May 5, 2011
Center Valley, Pa. - The 2011 Patriot League Tournament has come and gone, but one weekend of regular-season competition remains before the NCAA Tournament kicks off May 14 on campus sites. At-large consideration to the NCAA bracket remains a hope for the two Patriot League teams still competing this weekend. Both seek victories over top-10 programs.
Bucknell, which captured its sixth overall League title Sunday and first since the current League Tournament format was adopted in 2004, is headed to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2001. The Bison will learn their first-round destination Sunday when the brackets are announced on ESPNU at 9 p.m.
Army (9-5) will be in action Friday night at Michie Stadium at 7 p.m. when it entertains No. 3/4 Johns Hopkins on CBS Sports Network. Dave Ryan will handle the play-by-play with former Syracuse standout defenseman Steve Panarelli providing the color. The Black Knights, ranked No. 19 in the latest USILA Coaches poll and 20th in the Nike/Inside Lacrosse Media voting, will try to rebound from last week's semifinal exit at the Patriot League Tournament, where they were eliminated by second-seeded Colgate, 7-6.
Speaking of Colgate (10-5), the No. 14/17 Raiders fell 10-3 to top-seeded Bucknell on Sunday in the League title game, and have one more contest Saturday at 3 p.m. when they visit No. 5/6 Maryland in College Park. Colgate jumped out to the early lead on Army in their semifinal battle and hung on for the one-goal victory. Junior Jared Madison stopped Garrett Thul's falling behind-the-head attempt just before the clock expired to preserve the semifinal victory, sending the Raiders to the title game with Bucknell.
Colgate went up against a stifling Bucknell defense that allowed only eight goals in the two games last weekend, just one shy of the League Tournament record.
The NCAA released the latest RPI figures Tuesday. League Champion Bucknell sits at No. 9, while Colgate is 15th and Army is ranked at No. 26. The Bison are buoyed by a 3-1 mark against teams in the RPI top 15, with victories against Villanova (8-6) and a pair versus Colgate (12-7; 10-3). Bucknell's loss came in an 8-6 decision at Penn.
For Army and Colgate, a victory this weekend would give both added ammunition to be considered as at-large team for the NCAA Tournament. The Black Knights own an 11-9 victory earlier this season at home against Cornell, currently ranked No. 3 in the RPI. Hopkins stands fourth in the latest RPI rankings.
The Raiders are one of 15 teams in the nation with double-digit victories heading into their contest with the Terps, ranked No. 11 in Tuesday's RPI.
RPI is just one of several factors used in determining the teams and seeding for the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament.