Weekend Preview and Predictions


Hopkins vs. Loyola this weekendWe are getting closer and closer to the National Playoffs at every level collegiately and the intensity just keeps ratcheting up and up.  This weekend all of the games I preview and predict will have playoff implications and as usual, I expect to see some upsets.  Will they be the upsets I predict? probably not but at least the action on the field is exciting enough to make up for it!

Syracuse takes on Colgate and if Cuse wants to keep a high seed, they need to win this game.  If Colgate wants to make the NCAAs, they really need to win this game.  I like Cuse in a tight one to keep the Raiders out of the NCAAs.  A high seed AND a chance to be a spoiler for an upstate rival is too tempting for the Orange to let it slip.

Brown takes on Princeton in NJ and this game has HUGE implications for Ivy League title.  Brown has beaten Cornell and Cornell beat Princeton.  If Princeton wins, then Cornell wins the Ivy and Princeton will definitely make the NCAAs.  Brown would still have a decent shot at the NCAAs as well.  Can Big Red win the Ivy?If Brown wins, the Bears will win the league as their only in-league loss is to Penn and Princeton will more than likely make the NCAAs but it will be a little tighter.  I like Princeton to win the game and secure their spot although I believe all 3 of these teams deserve to make the tourney.

Hopkins plays Loyola in a game both teams really need.  Hopkins is 8-4 and plays a really tough schedule and I have no doubt that even with a loss, they would make the NCAAs.  However, the Hop loves a high seed and Pietrimala hates losing always, especially to instate rivals.  Loyola NEEDS this win to make the tourney but I think the Blue Jays will pull out the win after a really tight first half.  I just don’t think Koppens and McDonald are going to be able to put up enough points to keep the Greyhounds in the game unless long pole PT Ricci and the rest of the mids and D create a lot of transition.

Div 2 is WAY to close to call at this point.  I think LeMoyne is a lock, even if they lose in their conference playoffs.  I also think Post is a lock to either win their regional AQ or pick up the at-large bid.  Merrimack Post will make the tourneyhas to compete with LeMoyne so they have to be hoping that they can win out and that Post wins out.  That way they would be the most qualified at-large assuming all of the other favorites win. Either way, between LeMoyne, Merrimack, CW Post, NY Tech, Mercyhurst and Molloy only 3 of them will make it.  It looks like Limestone will be the selection from the South Region.  Instead of game picks, I am going to pick the NCAA field of 4 for Division 2.  My picks are: Central Region – CW Post, North Region – LeMoyne, South Region – Limestone and my at-large bid will go to Merrimack.  I could see NY Tech making it over Merrimack [assuming Tech beats Mercyhurst] should ‘Mack lose to LeMoyne again.

For the Division 3 side of things there are a couple of matchups that will shape how the field is selected.  Salisbury is in as the CAC AQ.  Stevenson will pick up one of the 5 available Pool C bids as the CAC runner up and a one loss season [assuming the beat Denison, which I still think they will].  I like Denison to pick up a pool B and I like OWU to pick up a pool B but they need to beat Wooster to do so.  Beyond that the last Pool B could go to Greensboro, Whittier, Goucher, USMMA or even Wooster.  The selection process is a little opaque but that won’t stop me from saying that I think USMMA will pick up the final slot.

If W&L can beat Roanoke then Noke will pick up a pool C bid and W&L will take the ODAC AQ.  I like Noke to remain undefeated though and unfortunately this may result in Washington and Lee being left out of the NCAAs.  In the NESCAC things are no clearer.  Both Middlebury and Tufts should make the NCAAs no matter what, unless Tufts loses to Bowdoin in the NESCAC semis and a team like W&L wins the ODAC.  The pool C bids can disappear quickly when the favorites don’t win their conference tourneys.  I like Wesleyan over Middlebury in a thriller of a game.  This prediction is contingent on Wesleyan’s vaunted zone D being able to hold back the scoring of Middlebury midfielders Stone and Hopkins.  I think Tufts will beat Bowdoin in a close game they absolutely need to win.  If McCampbell has a big day in between the pipes for Bowdoin, the Jumbos could be in trouble.

Gettysburg plays Washington College and I like the Gburg bullets to pull out the W even though WAC played Salisbury to an 11-10 loss last week.  Haverford should handle McDaniel and if both Gburg and Haverford win to make the finals, both teams could go to the NCAAs.  The level of parity in D3 this year is beyond comparison and almost every top-level division has 3 or more teams that could win the whole thing.  The CAC was a joke up until a couple of years ago but now boasts FOUR excellent teams in Salisbury, Stevenson, St. Mary’s and Wesley.

Duluth cruises to a conference crownI can’t see anyone else but UMinnesota-Duluth winning the UMLL 1.  Minnesota could provide a challenge but if things go as they should I think the crew from Duluth will win out.  This weekend also showcases the PCLL tourney up in New England.  I like BC to run through that tournament field much like they did in the regular season.  10-5 Oregon has a big game with 9-3 Washington.  Both of these teams are in laxpower’s top 20 and both programs are making big strides towards competing for a championship.  I like the Ducks to win in the first round of the PNCLL tournament and it’ll be an Oregon/SFU championship game. I don’t think anyone will even come close to besting Lindenwood in the GRLC tourney.  Only twice did a team from the GRLC keep the score within 10 goals and Lindenwood won both of the games by 9 goals.  Michigan will play in the CCLA tourney ramping up the intensity for the MCLA national tournament (thanks to Kyle for the heads up!).   SFU, Chapman and others don’t play again until the MCLA tourney kicks off in Denver.  Will the time affect them? I doubt it… but weirder things have happened!