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May 5, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Inside Lacrosse

Matt Kinnear
  (2:00 PM)

Welcome to the latest chat with Inside Lacrosse, hosted here by our friends at ESPN-U. There's a ton going on, with conference tournaments (one surprising game already), and Selection Sunday lurking.

Matt Kinnear
  (2:01 PM)

First, here are some links to check out.Terry Foy's bracketology: http://insidelacrosse.com/news/2011/05/04/may-madness-mens-di-bracketology-ii-may-4

Matt Kinnear
  (2:02 PM)

A surprising game last night, with Hofstra losing in the CAA semis:http://games.insidelacrosse.com/game/ingame/5674/2011-05-04/delaware-blue-hens--hofstra-pride

Matt Kinnear
  (2:03 PM)

Start firing away questions for the crew

Lauren (CT)

Most underrated player in college lacrosse is?

Terry Foy
  (2:05 PM)

Several jump to mind. Zach Howell has filled Max Quinzani's shoes of scoring goals but routinely getting dismissed as "not that dangerous." Billy Bitter went from underrated as a freshman and sophomore to briefly flirting with being overrated last season to being properly rated most of this season.

Terry Foy
  (2:10 PM)

But for my money, the most underrated player in college lacrosse right now is Syracuse's Stephen Keogh.

Terry Foy
  (2:10 PM)

Like Howell and Quinzani, he's made a career of finishing his teammates' plays, and there's no doubt a guy who plays that style is often dismissed from consideration as a top-tier player despite how valuable that skillset is.

Terry Foy
  (2:11 PM)

A honorable mention: Hartford's Tim Fallon, Villanova's Kevin Cunningham, Hofstra's Stephen Bentz, Duke's Tom Montelli.

bob (New York)

will colgate make the tournament with a win over maryland?

Terry Foy
  (2:12 PM)

It depends on where Maryland ends up in the RPI. Right now, they're in the 10-20 range, which is the same range as Hofstra's five wins and Harvard's two wins. It'd be Colgate's only quality win. If Army loses to Hopkins and Colgate beats Maryland, I see the bubble as Harvard, Hofstra, Colgate and Army, with Army getting in. If Army wins, I think they get the nod. If Army, Colgate and Harvard all lose, I think Hofstra gets in.

HULAX (long island)

Please give me some good news on Hofstra! Will we make it???

Zach Babo
  (2:15 PM)

It is really hard to guess if Hofstra makes the tournament because their fate will be closely tied to the outcomes of other conference tournaments. If Denver wins the ECAC and Cornell wins the Ivy, it keeps Hofstra in the pot with a lot of other bubble teams from the ECAC or Ivy. But if those frontrunners can't get their AQ's, they'll each take at large spots and it will pretty quickly close the door on any space left for Hofstra.

Zach Babo
  (2:16 PM)

I don't know if Hofstra fate is too heavily tied to either Delaware or UMass because the Pride have wins over both, so they should take the same rise or fall in terms of strength of schedule. Obviously that is the crux of this argument. Hofstra gets beat up for their weak schedule. While a lot of that is fair, some of it isn't. They play in a very competitive conference.

Zach Babo
  (2:16 PM)

Out of conference games like Princeton tend to go over bigger, but Princeton had a bad year. Hopkins has dropped Hofstra from the schedule, and so has Army, so those are two big strength of schedule games that Seth Tierney's squad no longer has. They could stand to find some stronger opponents, but scheduling isn't that easy. It's not like Hofstra can just make a phone call suddenly get Syracuse, Maryland or Cornell on their schedule. While the schedule isn't great, Hofstra still handles its business and wins a lot of those games, going 13-2 this year.

John (Denver)

What are your thoughts about the ECAC tournament, especially the Fairfield v Loyola game?

Zach Babo
  (2:20 PM)

I can't say I have a lot of thoughts about the ECAC tournament other than I will be intrigued to see how it plays out. Obviously Denver is the favorite and host. They are undefeated in the conference and have handled their business on the road and at home. But no one would be too shocked to see Loyola, Ohio State, or Fairfield walk away with the title. I think that Loyola v Fairfield game will be pretty interesting as it played to a 7-6 Greyhound win earlier, and I would expect another tight game.

