For an NCAA-best 17th consecutive season, Maryland men’s lacrosse will play in the NCAA Tournament, as the unseeded Terps draw No. 6-seed Towson in the first round.
Maryland’s loss to Johns Hopkins in the Big Ten tournament semifinals Thursday necessitated an at-large bid for the Terps, receiving one of eight bids available to the field. Hopkins also received an at-large bid, as did No. 2 Duke, No. 5 Yale, No. 7 Notre Dame, No. 8 Loyola and Syracuse.
The Terps enter the tournament this year in a much different place then they’re used to, having earned the No. 1 seed in each of the last three seasons. Now playing as underdogs, Maryland will have to play on its opponent’s field in the opening round for the first time since 2012.
Maryland (11-4) put its tournament status in jeopardy with back-to-back five-goal losses to Johns Hopkins, now a tournament team as well, at home in the final game of the season and in the Big Ten tournament semifinals. Maryland’s other two losses came to tournament teams as well, losing to Notre Dame in overtime and No. 1 seed Penn State.
It ultimately came down to either Maryland or Cornell (10-5) for the committee, with the Terps getting the edge thanks to a slightly higher RPI despite Cornell having a greater strength of schedule. It also helped that Maryland defeated No. 4-seed Penn earlier this season, an opponent that Cornell lost to at home.
Now, Maryland matches up with in-state foe and CAA champion Towson (11-4, 4-1 CAA), a team located less than an hour away. The programs haven’t played since 2011, making for an interesting matchup with an up-and-coming Towson team looking to assert itself not only in Division I lacrosse but as power in the state of Maryland as well. Something to watch for will be the availability of FOGO Alex Woodall, who ranks second in the country in face off percentage (.745) but has missed the last two games with an upper body injury.
Sunday’s game at Towson starts at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU.