The 2012 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship bracket was released on Sunday, with the Loyola Greyhounds earning the tournament's top seed. Here's how the bracket sets up:
(1) Loyola (Maryland) Greyhounds vs. Canisius Griffins
(8) North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Denver Pioneers
(5) Virginia Cavaliers vs. Princeton Tigers
(4) Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Yale Bulldogs
(3) Duke Blue Devils vs. Syracuse Orange
(6) Massachusetts Minutemen vs. Colgate Raiders
(7) Lehigh Mountain Hawks vs. Maryland Terrapins
(2) Johns Hopkins Bluejays vs. Stony Brook Seawolves
One can't help but look at the commonalities that this year's tournament field has with a school like Boston College. I've been long of the opinion that the school's decision to drop a varsity men's lacrosse program in the early 2000s was the wrong decision. Shouldn't one of New England's premier universities field a program in the fastest growing sport in the nation?
-- ACC. All four ACC programs made this year's tournament field. Three of four earned home field for the quarterfinals round. Even ACC-in-waiting Syracuse got in on the action, earning the Big East's autobid and leaving no doubt to the Orange's inclusion in this year's tournament after a sub-par (according to Syracuse standards) year.
-- Northeast. Nine of this year's 16 teams are located in the Northeastern US. Only North Carolina, Denver, Virginia, Duke, Maryland and Hopkins are located outside of the Northeastern United States.
-- Private. Men's lacrosse is the sport of private schools. Of this year's 16 teams that made the tournament, 11 of those are private schools -- including the tournament's top four seeds. North Carolina, Virginia, UMass, Maryland and SUNY Stony Brook are the only public schools represented in this year's field.
-- Catholic. Loyola, Canisius and Notre Dame are holding it down for the Catholics. Loyola and Canisius are repping the Jesuit order.
-- Strong Academics. Princeton and Yale run 2-3 in the latest US News & World Report Best National University rankings. Additionally, Duke, Hopkins, Notre Dame, Virginia and North Carolina all rank in the top 30 nationally. Six of 16 in the top 30 national universities. Colgate also ranks #21 on USN&WR's list of the nation's best Liberal Arts Colleges too.
I'm not naive to suggest that all these shared commonalities will translate to success in the case of Boston College varsity men's lacrosse, but it does beg the question: if BC is this similar to a majority of programs that are among the top programs in their sport this year, shouldn't Boston College also be fielding a varsity men's lacrosse program?
Finally, when you hear your A.D. say things like this:
I don't see men's lacrosse being added as a varsity sport any time in the near future. Only four institutions in the ACC sponsor men's lacrosse - Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Duke. I must note that none of those four institutions offers 18 scholarships for men's ice hockey and 18 scholarships for women's ice hockey. Hockey has been, and always will be, a very important sport here at Boston College.
-- Full Scholarship Men's Ice Hockey. Denver, UMass and Notre Dame also offer 18 scholarships for men's ice hockey. Notre Dame and (soon) UMass also offer a full compliment of Division I-A football scholarships. Canisius, Colgate, Princeton and Yale also offer varsity men's ice hockey, but a reduced (or in the case of the Ivy League, zero) scholarships.