The ACC Men’s Lacrosse Championship begins Friday, April 29, and will feature match-ups between No. 10 North Carolina and No. 7 Syracuse at 6 p.m., followed by No. 4 Notre Dame facing No. 14 Duke at 8:30 p.m. The winners will advance to the Final on Sunday, May 1, at noon. Today's College Crosse Chat guest, Eamon McAnaney, will be broadcasting all the action along with ESPNU's other hitters, Paul Carcaterra and Quint Kessenich.
Eamon was gracious enough to answer some questions for the Nation before tomorrow's festivities. Additionally, it should be noted that during the North Carolina-Syracuse game, the NCAA is going to bless us again with the second NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Sport Committee’s top-10 rankings. New rankings include games played through April 24. (Ed. Note: Shout out @Anna_Negron.)
Let's get it!
All CC Questions bolded.
1. CC: Notre Dame and Duke last played on April 10th. What advantages and disadvantages are there when you're facing a quality conference opponent again after just playing each other a few weeks ago?
EM: The easy answer is pure motivation. Payback is an extra edge. The readjustments to the readjustments should be fascinating in this one because the first game was a chess match with Notre Dame pulling it out late.
2. CC: What must Notre Dame do to avoid the loss?
EM: Sloppy play with the ball. Duke has improved defensively but Notre Dame committed several unforced errors in the first game that had a double whammy effect because the Irish were never able to get into a rhythm offensively. They must value possessions more because it might be unrealistic to expect the defense to hold Duke to 6 again.
3. CC: What must Duke do to pull off the win?
EM: Have better spacing on offense and make it a team effort. In the 2nd half of the first game Duke got bogged down with too many isolations and with 5 guys standing around watching not only was it easy for 1 Notre Dame defender to guard 2 Blue Devils it was also easy for the officials to put the shot clock on and that led to empty possessions for Duke.
4. CC: What has impressed you the most about Duke this year? What area of their game do they need to clean up for this weekend?
EM: I hesitate to answer this question because Duke this year is like the old Rowdy Roddy Piper line "Just when you thought you had all the answers I changed the questions." When you think Duke is up they lay an egg, when you think they are down they pull off a big win. It starts with Myles Jones and Deemer Class. That’s an incredible 1-2 punch in the midfield but for them to win another title the defense has to play smart and not create opportunities by making mental mistakes.
5. CC: What has impressed you the most about Notre Dame this year? What area of their game do they need to clean up for this weekend?
EM: Until last Saturday at around 2:15 p.m. it was the defense. To play a schedule like that and not give up double digits until April 23 rd is insane. It’s not just Matt Landis. Shane Doss has played exceptionally well for the most part in the cage, Garrett Epple is healthy again and John Sexton is one of the best LSMs in the country. They need to be more efficient on offense. We have seen it against Syracuse and against North Carolina but for the most part it has been a struggle to get to 10. Sergio Perkovic needs a wingman at the midfield to make teams pay for sliding early to the Motor City Hitman.
6. CC: Will the loser of this game get into the tournament?
Yes, Duke wrapped up a bid with it wins over Marquette.
7. CC: Will either of these teams make it to Philly?
I think Notre Dame’s ability to play lock down defense always gives them a chance to make it to Championship Weekend. Once again people who wrote off Duke early are starting to regret it but if they lose on Friday they could be a road team in the first round and that will make it that much harder to get to Broad Street.
8. CC: What ‘under the radar’ team do you think has the best shot to make it to Philly?
Albany. There is life after Lyle. They have one of the best goalies in the country in Blaze Riorden and they throw one athletic middie after another at you. The Danes play with a different mindset and motor than other programs and that can throw teams off their games if Albany can dictate pace. Brown also fits here but people have been talking about their running game all year so I don’t know if that’s "under the radar."
9. CC: What are you watching besides lacrosse?
The NHL Playoffs and the Mets. That staff has an ability to strike out 15 or throw a no-hitter every night. Non-sports wise, I just wrapped up House of Cards and am waiting for episode 2 (current season) of Game of Thrones.
10. CC: Putting cheesesteak establishments to the side, where is your favorite place to eat in Philly?
We don’t get to explore the whole city so I am open for recommendations, but hanging close to where we stay I have become a fan of the City Tap House in Logan Square. Solid beer menu, great appetizers, huge TVs and great scenery on a nice night.
Thanks so much to Eamon McAneney for participating in our College Crosse Chat. The Nation greatly appreciates it. Shout out to City Tap, I'll be there on Saturday!
Update: For more ACC Tournament thoughts check out Eamon's ACC Tournament Preview at Lacrosse Magazine.