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2011 NCAA Lacrosse Tournament: CliffsNotes

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Phew!  That was a lot of words in just five or six days.

In fact, Hoya Suxa apparently got fired somewhere around Tuesday or Wednesday because he managed to pen 18,162 words about the 16 lacrosse teams in the tournament.  If I had gotten that kind of homework assignment from my professor back in college, I probably would've just changed my major to Physical Education.

That's the joy of the P.E. major: There isn't a requirement to write small books when you're going to end up teaching "Climb the rope."

Anyway, here's a quick recap of all of the profiles that The Glaude wrote (all the team names are links to the profiles that were written; click on them and experience an exciting adventure!):

May 14 12:00 E.T. Hofstra at (3) Johns Hopkins
May 14 2:30 E.T. Pennsylvania at (4) Notre Dame
May 14 5:00 E.T. Delaware at (5) Duke
May 14 7:30 E.T. Hartford at (2) Cornell
May 15 1:00 E.T. Maryland at (8) North Carolina
May 15 3:00 E.T. Bucknell at (7) Virginia
May 15 5:15 E.T. Villanova at (6) Denver
May 15 7:30 E.T. Siena at (1) Syracuse

If you're looking for a bracket to peruse and maybe fill out, we've got you covered right here.  Take a second to fill one out and post your bracket as a FanShot.  Let's find out how horrible we all are at picking winners.

Throughout Saturday and Sunday, College Crosse is going to have open threads for each tournament game.  Swing through on what should be a miserable weather weekend in the northeast and chit-chat until you're all chit-chatted out.

Otherwise, after the jump, I'm providing some of you newer or casual lacrosse fans out there with a quick guide to the tournament participants and the first round action.  Hopefully it'll make watching some of these games more accessible.  I've also included links to the game previews that Justin wrote.

Hartford v. Cornell (2) - Saturday, May 14th.  (7:30 on ESPNU.)

Cornell: Rob Pannell (Jr.), Attack -- 37 goals, 45 assists (82 points).

Hartford: Carter Bender (Jr.), Midfield -- 33 goals, 18 assists (55 points).

America East winner Hartford makes their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament with a win over Stony Brook. They are adept  at winning face-offs and earn a lot of offensive possessions that way in every game, playing a somewhat methodical offense. Cornell, however, is far more talented than the Hawks, possessing a tough defense and probably best player in the country in Pannell. While Hartford played well enough to earn a bid down the stretch, this draw clearly favors Cornell.

Bucknell v. Virginia (7) - Sunday, May 15th.  (3:00 on ESPNU.)

Virginia: Steele Stanwick (Jr.), Attack -- 23 goals, 26 assists (49 points).

Bucknell: Ryan Klipstein (Sr.), Midfield -- 30 goals, 19 assists, (49 points).

Virginia remained a seeded team despite failing to live up to their pre-season potential. Despite a lot of locker room drama and the suspensions of two of their talented midfielders (brothers Shamel and Rhamel Bratton), Virginia still has a lot of talent on the field.  This is a good Cavaliers team, especially offensively. Patriot League champions Bucknell, on the other hand, shouldn't set the world on fire with their offense, but their defense is stingy and has helped them rattle off eight wins in a row. Bucknell has never won a tournament game but this one could be close enough to give them that chance.

Hofstra v. (3) Johns Hopkins - Saturday, May 14th.  (12:00 on ESPN2.)

Johns Hopkins: Chris Boland (Sr.), Attack -- 30 goals, 13 assists (43 points).

Hofstra: Jay Card (Sr.), Attack -- 28 goals, 15 assists (43 points).

Hofstra is a surprisingly efficient and patient team, and has a potent offense.  John Hopkins is similar in style and approach. Both teams are in the top-five in face-off win percentage, so this one could be a slugfest. Whoever wins the most faceoffs will most likely win the game.  This one may feature few possessions from both teams -- maybe a bit of a tempo snoozer? -- but it could have a really exciting ending.

