Trudie’s Quarterfinal Weekend Picks!

May 15, 2009

Syracuse vs. Maryland-Playing for the first time in 12 years seems impossible considering there are only 59 DI lacrosse teams, and they are both two of the top ten programs ever. Maryland can win this game only if they get it together. Syracuse has a lot of weapons, including Cody Jamieson, who is worth the hype in my opinion. My gut says Syracuse, but I am going with Maryland in the neutral field upset!

Princeton vs. Cornell-Too close to call. Both teams have beaten quality opponents all year. Cornell beat Princeton earlier in the year, but that is not relevant in the NCAA Tournament. I would like to see Princeton return to the Final Four, but I also wouldn’t mind seeing Cornell there either. If I had to pick, I would go with Princeton by a goal.

UNC vs. Duke-The game I really want to see. It should be a shoot-0ut. Duke won the previous two games this year. I think the Blue Devils will make a return to the Final Four…Darkhorse to win it all.

Hopkins vs. UVA-Annapolis should get at least 20k for this game. UVA won an overtime shoot-out earlier this year at Hopkins. I think Hopkins will prove they are the team to beat in the NCAA Tournament and will win.

My bad…

May 11, 2009

Earlier I was convinced that Casey Powell’s last game was the semi-final shootout against Maryland…and I thought it happened in 1998. I was wrong about it being Casey’s last game, which was in 1998, but happened against Princeton what was also a semi-final game. The Maryland vs. Syracuse semi-final was in 1997. I double checked just to make sure from every possible source on the net! I do remember reading the USA Today at work in 1998 that had a picture of Casey Powell and Roy Simmons Jr. on it, since it was their last game at Syracuse. I guess I thought that behind-the-back shot happened that game, but it happened the year before.

Trudie’s Five Points

May 11, 2009

Trudie’s Quarterfinal Preview

May 11, 2009

The NCAA Lacrosse Tournament quarterfinal games should be off the hook. Saturday games at Hofstra include a Ivy rematch of Cornell against Princeton, an opportunity for Princeton to get revenge on Cornell. The other game is Maryland against Syracuse. They haven’t played each other since Maryland beat Syracuse in the 1997 Semi-Final game. Syracuse did beat Maryland two years prior in 1995 for the national championship.

Annapolis on Sunday should be even better. Duke plays UNC for the third time this season. With two previous wins over the Tar Heels, I see nothing changing for the Blue Devils. It will be another shootout win. Hopkins plays UVA for the second time this year. After losing in overtime 16-15 earlier in the year, I think Hopkins will get the victory. Once they get into the NCAA Tournament the past few years, they cannot be stopped until the later rounds. I think this year is no exception.

Final Four Picks-Hopkins, Princeton, Duke, Syracuse

First Round: Day 2 Review

May 10, 2009

Maryland 7 Notre Dame 3-Notre Dame proved my point all season long that they played mostly weak teams and were not one of the better teams in the country by losing to the Terps. The selection commitee did a good job placing them as a 7th seed. It wasn’t a huge surprise to see a team like Maryland go on the road and win. I still think Maryland has the talent to be one of the best teams in the country, they just have to show up and play when it matters.

Villanova 6 UVA 18-I missed 75 percent of this game due to Mother’s Day and birthday party commitments to family, but I watched the fourth quarter. UVA had their bench in and Villanova was finally able to get some goals after giving up the first 18. With the win, UVA plays Hopkins next week in Annapolis. It should be a great game as UVA barely won the regular season match-up in OT. The other game is Duke vs. UNC, so Annapolis should be rocking next weekend.

UMass 7 Princeton 10-UMass tried to pull an “old school Princeton” on Princeton by slowing the game down and taking very few shots, which was frustrating to watch as Princeton continued to light up the scoreboard in the first half. UMass was able to get some goals in the third quarter, with the help of the sun. Reminded me of the 2005 NCAA semifinal game between UVA and Hopkins when Virginia took advantage of a sudden wind storm. UMass couldn’t do much else, they still didn’t shoot enough to my liking to even come close to winning.

