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Cornell at Syracuse 2009 - Photos by Chris Beavers

Johns Hopkins at Syracuse 09 - Photos by Chris Beavers

St. Marys College Vs. Wesley College - 2009 Division 3 action -  Photos by Barry Morihlatko

OK, so it doesn’t have the same ring that March Madness does. However, could a May Madness style promotion up the ante for lacrosse?

Upping the ante is exactly what has worked for basketball. Since the NCAA D1 basketball bracket gambling started, the gambling has grown, so has the following of the tournament. It is simple to fill out, simple scoring, and is socially acceptable. Everyone does it from CEOs to High School kids; soccer moms…even the President of the United States, Barack Obama shared his bracket picks this year.

Just so we are clear before I go any further. The NC$$ stance on gambling is that it is not OK. They even produced a multi-media campaign against it. Funny how I saw multiple Budweiser and pizza commercials while watching the games, yet I don’t recall any NCAA commercials telling the viewers gambling is bad…mmm-kay.

I guess when they are making over $500 Million per year, they take the Bud Selig approach with steroids.

This year, I say lets do it for lacrosse. Get a company like Dick’s or Gatorade to hold a free bracketology for lacrosse (that way no one is gambling per se). Dish out gift cards for the winners. It would need to be a non-lacrosse company. I mean we want not only lacrosse fans, but new blood entering for a chance at some free swag. By entering, they would at least have to do a little research about our sport, and be exposed to it. As we all know, once you see your first game of lacrosse, you get hooked.

Who knows. You may even see a contest here.

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Army vs. Navy (M&T Bank Stadium (MD)) (11:30 am)

This week’s Game of the week is the yearly Army/Navy game.

Army is 5-6 with no ranked wins. Key losses were to #3 Cornell by 1, #5 Hofstra by 1, #15 Colgate by 1, and #19 Bucknell by 2.
Navy is 8-3 with wins over #19 Georgetown and #12 Maryland. Key losses to North Carolina by 1, Bucknell by 1, and Colgate by 1.

Army’s EMO is a struggling this year only converting on 28% of their opportunities, while their man-down unit is only stopping their opponents 47% of the time. Army is only 46% on FO.  Jason Peyer leads the way with 38 points (26G, 12A), followed by Jeremy Boltus (20,16), Kevin LoRusso (13,6), Brooks Korvin (12,6), and Rob McCallion (9,9). After that the #6 scorer is only at 9 total points.
In net, Tom Palesky has put up a nice 63% save percent and an 8.28GAA.

Navy’s EMO is not struggling as much as Army’s converting 44% of the time. Their man-down defense is lights out one of the best in the nation if not THE best. Their opponents are only converting 13% of the time. Navy’s defense also shines in the fact they have forced 105 opponent turnovers, and are winning the ground ball war by an average of 10 more per game.  Navy’s FO unit is winning 49% of the time. Tim Paul is the points leader for Navy with 30 (17, 13). He is followed by Brendan Connors (15,6), Andy Warner (11,7), Pat Moran (13,3), and Bruce Nechanicky (10,3).

In goal it should be Tommy Phelan. This kid is on one hell of a hot streak right now. In 2 starts, he is 2-0, 6.0 GAA, and 72% save%. That is playing the full 120 minutes. That is playing against both Georgetown and Maryland. The potent MD offense was held to 4 goals against Navy.

Army/Navy is always a good match up. Even though Navy has dominated the W column over the years, Army always hangs tough and plays them close. I think Army has two real good stars with Peyer and Boltus. I think they could give Navy’s D a challenge. I have to give the W to Navy in this one, just because of the way Phelan is playing.

These two teams play lacrosse in the spirit the game was meant to be played. It is an all out war on the field. Yet after the game, there is a bond of brotherhood. With this game it is not only between fellow lacrosse players, but between fellow servicemen.

St. Marys College Vs. Denison University 2009

What a week we had last week.  The #1 team in the land was shot down by the Gettysburg Bullets 11-10 bringing Stevenson to the #1 spot this week.  Stevenson halted Wesley by 1 to pull to the top of the polls.

Tufts keeps on rolling as they defeated NESCAC foe Wesleyan 12-10.  And the new talk of the town is Haverford.  On top in the Centennial Conference after a win over a strong Washington College team.  They lost a real close one against Tufts who is currently ranked #5. With a real strong strength of schedule, the Fords have proven that they’re a team to reckon with.

This week offers some great conference battles that will only rival tournament time.

-Game of the Week-
CAC
#1 Stevenson @ #4 Salisbury
Stevenson may have a short reign over D3 as they play at Salisbury under the lights on Saturday night. On the other hand Salisbury is riding a 105 game winning streak in the CAC…the question is, will Stevenson snap that streak?

NESCAC
#7 Middlebury @ #13 Bowdoin
There’s not much to say about this game except that this rivalry goes back and has flourished over the past decade.  The NESCAC runs deep in the polls with 4 teams in the top 15.

