On Sunday, the NCAA released its Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship selections, which features all six ACC teams, five of them ranked in the top eight, including the #1 and #2 slots.
The two top spots belong to last year’s finalists, with Duke, last year’s champion ranked #1, and runner-up Syracuse #2.
For the first time in over ten years, the field has been expanded – this year’s tournament will feature 18 teams, of which four will compete in play-in games on Wednesday to get to privilege of playing either #1 ranked Duke (ACC) or #2 ranked Syracuse (ACC) on their home fields.
Loyola (Maryland), which owns the best record in the NCAA at 15-1, is ranked #3. Playing in the less competitive Patriot League this year certainly dropped them in the rankings. The Greyhounds are tough to gauge because they haven’t played many ranked teams, but big wins against Duke in March, and this weekend’s win against Hopkins prove they have what it takes to stand with the elite teams in the tournament.
One of the biggest surprises in the field is the University of Richmond. The Spiders, in their maiden voyage as a Division I lacrosse program, beat High Point on Saturday in the Atlantic Sun conference championship to win an automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA tournament.
The only ACC team not ranked in the tournament is North Carolina, which plays #5 Denver in one of the more intriguing first round matchups on Saturday at 7:30 EST.
All first round games will be televised on ESPN2 or ESPNU on Saturday and Sunday.
First Round Schedule (all times Eastern)
12:00 Albany v #3 Loyola
2:30 Harvard v #6 Notre Dame
5:00 Cornell v #7 Maryland
7:30 North Carolina v #5 Denver
1:00 Johns Hopkins v #8 Virginia
3:00 Drexel v #4 Pennsylvania
5:00 Air Force/Richmond play-in winner v #1 Duke
7:30 Bryant/Siena play-in winner v #2 Syracuse
Check in with Breitbart Sports on Saturday for complete game analysis and projections. Here’s more from the NCAA….
The Division I semifinal and championship games, and the Division II and III championship games, will be held at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, May 24-26 and hosted by Johns Hopkins, Loyola (Md.), UMBC and Towson. All Division I first-round games will be televised on ESPNU or ESPN2 on May 11 and 12. The quarterfinal games will also all be televised on ESPN2 or ESPNU on May 17 and 18. The Division I semifinals will be televised live on ESPN2 starting at 1 p.m. ET May 25. The championship game will be televised live on ESPN starting at 1 p.m. ET May 26.