I’m positive that I’m picking the correct game this week, and there is no doubt in my mind.
This week’s Game Of The Week is:
The Ohio State University Vs. The University of Massachusetts
Ohio State is coming off a huge upset last week against Denver, and UMass is rolling so far, knocking off both Army and Bucknell in weeks 1 and 2, respectively. This will be a great game to watch, it will be the Game Of The Week and I’m going to give you FIVE REASONS why! #10 UMass Vs #12 Ohio State. It’s going to be great!
Once again, the GOTW match up features two powerhouse top tier teams. Both Ohio State and UMass are coming off big wins last week. Ohio State knocked off a then #5 ranked Denver University, and it was no fluke. Ohio State played a complete game of lacrosse from top to bottom, and upset a championship caliber Denver team.
UMass’ two first games have been no walks in the park either. UMass opened with a win over a tough Army squad then turned around to beat #14 Bucknell last weekend. These programs have a lot of history, and each year they are on the verge of making it to Championship Weekend.
It is early season lacrosse still but I anticipate that both of these teams will go deep into the NCAA tournament. A game of this magnitude goes a long way in early season lacrosse, which ever team gets the W will carry momentum throughout the season.
16 points in just 2 games?! Are you kidding me?! Those numbers are insane! Will Manny, a junior attackman from Massapequa, NY, put the team on his back in the Army game, and then proceeded to put up monster numbers against Bucknell as well. Manny is shooting a ridiculous 66%. If Manny continues to stay hot, Ohio State could be in trouble. On the flip side, if Ohio State can shut Manny down, UMass could be in a bit of trouble.
UMass has Will Manny but Ohio State has Logan Schuss. The junior attackman out of the great white north (British Columbia) is the leading scorer for Ohio State. He has put up 15 points in 3 games, but on the downside is only shooting 34%. Right now, Logan Schuss is the guy that Ohio State is looking to on the offensive end to finish. Same rules that apply to Manny apply to Schuss; if Schuss plays well and has a big day scoring, UMass could be in trouble. My theory is that both Manny and Schuss play well and we’ll have an old school shoot out; a real high scoring game that is back and forth.
I’m not talking about the John Trovlta and Nicholas Cage movie, I’m referring to face offs at the X. Face offs are crucial in every game, but they will be one of the deciding factors in this match up. With this game most likely to be a high scoring, back and forth affair, face offs will play an ever more crucial role. Whichever team dominates the X will have a distinct advantage, and I’m leaning towards the Buckeyes to do well.
Shawn Kaplan has taken the majority of the draws of OSU, and has won 60% of the draws. The little guy, (5-8, 155) has found an early season rhythm at the face off X. On the other side, UMass is struggling to find their stride. The Minutemen are rotating three players on face offs and none of them are above 50%. Greg Rushing is sitting right on that number, but has only taken 14 draws. He is the senior with the most experience and has done well in the past, but right now he is in an early season slow down.
I’m not going to call it a slump, but just a slow down I know for certain he will be back up over 50% by the end of the season. I think we’ll see a lot of Kaplan vs. Rushing on the majority of face offs, and as I said before I’m leaning towards Kaplan. I predict 60% of face offs will go the Buckeye way. Let us see if I’m right or embarrass myself like last week.
Man-up and man down special teams will play a huge role in this game. Both teams are converting over 50% of their man up opportunities. 50% is a scary number to look at if you’re the opponents man down team. On that note, both teams have only let in 3 man down goals each. Allow me to elaborate, both teams have playing well with extra man opportunities AND playing solid man down defense.
This is why I said special teams will be a key item to watch for in this game. Whichever teams succeeds on special teams will win the game. Both teams are playing excellent in special situations but it will be interesting to see which team will bend and not break on special teams. I believe that MDD will hold strong and EMO might falter in this match up for both teams, but as I said earlier you have a Manny and a Schuss on each side, so the goals could really come if there are a few penalties in the game.
There it is, 5 good reasons to watch this game! It is going to be a great match up with awesome lacrosse action for a full 60 minutes. My bold prediction? UMass edges out a close one… let’s say… 12-10. Is that a little biased? Eh, maybe… after all Umass is in my backyard and I met Coach Cannella a bunch of times, and he’s a great guy. Regardless, Will Manny continues to say hot and Umass wins.
Think I’m wrong or too biased? Let me know tweet me @connors36 or leave a comment below and tell me!
Til next time, happy laxing.