Consecutive Appearances and a Question for Readers
Picked up a tidbit while in College Park earlier today working on a story on Will Dalton for Saturday's paper.
Maryland Coach Dave Cottle noted that after Johns Hopkins's 37 consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament, the next-highest team has six. (Maryland.) Cornell and Navy are next; each has five straight appearances.
The fallout from the end of Georgetown's 11-year NCAA streak--in a year in which Georgetown defeated No. 1 Duke and Navy, which received an at-large bid to the tournament--has included calls for conference tournaments not to count toward teams' regular season data or to be eliminated entirely.
The argument against every conference having a tournament comes from an example like the Patriot League. That seven-team league has a four-team tournament. So what happens to the three teams that don't make the tournament? That's a weekend where they can't schedule games. But if they don't finish in the top four, it's an unwanted bye week late in the season.
How should lacrosse deal with this issue? Should a weekend late in the regular season be reserved for conference championship games only, a la college football's model? What would the other teams do? Quint Kessenich proposed a model a few years ago whereby instead of conference tournaments, there would be an early-season equivalent where the No. 1 team from the ACC (preseason voting) would play the No. 1 team from, say, the GWLL. Then the No. 2 teams would play each other. Etc. Is that tenable?
I'll get this one started: I'm not a fan of conference tournaments. I would be if there were a weekend after the regular season and before the NCAA tournament that could be reserved for tournaments.
But with Memorial Day being so locked in and so perfect for the Final Four, I can't see that plan working. Lacrosse should be measured against football, not basketball. I'd like to see the sport keep more in tune with football models (one game a week, two at most) rather than adopting some basketball-like tendencies (tournaments, three games a week).
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