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Big Ten Thursday Lunch Club Memo - February 28, 2019: Livin’ On A Prayer

We’re halfway through the non-conference schedule and the 5 bid dream is still alive.

Eastern Michigan v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Big Ten Thursday Lunch Club Memo

To - Big Ten Thursday Lunch Club members

Re - Week 3 Review

Welcome back everyone to our weekly Big Ten Thursday lunch date. Well, we’re halfway through the non-conference portion of the 2019 season, and while our 5 bid dream maybe livin’ on a prayer, we still got a shot thanks to a pretty good Week 3. Indeed, Week 3 was certainly an improvement over Week 2, as Maryland, Ohio State, Michigan, and Johns Hopkins (#Blessed) all won last weekend.

While Penn State lost to the defending champs last Saturday in New Haven, they definitely played well despite losing slightly over 80% of the face-offs. Irrespective of their difficult day at the dot, PSU was still in the game through the fourth quarter and almost stole it at the end from the Bulldogs. The loss hurts, but Penn State has been extremely impressive through Week 3 and I don't think losing to Yale will be too detrimental to Penn State's at-large hopes down the road should PSU not win the B1G's AQ.

A Kieran Mullins-less Rutgers also lost last weekend versus Loyola. The defeat dropped the Scarlet Knights to 2-2 on the season. Losing to Loyola is nothing to be ashamed about, however, the fact remains that the non-conference losses are starting to add up for the Scarlet Knights.

Presently, the Big Ten is 17-6 overall. Which is actually pretty remarkable given the seemingly ceaseless onslaught of upsets this year. Indeed, nobody is safe, as #1 Loyola just got dropped last night by Towson. Things really start to get more difficult in the next few weeks, but if our beloved Rogue Conference can have a March like it did in February, we still have a chance at 5 bids.

You can find the Big Ten Thursday Lunch Club Big Board for February 28, 2019 directly below. Links in the 2019 Overall Record column will take you to that team’s official 2019 schedule page. Links in the Last Game column will take you to the recap of that team’s most recent game, while links in the 2018 Overall Record column will take you to Chris’ 2018 Year in Review post for that particular team. Below the Big Board is a preview of the six B1G games this weekend.

Big Ten Thursday Lunch Club Big Board For February 28, 2019

Team 2019 Overall Record Last Game Next Game 2019 Non-Conference Record 2019 Conference Record 2018 Overall Record
Team 2019 Overall Record Last Game Next Game 2019 Non-Conference Record 2019 Conference Record 2018 Overall Record
Johns Hopkins 1-2 Johns Hopkins 11 vs. North Carolina 10 March 2 - Johns Hopkins @ Princeton 1-2 0-0 12-5
Maryland 5-0 Maryland 14 vs. Navy 9 March 3 - Maryland @ Notre Dame 5-0 0-0 14-4
Michigan 2-1 Michigan 11 vs. Jacksonville 10 March 2 - Michigan @ St. John's 2-1 0-0 8-6
Ohio State 4-0 Ohio State 16 vs. Bucknell 13 March 2 - OSU vs. Marquette (Dallas, TX) 4-0 0-0 8-7
Penn State 3-1 Yale 14 vs. Penn State 13 March 2 - PSU home vs. Penn 3-1 0-0 8-6
Rutgers 2-2 Loyola 13 vs. Rutgers 7 March 2 - Rutgers @ Fairfield 2-2 0-0 9-6

Johns Hopkins vs. Princeton

Hop’s win versus North Carolina last weekend was big as it gave JHU its first victory of the season and it gave the Big Ten a valuable head-to-head victory over the ACC. UNC was the last unbeaten team in the ACC as well, giving the 5-team Atlantic Coast Conference 6 total losses on the season, the same as the B1G.

I’m looking forward to JHU’s game this weekend versus Princeton. The last time Hop played at Princeton, the Tigers walloped the Jays 18-7 and Ryan cyber-bullied me for an entire year.

So yea, you could say I am a little excited about this game.

Maryland vs. Notre Dame

Undefeated Maryland had probably its finest performance of the year last weekend versus Navy. Don’t get me wrong, the Terps have looked very strong through their first three wins of 2019, however, the offense really came alive this game with a season best 14 goals. Additionally, I thought the way the Terps defense held its ground in the fourth quarter when the game was still in doubt was very impressive.