Matt Kinnear
  (2:21 PM)

I'm picking Loyola with this one. I think the Greyhounds were unnecessarily hated upon after losing to Air Force. It's going to be tight. Expect a one-goal game. Both teams have been playing opponents close all year in wins and losses. With Loyola playing so well against Hopkins, I see them continuing that momentum.

Chuck Liddell (Facesmack, WI)

Which of the teams already deemed to be shoe-ins are most ripe for an upset?

Geoff Shannon
  (2:23 PM)

Our top eight seeds are all on a roll right now, so I'm hard pressed to pick an "upset" at this point. That 8 seed could be tough. Right now we have Denver there, and depending on where they have to travel, that could be a tough matchup. Virginia had it rough toward the end, but they seemed to have turned the corner.

Matt Kinnear
  (2:27 PM)

This is a tough one, and it might depend on seeding. If Denver gets screwed with travel that might be an upset pick. Maryland has had a few duds this year, but I think they're past that. Same with Duke, which has been quietly playing great lacrosse. I'm going to go with Virginia. I think they've turned a corner, but the whole Shamel Bratton dismissal saga has to take a toll on those guys. It could go the other way and they play their best lacrosse. But right now I think they have the biggest question mark.

Nick (Mobile)

What are your thoughts on Johns Hopkins' season and what they could do in the post season?

Zach Babo
  (2:29 PM)

Hopkins has had a great season so far, even better considering they came off a disappointing campaign last year. 11-2, with big wins over Virginia, Maryland, and UNC, with that heartbreaking and debatable loss to Syracuse, and there is little question Hopkins is a Top 5 team right now.

Zach Babo
  (2:30 PM)

They could do a lot in the post season because they have all the elements of a team built to win in May. They play solid defense (6.7 gaa), can score with anyone (11.1 gpg), win face-offs, make hustle plays, have a great goaltender, and play well as a team. Add in a balanced mix of strong leadership from upperclassmen, particularly the senior captains, and scrappy underclassmen, and they are going to be difficult for anyone to beat.

Zach Babo
  (2:30 PM)

The Jays have also developed some depth, having two full lines at midfield who can contribute, as well as a solid mix at the defensive midfield. Barring a brutal quarterfinal match-up or just a bad day, I expect to see this team Memorial Day Weekend.

Matt Kinnear
  (2:31 PM)

Pierce Bassett's contributions can not be overstated. Goaltending in May is key.

bob (nc)

what is the reason for limiting travel to 2 flights for NCAA tourney games? not getting why this must be done?

Geoff Shannon
  (2:34 PM)

There's a story published by Washington Times writer Patrick Stevens on this issue, and how the NCAA Tournament has relaxed this issue. A couple years ago, with Ohio State was slated to play Cornell, the NCAA opened the flight regulations to three teams, though the Buckeyes opted for the long busride instead. Essentially, it comes down to cost. The men's lacrosse tournament (not final four weekend, but the entire tournament) doesn't make money to cover costs, so it comes out of the NCAA's pocket. Flight restrictions keep those costs down. It's also why only 8 teams are seeded. That extra flexibility helps relieve the financial burden.

Buzz Lightyear (Scranton, PA)

If the MAAC winner is anyone other than Siena or Marist, how would the selection committee be able to justify sending another team to Syracuse? It wouldn't seem appropriate for Syracuse to have that kind of schedule, get the top seed and then potentially face a significantly tougher opponent than, say, Notre Dame, which people suspect could face Detroit at home if the Titans win the MAAC. It seems there is an argument for a change to the 2-flight rule, considering that it's creating match-ups that favor teams NOT at the top. How can the NCAA justify that, if it were to happen? Just doesn't seem logical to me. It exposes some major issues in the process, IMO.

Zach Babo
  (2:36 PM)

To me this is a huge point that will continue to separate lacrosse as a small time sport rather than a big time one. In most tournaments, if you earn a top seed, you get to play the worst team in the field, that's it, not all this other nonsense going in. (I know nonsense is unfair and it deals with budgets and lacrosse is generally a nonrevenue sport.)

Zach Babo
  (2:36 PM)

There is definitely an argument to change the two flight rule, particularly as more teams add the sport and as more teams get good. There is a chance a team like Denver could win the ECAC and still get bumped to being unseeded just so the NCAA doesn't have to deal with another flight to Denver.

