With a convincing 14–6 win over Albany last weekend, the Yale men’s lacrosse team made a convincing case for being regarded as the top team in the nation. Indeed, losses by No. 1 Maryland and No. 2 Albany propelled Yale from No. 5 to the top spot in the Inside Lacrosse National Rankings this week.
Despite this honor, we at the Yale Undergraduate Sports Analytics Group predict that Yale still has less than a 50 percent chance at winning its own league tournament in two weeks.
Yale, which we have ranked as the No. 3 team in the nation with our model, will face strong Ancient Eight competition at the Ivy League Tournament on May 4 and 6. The Bulldogs, who have clinched the top seed in the conference tournament, will be joined by a strong second-seeded Cornell team, currently on a seven-game win streak and ranked No. 4 in the nation in our model.
This weekend’s Ivy League games will officially decide the third and fourth teams to join Yale and Cornell in the tournament. Our simulations estimate that Brown and Penn are the favorites to fill the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, respectively. In this resulting scenario, Yale would have to play Penn, currently No. 17 in our national rankings, in the first round. Thus, Cornell, which has a 78 percent chance of facing No. 26 Brown in the first round, has the preferable draw despite its lower seed. Nevertheless, as of today, Yale would still enter the tournament as the favorite, with a 44.7 percent chance of bringing the title to New Haven.
This coming weekend, the Yale men’s team still has to worry about an important regular season home game against Harvard. A win for the Bulldogs would keep Harvard out of the tournament and keep up the Elis’ momentum heading into the more important league tournament.
We at Yale Undergraduate Sports Analytics Group have Yale as six-goal favorites over Harvard, after determining the difference in Yale Undergraduate Sports Analytics Group coefficients and adding a half goal home field advantage factor. This six-goal advantage roughly corresponds to an 87 percent chance of victory for the Bulldogs.
On the women’s side, Yale is officially out of the contention for the Ivy League tournament and is looking to finish senior day strong against a powerhouse Penn team. The Quakers are rated No. 8 in the Yale Undergraduate Sports Analytics Group national women’s rankings and have an 85 percent chance of obtaining the first seed in the league tournament. At the tournament, the Penn women will be joined by Princeton and Dartmouth, while Cornell and Columbia still fight it out for the fourth seed.
As the seniors take the field for the last time and hope to bounce back from four straight Ivy losses on Saturday, we give the Bulldog women a 9.1 percent chance of defeating the Quakers.
The men play at noon on Saturday while the women compete at 4 p.m.
Matthew Robinson is the treasurer of the Yale Undergraduate Sports Analytics Group. Contact Matthew Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org .