Holy crap. It's the end of March. MAY'S COMIN'!— College Crosse (@SexyTimeLax) March 28, 2013
It's almost hard to believe that college lacrosse' penultimate month starts on Monday. April doesn't have the concentrated lightning that May provides, but April's build -- one that features an exponential growth around mid-month that shatters faces -- is something unique: With conference play well underway, lacrosse's second season -- its second most valuable -- comes into full focus, defining the landscape and consuming the entirety of your being. This is almost the moment, folks; embrace it and do that back-slap thing that guys do when they hug so that they're not total emotional cripples.
Your five highlights for the weekend are as follows:
- Johns Hopkins at North Carolina: How much more baby blue could this game have? None, none more baby blue. Last year these two teams met at the Big City Classic, seeing the Tar Heels knock off the then-unbeaten Jays; this year, Hopkins travels south to face a North Carolina squad that is surging following its destruction of then-unbeaten Maryland last week and a mid-week foot-to-teeth experience against Brown. It's an important spot for both teams: North Carolina is looking to carry forward its momentum and Hopkins is looking for its first quality win against a team ranked in the top 20 in adjusted efficiency margin. This isn't a "must win" for either team, but it does carry consequences: The Jays only have two big hunts left on its schedule to fill out its NCAA Tournament resume (Loyola and Maryland) and North Carolina, with a loss, would sit with a 6-4 record and dangerous games remaining against Hofstra and whatever opponent(s) they draw in the ACC Tournament.
- St. John's at Notre Dame: All I'm saying is this: Kieran McArdle is generating around 23 points on an adjusted basis per 100 offensive possessions. That's the best individual mark in the country, about six points stronger than what Mount St. Mary's Andrew Scalley is producing, and McArdle's underlying resume is essentially becoming akin to what Bugs Bunny did against the Gas House Gorillas. Here's the thing, though: Notre Dame's defense is essentially the Gas House Gorillas on steroids instead of cigars. No team in the nation holds a stronger adjusted defensive efficiency value than the Irish and Gerry Byrne's unit has allowed only one team -- Denver, the nation's best offense -- to generate goals on at least 30 percent of their offensive opportunities. It's an individual battle against an immovable team unit, and it may be the most interesting thing happening on Earth today.
- Loyola at Ohio State: The ECAC is a weird place, man. If you look at this league from 30,000 feet, it looks like: Denver, followed by Loyola, then [big freaking mess], and Michigan bringing up the rear. With each team in the league playing seven conference games -- that's . . . that's going to create intrigue and drama this season (just like the soap operas that you totally don't watch on DVR) -- and the bulk of the ECAC season still lying ahead, that picture could turn into this in a hurry: [big freaking mess], and Michigan. The first step in making the ECAC one big blob of uncertainty is throwing Loyola and Ohio State on the same field and letting nature run its course. The Greyhounds, while currently unbeaten in the league and 7-2 overall, haven't been all that impressive this season and are a candidate for Ohio State's bag o' pelts if Loyola doesn't come correct in Columbus this afternoon. It should be an interesting one, if only because it could help turn the ECAC into a further steaming mess of nonsense.
- Yale at Pennsylvania: This is a big moment for the Elis. If the Bulldogs can't get the win today in Philadelphia, Yale will drop to 0-3 in the Ivy League, winless against (arguably) the three strongest teams in the conference (Cornell, Princeton, and the Quakers) and needing to win its final three Ivy League games to even think about sniffing the conference tournament in May. That's a difficult situation to face in late-March, but that's Yale's circumstance right now: Win today and things are manageable for the final month of the regular season; lose today and the race to the Ivy League Tournament becomes pressure-filled and lined with dynamite.
- Army at Colgate: John Glesener, Garrett Thul, Ryan Walsh, and Peter Baum are all going to be on the same field together? This, basically:
Here's Saturday's full schedule. If there are errors, please let me know. I pulled the schedule from the Lacrosse Magazine website. I'll populate links to live stats and video as the day progresses.
|Wagner||Robert Morris||11:00||LIVE STATS||VIDEO|
|Johns Hopkins||North Carolina||12:00||LIVE STATS||VIDEO|
|Holy Cross||Bucknell||1:00||LIVE STATS||VIDEO|
|Massachusetts||St. Joseph's||1:00||LIVE STATS||VIDEO|
|Sacred Heart||Mount St. Mary's||1:00||LIVE STATS||VIDEO|
|St. John's||Notre Dame||1:00||LIVE STATS||VIDEO|
|Loyola||Ohio State||1:30||LIVE STATS||VIDEO|
|Air Force||Michigan||3:00||LIVE STATS||Video|
|Duke||Harvard||7:00||LIVE STATS||NBC Sports Network|
|Penn State||Villanova||7:00||LIVE STATS||VIDEO|
And here's your Sunday slate:
|Army||Colgate||12:00||LIVE STATS||CBS Sports Network|
|High Point||Mercer||1:00||LIVE STATS||N/A|
This is your open thread for the weekend. In an alternate universe, you're reading these words on a cave wall. People will be around to yak about whatever is tickling their fancy.