In a selection Sunday that provided more questions than answers, New England found itself well represented. Two conference champions and two at-large bids from the north east found their way into the post season, which begins with an all-New England matchup on Wednesday.
Hartford, the surprise winner of the America East conference, will face Quinnipiac, the MAAC conference champion, on Wednesday for the first play-in game. The winner will be rewarded by facing the Big Ten champion and top seeded Maryland.
The Hartford Hawks were one of the more surprising teams to make the tournament, earning an automatic bid after knocking off Albany, a team that had won 21 straight conference games, to advance to the America East championship. Hartford defeated Vermont, who had upset Stony Brook in the semi finals.
Brown, the at-large bid with possibly the best resume, will face Johns Hopkins in round one. Hopkins gets into the tournament after not advancing to its conference title game, while the Bears were upset by Harvard in the playoffs. Brown, led by Tewaaraton candidate Dylan Molloy, are still one of the top teams in the tournament despite not earning an automatic qualifier.
Yale, the other Ivy League team to make the post season, faces Navy. The Midshipmen could be considered one of the last teams to make the tournament, and get the matchup against the Ivy League conference champion Bulldogs. The heavyweight bought of Yale-Brown was expected to be the conference title game, but the winners of these two games will face off in the quarter finals in Providence.
8-8 Harvard was the last team out on the bubble. The Crimson, which got off to a 4-0 start thanks to a surprise win over Duke, slumped late in the season, only to upset Brown in the Ivy League semi finals to face Yale in the title game. Harvard lost, falling to a .500 record, and end up on the outside looking in after Patriot League team Navy earned the final slot.
The team with its bubble burst that might have a case is Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights fell in the Big Ten title game after defeating Johns Hopkins in the semi finals, and once in the regular season. Yet, the Blue Jays were selected to be a part of the post season tournament.
The other side of the bracket does not have a single New England team. Hobart and Towson face each other in the play in game on that side, with the winner facing Denver. The Pioneers earned the second overall seed despite losing in the conference championship game.
Marquette was a surprise six seed after defeating Denver to win the Big East, and draw North Carolina in one of the more intriguing match ups of the first round. Duke and Loyola is another game of interest, a rematch after a 15-6 win from Duke early in the season.
There is the possibility of three New England teams in Providence, if both Brown and Yale advance and one of Hartford or Quinnipiac upset Maryland. Games begin on Wednesday with the conference winners Hartford and Quinnipiac facing off.