We interrupt this circus of a coaching search to bring you completely unrelated, marginally better news: the NCAA lacrosse brackets are out! And Maryland, completely as expected, is in both. The women secured the top seed and will play Navy; the men ended up with no seed, surprisingly, and will face UNC in the first round.
We'll start off with the Lady Terps, who spent all year at the top of the polls and finished it up with a highly deserved #1 seeding in the tourney. They'll play Navy in the first round, and if they win (they probably will) they'll meet up with the winner of James Madison/Princeton in the second round.
The men's bracket was a little more intriguing. Maryland has been one of the most inconsistent teams in the country this year, without a doubt: they destroyed Georgetown, then lost to Duke and UNC after having early leads in both; they followed that up with a win over UVA, and followed that up with a collapse of a one-goal loss to Hopkins (they were winning 7-2 at half); then they won the ACC championship; and then they lost to Colgate. See a pattern?
The Colgate loss certainly hurt matters, but I (and most others) figured that winning the ACC tourney would've been enough to get a seed in the tournament. Instead, there was a bit of a snub: the Terps ended up unseeded behind teams like Virginia, UNC, and Denver. (For those that don't know how this works, 16 teams make the tourney. Eight are seeded. The other eight are free to face any of the teams, usually based on travel arrangements.)
As a result, Maryland ends up with a really tough path to the longed-after national championship. To star with, the Terps will travel to Chapel Hill to face off with 8-seeded UNC. That game goes down next Sunday, and will be televised on ESPNU at 1 p.m. MD split the season series with the Heels this year, but the Terps won the most recent meeting.
If Maryland comes away with the win, their reward is #1 Syracuse, a team which has lost just one game all year. Even that was only to #2 seed Cornell.
If John Tillman is to fulfill the understood promise of winning a national championship, it probably won't be this year. The Terps will certainly be challenged early. If they can miraculously get out of the first two rounds (unlikely) things get easier from there. But for now, keep expectations low.