« Postscript from Delaware at Towson | Main | Maryland not surprised by Hofstra's presence in NCAA tournament »

Tournament invitation elicits usual reaction from Johns Hopkins

After 38 consecutive years of earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament, one would think that Johns Hopkins’ reaction to No. 39 would be a little muted.

But when the Blue Jays had to win the last two games of the season to even their record at 7-7 just to be eligible for postseason consideration this spring, a little outpouring of emotion is expected.

"They cheered – like we do every year," coach Dave Pietramala said of his players’ reaction when they saw that they will meet No. 5 seed Duke on Saturday at 12 p.m. "We don’t take things for granted around here. Strange things can happen. Obviously, there have been years when we’ve been certain where we stand that we’ll be in. But it still doesn’t take away from the excitement that you’ve been named to the NCAA Tournament, and that you’re one of 16 teams and now you have an opportunity to compete for a national championship. Was the cheer a little louder today? Probably so and that’s because of the position we put ourselves in and that position was pretty simple. Our destiny was in the hands of others."

Johns Hopkins, which has never lost in the first round of the tournament, didn’t get any favors from the NCAA selection committee, which sent the team to Durham, N.C., for a meeting with the Blue Devils (12-4). Duke has won 10 of its last 11 games – including tagging Virginia with its only loss of the season.

"Listen, we’ve never looked at our match-up and thought, ‘Oh, we’ve got the short end of the stick,’" Pietramala said. "You’ve got to play against great teams in this tournament no matter what and records go out the window. I’m certain right now, everyone’s got Duke moving on. In the broadcast [Sunday night], they had Duke moving on. And that’s OK. Based on the year we had, I understand that. What we’re going to do is we’re going to try to work awful hard and control the things that we can control."

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (12)
Categories: Johns Hopkins


There is no way Hopkins deserves to be playing in this tourney. What a first class farce. No doubt the NCAA was afraid to leave out the pompous snobs from Homewood because of their wittle wittle streak. What a joke.

GoDuke---Since you think it is such a farce, you must be thrilled that Duke will be facing such a pushover in the first round. And based upon recent tournament history, I can understand your confidence. :)

Year in and year out, The Hop plays the toughest schedule in the country. That's why Pietramala's teams do well in the tournament, and for what it's worth, given what he has to work with he is the best coach in the country. Given his history, it wouldn't be an upset if they beat Duke. I also think it's funny that a Duke fan is calling the Homewood folks "pompous snobs." Really???

I think Petro and the team are handling their selection the same way they handled a disappointing year: with grace and humility. They never shy away from the toughest schedule in the country and never blame the schedule if it wears them down.

All the rantings about the presence of Hopkins in the final selections fail to mention the short-comings of a system that automatically qualifies teams because they won their respective conference titles in spite of the overall weakness of these conferences.

Delaware and MSM are perfect examples. Both of them were decisively defeated by Hopkins.

OMG! A rectocranial invert from Duke calling JHU "pompous snobs." Is this not ironic?
I have been a Hopkins fan since my father took to me my first game at Homewood when I was 6, and 55 years later I still bleed Columbia Blue and Black. But I don't think a .500 club, no matter their schedule, should be in the tournament. And when the .500 team is JHU, with its history and lore, I definitely don't think they should be playing. It's like Notre Dame's football team accepting a bowl bid after they went 6-6 in the regular season. No way; it's beneath them. BUT . . . the Hop is in the tournament and they're playing Pompous U, the school that throws its lax coach and team under the bus and then whines they should get a 5th year of eligibility. GO HOPKINS!

I'm a Hopkins alum, and I seem to recall a first-round exit when the tourney was only 8 teams. 1975, #1 Hopkins lost to #8 W&L, I think it was.

And GoDuke, hope you've got your chin strap buckled tight. It's gonna be a long day, my friend.

While I'm a big 'Jays' fan, I thought this might be the year that Hopkins tournament streak ended. I will be looking forward to the Bluejays game against Duke, as well as the upset. I have to say though, that Georgetown got screwed. Notre Dame and Hostra got selected over G-town? Wow, didn't see that coming. The tournament needs to be expanded to 23 teams like the DIII tourney, so teams like Navy and ND get rewarded for playing such a tough schedule.

Hopkins stunk it up this year, and I put the blame squarely on the coaching. Petro kept messing around with the seniors (Gvozden, Duerr, Chautin and others were benched at various times during the season for no apparent reason), and could not get the best out of his team until Saturday. They only beat 2 team going to the tourney (Del. & Loyola). Four of their seven wins were against patsy teams (Mahattan, Siena), or struggling teams (UMBC, Albany). A tourney bid should be based upon an entire season's work, not two games. Another homer(wood) move by the selection committee. Petro hasn't had a truly explosive offense since the Seth Tierney coached players (Rabil, Harrrison, et al.) graduated out of the program.

Record doesn't mean a lot in Hopkins' case, it's just a choice of strategy on how to make the tournament.

As Coach P has noted before, Hopkins is not in a conference, so if they make the playoffs, it has to be on RPI and SOS - there's no AQ.

Teams that are in a conference with an AQ typically have a winning record, but on a relatively weak schedule.

JHU, in contrast, plays Syracuse, Princeton, and most of the ACC, and can rack up a lot of losses. But a 7-7 from JHU is worth a 10-4 from conference members. Hopkins topped most schools this year in SOS and RPI.

If teams like Delaware, Army, Notre Dame, Loyola, Stony Brook, Denver, and MSM had played JHU's schedule, most would be worse than 7-7 and they would not be preparing for a game this weekend.

A side effect of Hopkins' scheduling strategy: you get better by playing the best, and Hopkins has a history of doing well at playoff time. Remember the NCAA championships in 2005 and 2007? Never judge a Pietramala-coached team by its record!

JHU has a young team and a lot of quality recruits on tap so there will be less playoff drama the next few years.

For now, best of luck to the Jays Saturday!

Well, I sure remember the 2005 and 2007 years but also remember 2002-2004 when Hopkins was seeded No. 1. - my memory is foggy but I don't think they won the titles those years. I also remember last year when Hopkins set a record for them by getting blasted off the field against UVA.

The team is young and Petro is a good coach but his teams over the last 3 years have struggled against the other top programs.Hopkins, who has beaten 1 team on the road and gotten shelled by the other two teams in the tournament when they played on the road has a might big task to win in Durham

The Duke fans have an imperious attitude ,which is that they shall beat JHU-if they lose, why don't they convince their school to drop the program because they always choke in the playoffs-Each year that they the qualify, perhaps for the sake of the sport they should donate their spot to a school whose fans are not jerks doug honig

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Please enter the letter "s" in the field below:
About Faceoff
Faceoff is The Baltimore Sun's blog devoted to college and high school lacrosse. Faceoff contributors include Sun reporters Edward Lee, Mike Preston and Katherine Dunn.

Most Recent Comments
Sign up for FREE local sports alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for local sports text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Photo galleries
Blog updates
Recent updates to sports blogs  Subscribe to this feed