Centennial
#15 Washington College @ #9 Gettysburg 1:00
With Haverford on top, this game is for a home conference playoff game.  Neither team wants to see the other away from their house.  WAC is coming off a loss to Haverford and the Bullets are riding high from last weeks upset.  There will be no love between these two squads.

Commonwealth Coast Clash
#12 Endicott @ #10 Western New England
I’d say that these programs are just sliding throught the schedule unnoticed.  But make sure that you take notice as both will be in the NCAA’s and both will be making it known come May.

SUNY Showdown
#6 Cortland State @ #19 Geneseo State - Wed 4/8
You gotta love the SUNYAC rivalries.  It is a conference full of talented teams.  Heck if you through in the Bing and Albany the SUNY system is total powerhouse in lax.

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This week’s games of the week are a perfect trifecta from the Meadowlands.  While all the teams participating are Final Four caliber teams, hopefully this is not a prequel to a future Final Four site.  While it is the home of my beloved Giants, and near NYC…it is also in dirty Jersey.  More on the NCAA’s movement of FF locations in a later blog.

For the record the best game is the first game, with the last game being the least interesting out of the three.  So if you can get to the Meadowlands this weekend do so…and early.

Virginia vs. UNC

The first game of the day pits Virginia against UNC at noon.

UVA is still undefeated at 11-0 with wins over #2Syracuse, #3Cornell, #11Hopkins, and #8Maryland.

UVA in their last 2 games have only won by 1 goal in each.  In their most recent, it was the longest game EVER going into 7 overtimes.  Everything about this team looks polished, especially Ghitelman making 22 saves in that 7OT thriller.  22 saves and only 9 goals against.  Their offense is superb and Ghitelman continues to stand on his head in cage.  There really is not much of a weak spot on this team, except EMO (32%).  Maybe they’ll be tired still for UNC?

UNC is 8-3 with wins over #19Denver, #17Navy, #15Colgate, #11Hopkins and losses to Notre Dame, Duke, and Maryland.  UNC statistically should have more wins.  They just fell short against some tough competition.  They are dominating on FO and GBs.  Their EMO is struggling at 35%, but their ManDown defense is playing well holding opponents to only 34%.

UNC should come out and play UVA physically for two reasons.  On the off-chance there is still some tightness/soreness from the 7OT game, and since UNC Man-down is good and UVA EMO is struggling, don’t be afraid to get some laundry on the field.  Other than that UNC needs to win those FO and GBs, and try to keep the ball out of the sticks of Virginia’s offense both Middies and Attack.  While my heart wants UNC to win, I think Ghitelman is too hot right now.  If he wasn’t playing at the level he is now, I could see UNC possibly with the upset.  Virginia by 4.

Princeton vs. Syracuse
The second game of the night is Princeton vs Syracuse at 2:30pm.

Princeton is 7-1 with wins over #11Hopkins, #6UMBC, and #18Albany. Their lone loss was to Hofstra. 

Princeton’s offense has been just as good as their defense.  Princeton is averaging 12.25 goals per game.  In their only loss to Hofstra, Princeton could only find the net 7 times and that was their downfall.  Princeton has 2 flaws.  Their special teams (EMO is less than 40%, and Man Down is less than 50%), and Faceoffs (52%).  Faceoffs is another factor in their loss as they only won 8 of 27.

Syracuse is 7-1 as well with wins over #11Hopkins, and #15Loyola.  Their lone loss was to Virginia.  Syracuse the past few games has had a habit of starting off slow and then exploding in the 2nd or 3rd or 4th quarters.  In the last 3 games they have not scored more than 3 in the first quarter and have progressively started their spurt later in the game.  Their offense is a formidable weapon, and while their defense is solid, they seem to lack the physical presence they had last year.  The Orange need to win FaceOffs, as they have struggled at times this year.  If Syracuse can get up early and not have to play catch up against Princeton, the Orange win.  Princeton could upset Syracuse if they can jump to an early lead and then slow the game down.  I am being a homer and going with the Cuse on this one.  While their slow starts scare me against a team like Princeton, once the scoring train gets rolling, there’s no stopping it.

Hofstra vs. Delaware
Finally to round out the day, Hofstra takes on Delaware at 5:00pm

Hofstra’s defense and goalie have gelled since mini-Gvozden was thrown into the fire against his big brother and the rest of the Hopkins Blue Jays.  Since then mini-G and the rest of the Dutch D have held opponents to under 8 goals per game.  Not on average, but no one has scored more than 8 on them since the loss.Delaware is 3-7 with no ranked wins, and too many losses to list.  3 of their 7 losses were by 1 goal.  If not for 3 goals, they could be a ranked team. This is Delaware’s downfall. Their offense has not put up more than 10G in a month.

This is an easy pick for me.  The Dutchmen playing in their own backyard with their D and G playing very well, and Delaware’s O stalling out to a fizzle is a no brainer.

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