Here’s Everything You Missed From The 1st Round Of The NCAA Lacrosse Tournament
8 games down. 7 to go. Two (2) weeks from today, the 2017 NCAA Lacrosse season comes to an end at Foxborough. Between now and then, we’ve got the quarterfinals coming up this weekend at Delaware and Hofstra. And then we’ll have Championship Weekend in Boston during Memorial Day Weekend.
If you’ve been keeping up with the season so far, then you’ll have known that this past weekend went exactly how you’d expect it to go. Chaotic. Teams blowing leads, teams making ridiculous comebacks, nothing making sense, Syracuse winning by 1 goal. The only thing this weekend didn’t have was the #1 team going down after Maryland was able to hold off a late rally from Bryant to advance to their 4th straight NCAA quarterfinal appearance. Since 2000, they’ve only missed the quarters in 2002, 2007 and 2013. Not a big deal. But yeah, it wasn’t exactly the best way for Maryland to close out that game yesterday against Bryant.
#1 Maryland 13, Bryant 10
At one point in this game, Maryland was up 13-5. It was a route. Matt Rambo was taken out of the game to rest up for the quarters and he was off on the sideline signing autographs. Then out of nowhere, Bryant and their horrifically atrocious uniforms went on a run to make this thing a game again. My thoughts here are that Maryland’s defense follow my picks and also had Bryant +5 in this game. That’s the only way to explain how a kid can get that wide open on the doorstep right out of a timeout.
But when you allow Matt Rambo to go out there bullying SSDM’s like this…
…you don’t have a chance. Comeback or no comeback, this game was over. The end of that game was just going to come down to if Bryant covered or not. Actually, this game was over the minute they stepped off the bus in those skin tight Adidas uniforms that looked like tshirt jerseys and no decals on their lids. Just a terrible look to try to win with.
But speaking of almost miraculous comebacks…
#8 Albany 15, UNC 12
I said right from the jump that Albany got screwed by only being the 8-seed in this tournament. And in the first half of their game against UNC on Saturday night, they proved it. TD Ierlan went 10/10 in the faceoff X in the first quarter, and capped it off with this ridiculous win-to-assist with 3.3 seconds left. UNC thought they’d get some momentum scoring right before the end of the quarter to make it 6-2. Ierland said “fuck off” and got Albany on the board again 6 seconds later.
Ben Drake had a hat trick in the first half. Connor Fields had 5 points in the first half. And the Danes went into halftime up 14-3 on the reigning champs. And then….
Here came the Heels. Cloutier scored his 2nd one-handed underhanded goal of the night. And before you could blink, UNC scored 9 straight goals to make it a 14-12 game in the 4th quarter. Down by 11 at halftime, came back to almost win that shit in the 4th. The way the game was trending, it’s actually a miracle Albany didn’t give up the lead. They weren’t winning faceoffs. They gave up a couple of pole goals (which they’ve been terrible at defending all year). Their offense was throwing the ball away. Luckily Adam Osika came in at the end to stop the bleeding.
And that was the nail in the coffin for the defending champs. But yeah, awful 2nd half for Albany. They had a team drowning in the water. But instead of keeping their foot on the back of UNC’s head to push them deeper, they let them up for air and almost blew the biggest lead since the Falcons were up 28-3. Now Albany gets to do it all over again vs Maryland on Sunday.
#5 Denver 17, Air Force 10
Not a lot to talk about here. The one thing that was very clear from this game is that Trevor Baptiste has earned his Tewaaraton Finalist status as a faceoff guy. I said this the other day but the fact that Denver ever loses any games at all despite the fact that Baptiste goes at least 70% in faceoffs every game is preposterous. He gets that offense an extra 10-15 free possessions every game. The kid is a stud and he’s only getting more important to his team as the season comes closer to an end. You want to beat Denver on Memorial Day? Good luck with that while your offense never sees the ball because Baptiste is playing make-it-take-it.
#4 Notre Dame 15, Marquette 9
Again, not much to talk about here. Except for maybe this Ryder Garnsey tweet when the tournament selections were announced last Sunday.
