Nittany Lion Men's Lacrosse Awaits NCAA Fate

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By Jackson Thibodeau, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - On the day of the 2012 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Tournament selection show, let's take a look at what the Nittany Lions need to fall in place to receive one of nine at-large bids.

Tournament Information:
61 teams compete in NCAA Division I men's lacrosse. By season's end, the field is narrowed to just 16 teams that compete in the NCAA tournament.
Seven conferences receive automatic bids if they win their conference tournaments (America East, BIG EAST, Colonial Athletic Association, ECAC, Ivy League, Metro Atlantic, Patriot League).
The remaining nine spots in the tournament belong to at-large bids.
2012 NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championships will take place at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

Conference Championships:

NOTE: All rankings are Men's Lacrosse RPI.

ECAC Championship (May 4, 2012)

- No. 3 Loyola Md. def. No. 15 Fairfield, 14-7
- Loyola earns automatic bid for winning ECAC.
- What Penn State needed: A Loyola win was a plus for the Nittany Lions, as Penn State needs as many favored teams to win their conference championships as possible.

Patriot League Championship (May 4, 2012)
- No. 6 Lehigh def. No. 9 Colgate, 16-14
- Lehigh earns automatic bid for winning Patriot League.
- What Penn State needed: A Lehigh win was a positive for Penn State, although Colgate may still earn an at-large bid.

America East Championship (May 5, 2012)
- No. 39 Stony Brook def. No. 40 Albany, 14-8
- Stony Brook earns the automatic bid for winning the America East.
- What Penn State needed: The loser of this contest will not receive an at-large bid in the tournament, meaning that the outcome did not affect the Nittany Lions.

BIG EAST Championship (May 5, 2012)
- No. 19 Syracuse def. No. 29 St. Johns, 12-4
- Syracuse earned the automatic bid for winning the BIG EAST.
- What Penn State needed: The way things unfolded in the BIG EAST was a blow to the Nittany Lions after St. Johns defeated Notre Dame.  The fact that Notre Dame will likely an at-large bids could hurt the Lions' chances.

CAA Championship (May 5, 2012)
- No. 2 UMass def. No. 20 Drexel, 18-12
- UMass earns the automatic bid for winning the CAA.
- What Penn State needed: The Nittany Lions needed UMass to win to avoid the Minutemen taking up another at-large bid if they were to lose.

Ivy League Championship (May 6, 2012)
- No. 22 Yale vs. No. 12 Princeton
- What Penn State needs: The Nittany Lions need Princeton to win this game, because Yale is not likely to receive an at-large bid if they are defeated.

MAAC Championship (May 6, 2012)
- No. 48 Canisius vs. No. 32 Siena
- What Penn State needs: Due to the low RPI rankings of these two teams, the team that falls in this contest most likely will not receive an at-large bid.

Where the Nittany Lions stand:
- 9-6, 5-1 CAA
- RPI: 11
- Top 5 RPI wins: Notre Dame
- Top 25 RPI wins: Drexel, Ohio State, Villanova, Hofstra
- Penn State can be considered a "bubble team" as of right now because the Nittany Lions are riding on several outcomes to boost their chances of earning an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament.

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