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The Weekend in Stick: Face Melt (Part I)

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"The Weekend in Stick": It's exactly what it sounds like -- a recapitulation of this weekend's most notable. No doink.

(Part II is here.)

I've given up trying to figure out this college lacrosse season. Doing so made my brain hurt and I don't have a lot of free time to have an aneurysm treated. So, I'm just going to let the ridiculousness wash over me and accept the fact that college lacrosse shouldn't be allowed to use knives or forks.

Here are the biggest stories from the weekend.

NCAA Selects 16 Schools to Party; Cornell, Fairfield, and Penn State Didn't Receive Facebook Invites
The NCAA's SeLAXtion Sunday came and went and one thing is for certain: 16 teams are going to have the opportunity to wear a party hat and blow one of those party favors that get annoying 10 seconds after the host passes them around. Loyola earned the tournament's one-seed while Johns Hopkins, Duke, Notre Dame, Virginia, Massachusetts, Lehigh, and North Carolina all fell in behind the Greyhounds as seeded teams.

Outside of the exclusions from the field, the monster storylines from the bracket release were twofold:

  • The emphasis for seeding and field selection appeared to turn on the RPI's strength of schedule rankings. It ended up burning Massachusetts all the way to the postseason's six-seed, pulling Johns Hopkins up to the two hole, and shoving Denver into the field over a comparable Cornell squad. This raises an interesting issue: Is it fair to demand that teams play difficult schedules if they're somewhat precluded from actually scheduling difficult games? Conference schedules and the allure of mega event, made-for-television matchups has really limited the opportunities that schools like Massachusetts have to actually get a game with Syracuse or Princeton or whatever other school that pops into your skull.
  • There are going to be some bonkers first round games this year. Massachusetts-Colgate has the potential to look like a bombing raid from 30,000 feet; North Carolina-Denver has so much offense that it may self-destruct; Duke-Syracuse, a rematch from earlier this season, has the potential to be one of the games of the tournament if the Orange can keep up its string of nice play; and Virginia-Princeton has so much orange in it that scurvy is going to take the day off.

Let's get this thing going.

Syracuse, Yale, and Canisius Win Conference Tournaments; Reality Declared Dead
Last week, I pretty much crowned Notre Dame, Princeton, and Siena as the eventual winners of their respective conference tournaments. So much for being an "expert." I should really stick to coming up with important lacrosse equipment innovations.

In a season where everyone has pretty much assumed that teams will do exactly the opposite of what they're expected to do (which, when you think about it, is exactly what these teams are supposed to do), the Big East, Ivy League, and MAAC ended up seeing the greatest consequences of universal mayhem. Syracuse, a team that almost failed to make the conference's postseason tournament, smacked Villanova last Thursday night and followed it up with a complete dismantling of St. John's to win the league's first playoff championship. Yale -- one of the game's hottest items (call me!) -- rolled past Cornell and Princeton at Class of 1952 Campground. And Canisius (!!!!) somehow held Siena scoreless for the entire second half of the MAAC's final to secure a 10-9 victory and, maybe, the most improbable NCAA Tournament invitation in the history of history.

None of this made sense, which is exactly why I now spend my weekends balled up in the corner, quietly weeping and asking for all the madness to stop.

Colgate and Maryland Do the Dance, Make Sweet Lacrosse Love
I'm starting to come around on the Peter Baum for Tewaaraton thing. I had been kind of on the Will Manny and Steele Stanwick wagon, but after Baum's seven-point performance against Maryland -- Baum now has 25 points over his last three games, which, you know, OH MY F'IN GOD! -- there's no reason to believe that the Raider isn't any worse than his peers.

Anyway, Colgate put to rest any questions about its NCAA Tournament merits with a 13-11 victory over the Terrapins. It was nip-and-tuck throughout, with Maryland clawing back from an early 4-1 deficit and keeping pace with Colgate throughout. John Haus and Mike Chanenchuk led the way for the Terps, the former going two-and-four and latter with a healthy three-and-one. In the end, a 6-2 Colgate run over the fourth quarter and the last 39 seconds of the third ultimately smushed Maryland and served process on the country that the Raiders aren't messing around this season.