And you know what? I agree with the kid. Marquette did get hosed. Why? Because they really shouldn’t have been in the tournament anyway. Sure, they play a great brand of lacrosse in late April/May. But if Denver wins the Big East, then Marquette stays home this past weekend. And if Marquette could have just stayed home, then they wouldn’t have had to make the trip to South Bend only to lose by 6 to a hurting Notre Dame team. So yes, Marquette did get hosed and Notre Dame took care of business.
#3 Ohio State 7, Loyola 4
Only complain from this game was that it wasn’t scheduled a little earlier in the day. If this was the 2:30 game yesterday, it would have been the most perfect Sunday afternoon nap game of all time. Not a ton of action. Neither team really able to get anything going. It was the exact type of game Ohio State likes to play. And now with Loyola and UNC losing this weekend (plus Brown not making the tournament), the only remaining team from last year’s final four is Maryland. Gotta love that parity, folks.
#6 Johns Hopkins 6, Duke 19
Said it the exact second it was announced that Hopkins was awarded a 1st round home game on Selection Sunday
Hopkins getting that 6-seed was the biggest joke of the year and I don’t think anybody will ever be able to make sense of it. I didn’t even have Hopkins in my tournament prediction and here they are having a game at Homewood against Duke in the 1st round. It was absurd. And Duke made the committee pay for that one. Justin Guterding had a 10 point day. Ten points. Justin Guterding alone beat the Blue Jays on 4 goals and 6 assists.
I’ve already said a couple of times I have Duke as my dark horse to make it to Championship Weekend. Saturday was a statement for them and a huge “holy shit” moment for anybody who has to gameplan to defend Justin Guterding for the rest of the tournament. a 6-seed getting beat by 13 at home. Unbelievable how horrible that selection was.
#7 Penn State 8, Towson 12
Penn State started their season 10-0. Since then, they’ve gone 2-4 in their final 6 games. Just a brutal way for them to close out this year. Are they college lacrosse’s versions of the Capitals? Great in the regular season and then can’t put it together in the postseason? Maybe. Granted, they are a very young team. Ament is only a sophomore and O’Keefe is only a freshman. They’ll have that duo together for another two years after this. But still. Saturday was a rough day for the B1G with Penn State and Hopkins both going down at home.
Now here’s what I’ve said before. I think Penn State was the better matchup for Syracuse. If Penn State avoided the upset on Saturday, I’d have Cuse on a fast track to Foxborough. But don’t sleep on Towson. They’re solid all around the field and you know it’s going to come down to a 1-goal game against Syracuse. It wouldn’t totally shock me to see a kid like Seider or Drenner come up with a huge goal late in the 4th quarter to send the Tigers to Championship Weekend.
#2 Syracuse 11, Yale 10
This tweet was from the 2nd quarter of the Cuse/Yale game last night. And then with 2:09 left in the 4th quarter of a 10-10 game, this happened.
A little earlier in the 4th than I anticipated but it’s still Syracuse coming up with those late game heroics to win a tight 1-goal game. They’re 11th 1-goal game of the season. They’re 9th 1-goal win of the year. Cardiac Cuse just doing Cardiac Cuse things, and this time it was freshman Stephen Rehfuss with the dagger. I’ll say it over and over and over again. Syracuse will live and die by the 1-goal win this tournament. They have, at the max, 3 games left this year. All 3 will be decided by a total of 3 goals. It’s impossible to predict if they’ll be on the winning side of those games or not but I can assure you that they’ll come down to the final minutes of the game. Syracuse is basically the NBA of college lacrosse. The first 3 quarters mean absolutely nothing to the outcome of the game.
Jordie’s Picks (4-0 this week, 34-10-2 overall)
Just want to give a quick shoutout to myself. The picks for this weekend were Bryant +5 against Maryland, they came back to only lose by 3. Yale +2 against Syracuse. Clearly that was only going to be a 1-goal game. Duke -1.5 over Hopkins. Obviously Hopkins was severely overrated. And Albany over UNC. They gave us a bit of a scare in that 2nd half but they held on to advance.
I’ll have my picks for next weekend’s game in the preview blog on Friday.