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NCAA D1 Game of the Week

Game Of The Week: North Carolina Vs. Princeton

1 - Published March 9, 2012 by in College

Let me start off by saying that there are a plethora of GREAT games to watch this weekend.  As we see more and more teams getting upset every week, it goes to show that no team is safe.  We have a very level playing field this year which makes for great lacrosse.  If you have looked at the games going on this weekend, you will know that it was very hard for me to choose my GOTW.

Straight down the line, there are a bunch of local rivalry battles and top 25 matches going on.  It was difficult to name

Princeton vs. North Carolina

over many other games, BUT in the end, I did pick this game, now let me tell you why!

NCAA D1 Game of the Week

The Stage:

“He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish.”

This is the opening line to Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and The Sea.  Hemingway is one of my favorite authors of all time, and this opening line sets the stage for the entire book.

Four words should set the stage for this Saturday’s game: Konica Minolta Face Off Classic.

The last 4 out of 5 years, a team that has played in the Konica Minolta Classic has gone on to win the National Championship.  This Saturday our game of the week will be played on the big stage at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland.  It is the first game of 3 great match ups.  Teams always bring out their best in big events like these.  Big stadiums, big crowds, new equipments and great weather all culminate for a great day of lacrosse.

Princeton and North Carolina will be the best game because both teams are coming into this weekend off of losses.  Princeton recently fell to Hopkins and UNC is on a 2 game skid.  This means both teams are desperately trying to get back on the right track, and I also want to point out that UNC is 0-5 in NFL stadiums.  A big win this weekend will set the course straight for the winner and the loser will find themselves falling farther down the lacrosse totem pole.  Two teams with their back against the wall, fighting for their seasons, the perfect stage for a Saturday morning throw down.

UNC’s Jack McBride:

Plenty of reasons to watch Jack McBride this weekend.  He is on the Tewarroton watch list, he is starting on the midfield for UNC and he is playing against Princeton, his former team.  McBride has been running on the first midfield line for UNC, and giving the Heels a different look on offense.  You have to wonder though, why UNC’s offense has been struggling with so many weapons?  However, the offense has had a few days off to regroup and fix their problems.

Princeton vs. Johns Hopkins men's lacrosse 23

Princeton also has a dynamic offense at times.

This is Jack McBride’s last go around, and I expect him to have a big game.  He is playing against his former teammates on the big stage; how could he not want to have a big game?  The 5th year senior will step his game up and get the job done.  McBride won’t necessarily put up huge points but he will create for others and help out the team.

UNC’s Tuttom:

While doing research for this piece, I stumbled across a Canuck in the rough.  Chad Tutton is a true freshmen from Ontario who has put up 10 points in 6 games so far this season, and is shooting a ridicilous 60%.  I haven’t heard anything really on Tutton at all this season.  He comes from the Hill Academy in Canada, and of course, leave it to a Canadian to know how to score.

If Tuttom continues to stay hot, he could be the missing piece to the puzzle on why UNC can’t win.  My advice… get Tutton the ball and let him rip.  Tuttom is just another weapon in the aresenal that is the UNC offense.  He should be a real treat to watch this weekend and over the next four years.

Princeton Seniors:

When I say Princeton seniors, I really mean Chad Wiedmaier and Tyler Fiorito.  These two players are the back bone for the Tigers.  They have been consistent contributiors for Princeton for the past four years and now that it is their senior year, it is time to step up in a whole new way.  I don’t want to say both of these players are having a down year, but they are in a bit of a slump three games into the season.

If Princeton wants to get back to Championship Weekend, it needs to begin this Saturday, starting with Wiedmaier and Fiorito.  Wiedmaier is going to be assigned to the best offensive weapon that UNC has, and Fiorito is going to get shelled all morning long.  Both will need to play well in order for Princeton to come away with a win.  They need to stop playing consistent and elevate their game and be the decising factor in this game.

Princeton Penalties:

Lucky number 7.  Princeton has committed just 7 penalties through 3 games.  Not much wiggle room for opponents.  Most teams thrive on EMO, UNC is converting over 40% of their opportunities.  Princeton has given up 1 man down goal in three games.  Princeton plays clean defense, and if they don’t take pentalies UNC could struggle to score.  UNC desperately needs extra man chances with a struggling offense.  I also assume this is where Tuttom is a huge threat.  If Princeton doesn’t take penalties, and better yet, if the Tigers MDD stiffles UNC man up, Coach Breschi might be in trouble.

Overall:

It is going to be a great day of lacrosse on Saturday, and I suggest everyone tune in and check it out.  UNC and Princeton are two top caliber teams year in and year out.  The Tigers have been knocking on the door of Championship Weekend for the past few years now and are a few steps away from going to the final four.  Check out the game this weekend, I’ll be tweeting all Saturday long, so follow me on Twitter @connors36.

Fearless Forecast:

OK this is a tough one; a very close matchup on both sides.  I’m predicting that UNC will get back on top here and come away with a 12-10 win over Princeton.  Let us see what happens!

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