for Colgate. Maryland is 70-4 all-time in first-ever meetings with the last loss coming in 1982 to Adelphi. The other three losses all came in the 1920's.
• This is also a homecoming for Ryan Young, who is from Manhasset, N.Y. He played his senior year at Manhasset High School and was recipient of the Bill Rich Award, which is given to the top attackman on Long Island. The trip home is also important for Young because it will mean that he can play in person with his mother, Maria, in the stands. Her strength while battling this disease has been an inspiration.
• One other thing Terps fans can look forward to is the return of Will Yeatman to the line-up. Yeatman has been out since the ACC semis, but returned to the practice field today and doesn't appear to have lost a step. He will be a big factor for the Terps in the playoffs and this will be a good chance for him to get back into the flow of the game.
That's it for this week. I'll try to have an update from Long Island on Friday. Game notes will be posted on Thursday. Have a great week!