Villanova v. (6) Denver - Sunday, May 15th.  (5:15 on ESPNU.)

Denver: Mark Matthews (Jr.), Attack -- 41 goals, 21 assists (62 points).

Villanova: Jark Rice (So.), Attack -- 32 goals, 3 assists (35 points).

Big East at-large selection Villanova travels to take on the champions from the ECAC, Denver.  The Pioneers are a very hot team and are hosting the first NCAA Tournament game played west of the Mississippi River. While historic in nature, this should also be a fun game to watch. Villanova has shown, despite ending their season poorly, they can run with any of the tough teams in college lacrosse. Denver is on a ten-game win streak and have a Hall of Fame coach. This is a team that could make a nice deep run. Villanova is a good team, but just isn't ready to win their first tournament game. 

Siena v. (1) Syracuse - Sunday, May 15th. (7:30 on ESPNU.)

Syracuse: Stephen Keogh (Sr.), Attack -- 32 goals, 7 assists (39 points).

Siena: Bryan Neufeld (Jr.), Attack -- 40 goals, 25 assists (65 points).

Top-seeded Syracuse takes on the champions of the MAAC, Siena, in the Carrier Dome. This was the same team Syracuse beat in first round in the 2009 tournament before eventually winning the National Championship. Siena doesn't take many shots on the offensive end and can push the tempo at times, although they're just as capable at slowing it down. SU has the best goalie in the nation in John Galloway and he is more than tournament tested. Syracuse is expected to roll in this game; the most fun you might see is Syracuse taking -- and making -- ridiculous shots. Chances for Siena are extremely slim in this one.

Maryland v. (8) North Carolina - Sunday, May 15th.  (1:00 on ESPN.)

North Carolina: Nicky Galasso (Fr.), Attack -- 24 goals, 32 assists (56 points).

Maryland: Ryan Young (Sr.), Attack -- 17 goals, 21 assists (38 points).

A conference rubber match, North Carolina beat Maryland in Maryland while the 'Terps got revenge against UNC in the ACC Tournament. The winner of either game came back after being down several goals only to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The winner of this game will lead in all the intangibles, especially loose balls and straight hustle. North Carolina has been getting healthier from their injuries while Maryland is still banged up. Slight edge to UNC in this one.

Pennsylvania v. (4) Notre Dame - Saturday, May 14th.  (2:30 on ESPNU.)

Notre Dame: Sean Rodgers (Jr.), Attack -- 17 goals, 6 assists (23 points).

Penn: Al Kohart (Sr.), Midfield -- 25 goals, 3 assists (28 points).

Despite being destroyed at the end of the season by Virginia, Penn (from the Ivy League) squeaked into the tournament. They travel to Notre Dame, an Irish team that reached number one for a brief time this season and finished the year with two losses -- to top-seeded Syracuse and eighth-seeded North Carolina. Penn's offense is tough to watch at times, but they do have a stingy, hounding defense that could give Notre Dame problems. Notre Dame, however, has a midfield unit with some talent and they should find scoring opportunities that Penn can't match.

Delaware v. (5) Duke - Saturday, May 14th.  (5:00 on ESPNU.)

Duke: Zach Howell (Sr.), Attack -- 38 goals, 15 assists (53 points).

Delaware: Eric Smith (Jr.), Attack -- 23 goals, 18 assists (41 points).

THUNDERDOME! (CAA) champion Delaware travels to Durham, North Carolina to take on Duke (the defending National Champions). These teams have both been extremely streaky overall, especially between the pipes. Both teams can run and have strong individual offensive players and strength at the midfield; limiting mistakes on the defensive end will give a team a huge edge. Duke has more talent and should advance, especially if Delaware gives away some penalties (the Blue Devils convert about 33% of the extra-man opportunities).  To me, It would not be that surprising if Duke doesn't play to their potential.