Despite being the only undefeated team in the 16 team field, Maryland men’s lacrosse was shockingly named the No. 3 seed for the NCAA Tournament. It’ll be facing the Vermont Catamounts (9-4), the winners of the America East title.
Tim Leonard, Chair of the NCAA DI Men’s Lacrosse Committee, said Sunday night that No. 1 seed North Carolina (11-2) and No. 2 seed Duke (12-2) received higher seedings than the Terps because both teams faced tougher schedules.
“Whether we were 1, 2, 3 or unseeded, we just got to make sure that we are appreciative of the opportunity to play,” head coach John Tillman said, “we get to play a home game, we get another week together. And that’s really what I’m most thankful for.“
Nonetheless, in unfavorable circumstances, Maryland tallied its first perfect record of the century, handily dispatching every Big Ten opponent at least two times en route to a swift regular season title and adding a decisive Big Ten Tournament title to boot.
With the offense it boasted, the success shouldn’t come as a surprise either. With the nation’s best offensive athlete in attacker Jared Bernhardt along with one of the most prolific scoring offenses in program history, the Terps have the lacrosse pedigree to go down in history as one of the greatest Maryland teams ever.
As Bernhardt sits as the Tewaaraton award favorite with the best goal per game average at 4.42, the offense he leads averages 16.17 goals per contest, a mark only behind No. 1 ranked North Carolina. It’s the sixth time Maryland has averaged above 16 goals per game and it’s the highest goal average since 1977 when the Terps averaged 16.73 goals per game.
The Terps will be playing round one at home, and if they manage to beat the Catamounts, they’ll likely be facing an ACC gauntlet against another unusually seeded No. 6 Notre Dame and, given another win, a stacked No. 2 Duke team in the semifinal.