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NCAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament Bracketology: Marquette Still Hanging On To An At-Large Bid

Boy oh boy, do I have some good news for you.

Lacrosse Magazine released their newest edition of bracketology for the upcoming NCAA men's lacrosse tournament, and things are looking..... well, not UP for Marquette, but they're still solid.  The Golden Eagles are occupying the final at-large bid in the field, just like they were last week.

That's not the big news of the week, though.  Let me convey to you now the first two paragraphs of LaxMag's article:Soon enough, the composition of the 18-team NCAA tournament field will be in the hands of a five-man committee meeting in Indianapolis.

(Actually, that's not entirely true. Marquette coach and committee member Joe Amplo would offer some of his input from Denver via teleconference if the Golden Eagles make the Big East tournament title game).

Yup, that's right, Marquette head coach Joe Amplo is part of the committee that's deciding which at-large teams get in and who gets what seed.  I'd try to play down the importance of something like this, but it's hard to argue that the other four members of the committee aren't at least slightly influenced towards favoring Amplo's team.  Remember: When the NCAA committee released their top 10 from April 18, Marquette was the #9 team in the field and thus *thisclose* to securing a home game.  Granted, that was before the Golden Eagles got punted 16-1 by Duke, but when you had a head start, things work out for you at the end of things.

I've got more good news for you: Villanova is in the field, one slot in front of the Golden Eagles.  Yes, that's right, the self-same Wildcats squad that MU will tangle with on Thursday evening in the Big East tournament semifinals.  Several weeks back, when Duke was struggling, it seemed like the Duke-Marquette game might turn into an NCAA tourney play-in game.  It seems that the Blue Devils are cleanly in at this point, but it's entirely possible that the team that advances to the Big East title game might end up in the national championship, while the other team does not.

In terms of future good news, Denver occupies the #3 seed in the field.  If the Golden Eagles can scoot past the VU team that they pounded 11-3 at home earlier this season, then they'll likely get another RPI booster by playing the Pioneers for the second time this season.  There is, of course, the chance that Denver could lose to Providence and toss that out the window, but hey: if that happens, then there's really no reason why Marquette shouldn't snag the Big East's automatic berth to the Big Barbecue.

The Golden Eagles are aiming towards a first round rematch with Notre Dame, as the Irish are sitting with the #4 seed.  Given that the NCAA tournament makes the first round arrangements to 1) limit travel as much as possible and 2) refuse to create conference rematches, as long as Notre Dame isn't #1 or #2 and hosting a play-in game, then South Bend will be Marquette's best possible travel location.  Actually, if Marquette and Notre Dame keep turning up in the tournament with one team seeded and one team not seeded, this could turn into a yearly deal.

Denver draws North Carolina as a first round matchup, while Villanova is getting shipped out to upstate New York to face #5 seed Albany.  In other Marquette opponent news, Duke got paired with #7 Loyola, while Quinnipiac continues holding down the MAAC automatic bid in a play-in game against NEC frontrunner Bryant.

Marquette's game against Villanova is set for 5:30pm Central time on Thursday, with CBS Sports Network picking up the broadcast.

You can check out the full bracketology run down right here.