2018 NCAA Lacrosse Tournament: Opening Round Preview
The NCAA lacrosse tournament began play this Wednesday and continues this weekend with a full slate of first round games this Saturday and Sunday. This is what the season has come down to. It is win or go home at this point, and each team has earned their opportunity to play in the big dance. Here is a preview for the games on tap this weekend, three of which will be played in the Baltimore/DC area.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
UMass @ Yale – Saturday 12PM
Yale has not had much success in the tournament recently, but beat UMass by three in February. Yale went on a run through the Ivy League but UMass has won 11 straight games. I dont see Yale dropping a game this early, but physical play could lead to a number of results. Prediction: Yale 14, UMass 8.
Villanova @ Duke – Saturday 2:15PM
Villanova has a lot to play for, being the last at-large bid to the tournament, and face a Duke team that has plenty of expectations at the beginning of the year. Villanova hasn’t had the greatest end of the year, but could bring a sense of urgency into the tournament. Look for Duke’s offense to have a day against Villanova’s 47th ranked defense. Prediction: Duke 17, Villanova 12.
Richmond @ Albany – Saturday 5PM
TD Lerlan, Tehoke Nanticoke, and Connor Fields? will be x factors for the Great Danes. Richmond took the upset win in the SoCon after beating Jacksonville but I don’t think they can keep up with the Danes, who might have the ball a good deal of the time. Prediction: Albany 15, Richmond 6.
Virginia @ Loyola – Saturday 7:15PM
Lots of questions for UVA. Will Michael Kraus be healthy? Will Alex Rode step up after a somewhat rough performance in the ACC final? Virginia beat Loyola in the season opener, can they do it again and stop Tewaaraton Finalist Patrick Spencer? Prediction: Loyola 11, Virginia 9.
Robert Morris @ Maryland – Sunday 12PM
Can Robert Morris stop the defending champs? The Terps have been in the finals the past three years, can they do it again? With the leadership of Connor Kelly and John Tillman, the Terms will make it to the next round. Prediction: Maryland 16, Robert Morris 8.
Denver @ Notre Dame – Sunday 2:15PM
The western matchup has happened very often the past few years. Notre Dame beat Denver 11-9 in early March, and ran their way through the ACC tournament, while Denver lost the Big East final to Georgetown. This will be another close one in South Bend. Prediction: Denver 12, Notre Dame 11.
Georgetown @ Hopkins – Sunday 5PM
Hopkins have lost two games in the last month, to Penn State and Maryland, but followed up their loss by winning the Big Ten tournament by three. Cole Williams and Shack Stanwick have been anchoring the Jays offense the past few games. Georgetown is on a 5 game winning streak and knocked off Denver in a big upset. Will they do it again this weekend? Prediction: Hopkins 13, Georgetown 9.
Cornell @ Syracuse – Sunday 7:15PM
Jeff Teat has been on an absolute tear recently, and Cornell has been firing on all cylinders, and get contributions from a lot of their offense. Syracuse has lost a few recently, but have had a week to prepare for Jeff Teat and his creativity. Prediction: Cornell 14, Syracuse 12.
First round games are played at the higher seed, but moving forward in the tournament, games shift to neutral sites. We will see if this makes a difference this weekend.