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Wilson’s Wheelhouse: Weekend Edition

4 - Published March 27, 2010 by in College

We’re at the stage of the lacrosse season where so much happens, it’s almost impossible to keep up with it all.  I’ll do my best to cover the biggest games and get you caught up in case you missed anything.

At the top of the heap is Virginia who is sitting pretty at 8-0 with a string of huge games coming up.  This weekend they play Hopkins and I can’t see UVA losing this one.  The Virginia midfield has a lot of weapons and their relatively young attack is coming along behind attackman Steele Stanwick.

As I’ve been saying, the Hopkins O is somewhat predictable and the UVA D is more than capable to handle the predictable midfield iso dodge on a shorty.  Hopkins will follow up this game with another tough one with UNC at Homewood.  Two weeks later, they play Maryland.

Both the Terps and the Tar Heels are undefeated and that will obviously change after this weekend, when they play each other in Chapel Hill.  This is a pretty big game for both teams, even though they both look really good for the tourney, because it’s somewhat of a statement game.  The ACC is absolutely loaded this year with Duke being the down team, but only if you call being the 7th best team in the country down.

Duke has three games against top 20 teams in Georgetown, Brown and Harvard coming up and every single one is winnable.  Winning those games would do a lot towards getting Duke into the NCAAs no matter what happens in the ACC.

They get a chance at Virginia near the end of the season and that is another chance to prove they’re a real contender.  Of course, if you make the NCAAs and get hot, anything can happen.

Lafayette faces a tough test in Drexel this weekend and a loss won’t kill them but they would drop considerably in the polls.  Amazingly, that is not only the toughest game Lafayette has left, it is also the toughest game of their entire season with Bucknell and Penn coming in somewhat distant seconds.

This is similar to how Notre Dame went undefeated last year in the regular season in that it’s simply not as hard when you play a weak schedule.  Next year Lafayette needs to drop one of the MAAC teams and pick up someone legit.  Basically, the Patriot league is a little down this year and their OOC is a joke and people will hold that against them.

Cuse struggled with Hobart and that happens in this particular game sometimes.  Upstate.  If you don’t know, now you know.  I mean, they have a freaking trophy for the winner of this game, and even if Cuse has taken it home 23 out of 25 times it’s still cool.  Didn’t hurt that Hobart keeper Max Silberlicht had something like 23 saves.  Hobart and Cuse are truly legendary programs and it’s always nice to see a tight game.

Hofstra and Umass will do the dance, Princeton should roll on Yale and Cornell faces a feisty Penn team. So there are lots of good games in the D1 NCAA ranks but the action doesn’t stop there.  It never does.

Right now there is a gap between the big four in D1 arena and the rest of the field with UNC, UVA, Cuse and Maryland all considered serious contenders.  In the D3 world there is a similar make up where the top 4 teams seem to be just a little better than the rest.

Gettysburg, Stevenson, Cortland and Salisbury are pretty much everyone’s top 4 right now although Tufts, Denison and Middlebury could be part of that group once they’ve played some more games.

Tufts needs to be able to beat a team like Williams, who they play this weekend to get to that level and Denison also needs to take care of Wooster.  Middlebury takes on another undefeated NESCAC team in 5-0 Conn College.  This game has been close in the past and if Midd comes out with a big W you can bet they’re for real.

The biggest game of the weekend is clearly Gettysburg-Salisbury.  Both of these teams are potential number ones or national champions.  Gettysburg’s D has rebounded even with some really big losses to graduation and their midfield has really stepped up and is their strongest position.  Salisbury is back in a good way.  It’s all business (well, maybe not all business, after all, it’s SU) on the Eastern Shore and the Gulls are looking to put their mark on D3 lacrosse again in 2010.

I’ve been ranking Stevenson my number one all season but if they lose or really struggle with Noke and one of these teams comes up big, I could be changing things around a bit!  Roanoke also has a golden opportunity to join the top 4 if they can knock off Stevenson.

Cortland takes on RIT and the Dragons are a VERY good team even with two losses.  RIT also has two losses and they were in their first two games of their season.  I think Cortland will take it comfortably but this is a good test for RIT as they seem like a team with potential.

In other Upstate D3 action, Nazareth takes on St. Lawrence and the Golden Flyers should take this one if they’re a real top 1o team… and I think they are.  Naz got beaten handily by Cortland last week so they want to get back on the right track with a solid win here.

Just like everyone else, I’ve written off Duluth in their game against Michigan even though they’re the number 6 team in the country.  UMich has had some close games but even when they were without a full roster, they’ve found ways to win.  The program up there (and yes, it’s one heck of a program) is impressive and the team almost seems aching to want to step up the competition and I don’t think just playing good D3 teams (which they should do anyway because it would be awesome) would do that.  Michigan needs to go D1. Yesterday.

I know, there are a million reasons why they can’t/won’t/whatever.  But they should.  They could win a National Championship in 5 years.  Ok, everyone is tired of hearing this.  Sorry.  That being said, this Michigan team could lose to Duluth because weirder things have happened.

Arizona State and Oregon should be a great game over the color yellow.  These two destination schools should play every year and have a trophy like Cuse and Hobart.  The Yellow Trophy.  I like it.  Enough nonsense, these two teams have really stepped up their level of play lately.    Oregon just took Michigan to OT lost by 2 to a very good Michigan State.  ASU only lost to Michigan by 1 and CSU by 4, earlier in the season.

Either of these teams is capable of giving anyone a run for their money.  The question has to be, do they have the depth that it requires to win an MCLA Championship?  As we’ve seen in years past, the teams that make it the farthest usually have lots of kids who can play.  This is more true in the MCLA than the NCAA.

Chapman is playing Colorado and when you consider how Colorado has been playing lately, you have to like Chapman in this one by at least a couple.  They haven’t blown everyone out but they’ve won games by a couple goals for the most part over some pretty good competition.

BYU is playing Utah State in a game the Cougars should take handily.  I also like FSU to take care of Virginia Tech, although I think it promises to be a good game.

LMU heads deep into the heart of Texas where they’ll face the Longhorns on their home turf.  Anywhere else I would take LMU by a couple but this could easily be a one goal game and I’m going with the hosts to win.  Texas has a good win over FSU but in their losses they only manage to keep it respectable so I’m reserving judgement until after this game.

Overall, NCAA Division One Lacrosse, NCAA Division Three Lacrosse and MCLA Division One Lacrosse are the three deepest, most exciting collegiate lacrosse showcases.  NCAA Division 2 has a certain allure because of the limited number of teams that make the playoffs.  It means that every regular season game can literally make or break your season.

I would talk about the division but there weren’t really any great games.  That happens in a small division sometimes.  I’d love to see the division expand westward more but a couple of schools have added the sport in states like Florida, California and Arizona.  With a couple more good D2 teams (the key to that is a great coach, by the way… most important!), things could really get interesting and the level of a play on a good D2 team is really high.

I used to watch Adelphi play Bentley in Waltham, MA (apparently Bentley is actually good now) when I was growing up and watching Adelphi play back in late 90s was an absolute pleasure.  The best D2 teams still have players of that caliber.

It's just me, right? The Thumbspiracy isn't spreading, is it?

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About the Author:
Connor is a pretty average lacrosse player at this point who doesn’t know when to give up on the game.  He played and coached in the NESCAC and still plays for the Southampton LC in NYC.  Connor lives with his fiance in Brooklyn and thanks her for allowing him to keep the dream alive.

Contact him at connor@lacrosseallstars.com.

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