NCAA Lacrosse Tournament: May Madness Round 2 Picks and Predictions
We have got another big weekend ahead of us in college lacrosse as we look ahead to the quarter finals. This weekend looks to bring just as much excitement as the last.
5/22 12:00 PM ET #4 Virginia vs #5 Georgetown
This one is quite possibly the most interesting game of the weekend. In the first round games, one team showed incredible dominance while the other snuck by in a game that was closer than expected. The Georgetown Hoyas, the team many thought was the underdog of their last matchup, was dialed in as they handed Syracuse an 18-8 loss. I said before last week that Georgetown has a real habit of exposing poor defenses. Well man, did they do just that. Jake Carraway and Declan “Danny Mcbuckets” McDermott both had their fun as they each had 5 goals a piece. When you watch them play you can tell how much this team loves each of their guys and that they bring the energy. The Cavaliers of Virginia had quite a different first round experience. As the favored team, most people expected them to walk off their home field with a convincing W. However, Bryant had other plans as they took the Cavs down to the wire in what ended as a 13-11 game. There were times in that game that I thought Virginia might let it get away, including when they let Bryant go up by 2 goals late in the game. The Cavs were able to take care of business in the 4th quarter as they scored 4 goals to Bryant’s 1 to secure the win. What makes this game difficult to pick is that it all depends on which Virginia shows up. It has been very apparent all season that Virginia can play at an incredibly high-level but the reason that I am picking Georgetown is for their consistency. Georgetown puts it on all game while Virginia has become more of a team of runs. If they get a lead you can be sure they are going to protect it thanks to their super talented defense. So with all that being said, I believe that Georgetown will be punching their ticket to the final four.
5/22 2:30 PM ET #1 North Carolina vs Rutgers
I think it is fair to say that North Carolina had an easy weekend last week. Rutgers also did not have to sweat too much in their game either. Chris Gray (4G, 2A) and the boys showed why they are the number one seed in the tourney. The Tarheels had an all around team win as they had 10 guys with a goal or more, getting them the 16-4 win. For Rutgers, they won while only winning 5 face offs to Lehigh’s 16. They managed to steal possessions in any way possible while being incredibly deliberate with the ball on offense. The Scarlet Knights attack trio combined for 9 of the teams 12 goals winning the game 12-5. For the game this weekend I think that UNC is going to keep it rolling and beat Rutgers. The biggest reason for this is that the boys from Jersey have not proven that they can beat a team that is better than them. The Tar Heels not only have a high octane offense but they also have the luxury of one of the best goalies in the country in Colin Kreig, who is saving the ball at a 54% clip . I believe that this game may start off close and may even stay that way through the first half but I think that the Tar Heels are just far and away a better team and will emerge victorious.
5/23 12:00 PM ET #2 Duke vs Loyola
I will be the first to say that I did not give Loyola enough credit last week. Aidan Olmstead had himself a day with 5 goals and the Loyola offense looked potent. They got themselves out to an early lead only to let Denver get back within one down the stretch. Their defense held up for the final few minutes as Loyola goalie Sam Shafer made the save of the year on the doorstep to secure the 14-13 win. Last week, Duke earned a 16-10 victory over High Point. Throughout the game it was very obvious that Duke was in charge. It made me very happy that Michael Sowers finally got his chance to play in the NCAA tournament after not making it in his four years at Princeton. He treated us to one of his typical offensive clinics as he posted four goals and four assists for the Blue Devils. There are many that say that the game feels like it was not as close as the score showed and I agree. It truly felt like Duke was comfortably dominant from the first whistle to the last. I think that Duke definitely has this game against Loyola. I know that I picked against Loyola last weekend and got burned. However, if there is one thing that I have learned in all of my years as a lacrosse fan it is that you never ever bet against Duke in the tournament. Duke from the top to the bottom is one of the best teams in the country and I think they will once again display that come this Sunday.
5/23 #3 Maryland vs #6 Notre Dame
This without a doubt is the marquee matchup of the weekend. Lacrosse fans everywhere have been foaming at the mouth to finally see Maryland go up against a serious opponent. Last week I really did think that Vermont was going to give the Terps something to worry about by making it a close one. Instead, Maryland did what Maryland does and beat them 17-11. Jared Bernhardt was a man on a mission putting up six goals and 1 assist. If Maryland makes the National Championship I think he will win the Tewarraton. I have mentioned before that Notre Dame is really good at allowing lower ranked teams to keep it close with them, and that is exactly what happened against Drexel. It was a battle of the goalies as Liam Entenmann of Notre Dame and Ross Blumenthal of Drexel had 17 and 15 saves respectively. Irish star Pat Kavanaugh only had 2 goals but they were able to get it done with contributions from all around their team. Midfielder Wheaton Jackoboice found himself with 3 goals and Mo Mirer had a pair. This game is the hardest of the weekend for me to pick. The thing I am most excited for is for the one on one matchup of Bernhardt and top cover defender in the country Jack Kielty. I know that it is going to be a great game and will definitely come right to the very end. I am going to go with the Terps in this one and it comes down to the difference of scoring depth between the two teams. Pat Kavanaugh is one of the best players in the country. However, as you can see in the last week they did not look the same when they couldn’t rely on him heavily. There are most certainly guys on the Irish that score. Maybe I am just trying my best to justify not picking an ACC team. In my opinion, the top six guys on Maryland's offense ,as a whole, are better than the top six guys on Notre Dame’s offense. So I am taking Maryland to win this one in an absolute barn burner of a game.