We all love watching ACC teams play. High scoring, run and gun, fast paced lacrosse. Its great. ACC rivalries are awesome to watch.
But you sometimes wonder about this four team ACC tournament. With no automatic qualifier on the line, these teams beat each other up for two days, then play two more games before the tournament even starts.
Not only that, but they beat each other up in the regular season as well. You sometimes have to ask, will these teams have any gas left in the tank come tournament time.
As for my take on tonights games, Maryland needs a big showing in the tournament to help their resume. With their only big win coming against Virginia, wins against North Carolina tonight and Duke/UVa tomorrow can really boost their stock. Call me crazy, but come selection Sunday, Maryland COULD be on the "bubble."
Maryland: 2011 Schedule
Another interesting story line to look at during this tournament is the fact that for the first time in years, Virginia could find themselves opening up the tournament on the road. Don't get me wrong, their strength of schedule is among the best in the country and their losses havge come against top 10 teams, but with an 8-4 record, don't be suprised if that is a possibility. Wouldn't that be interesting!
In the long run, the ACC is an enigma to me. Four top teams year in and year out. Some of the nation's top players and coaches. Yet this tournament that these kids give their hearts to play in, just exhaustes these players down the stretch.
Then, you have Maryland who still has to play a tough Colgate team after the tournament, Virginia who has to take on UPenn, in what could be a huge, huge game for the Wahoo's depending how they do tonight and tomorrow. North Carolina takes on the top ranked Notre Dame after the tournament and Duke has a bit of an easy one to close out the year as they face off against Jacksonville.
So now you look at it like this. These teams beat each other up all year, face each other in the tournament, give it their all then have to take on top teams BEFORE the tournament even starts.
There is no doubting these teams are some of the most experienced in the country, but year in and year out we see these teams just run out of gas late in the tournament, a la Virgnina in 2008, 2009, 2010, Duke in 2007 and 2009 (yes, I know Duke won the entire thing last year).
Long story short, its fun to watch and I'm not complaining.