The rumble on Charles Street has a valuable prize attached this year.
When No. 6 Loyola travels just down the road Saturday to play at No. 4 Johns Hopkins, the teams will be battling for a little more than bragging rights.
Loyola coach Dave Cottle and Johns Hopkins coach Tony Seaman said they believe the winner will receive the last top-four seed in the NCAA tournament, which gives a team a first-round bye.
"I told my team a couple of weeks ago if we won out, we should get a top-four seed," Cottle said after the Greyhounds beat Georgetown Saturday. "If we beat Hopkins, I feel we should get a top-four seed."
The game matches two of the hottest teams in Division I. Loyola (9-2) has won five straight. The Blue Jays (9-3) have pocketed seven in a row.
And after Hopkins beat Towson State on Saturday, Seaman said the Blue Jays' April run should be good enough for top-four consideration -- although "we've got to beat Loyola Saturday."
"I am confident," Seaman said of his team's chances for a top-four seed. "We play by far and hands down the best schedule."
Towson coach Carl Runk added his opinion about the Blue Jays.
"Don't be surprised if Johns Hopkins goes all the way," Runk said.
Princeton and Virginia are considered virtual locks for the top two spots. Syracuse is the popular favorite for the third slot, although the Orangemen have uncharacteristic losses to Brown and Georgetown.
"It has to play itself out," Syracuse coach Roy Simmons said. "One of the criteria is head-to-head matchups. You look and see Virginia is in the top four. Hopkins is in the top four. Who's beaten them? Syracuse has beaten them. I think that deserves a little credit."
That leaves Hopkins, Loyola and Duke fighting for the fourth seed. The Blue Devils have had one of their best seasons in school history but seem to be the odd team out with two losses to Virginia in the past month.
"From our point, we're not concerned with it," Duke coach Mike Pressler said. "I think the worst mistake is thinking you're a top-four team and it doesn't happen. Last year, you have to remember we weren't in the tournament and now we have a shot at one of the top four spots. We're just not going to get wrapped up in it."
Army presents case
Army fancies itself as an NCAA tournament team if it beats Lafayette tonight and Rutgers on Saturday. Its 8-4 record includes a heady triumph over No. 7 Georgetown.
"Not many teams on the bubble have a quality win like that," said Army coach Jack Emmer, who was rooting for Georgetown to beat Loyola on Saturday to make the Cadets' case even stronger.
Last season, after starting 5-4, Army swept its last five and received a tournament bid. This year the Cadets again started 5-4 and, if they beat Lafayette and Rutgers, again will finish with a five-game winning streak -- and, perhaps, another bid.
Sea Gulls are No. 1 again
The Division III men's poll has a familiar look this week. Salisbury State received nine of the 10 first-place votes to take over the top ranking from Nazareth, which lost last week to Alfred.
Last season, the Sea Gulls spent the entire year at No. 1 but lost to Washington College in the playoffs. Nazareth, the defending national champion, had held the top spot for every week this season.
The Sea Gulls, who ended their regular season 12-1, have become the favorite for the Division III title.
In other state Division III action, No. 2 Washington College (11-3) and No. 12 Western Maryland (10-1) will play Saturday for the Centennial Conference title.
Tigers revving up
Towson State's women's team cracked the Division I Top 15 last week for the first time since 1992.
The No. 14 Tigers (9-4) have lost only to No. 1 Maryland, No. 4 James Madison, No. 7 North Carolina and No. 12 Georgetown. They play host to No. 3 Loyola at 3: 30 this afternoon.
Last week's victories over George Mason (7-6 in overtime) and Vermont (11-6) assured the Tigers their first winning season since 1992, when Towson went 10-6 and won a third straight East Coast Conference championship.
This weekend, the Tigers head into the America East tournament at Delaware as the top seeds. Last spring, Towson finished runner-up to Hofstra in its first season in America East.
Amy Buck (Mount de Sales) is the Tigers' leading scorer with 25 goals and nine assists, followed by Megan Drake (Mount Hebron) with 21 goals and eight assists and Robyn Harry (Loch Raven) with 13 goals and a team-high 17 assists.
Defensively, coach Ashley Duncan's Tigers have been anchored by point Sallie Neal (Parkville), defense wing Amy Dean (John Carroll) and freshman goalie Jacquie Sica, a two-time America East Rookie of the Week.
Jays back on top
With three victories last week, Johns Hopkins' women's team remained unbeaten in the Centennial Conference and clinched at least a tie for the conference championship.