Siena 4 Syracuse 11-This game is just about to start, I am predicting a ridonkulous win in favor of Syracuse as they will dismantle another MAAC opponent. I was surprised to see that Syracuse did not put up 20 goals on Siena. They did shut them out in the first half, but Siena was able to find they net a few times in the second half.  Results were just as everyone expected. ‘Cuse moves on to next weekend…

Lacrosse Spotting: SportsCenters Top Plays

May 10, 2009

Some of Billy Bitter’s 8 goals made an appearence on the Saturday night edition of SportsCenter. It wasn’t that impressive. I would have picked the late goal by Brown/Brian Christopher goal from the JHU vs Brown game.

First Round: Day 1 Review

May 10, 2009

Brown 11 Hopkins 12 (ot)-I missed the first quarter of this game, but caught most of the rest of the game. It looked like Brown had the same problem as Loyola and Towson did against Hopkins, which is being able to hang with Hopkins, but just can’t beat them. Brown did do an amazing job tying the game with six seconds left. Similar to what Loyola did a week ago. All these close games make me want to think that Hopkins isn’t going to be able to make a championship run, but Hopkins is a team that can win games as long as they can advance in the NCAA Tournament.

UMBC 13 UNC 15-Billy Bitter for UNC was ridonkulous scoring 8 goals on his first 8 shots. He only had one other shot, and he got an assist as well. UMBC did what they could, even leading by 3 at one point, but ACC teams are just a little better than the America East.

Hofstra 8 Cornell 11-With the loss, Hofstra blows a chance to have a quarterfinal game at home. Cornell seemed to have little trouble with Hofstra. Cornell is pretty athletic and it will be interesting to see them in the quarterfinals.

Navy Duke-Duke was shutting out Navy 10-0 at halftime. Navy did manage to get a goal soon after the start of the third quarter. Navy also blew a chance to host a home quarterfinal game. Duke will face UNC for the third time this season in Annapolis. I am predicting another win and Final Four for the Blue Devils.

Trudie’s DIII and DII Bracket Review

May 4, 2009

http://www.ncaa.com/auto_pdf/p_hotos/s_chools/ncaa/sports/m-lacros/auto_pdf/MLax-D3-2009Bracket

The DIII bracket is very convulted and difficult to explain. This is balanced out by the teams playing in the first round losing to the better teams who get byes in the first round, which this year is Cortland, Tufts, Western New England, Middlebury, Weslyan, Stevenson, Haverford, Salisbury, Roanoke, and Gettysburg. My picks for the DIII Final Four are Stevenson, Gettysburg, Cortland, and Middlebury. I am not convinced that Salisbury can win, even though I probably will be proven wrong.

DII still just has four teams in its tournament. Le Moyne, Merrimack, CW Post, and Limestone. I am pretty sure the final will be Le Moyne and Limestone, with Le Moyne winning another title.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to keep track of the DIII tournament as much as I would like since most of the games are during the week and I have to work!

Trudie Reviews: 2009 NCAA Bracket

May 4, 2009

The pairings for the 16 team tournament have just been released, here is who is playing next weekend and what you can expect to see on ESPNU and ESPN2:

1. Virginia vs. Villanova-Surprised to see UVA as the #1 seed after two losses to Duke in the past three weeks. Villanova is the CAA champion for the first and only time as they go into the Big East next season. Upset Alert:10 out of 10. Villanova’s big win was over Hofstra, but they are playing the best defense in the nation as UVA’s offense is having trouble scoring. Villanova could win.

2. Syracuse vs. Siena-This will be the second year in a row that Syracuse is hosting the worst team in the NCAA Tournament from the MAAC at home. I was surprised that Syracuse didn’t get the top seed. Siena won the MAAC, but will have no chance against the Orange. Upset Alert: 1 out of 10.