Zach Babo
  (2:37 PM)

Syracuse got screwed by this system last year. The Orange get a top seed, and then have to play Army since they are close, even though Army won the Patriot League tourney, won 9-straight going into that playoff game, and plays Cuse in the Dome EVERY YEAR. That wasn't a 1 or 2 seed playing a 15 or 16, that was a 1 or 2 seed playing an 8 seed, while the 3 seed gets to play a 14.

Zach Babo
  (2:37 PM)

You're never going to be able to do it both completely based on where teams should be seeded and what is most cost effective, but there has to be an emphasis taken away from making teams close to one and other play instead of creating fair match-ups that teams have earned.

Kevin (South Bend)

Why no love for the Fighting Irish?

Matt Kinnear
  (2:41 PM)

This is an interesting question, that I'll take a stab at. The easy answer is that the media, based on the East Coast, doesn't get enough looks and is biased against teams out west. I don't think that's entirely unfounded - it's easier to talk about what you know. But I don't think it's entirely true. Everyone wants the sport to get bigger, and Notre Dame's a big part of that. The sport's success is in some ways tied to Notre Dame's success (and Denver, and soon-to-be Michigan, etc.)

Matt Kinnear
  (2:43 PM)

But I think the key is that people don't appreciate the style that Notre Dame plays. A team with a strong defense, not as many "star" players, doesn't get the appreciation it deserves. People are nostalgiac for the run-and-gun style that's fading. Personally? Give me a 7-5 game and I'm happy.

Noel Salgado (Maryland)

Who do you think the team to beat this year will be in the NCAA tournament and why?

Zach Babo
  (2:45 PM)

There is no team to beat this year, there are several, and I know that sounds like a cop-out, but really, look around this season, there are several top teams, but they have all traded wins amongst each other. Syracuse might have the best overall resume with only one loss and a ton of wins over top teams, but so many of those wins were by such thin margins that you can't say they look to have clearly dominated all year.

Zach Babo
  (2:46 PM)

Cornell handled Syracuse, but Cornell has lost to Virginia and Army, two teams that haven't faired nearly as well as projected this year. So I can't say there is one team to look out for. I think Maryland could be more dangerous in the field than on paper because they have so many seniors who have had kind of tough careers of getting bounced early, and a motivated group of seniors is dangerous come May.

Zach Babo
  (2:46 PM)

Cornell handled Syracuse, but Cornell has lost to Virginia and Army, two teams that haven't faired nearly as well as projected this year. So I can't say there is one team to look out for. I think Maryland could be more dangerous in the field than on paper because they have so many seniors who have had kind of tough careers of getting bounced early, and a motivated group of seniors is dangerous come May.

Zach Babo
  (2:46 PM)

Cornell handled Syracuse, but Cornell has lost to Virginia and Army, two teams that haven't faired nearly as well as projected this year. So I can't say there is one team to look out for. I think Maryland could be more dangerous in the field than on paper because they have so many seniors who have had kind of tough careers of getting bounced early, and a motivated group of seniors is dangerous come May.

Zach Babo
  (2:46 PM)

Cornell handled Syracuse, but Cornell has lost to Virginia and Army, two teams that haven't faired nearly as well as projected this year. So I can't say there is one team to look out for. I think Maryland could be more dangerous in the field than on paper because they have so many seniors who have had kind of tough careers of getting bounced early, and a motivated group of seniors is dangerous come May.

Zach Babo
  (2:46 PM)

Cornell handled Syracuse, but Cornell has lost to Virginia and Army, two teams that haven't faired nearly as well as projected this year. So I can't say there is one team to look out for.

Zach Babo
  (2:46 PM)

I think Maryland could be more dangerous in the field than on paper because they have so many seniors who have had kind of tough careers of getting bounced early, and a motivated group of seniors is dangerous come May.

Zach Babo
  (2:47 PM)

I also think Hopkins is playing inspired ball all year and Pietramala will keep them sharp and focused. I think Syracuse is too good and too veteran to now know how to handle their business in this thing. And maybe the whole Bratton nonsense at UVa will breathe new life into that team. Also, when Notre Dame's defense is on, they can throttle anyone in the country, and good defense goes a long way in the postseason.