Maryland held Navy to a single goal in second quarter and did it again in the fourth. The defense really stepped it up in the fourth quarter, thanks in large part to Danny Dolan’s four saves that period. The game was still 10-8 after the 3rd, so Navy was very much in the game. Nevertheless, the Maryland offense went on a 4-0 run in the first five minutes of the final period and the Terp defense really clamped down on the Midshipmen to foreclose any possibility of a Navy comeback.

Maryland will be facing a hungry Notre Dame team on Sunday. The Fighting Irish lost to Richmond last weekend to drop to 1-1 on the season. The Terps will be on the road for this one and the game will be aired on ESPNU. Despite the high stakes, I think if Maryland can play the way they did versus Navy, MD should come out the victor in this one.

Michigan vs. St. John’s

Another week, another close game for the Wolverines. Jacksonville had a chance at the end, despite being behind most of the game. Evan Tyler tied it up for the Dolphins with 5:01 to go, but Michigan star Brent Noseworthy came through with a goal with 2:46 left in the game to help UM get the 11-10 victory on the road in Jacksonville.

It’ll be another long away game for Michigan this weekend. The Wolverines fly out to Queens, NY to play a 2-1 St. John’s team that is coming off a great 10-9 win versus High Point last weekend. St. John’s has a good offense with 14.33 goals/game this season and could very well be 3-0 in 2019 if they held that 4-goal fourth quarter lead versus Rutgers back on Feb. 9th. Regardless, SJU has won two straight since then & will pose a challenge for the Wolverines this weekend.

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For the fans! #GoBlue〽️

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Ohio State vs. Marquette

OSU is quietly having a very good season. Yes, giving up seven goals to Bucknell in the 4th quarter and letting the Bison back in the game last weekend wasn’t great, but a 16-13 win is much better than a loss and it isn’t like Bucknell is a bad team.

It might be too early to start comparing this squad to the 2017 team that also started 4-0, but if Ohio State can take care of Marquette this weekend & then Hofstra on March 9th, they will be a great position before their last two non-conference games versus Denver & Notre Dame. First things first for OSU, though, beat the Golden Eagles in Dallas, Texas.

Penn State vs. Penn

Look it was bound to happen. It is very difficult to go undefeated in Division I men’s lacrosse and despite looking fantastic through their first three games, PSU was probably going to eventually lose a game at some point in 2019. Having said that, the Nittany Lions still played very well on the road versus the national champs despite losing 25 of 31 face-offs.

Penn State plays an interesting Penn team this weekend. The Quakers got worked against the Blue Devils last weekend, but two weeks ago they took Maryland into OT before finally losing 13-12 to the Terps. Penn had a big face-off advantage (21 wins out of 27 attempts) when they played MD and if Kyle Gallagher can have another big game at the dot, the Quakers could very well sneak up on Penn State and grab a victory.

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Back to work this week. #WeAre

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Rutgers vs. Fairfield

Rutgers is now 2-2 on the season. Again, there's nothing ostensibly wrong with losing to Loyola, especially when your second best offense weapon was out for the game. However, the fact remains a win would’ve drastically changed the team’s position right now. Moreover, with two losses to Patriot League teams, Rutgers is now in a tough position if they end up on the at-large bubble along with either Army or Loyola on Selection Sunday. There hasn’t been an update on Kieran Mullins, but Mark Dixon discussed his importance to RU’s offense in this segment for BTN.

I think RU will bounce back this weekend. Frankly, they pretty much have to, as a loss to Fairfield would be a major blow to their at-large hopes. It’s one thing to lose to ranked teams like Loyola & Army, it’s another thing to blow it versus an unranked 1-1 Fairfield. Nevertheless, I think Rutgers rights the ship this weekend before their big test versus Princeton on March 9th.

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New week, new focus ⚔️ #RUMLax

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We have a great slate of games ahead of us, as all six B1G teams will be in action this weekend. I’ll be at Princeton vs. Hopkins on Saturday, hoping my Jays can avenge that 2017 loss.

Anyway, good talk. I’ll see you out there.

Very truly yours,