3. Duke vs. Navy-Duke is the hottest team in the country and my dark horse pick to win the National Championship. Navy is the Patriot League Champion and had big wins over Maryland, Ohio State, and Bucknell. I think Duke is in a good spot, could be a #2 seed, but not #1 after losing to Maryland and Harvard earlier in the year. Upset Alert: 4 out of 10, Navy has some athletes, but can’t compete with Duke’s shooters if they are accurate.  Might be motivated to play at home in the quarterfinals, but it won’t matter.

4. Princeton vs. UMass-Princeton is an At-Large selection. Beat both Hopkins and Syracuse, so they deserve a top 5 spot. UMass won the ECAC, which wasn’t too impressive, no real impressive victories either. Upset Alert: 3 out of 10. Princeton should get the win fairly easily.

5. Cornell vs. Hofstra-Probably the most competitive match up in the first round due to the proximity pairings of the NCAA trying to save $$$. Cornell won the Ivy League by default. Hofstra is an At-Large bid after losing to Villanova in the CAA Tournament. Hofstra has the motivation to play the quarterfinal round at home. Upset Alert: 8 out of 10. Don’t count either team out until the game ends.

6. UNC vs. UMBC-I knew that UNC and UMBC would be paired due to proximity. I was surprised that UNC was seeded so high. UNC had a big win over Hopkins and beat Maryland in the ACC Tournament. UMBC also beat Maryland and won the America East AQ. Upset Alert:9 out of 10. Don’t count out the Retrievers, they beat Maryland in this game a few years ago, and could easily beat another ACC team.

7. Notre Dame vs. Maryland-Will Yeatman has motivation to beat his old team at their home field. Maryland needs to prove that they deserve to be in the NCAA Tournament after a few bad losses to finish the season. Notre Dame is the GWLL AQ, but they played a horrible schedule despite being the only undefeated team left. They need to win to prove they deserve more respect. Upset Alert: 5 out of 10. Possible but not likely.

8. Hopkins vs. Brown- Hopkins should probably have a better seed, Brown beat Cornell to get in. Upset Alert: 3 out of 10. Not likely for Brown to win in Baltimore.

Surprises-Strength of schedule was not a factor as Loyola was left out. Bucknell was also a bubble team after going undefeated in the Patriot League regular season. I was surprised at how much proximity factored into the first round games, makes for a few more competitive games than usual. UVA, UNC, and Cornell definitely have it the most difficult.

Final Four Picks-Princeton, Duke, Syracuse, Hopkins. UVA will face Hopkins in the quaterfinals and lose in a rematch. All other games, the seeded team or higher seeded team will win.

Gimmicks Never Beat Athleticism

May 3, 2009

Loyola recently lost to Hopkins in double overtime, in a game which they tried the hidden ball trick twice. They were able to score once, but the second attempt was unsuccessful. Hopkins won the game on a bull dodge through the crease by Brian Christopher.

When I played college lacrosse, we often played teams that were much better than us. A few times we tried gimmick offensive sets to slow down the game. One of the strategies was to have the fastest/most athletic players run around the box with the ball for the entire quarter and wait until the last minute to take a shot. In theory, we could have won the game 4-0 if the strategy worked and we won every face-off. However, we were playing much more athletic teams that would get defensive turnovers and score anyways. We would still end up losing the game by 15-20 goals.

The most famous example of a gimmick play in lacrosse of course the Washington and Lee vs UNC game in 1982 when W&L tried the “Armadillo” play. Which if you don’t know, was when W&L attemted to run out the clock by huddling together. UNC still won the game and the play was banned forever.

Other times when I was playing lax in college  we would try elaborate zone defenses, those never worked either. It only slowed down the bleeding. The best way to beat a team is to be more athletic. Which unfortunately for players means more conditioning and strength workouts. Of course some teams are just more gifted than other teams, and some teams will always win certain games no matter what strategy a coach can imagine or try.