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Loser Leaves Town, the end of the non-cons, and a Top 3 matchup. My favorites for the lacrosse weekend.

Early in the year, the games that intrigue me most are one’s where a team can make a serious statement. An upset bid, a “last year wasn’t a fluke” game, a “we’re out for revenge” game, ones that set a storyline. Sometimes the teams are blue blood powerhouses, sometimes not, but as long as there’s a narrative thread to pull, I’m into it. At this time of year, I am much more intrigued by teams that are clearly starting to fight for tournament lives. Who looks like they’re heading for the bubble, who needs to start playing like the playoffs are already here, that sort of thing. In that spirit, I have three games I’m particularly excited about this weekend. 

All rankings are from the most recent Inside Lacrosse Media Poll. All lines are from DraftKings at the time of writing.


Is it crazy to suggest this is a loser leaves town game? Army currently sits at 12 in the RPI. I’m not convinced their a tournament lock without winning the Patriot League. It may not be a two big league, depending on what happens elsewhere. Army has the win against Cuse who is a currently 7th in the RPI. Their next best win is Rutgers, currently 25th. The Patriot League is never easy. This is the last non-conference game for Army. The best remaining game in conference is Colgate, who is 16 in the RPI. If I’m making the bracket I think I’m putting Army in. But I’m not making the bracket. And the bubble is a scary place. 

Carolina desperately needs this game. They sit at a dismal 31 in the RPI. With no automatic bid for the ACC, a non conference win against a top 12 team is a must for the Heels right now. They’d likely also need to romp through conference play and the now returned ACC tournament to have a real shot at getting in. But as of this moment their best non-conference win is Penn. And that’s a good one. But after that, the wins are Mercer, Fairfield, Hofstra, Wagner, and Stony Brook. That’s doing nothing for them. The Heels have some very bright young talent on the field, particularly on offense with Duffy and Pietramala. They are great facing off with freshman Brady Wambach and veteran Andrew Tyeryar. But this is a game for their postseason lives. 

Two teams battling to play into May. Doesn’t get better. 


Last year this one got ugly. It finished 25-21, a legit football score. But UVA scored 20 goals in the FIRST HALF. UVA currently sits #8 in the RPI, it would take a miracle for them to miss the tournament. UVA has players chasing records now that are worth tuning in for. How far ahead of the pack will Shellenberger get? How high up the all time goals list will Payton Cormier climb? If you haven’t noticed, he has a chance, maybe a bit slim but a chance, to catch Mac O’Keefe. But really this is still an offense that is going to share it well, create for each other, and rack up the assisted goals. Only Duke and Syracuse have more points this year. About 68% of the UVA goals this year are assisted. Coach Gerry Byrne is a defensive guru, how he plays his chess pieces against the UVA offense should be interesting. 

Harvard, as they did in that game last year, has shown this year they fight from whistle to whistle. They’ve had to dig out of holes in some games this year, but they’ve never really felt out of it. As I look at them for this game, I want to see how their offense approaches the “Jurassic Park” defense. UVA’s poles are tall, aggressive, and disruptive. They double opportunistically, they hunt for turnovers that they can win off the ground and push to their offense. It’s fun to watch. UVA does it well because typically a defense that does that can be sort of high risk. But UVA executes well enough that they really don’t create offense for the other team. It’s a fine line and they walk it very well. Sam King will have a difficult matchup, but he’s been excellent and facilitating offense for others and creating for himself. This is a fun unit to watch him play against. 


I didn’t even look at RPI or tournament forecast for this one. It’s just an awesome game. Top three matchup, both teams are stacked. Syracuse really raised my interest level in this one with their defensive performance against Duke. That was eye opening. That’s a performance that shuts down anyone. Can Coach Odierna and the Orange do it again? Scheming for Notre Dame is incredibly difficult. Jordan Faison has proven to be an electric dodging threat from the midfield, but can you afford to short stick Dobson, McLane, or their other Irish middies? Can you short stick Jake Taylor or will that make it too easy to for him to handle feeds? Who’s guarding the Kavanaghs, and can they be disrupting enough to make feeding uncomfortable? I’m very excited to see how the Orange approach a versatile and dangerous Irish offense. 

Syracuse has a chance to notch another massive ACC win. The win over Duke was dominant, putting the nation on notice. The Orange were dealing with some injuries against Hobart after that game, but they’re still deep enough on offense to make them very difficult to solve. Notre Dame SSDM Ben Ramsey is a player to watch for me in this game. The Syracuse midfield runs deep with dodgers and creators, and they’ll be eager to attack Notre Dame shorties. Ramsey could draw the likes of Sam English, Michael Leo, or Luke Rhoa. If the Irish double pole the midfield, Ramsey could end up on Christian Mule. Duke took this approach. 

There are future pros, at basically every position, all over the field in this game. It’s must see TV.


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