Seeds of surprise plant Hopkins 5th, Terps 6th Tourney committee gives Towson bye

May 04, 1992|By Doug Brown | Doug Brown,Staff Writer

No sooner had the NCAA lacrosse tournament selection committee seeded Syracuse, North Carolina and Princeton 1-2-3 yesterday than it unloaded a few surprises.

Surprise No. 1: Maryland, No. 4 in yesterday's final U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll, was seeded sixth, thereby not getting a first-round bye that goes to the top four seeded teams. In a first-round game this weekend at Byrd Stadium, the Terps must take on Duke, which they beat twice this season by a total of three goals.

Dick Edell, Maryland's normally voluble coach, expressed his irritation by saying virtually nothing.

"No comment," he said. "We're just concentrating on Duke."

Surprise No. 2: Johns Hopkins, bumped from No. 4 to No. 7 in the poll after Saturday's loss to Towson State, got the No. 5 seed, despite its four defeats. The Blue Jays (6-4) will entertain the weakest team in the field, Notre Dame, which received the annual courtesy bid as the Western representative.

Surprise No. 3: Of the five state teams in the field of 12, only No. 4 Towson State received a first-round bye. The Tigers, who finished the regular season 9-2 by edging Hopkins on a last-second goal Saturday, doubtless will get a rematch. They'll play the Hopkins-Notre Dame winner May 16 at Minnegan Stadium.

In the space of a week, Towson jumped from No. 8 in the poll to No. 5 and then got the fourth seed while playing only one game, the squeaker over Hopkins.

Surprise No. 4: Virginia, No. 11 in the poll, was left out altogether after finishing 7-5.

All four first-round games this weekend are in Maryland, with the highest-seeded teams serving as hosts. It'll be Yale at No. 8 Navy, Notre Dame at Johns Hopkins, Duke at Maryland and Brown at No. 7 Loyola. It will be decided today which two games will be played Saturday and which two Sunday.

In explaining the committee's rationale on the Maryland, Hopkins and Towson questions, chairman Dave Urick said: "We felt Maryland's wins over Duke and Hopkins were significant, of course. But Hopkins beat the No. 1 team [Syracuse] and the No. 3 [Princeton]. Those two significant wins offset its losses to Maryland and Towson State. Towson's win over Hopkins was a big part of its jump to the fourth seed. All of them were close calls."

Towson coach Carl Runk said Hopkins will have an advantage if the teams wind up in the quarterfinals.

"I think they'll have a mental edge after Saturday's loss, and that's important in this game," Runk said. "I thought there was a possibility we'd be seeded third."

Like Runk, Hopkins coach Tony Seaman said he was surprised that Princeton was the third seed, even though the Tigers occupied that spot in recent polls. Princeton lost to North Carolina and Hopkins, each by a goal, but didn't play a schedule as stiff as the Blue Jays'.

"Princeton as No. 3 is beyond all belief," Seaman said. "But I feel good about our position. It's nice to see that our strength of schedule is recognized. It makes me breathe easier when I look )) at our 1993 schedule, which is just as tough."

In Brown, Loyola gets an opponent it beat, 17-12, in an invitational in Providence, R.I., in March. The Greyhounds also beat North Carolina, but lost to Syracuse, Towson and Duke.

The inclusion of Duke over Virginia in the field raised a few eyebrows.

"Virginia was on the bubble," Urick said. "They had a losing record [4-5] against Division I teams. The big thing was they lost to Duke."

Syracuse and North Carolina got the top two seeds without dispute. The Orangemen lost only to Hopkins, and Carolina, the defending NCAA champion, lost to Syracuse and Loyola.

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