Maryland, despite its worst record in 12 years, was one of 12 teams selected last night for the 1993 NCAA Division I lacrosse tournament.
The news relieved a lot of tension for the Terps (6-5), who had to win their last three games to avoid their first losing season since the program was started in 1924.
The ninth-seeded Terps will play at No. 8 Army on Saturday. The starting time won't be available until today, and Maryland coach Dick Edell could not be reached for comment.
In other first-round games Saturday, No. 12 Notre Dame (11-2) travels to No. 5 Virginia (9-4); No. 6 Hofstra (9-5) plays host to No. 11 Massachusetts (10-4); and No. 10 Loyola (7-4) plays at No. 7 Navy (8-3). The Midwest representative is always the 12th seed.
Maryland, said selection committee chairman Willie Scroggs, was seeded higher than Loyola, Massachusetts and Notre Dame because of its strength of schedule.
"Sometimes there are three or four teams on the bubble, and there have been times where there are as many as five or six," said Scroggs. "Maryland's top schedule was an overriding factor. There are other criteria, but that is a very strong one."
The high seeding of Hofstra, which lost its last four games, and the absence of Brown (10-3) from the field were the only surprises. Hofstra beat Loyola, Virginia, Army and Massachusetts, but lost to Notre Dame, Johns Hopkins, Rutgers, Yale and Princeton. Brown was ranked as high as No. 5 two weeks ago.
Since then, the Bears have lost to Princeton and Massachusetts. Brown also was hurt by the fact that it played four of the teams in the field, but only beat Loyola.
Maryland, though, played North Carolina and Virginia twice, losing both times to the Tar Heels and splitting with the Cavaliers. Maryland also lost to Navy in overtime and to Johns Hopkins. The Terps beat Towson State, 11-8, last week.
Loyola had only one major win, but it came against Syracuse, 14-13 in overtime, which Scroggs said was significant.
"I'm just happy to be in the tournament," said Dave Cottle, Loyola'scoach. "I was holding my breath because our game was the last game announced."
Cottle said an argument could be made for a number of teams. But the Greyhounds got two good breaks.
They didn't get placed in the same bracket with North Carolina, which beat them, 17-8, earlier in the season. And Loyola won't have to face Syracuse until the Final Four if it wins its first two games.
"To tell you the truth, I think it's the story of the dog chasing his tail, and when he got tired, that's where it stopped," Cottle said of the selection process. "It had to be tough process. I wouldn't have wanted to be on that committee."
Actually, the field has a regional flavor.
The winner of the Hofstra and Massachusetts game must play Syracuse, and the Navy-Loyola winner plays at Princeton. The Virginia-Notre Dame winner faces Hopkins.
"It does seem a little regional," said Bryan Matthews, Navy's coach. "I don't know if they are going to let us know if that was part of the thinking, but physically and economically, it makes sense. That's the direction we have talked about going recently."
But Matthews was more concerned about Loyola.
The two teams scrimmage doing the fall and spring, but they haven't played a game in the 11 years Matthews has been at the academy.
Matthews said: "I can't tell you the last time the two teams played a game [actually, 1943]. This ought to be interesting."