Despite getting upset by archrival Johns Hopkins in the Big Ten men’s lacrosse tournament final Saturday night, Maryland was still awarded the overall No. 1 seed Sunday night in the NCAA Division I tournament. The Terps will host the winner of Wednesday’s play-in game between Robert Morris (12-4) and Canisius (8-8) on Sunday at noon.
Maryland (12-3) will make its 16th consecutive appearance in the postseason — tops in the nation — and third straight as the top seed. Last year’s squad captured the program’s first national championship since 1975.
The Terps were likely battling with Albany, Johns Hopkins and Duke for the No. 1 seed, and the Great Danes defeated Maryland, 11-10, on March 18. But Albany also had a bad loss to UMBC on its profile, and the Terps had a better strength-of-schedule rating than the Blue Jays and Blue Devils.
“The committee does a great job. Every year they have a lot to digest,” Maryland coach John Tillman said. “There are so many things to factor in. I know our numbers were pretty good, but also looking at a team like Albany and Johns Hopkins and Yale, they had great seasons, too. So it was hard to tell. I told our guys today, ‘We’re not sure where we’re going to be, but we’re going to play somebody good, and that’s all that really matters.’ We have another week together and obviously another chance to go out and practice and spend some time together and try to get better.”
The Blue Jays (11-4), Big Ten tournament champions for the first time since 2015, earned the No. 5 seed and will welcome Georgetown (12-4) to Homewood Field in Baltimore on Sunday at 5 p.m. Johns Hopkins has been bounced from the first round of the NCAA tournament in each of the past two seasons.
There was some thought that the Blue Jays could have been seeded from Nos. 2 to 4 after they defeated Ohio State and Maryland en route to the Big Ten title. But coach Dave Pietramala said where his team was seeded meant little to him.
“We don’t care where we’re seeded. We don’t care who we play,” he said. “At this point in time, we clearly felt like we earned a home game, and it doesn’t matter where they seed us, it doesn’t matter who we play. At this point in time, you’ve got to go play a very good team to be able to move on. So that’s our approach. Wherever they put us and whoever they put us against, we’re going to turn around and get back to work.”
Loyola Maryland (12-3), the Patriot League champion for the fourth time in the past five years, drew the No. 6 seed and will play host to Virginia (12-5) at Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. The Greyhounds, who won the 2012 national title, have lost in the first round in three of their past four NCAA postseason appearances.
The first-round game will be a rematch of the season opener for both sides that the Cavaliers won, 13-12, in double overtime Feb. 10. Virginia leads the overall series 15-6 and has won five of the past six meetings — although four have been decided by a lone goal.
“I think what it has been is, it’s been an exciting game for both schools to open up the year,” Loyola coach Charley Toomey said. “It’s been fireworks in February. To have the last game of the night, I think it’s going to be a great atmosphere here at Ridley. Just two teams that want to get up and down, and it’s going to be a lot of fun. It really is. It’s been a fun game to play on both sides of it. I wish we had a better record in the rivalry, but I will tell you this, it’s always been a close game, and the Greyhounds will be ready this week.”
The bubble burst for Navy (9-5), which had held out fleeting hopes that it would land an at-large spot in the 17-team field. The Midshipmen owned quality wins over Syracuse and Bucknell, but an overtime loss to Lehigh in a Patriot League tournament semifinal April 27 damaged their profile. And surprising wins by Georgetown and Cornell in the Big East and Ivy League tournament finals, respectively, reduced the number of at-large berths the selection committee had to bestow to teams that did not win their conference tournaments and the accompanying automatic qualifiers.
The other teams to earn top 8 seeds were No. 2 Albany (14-2), No. 3 Yale (13-3), No. 4 Duke (13-3), No. 7 Notre Dame (9-5) and No. 8 Syracuse (8-6).
In the Division III tournament, Salisbury received a bye into the second round and will host the Eastern-Morrisville State winner Wednesday. Stevenson will play at Ithaca in the second round on Wednesday.
PLAY IN GAME
Canisius at Robert Morris, noon
UMass at No. 3 seed Yale, noon
Villanova at No. 4 seed Duke, 2:15 p.m.
Richmond at No. 2 seed Albany, 5 p.m.
Virginia at No. 6 seed Loyola Maryland, 7:15 p.m.
Canisius/Robert Morris at No. 1 seed Maryland, noon
Denver at No. 7 seed Notre Dame, 2:15 p.m.
Georgetown at No. 5 seed Johns Hopkins 5 p.m.
Cornell at No. 8 seed Syracuse, 7:15 p.m.
Maryland/Canisius/Robert Morris winner vs. Syracuse/Cornell winner
Johns Hopkins/Georgetown winner vs. Duke/Villanova winner
Yale/UMass winner vs. Loyola Maryland/Virginia winner
Notre Dame/Denver winner vs. Albany/Richmond winner
At Foxborough, Mass., May 26, TBA
At Foxborough, Mass., May 28, 1 p.m.