Everything You Need To Know Heading Into The First Round Of The NCAA Lacrosse Tournament
Congratulations, everybody. You've made it to the best weekend of the year. The weather is great, the High Noons are flowing, and the 2022 NCAA Lacrosse Tournament is getting underway.
16 teams. 8 games. 2 days of chaos. I wouldn't be shocked if all the top 8 seeded teams win this weekend, and I also wouldn't be shocked if 7 of them lost. Aside from Maryland, I'd say this is the most wide open tournament I can remember. There are at least 12 teams right now where you could make a case for them to make it to Championship Weekend and I'd have no way of arguing with you.
So to get you ready for round 1 of the tournament here's the latest episode of The Crease Dive where we preview every matchup, and then we wrap things up with recapping the 2022 PLL Draft that went down earlier this week.
Listen to S5E16 of The Crease Dive here on Apple:
2022 NCAA Tournament First Round Schedule (all games on ESPNU)
12pm // #5 Princeton vs BU
This is a rematch from earlier in the season when Princeton beat BU 12-7. But the Terriers have been on fire lately winning the Patriot League Championship, and Princeton hasn't played a game since April 30th. I'd expect a slow start for Princeton but they'll inevitably turn it on since they've got a little more scoring depth than BU. Jordie's Pick: Princeton close
2:30pm // #3 Penn vs Richmond
Penn looked like one of the most dangerous teams in the nation last weekend on their way to winning the Ivy League tournament. But they're so inconsistent at times. Some weeks they look like they could legitimately give Maryland a run for their money, other weeks they look like they can't string together 3 passes in a row. Richmond proved they can hang with anybody when they beat Virginia earlier this year, so this isn't a game that Penn can just show up and expect to win. With that being said, they are NASTY when they have all their studs like Sam Handley and James Shipley going. It'll be a quality game, but they're too much to handle in the end. Jordie's Pick: Penn
5pm // #4 Yale vs Saint Joe's
I love this Saint Joe's team. It's the program's first time playing in the NCAA Tournament. They win a shit ton of face-offs thanks to Zach Cole. They have a few different guys who have scored at least 40 goals this season. They have a few menaces down at defense. But no matter what, Yale has the best player on the field at all times in this game with Matt Brandau. Plus Yale has the experience of this senior class being there when they won a National Championship in 2018, and a Final Four appearance in 2019. Jordie's Pick: Saint Joe's, but that's also my Philly bias coming in.
7:30pm // #8 Brown vs Virginia
The most intriguing matchup of the weekend. You have the 2x defending National Champions on the road in the first round of the tournament. And not only are they on the road, but they head up to Brown where head coach Lars Tiffany led the Bears to a Final Four appearance in 2016 before taking over the job at Virginia.
I'd say that when healthy, Virginia has the best two players in the tournament with Matt Moore and Connor Shellenberger. They played a few cupcakes to end the regular season so everybody should be rested up and as healthy as they could be at this point in the year. So if those guys are going, then the Lars Tiffany Revenge factor won't make a difference for Brown. But if for some reason they're not totally healthy and the shots just aren't dropping for them? Well then Brown deserves to get this one over Lars. Jordie's Pick: My mind says Virginia, my heart wants Brown.
12pm // #1 Maryland vs Vermont
No need to talk about this one. Vermont put together an admirable 2nd half of the season but it's Maryland and it has always been Maryland. Jordie's Pick: Terps in 4.
2:30pm // #7 Cornell vs Ohio State
Another rematch from earlier in the year when Cornell beat Ohio State 14-11 in Early march. That was a game where Cornell's defense just ate up everything that Ohio State threw their way. Also, Ohio State hasn't been very good on the road this season. Their only road win came in February at UNC. So I think this one could come down to the final couple of possessions, but I think we see a lot of similar things to what we saw in the first matchup. Jordie's Pick: Cornell
5pm // #6 Rutgers vs Harvard
I haven't made one single attempt to try to hide my hatred of Rutgers this season. It's just something about that program that always rubs me the wrong way. I think it's because they always get ranked so highly in the regular season despite never doing anything when it matters. With that being said…
I love Rutgers in this matchup. I couldn't possibly love them any more. Harvard hasn't played a game in 2 weeks. They were 1-3 to close out the regular season before missing the Ivy League tournament. 4 out of their top 7 point scorers are freshmen. I just don't see Harvard being able to turn things around for this game, especially if Colin Kirst is stopping every shot thrown his way in net for the Scarlet Knights. So as much as this hurts to say…Jordie's Pick: Rutgers, fairly big.
7:30pm // #2 Georgetown vs Delaware
Delaware looked really good against Robert Morris in the play-in game on Wednesday night. The only issue is that they're not playing Robert Morris on Sunday. They're playing a Georgetown team that has just one loss on the season so far. A Georgetown team that got embarrassed in the quarterfinals last year and is looking to put that behind them with a trip to Championship Weekend this year. So while I think this game will be a little closer than you'd expect, I'd still expect the Hoyas to roll. Jordie's Pick: Georgetown