Matt Kinnear
  (2:47 PM)

I've been high on Notre Dame and Cornell all year, so I'm sticking with them. Cornell because they have the best player in the game in Rob Pannell. Notre Dame because I like defense in the postseason.

crabbylax (Inner Harbor)

Who do you like tomorrow night - Irish or UNC? A top 4 seed on the line for ND, a spot in the tourney on the line for UNC.

Zach Babo
  (2:50 PM)

UNC has more to play for as it is a much bigger motivator to have to win to get in than to have to win to get a decent seed, especially with how arbitrary the NCAA seeding seems sometimes. That said, coming off a tough loss to Syracuse and not wanting to enter the playoffs on a downward spin will push Notre Dame to win this one. The Irish also travel exceptionally well, and nearly half the team is upperclassmen, and in a must win game, the older team tends to beat the younger team.

Jon Dirks (Baltimore, MD)

In your opinion who are the best broadcasters in the business? I saw Jamie Nunro do a game a couple of weeks ago he is brutal to listen too?

Matt Kinnear
  (2:51 PM)

I could listen to Joe Beninati read the stock numbers and it would be the best thing on TV. He's the best, hands-down. My man Mark Dixon as well, even though his bold prediction to me that Hofstra would roll in the CAA was false.

Matt Kinnear
  (2:52 PM)

And for hockey fans, I'm going to say something sac-religious. I watch a lot of hockey in my life and I've gotta say, I'm not a fan of Doc Emrick, although he might be one of the nices guys in the business.

Alex Smith (Buffalo)

What are your thoughts on Syracuse's improved offense now that Palasek has stepped in for an injured Tim Desko?

Zach Babo
  (2:53 PM)

Well I hope this isn't a backhanded way to ask if the Orange are better without Desko than with him, because it isn't about that. The Orange are good when they get the whole team involved on offense. Desko and Palasek are different links in that chain. Desko tends to finish what the team starts, Palasek tends to be a facilitator in that process.

Zach Babo
  (2:54 PM)

In games Syracuse struggled, you saw guys trying to make too many plays individually and not patiently trusting that the offense will eventually figure things out. The emergence of Palasek has been a part of the Orange on the whole being better about playing team offense. What is great for Syracuse is that Palasek is growing into that more traditional role of a quarterbacking kind of attackman--he can dodge, shoot, and pass, and his head is constantly up trying to see what the best play might be. To have him playing that role from attack, and have JoJo Marasco playing that role from kind of a hybrid attack/middie role gives Syracuse two very dangerous players who also make the others around them better by putting them in favorable spots.

Zach Babo
  (2:55 PM)

I think when Desko gets back he will be incorporated and the Orange will still find a way to use everyone. In 2008 and 2009, a big reason the Orange won was their depth, so bringing more contributors to the table is a problem Syracuse, or any team, would love to have.

Alex Smith (Buffalo)

Not a backhanded attempt, just seems like Syracuse is better off with another creator on the field than 2 finishers (Keough and Desko). I think having Desko and Keough in the line-up together puts way too much pressure on Marasco. I can't wait until next year when they have Dekso in Keough's spot and Palasek and Marasco feeding him.

Flowcentric (Baltimore, Md.)

What's up with Villanova? Are they secured a spot in the Tourney? Where are they headed?

Zach Babo
  (2:59 PM)

I don't know what to make of Villanova, but I don't think I would necessarily include them in my field of 16, at least, not if it starts getting messy with surprising conference tournament finishes and too many other teams needed at large bids. Nova has played well all year, and at 11-3, that is a respectable record. But their only big win is against Penn.

Zach Babo
  (3:00 PM)

The Cuse game was close, but I am not one who votes for teams that lose close over teams that just win. The Wildcats' problem is that their schedule only affords them a few chances to land a big win, while giving them plenty of chances to beat competitive but not overly impressive teams. Just one win over Cuse or Notre Dame would have done it for Villanova, and without that, I am not sold until I see who else is scrapping for spots come Sunday night.

Matt Kinnear
  (3:02 PM)

I think that's going to wrap it up for today. Thanks for joining us today and for the great questions. Going to be a huge, busy weekend. We'll be chatting live on InsideLacrosse.com during the selection show, so please stop by.