Men's Division I Lacrosse Quarterfinals are this weekend
Last week I posted my picks for the first round without any real in-depth analysis. I was not terribly confident after the fact. If I was told I would correctly pick seven of the eight games, I would have been happily surprised. However, the one loss happened to be the hometown Denver Pioneers. Hats off to the Greyhounds who played great up-and-down the field. I had not seen them play this season (or maybe even since 2012 when they won the national championship), and I was very impressed with all aspects of their game. Great defense. Quick, unselfish ball movement. An all around team win.
Now for the Quarterfinal games
#4 Virginia vs. #5 Georgetown. Winner: Georgetown. This is my "upset" pick of the quarterfinal round. To be honest, I did not remember that I had originally picked them when I completed my bracket last week. When Georgetown dismantled Syracuse in Round 1, I remember thinking I wish I had picked them to win next week...They were dominant against Syracuse, and showed class when they had a 6 on 3 man-up opportunity in the 4th quarter with a 10 goal lead and just held the ball. The Orange had ample offense and the Hoyas shut them down.
#1 UNC vs. Rutgers. Winner: UNC. Rutgers had a convincing win against Lehigh last week. I do not see them pulling off an upset here. This could be evidence of the difference between great teams and the "elite", which UNC definitely is.
#2 Duke vs. Loyola (Md). Winner: Duke. Loyola played outstanding in their defeat of Denver last week. I cannot say enough about how well they executed both offensively and defensively. That said, I still think Duke comes out on top. They both are able to score, but I feel Duke has the upper hand here.
#3 Maryland vs. #6 Notre Dame. Winner: Maryland. I stared at this matchup for a while before making this choice. It was not easy. This matchup could easily have been the national championship game. The fact that one of these teams will not make it to Final Four weekend will be a major disappointment, not just for the team but all lacrosse fans. Notre Dame is a tough team to bet against in the playoffs, but I think Maryland has the pieces to be the better team this weekend.
Each of these games has the potential for back-and-forth excitement and coming down to the final possession. If the first round was any indication, the quarterfinals should not disappoint. Happy viewing.
Updated bracket is below.