Michigan Lacrosse Schedule: Wins on the Horizon?

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Wolverines' schedule is arguably more manageable in 2014 compared to 2013, but it's still not an easy road.

PROGRAM SCHEDULE PROPAGANDA: PRESS RELEASE
THIS IS WHY WE FIGHT: THE SCHEDULE

Great Lax State already provided some thoughts on Michigan's 15-game agenda, so consider this piece merely supplemental to what you may or may not already think.

Here are some schedule highlights and games of note:

Take Me to W-Town
February 14: Mercer; February 19: @Detroit; March 5: @High Point; March 8: @Furman; March 22: St. Joseph's

Talent is starting to seep into the soil in Ann Arbor, but the Wolverines are still trying to define their existence in the Division I landscape. Michigan's games against developing programs aren't guaranteed wins in 2014 (the Wolverines did lose to High Point last season), but Team Three should be highly competitive on these dates for a myriad of reasons. The trip to the southeast is especially important for the Wolverines next spring: In a three-day span Michigan can erase some of the pain that is expected to inure from games against Johns Hopkins and Cornell and get well against programs that Michigan should perform strongly against. These five games constitute the pool of opponents to which the Wolverines could pull out its victories, an effort that Michigan hasn't experienced since elevating its program for the 2012 season (the Wolverines have put together back-to-back one-win campaigns since its varsity genesis). There's nothing here that's particularly impossible, and how Michigan executes in these five dates creates the bridge for what could be an important and valuable 2015 season in the Big Ten's new lacrosse concern.

Ka-Pow!
February 8: @Penn State; February 22: @Johns Hopkins; March 1: Cornell; March 18: Maryland; April 12: @Ohio State; April 19: Yale

The Wolverines likely mashed the accelerator too hard in 2013, playing a slate that ranked 23rd in the nation in terms of Pythagorean strength of schedule. Michigan didn't deviate too much from that scheduling methodology in 2014, loading up the out-of-conference portion of their agenda with five teams that will probably appear in the top 20 in both major preseason polls (not to mention the mandatory ECAC date with Ohio State in Ohio Stadium). This will give the Wolverines lots of bruises and a cartoonish heating pad atop their head, but it does mark something important: Michigan isn't worried about having its skull crushed if they believe it will pay dividends down the line. Now, the Wolverines get three of these games in Ann Arbor in Michigan Stadium, but these are still painfully difficult games for a program that has existed for only a handful of seasons. Simply putting together four consistent quarters of effort against these teams is more important to Michigan than whatever the scoreboard may blink when the final buzzer sounds. Basically, if the Wolverines can learn some lessons and move on, those dates will be worthwhile.

Not Last = Valhalla
March 15: @Bellarmine; March 29: @Air Force; April 5: Fairfield; April 12: Ohio State

Loyola, Denver, and Hobart leaving the ECAC offers Michigan a tremendous opportunity: The possibility of participating in the ECAC Tournament (the last one ever). To get there the Wolverines will need to put together a conference campaign that doesn't appear likely at the moment, but the reality is that Michigan needs to be better than just one team -- that's it! -- to make the trip to Columbus in early May.

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