May Madness 2017: NCAA D1 Lacrosse Tournament, Quarterfinals Predictions

You may be wondering why a sloth is the photo for this blog. Simply, my lacrosse tournament marathon viewing from 5pm-2am Dublin time last weekend was yet another weekend where I proved to the world how much of a sloth I really am. That having been said, I really don’t give a shit cause that was one of the better first rounds’ I’ve seen in recent memory. My 6-2 overall isn’t horrible, but I look like a douche after bashing two programs, Syracuse and Towson, that basically made me look like an idiot with their play. At least this week I can’t get both of their matchups wrong as they play each other… But I digress, such is life, onto the quarterfinals preview and predictions.

The Quarterfinals

Although the match-ups are starting to become more and more like pick-em’s, I feel pretty confident in my picks this week. I’m also pretty confident I’m going to go full sloth mode again this week while watching all the games. You’d think watching exciting, high-level lacrosse would inspire me to go out and actually practice or even workout, but in all honesty, it probably won’t happen. Anyways, onto the predictions.

#3 Ohio State v. Duke

Tre Leclaire is a beast. This years’ Freshman class has been un-fucking-real, and had Ohio State still been in the ECAC, I think Tre would have at least 2x the points he has now, as it’s pretty hard scoring a ton in a conference laden with 9 All-Americans, spread out in 4/6 teams. Breaking it down: Attack – Duke (Justin Guterding single-handedly is better than the entire OSU attack line, thats not debatable), Midfield – Duke, Defense – Ohio State, Goalie – Ohio State, Face-Off – Ohio State.  Now, using any of this logic, you’d think I’m going to say Ohio State would win. Wrong. Although the stats don’t reflect it this year, Duke always has a couple players that are elite on a couple levels. 1. Statistically, but more importantly 2. They make their teammates exponentially better. Need some examples?: Myles Jones, Deemer Class, Jordan Wolf, Ned Crotty, Matt Danowski, Zack Greer, the list literally goes on and on. This year is no different, as attackman Justin Guterding (48G, 44A) and middie Jack Bruckner (45G, 17A) have stepped up to the plate the season in a big way. Experience helps, as in the last 10 years, Duke have won three national titles, and reached the quarters eight times. In the same period of time, Ohio State has only qualified for the quarters twice, with no experience past that point. Overall, a balanced outlook from the Blue Devils helps to counter very good defensive-minded OSU team. If Ohio State want any chance to win this game, expect big contributions from Big Ten Freshman of the Year Tre Leclaire as well as All-Americans Jake Withers and Tom Carey.

Date/Time/Channel Info: Saturday, May 20 @ 12:00 ET on ESPNU

Prediction: #3 Ohio State 9Duke 15

#4 Notre Dame v. #5 Denver

Well, the freight train that shoots 100+ and the crafty enigma are back and I must say I was very underwhelmed. I get it, Notre Dame loves two things: 1. Balance and 2. Defense, but I really don’t understand how and why Corrigan isn’t getting the ball into the sticks of his two best players, who together amounted to 1 goal and 3 assists. This year, the Irish have not been the greatest on defense (22nd – 9.36 GA/G), so at least figure out to how play offense and not look mediocre at best against a streaky Marquette team. Perkovic took 8 fucking shots and didn’t connect once. Like seriously dude, maybe turn it down a notch and actually shoot with some fucking accuracy, if that happens, ND wins that game v. Marquette by at least 15. But I digress. Denver is firing on all cylinders, not forcing the ball to Ethan Walker and Connor Cannizzaro and thereby finding a bit of scoring from everyone. That, coupled with the efforts of First Team All-American and Tewaaraton finalist Trevor Baptiste, who legit does not lose face-offs. 23/27 in the matchup against Air Force, which equates to roughly 85 fucking %. Oh, and did I mention he took two of those to the house by himself? Look for the face-off matchup to be exploited in the Pioneers favor as P.J. Finley has struggled at the ‘X’ this year (43%). In addition, I like Denver’s attack v. ND’s weaker-than-normal defense. Second Team All-American Garrett Epple will look for redemption in his battle Saturday against Cannizzaro, a player who TOASTED him for the game winner in an earlier matchup.

Date/Time/Channel Info: Saturday, May 20 @ 2:30 ET on ESPNU

Prediction: #4 Notre Dame 11#5 Denver 13

#2 Syracuse v. Towson

I was very close to calling the upset of the tourney last Sunday, but as we all know, it didn’t happen. I’d still like to reiterate my hatred for the Syracuse sleeveless jerseys. Bring back the late-90’s/early-2000’s, aka “The Powell Era” throwbacks more often, which are, in my opinion, the best jerseys in college lacrosse history. Had to get that out there, but that’s enough jersey talk for now. It seems that I gravely underestimated Towson, who are, contrary to my previous belief, an elite defensive team. Whether the ACC, the CAA, or the MAAC, there’s something to be said for a stingy defense that ranks 3rd overall in scoring defense, allowing just under seven and a half a game (7.47). Adding to this, the Tigers have Second Team All-American SSDM Zach Goodrich and Honorable Mention All-American LSM Tyler Mayes as well as Third Team All-American SSDM Jack Adams. Lets break it down: Attack – Syracuse, Midfield – Syracuse (offensively, good matchup with Towson’s elite defensive midfield), Defense – Towson, Goalie – Towson, Face-Off – Towson. Even with Towson having the edge 3/5 in this, after watching the feeding ability of First Team All-American Sergio Salcido and the downhill dodging ability of Second Team All-American Nick Mariano in the Oranges’ first game against Yale, I’m a believer. Syracuse midfield dominates early and often against the tigers, once again carrying the Orange to a close victory.

Date/Time/Channel Info: Sunday, May 21 @ 12:00 ET on ESPN2

Prediction: #2 Syracuse 10 – Towson 8

2017_Syracuse_vs_Virginia_06.jpg

#1 Maryland v. #8 Albany

I’ll be honest, when Chris Cloutier scored off a toe drag, one-handed, and behind-the-back, I thought I was fucked…. and then Albany went and scored like 12 unanswered… in the first half. UAlbany All-Americans Connor Fields (1G, 4A) and T.D. Irelan (23/30 on face-offs) led the way for the Danes, with 7 players scoring in total. Maryland’s game was, in my opinion, way to close for comfort, the Terps should have murdered Bryant by at least double digits. As per usual, Matt Rambo was the hero, totaling 2 goals and 6 assists in the matchup. When you break it down and look at each position head-to-head: Attack – Albany (statistically…), Midfield – Maryland, Defense – Maryland, Goalie – Maryland, Face-Off – Albany. This matchup is definitely one of the best matchups of the weekend along with ND v. DU, and I’m thinking it’s going to be a shootout mostly because Albany has no idea what defending is and almost choked against UNC last weekend. Overall, I think a big day from the Maryland defense holds the high-octane Danes’ attack and the Terps capitalize big on midfield differences. Also, watch for the dynamic duo of Rambo and Heacock opening up space for midfielders such as Tim Rotanz and Connor Kelly.

Date/Time/Channel Info: Sunday, May 21 @ 2:30 ET on ESPN2

Prediction: #1 Maryland 15 – #8 Albany 12

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