Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun
April 18, 2014
A raucous crowd is expected at 6,000-seat Ridley Athletic Complex on Cold Spring Lane for this high-emotion series with national implications. Loyola hasn't lost since Feb. 6 and is top-ranked but hasn't played a Top 10 team since March 9. It also have played only three games against teams in the top 20 of the Rating Percentage Index.
Loyola is coming off a Patriot League title against much lesser competition. Hopkins lost three straight to Atlantic Coast Conference foes but has bounced back, winning five straight.
A Loyola victory would ensure a high seed in the tournament. A loss could drop them out of the top eight, as the Hounds would have only one Top 10 win. A Blue Jays win could garner the No. 7 or No. 8 seed and a home game, giving Hopkins momentum into May Madness.
A loss by Hopkins may also trigger a doomsday scenario in which it would be left out of the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year after a 41-year run. What would have to happen for the Jays to miss out again?
- 1. Loyola beats Hopkins
- 2. Denver fails to earn the Big East automatic qualifier
- 3. Neither Cornell nor Penn wins the Ivy AQ
- 4. Maryland loses to Navy
It's an unlikely chain of events, but feasible. If all four happen, Hopkins would be on the bubble for the final two at-large slots with Denver, the Cornell-Penn loser and the loser of Saturday's Drexel-Hofstra game. A Terps loss to the Midshipmen would devalue Hopkins' win over Maryland. Jays fans will hope the committee values bad losses in the selection formula. Hopkins has none.