Welcome to the newest LAS feature for the NCAA season, The Takeoff! This will be a weekly spot for the LAS crew to look ahead at the games coming up this weekend and weigh in on trends, teams, players or whatever else they feel like. The only rule of The Takeoff is each person has to give something trending up, and something trending down. The group may change slightly week to week, but we think you’ll like to see what each person is excited for (or dreading) for this weekend’s games.
For this first installment of The Takeoff, we have myself, Ryder Cochrane, and Scott Ratliff. You know me from most of my other LAS work, especially the weekly NCAA things like Stat Freaks, Conference Comparison, and my whether or not my media poll ballot is serious. Ryder has recently joined on our NCAA coverage with his Under the Radar after being a huge part of our World Games coverage in Netanya last summer. Scott is the co-founder of the Give & Go Foundation along with co-founder Adam Ghitelman, who have partnered to work together with Lacrosse All Stars. Now, on to The Takeoff’s takes!
The Takeoff: Stocks
Stocks Going Up
Richmond. With High Point deservingly grabbing all of the attention in the SoCon, Richmond is off to a quietly impressive start. The Spiders lost a one goal game at Maryland in their season opener followed by two impressive wins 13-11 on the road at Bucknell and a 17-12 home win over UMBC. Look for coach Chemotti’s guys to pull off the upset in one of their next two games, both at home against Notre Dame and Duke.
I’m going with ‘Cuse. Yeah, it’s boring, but the reason why isn’t that it’s just a bounce back win against Albany, but while everyone was losing their minds over the Colgate loss, I couldn’t help but think was that it wasn’t that bad of a loss. They were within a point late in the game and the last Colgate goal was an empty netter. It seemed like everything that was going wrong was correctable. Against Albany, they did exactly that. A step backwards against Army this week is possible, though. But it’s a step they really can’t afford. The Black Knights are playing some serious lacrosse right now and always ready to make a statement in the Dome.
Upsets. If your favorite team started off in the top ten and doesn’t have a Tewaaraton favorite right now, you’re probably having a bad time. Let’s keep it rolling. I’ve got a handful of teams on upset alert again this week. The first, least shocking upset will be Cleveland State over Air Force. The Vikings have played some close games against top 20 squads so far, and I can see them going to Denver and pulling off the upset over the Falcons before dropping a close-ish one to Denver Sunday. Albany and Drexel is going to be closer than you think. But my hot take of the week? I’m with Scott and think Richmond is going to take down Notre Dame. The Spiders’ defense is legit, Ryder Garnsey isn’t there to carry the Irish, and the ACC has generally been a hot mess so far. Keep the ACC chaos rolling, Richmond.
Stocks Going Down
Penn State. The Nittany Lions have been a juggernaut early and very well may be there late in May. I believe Yale can go strength-on-strength with Penn State, competing at the X with Ierlan and containing Ament with Chris Fake. PSU has game experience but has not yet been tested in a close game late. The champs will be hungry to avoid and 0-2 start. Give me the Bulldogs in the best game of the weekend!
UMass. Scott’s probably right about Penn State, just because I gave them by No. 1 this past week. That’s kind of locks in a loss. But really, UMass is making me sad. They won the CAA last season and lost by just two to eventual champ Yale in the NCAAs. This year is 0-2 to Army and Ohio State, both at home. They hit the road for the first time this weekend when they go to visit Harvard. A loss there would not be the setup they want going to Yale next week, followed by Albany. Not a fun slate.
The old school powers. Sure, Syracuse and Duke have bounced back since early season losses (though the loss of stud sophomore Tucker Dordevic blows for the Orange), but it’s been a rough month for the old school powers. Hopkins is already 0-2, and I suspect they’ll be 0-3 after their UNC showdown. Virginia’s losses to Loyola and High Point will look better the longer those two keep winning, but a team with Championship Weekend hopes shouldn’t be starting 1-2 (unless they’re Duke). I probably could have just called this section “the ACC,” but I wanted to throw Hopkins in there to discuss just how brutal that defense has been so far.