ACC Championship Semifinal Predictions

Today marks the start of what is the most exciting few weeks in college lacrosse. Our epoch of college basketball's "march madness". Last year was a thrilling NCAA tournament to say the least with Syracuse losing in the first round, the heroics of the Thompson trio against the Irish, and Duke ultimately ending up with their 2nd consecutive National Championship victory. But in my eyes, and the eyes of many others around the sport, the postseasons starts today with the start of the ACC tournament, the SEC of college lacrosse.

Game 1: 5:30pm, #1 seed Notre Dame (9-1, #1) vs. #4 seed Duke (10-4, #6) (ESPNU)

"The Motor City Hitman" may be the best nickname in the
NCAA and Sergio Perkovic has got the game to back it up

In their prior meeting on April 4th in Durham, Notre Dame escaped the victor with a 15-10 win. However, since then both teams are a combined 5-0. In that meeting goaltending was the difference. Duke sophomore, Danny Fowler (brother of Duke face-off legend, Brendan Fowler), saved just 6/21 shots (29%) while Notre Dame sophomore ‘tender, Shane Doss, stuffed 17/27 shots (63%). Doss is coming off a tough performance in which he was rattled against UNC but nevertheless the Irish fought on and won the game. Doss had help on that April 4th day as 4 different Irish posted hat tricks and Notre Dame's top 2 scorers, attackmen Matt Kavanaugh and Conor Doyle, combined for 6g's and 6a's as well as a defensive effort that limited Myles Jones (4.6 points per game), Justin Guterding (4.1 ppg), and Deemer Class (3.4 ppg) to a combined 7 points (trio averages over 12 ppg). Today however, I think that trio needs to score at least 10 points, which I think is the number they need in order to get a win. This is the time of year when Duke's stars have gotten hot in the past in Jones, Class, Matheis, etc. and that must happen today for Duke to show signs that they can 3-peat. But, unfortunately for the Devils I don't know if that will happen today. I think Notre Dame's attack is and will again be too much for the Duke defense lead by junior, Matt Kavanaugh. Combine that with a talented midfield lead by Sergio "The Motor City Hitman" Perkovic and a physical defense and I think Notre Dame escapes 14-12.

Game 2: 8:00 pm, #2 seed North Carolina (12-2, #2) vs. #3 seed Syracuse (9-2, #4) (ESPNU)

Listed at 6'2, 213, pounds Brandon Mullins can physically
matchup against just about anyone

Just 2 weeks ago on April 11 these teams played a in a shootout at UNC that favored the home-team Tar Heels in a 17-15 final. 6 players for UNC had a multi-goal game and UNC goalie Kieran Burke (barely) got the better of the Orange's Bobby Wardwell and Warren Hill. Both these teams have a plethora of talent and both these teams can score, but today I think it's possession that wins the game. Who will be able to settle it down and limit the unforced turnovers? In that regard I'd say advantage Syracuse. Junior attackman, Dylan Donahue, is a player to watch in this one. I don’t think he nearly gets as much credit as he should. Also keep an eye on Rice, Staats, Galasso, Lecky, Schoonmaker, and're gonna a few more sets of eyes. It's hard to mention this Orange team without mentioning the breakout star at the face-off x in Ben Williams who has proven he can be a threat with the ball as well. As for UNC, I love Sankey and Bitter but if star Syracuse d-man, Brandon Mullins, is able to tag up on UNC middie, Chad Tutton, like he did against Myles Jones (held Jones to just 1 assist), then I think it could be a long day for UNC. I like Syracuse "upsetting" the Heels 13-11.

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