Duke vs. Loyola.
Time: 12:00 p.m. East Coast Standard Time.
Duke. The Blue Devils enter the game 11-7 overall and got a an unseeded at-large bid to get in the Big BBQ. Much like North Carolina, Duke was a bit up and down this season. The Blue Devils knocked off seeded teams like Notre Dame and Syracuse during the regular season, but also caught Ls to non-Big BBQ teams High Point, Harvard and Richmond. Duke finished strong though, winning 4 out of their last 5 games, including an eye-popping 16-1 victory over Marquette.
The Blue Devils have a high powered offense that is led by the one and only Myles Jones. Some may argue whether or not Myles is the best player in D1, but the fact remains he is an integral part of the #4 ranked offense in the country. Myles leads the team in assists (34), is third on the squad in goals scored (33) and second in total points (67). Myles' partner in crime, Justin Guterding, is another problem for defenses. Justin leads the team in total points (69) and is second on the squad in goals scored (41). Deemer Class, another sniper, leads the team with 49 goals and is third in total points with 60.
Duke's defense, while not as glamorous as their offense is capable of putting together great games. As mentioned above, the Blue Devils held Marquette to 1 goal. Moreover, the Blue Devils held Loyola to only 6 goals when they played earlier in the year. If Duke's defense can play to their potential, the Blue Devils could present some major problems for the Hounds.
- Loyola. The Greyhounds enter the game with a 12-3 record and got in the tournament winning the Patriot League's AQ. Loyola was one of the hottest teams in the nation when they opened up the year 3-0 with wins over Virginia and Hopkins. The Hounds cooled off a bit after their hot start, going 1-3 in their next 4 games. However, Loyola cleaned up nicely the rest of way, sweeping the rest of the season and Patriot League Tournament (8-game winning streak)
Loyola is led on offense by wunderkind, Patrick Spencer. Spencer took division 1 by storm this year finishing the regular season with 30 goals, 41 assists, and 71 total points, leading the team in all 3 categories. Senior Zach Herreweyers also contributed greatly this year despite missing all or large portions of 4 games. Despite missing some time this year, Zach still finished second on the team in goals (27) and points (33), and has scored 16 goals in Loyola's last five games.
Loyola's defense has been great during its 8-game winning streak, giving up double digits only 2 times during that stretch (10 goals by Lehigh and 12 goals by Boston U). The Hounds will need to play better than they did against Duke earlier in the year when they gave up 15 to the Blue Devils at Ridley. I have a feeling BOSS Toomey made sure his lads know they need to play better against Duke in the sequel.