With Selection Sunday just a few days away, it is time to finally separate the contenders from the pretenders. In one of the most unpredictable college lacrosse seasons in history, we will finally see the brackets unveiled. The seeding and playoff matchups will rely heavily on conference tournament outcomes, giving automatic bids to the winners while others will compete for at-large spots.
The Ivy League has been one of the most contentious conferences in the nation this year. Cornell finished the season undefeated in the league, and will host the conference tournament on their home turf in Ithaca, NY.
Cornell will face the No. 4 seed Princeton Tigers tonight in a rematch of a game played just a week ago. Cornell blew by Princeton on their way to a 17-11 victory at MetLife stadium. Rob Pannell put up nine points, and it seemed as though they could not be stopped.
Princeton must make adjustments tonight to ensure that they are within striking distance in the fourth quarter. The defense looked vulnerable to the dodge from behind, and although Tigers goalie Eric Sanschagrin played well, he had a tough time finding Steve Mock cutting through the crease.
The Tigers defense may decide to let Pannell survey the defense from behind the goal, and flank two defenders on either side of the goal line. This could hopefully keep him contained while packing the defense into the crease to prevent Mock from having room to operate.
As always, this one will come down to face-offs and pace of play, something Princeton desperately needs to dictate.
Princeton will make this one closer, but Cornell is just too good at home. Cornell wins 13-11.
In the second Ivy League game today, the No. 2 seed Yale will take on the Penn Quakers. Yale is extremely talented, relying on an experienced attack line to keep pace with the nation's elite. Teewaraton Trophy nominee Brandon Mangan is a crafty offensive player who scores big goals in big spots, so look for him to get the ball if it is a close game in the final quarter.
Penn has a lot of good midfielders who will look to initiate the offense from up top. They are a powerful dodging team, but will have their hands full with a Yale defense that kept Maryland at bay just a few weeks back.
Yale is playing great lacrosse, and I do not see that stopping tonight. Yale wins 14-10.
Stay tuned to the Bleacher Report for more conference tournament coverage this weekend.