Here's the thing: The NCAA hoops tournament is great, but I think you can make a good argument -- a really good one, actually -- that the NCAA lacrosse tournament is actually a better event -- from front to back -- than what basketball provides. The first two days of the hoops tournament doesn't have a peer and it's probably the most interesting sporting experience on Earth (go team-I've-never-heard-of-from-a-place-that-may-or-may-not-exist!), but in totem the basketball tournament tends to lose steam after its Thursday and Friday sunrise: With upsets, matchups become uneven in later rounds; the volume of blowouts in the first two rounds can be painful to watch and care about; and as the tournament deepens in its run to the Final Four, the games tend to lose steam (from a viewing perspective) given the fact that they can't possibly touch the first two days of the tournament and the atmosphere that they provide.
The NCAA lacrosse tournament doesn't suffer from those kinds of things: With only 16 teams in the field, blowouts are mitigated in number and only the truly competitive end up making the field; the total volume of games doesn't wear you out like the basketball tournament does; given the varied approach to lacrosse across the country (built on how coaches want to play the game), matchups in the tournament tend to be a little more explosive and interesting; given the fact that lacrosse doesn't have a great broadcast package, the NCAA lacrosse tournament offers fans the opportunity to see teams they may not have seen during the regular season, allowing folks to experience something new and fresh at the most important part of the season; Charles Barkley is nowhere to be found; and the upsets -- when they occur -- are extra exciting given lacrosse's history of concentrating power in a chosen few. It's just a solid event from start to finish and it's probably underrated in the overall.
Anyway, there are two games today, with action starting this evening and extending into business time tonight. Here are your highlight for the day:
- Yale at Princeton: Put on your finest smoking jacket, fire up your television furniture or your Internet computing machine, pour yourself some brandy in a snifter the size of a basketball, and experience what could be a fine Ivy League offensive show. There isn't anything quite like boardroom lacrosse rivalries, and with Princeton -- full of offensive might with Tom Schreiber, Mike MacDonald, Jeff and Jake Froccaro, and Kip Orban -- and Yale -- a detonator with Brandon Mangan, Conrad Oberbeck and Kirby Zdrill manning the plunger -- squaring off at Class of 1952 Campground, important men that understand business and light cigars with 100 dollar bills will have their attentions turned from captaining industry to watching folks in helmets and pads smash each other in the face. The Ivy League is rapidly becoming the league to watch this season, and while important conference games will dot the schedule over the next five weeks or so, tonight's game is a table-setter for the volition of the league's race.
Here's today's full schedule with links to things so that you can monitor the carnage (Wagner, unfortunately, is not in action because America's darling is headed to its debutante ball):
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Leave your notes about the games or anything else (QUERY: If you had a really weird superpower like the ability to understand Latin, would you use it for evil?) in the comments below.