NCAA D1 College Lacrosse Tournament: Projected Winners!

loyola hopkins lacrosse
I picked one of the two top seeds to lose? Yup.

It’s that wonderful time of year again where the best of the best in college lacrosse go head to head in single elimination to determine the best team in all the land.  We’ll be running through the NCAA and MCLA tournament fields and predicting winners for each week!  We kick things of with the big boys of NCAA D1 and move on down the ladder offering our picks for each Division!

Let’s kick things off in style.  If you disagree with a pick, let us know in the comments, but make sure to tell us WHY!  Extremely compelling arguments may be rewarded with an offer of a writing position or swag!

#1 Loyola Hosts Canisius

Loyola wins this game handily.  Their defense is delivering and their offense takes what is given.  There is no way Loyola wins this game by less than 5 goals.  And they will win.  So Loyola by 5+.

loyola hopkins lacrosse
Look out for Loyola AND Hopkins this May.

Denver at #8 North Carolina

Did you see Denver play Duke a while back?  Wow.  If that Denver team shows up in NC, then I like the Pioneers to win by 1 or 2.  If UNC plays a good game and Denver doesn’t, UNC can take it by 4 goals or more.  In the end, I like Coach Tierney to have his guys fully prepped to win this game, and I say Denver takes it by 2.

Princeton Battles #5 Virginia

This game is incredibly hard to predict as Virginia has been one of my top teams all season and Princeton has really come on strong.  After watching the Ivy Championship though, I have to go with Virginia in this one.  Princeton was defendable and a great attackman (Stanwick) can pick them apart, as Gibson from Yale demonstrated.  UVA by 4.

Yale at # Notre Dame – UPSET ALERT!

Let me say this right away: I think Notre Dame wins this game 10-8.  But if there is a game ripe for an upset, this is definitely one of them.  Notre Dame does not press out on defense that much, and Yale loves to sit back and wait to make the perfect feed, at least when they aren’t jamming the ball down your throat in transition.  So if any team can score on ND in this tourney, Yale has as good a shot as anyone.  Notre Dame will pay special attention to Yale’s strategy against Princeton, and since they’re known for their preparation, I like ND to come out on top in a great game.

#3 Duke Hosts Syracuse

Just when I think the Orange are dead in the water, they go on a run and win the Big East to make the NCAAs.  Of course then they have to travel to Duke to play in the first round, which is no easy task.  Usually I would say that Cuse had no chance in this game, as Duke it just too athletic… but THIS Cuse team has a chip on its shoulder and if they play fast, loose, Cuse ball, the Orange can win this game.  I’ll say Duke by 2 though.

Syracuse Vs. Duke Lacrosse - Big City Classic
REMATCH! Should be another instant classic.

Colgate Heads To Undefeated #6 UMass

I know that UMass’ strength of schedule was weak, but they still seem like a team that should be higher than a #6 seed to me somehow.  I tend to put a good amount of faith in the Laxpower Power Ratings (as a general guide) and they have UMass in the #1 spot.  Of course that is NOT how the selection committee does things, but as an outside point of reference it does carry some weight.  That being said, this should be an awesome game between two teams led by stars on offense.  Does it come down to Will Manny vs Peter Baum?  SURE, WHY NOT?!  No, it doesn’t.  Not really.  It comes down to the REST of the teams… who shows up?  Who is the difference maker?  Whose second line middie drops 3 goals?  That team will win.  I like UMass by 2 goals.

Maryland at #7 Lehigh

I was definitely thinking that Maryland would win this one early on, but now I’m not sold on that idea at all.  Lehigh is team-oriented and plays however they need to, in order to win.  Maryland probably has more talent, but I don’t like their team approach quite as much, at least not when they directly match up with Lehigh, so I’ll go with the Mountain Hawks at home by 2, 14-12.  It should be a great game though, and has the potential to be the best first round game.

Stony Brook Goes South to #2 Johns Hopkins

Stony Brook has some good talent on their team, and it’s spread all over the field, but it’s not Hopkins talent, and that will be the difference maker here, plain and simple.  Unless SBU comes in with some GENIUS game plan, Hop wins this one easily.  Depth, physical defense, and an ability to score from the midfield will be Hop’s keys to a victory, and I’m almost 100% certain they will get one here.  Hop wins big, 15-7.

UNC Vs. Johns Hopkins Lacrosse
Traditionally, Hop does well in the playoffs.

Disagree with any of my picks?  Think we’ll see a different result?  Convince and impress me in the comments section.


  1. I disagree with the Denver v UNC match-up. The UNC team is a year older, and a year better, and I believe they feel they have even more to prove after losing in the ACC title game. Also, they get to play at home while Denver has to travel cross-country (similar to your argument of Cuse losing to Duke at home). Add to it that they will be playing on grass, while Denver usually plays on field turf, and I think UNC takes it.
    I’d also like to remind you that you are the same person who was touting Cornell a couple of weeks ago, and they aren’t even in.

    • great points Paul!  I think UNC could definitely win, but I just think tierney will out coach Breschi here.  Call me crazy!  Totally fair.

      And if Cornell had Pannell, like I thought they might, I’d still be touting them.  Needless to say, that pick was extremely premature!  I’m hope that since these games are THIS week, my predictions will be more accurate!

      • I agree about Cornell and Pannell, but someone had to call you out haha. And I get your point about coaching, but as I tell my own players, I can’t go out there and do it for you…you have to do it yourselves. I also think if UNC can limit Mark Matthews, their chances of winning go up exponentially.
        I also didn’t mention UMass. #6 baffles me completely…but I KNOW Coach Cannella will use it to their advantage. And I think the difference will be the other @ attack on the starting lines. Kell and Smith are solid finishers, so even if Colgate can slow down Manny, the other two will pick up the slack. I also see them winning be a couple, but it will look closer than it really is because Colgate will score a couple late in the game when UMass has subbed off starters to get reps for the younger guys.

  2. Agree with all except the UNC Denver game, which in my opinion is the hardest game to predict as these two teams have been the most sporadic thus far. My reason for giving the edge to UNC is that they have been to the tourny too many times and I think this might be their year to break through and go deeper. When their offense is firing, they are a very hard team to put down. Also, Denver has been struggling all year, and although they do have a very solid win in their victory over Duke, I do not put too much weight on it given that Duke was just coming off of a VERY physically demanding ACC tourny and then had to turn around and fly to Denver. None the less, will be a great game. As will be the entire tournament. My main prediction is that this will be the most memorable first round of NCAA history. I can’t remember a time where only two first round games were fairly given (Loyola/Canisius, Hop/S. Brook) leaving six almost (I said almost!) up for grabs. It really is an exciting time to be a lacrosse fan, and you can guarantee that I will have my DVR set this weekend!

    On a side note, if my predictions go as planned, I have Duke beating Loyola in the Championship game. Danowski has a way of getting his guys amped up and clicking when they need it most, at the end of the season.

    • I like your whole thing, except for the Duke/Loyola championship game. I have UMass in the finals and winning it…much like Tufts did a couple of years ago. A magical season finishing with a magical run…in their home state