Men’s lacrosse NCAA tournament 2016: Breaking down the field

first_imgAfter an unpredictable regular season in men’s lacrosse, the NCAA tournament field is set and how teams perform in the postseason will settle debates on which teams are top contenders. Syracuse (11-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) received a No. 8 seed and will host Albany on Sunday in the Carrier Dome at 7:30 p.m. The Daily Orange’s men’s lacrosse beat writers weigh in on what to watch for entering the tournament.Most exciting first-round matchup: No. 5 seed Brown vs. Johns HopkinsBrown boasts the highest-scoring offense in the country with an average of 16.8 goals per game, nearly three full goals more than the second best. The Bears have the ability to light up the scoreboard and are led by attack Dylan Molloy, who ranks third in the nation with 3.5 goals per game. Hopkins, on the flip side, barely snuck into the tournament. With an 8-6 record and only one marquee win, against Syracuse in overtime on March 19, JHU is largely unproven. But the Blue Jays have a tendency to make magic happen in May and that’s why this game is worth watching. — Paul SchwedelsonAdvertisementThis is placeholder textCourtesy of the ACCSleeper pick: Duke (11-7, 2-2 Atlantic Coast)Kind of weird to call the Blue Devils a sleeper after winning three titles in the last six years but Duke enters the tournament unseeded and with an 11-7 record. And that track record is exactly why I believe in Duke. Head coach John Danowski has made a living in recent years by getting his teams to peak at the right time. The Blue Devils’ midfield is among the best in the country, anchored by sharpshooter Deemer Class and physical specimen Myles Jones, and could singlehandedly keep Duke in games. Loyola and potentially Denver in the first two rounds will be a challenge but if there’s any team that could turn on the jets, its one with pedigree and playoff experience like the Blue Devils. — Paul SchwedelsonCourtesy of the ACCHigh seed most likely to lose early on: No. 6 seed Marquette (11-4, 4-1 Big East)Sixth-seeded Marquette has one of the toughest matchups of all the highly seeded teams. North Carolina, the Golden Eagles first-round foe, will be just three weeks removed from knocking off then-No. 1 Notre Dame on the road with an eight-goal fourth quarter comeback. The Tar Heels rank in the top 17 in scoring offense, faceoff winning percentage, ground balls per game, man-down defense and shooting percentage. Marquette, meanwhile, is in the tournament for the first time in its four-year program history. UNC faceoff man Stephen Kelly has been unstoppable at times and could decide North Carolina’s fate. — Jon MettusMatchup you’d most like to see: No. 8 seed Syracuse vs. Johns Hopkins in Final FourNot only would this be a rematch of an overtime game from earlier this season in which the Blue Jays came out on top, but it would also be a rematch of the quarterfinals game from last year when Johns Hopkins knocked off the No. 1-ranked and No. 2-seeded Orange. It’d also mean that Syracuse navigated its way past Albany and potentially No. 1 seed Maryland and that the Blue Jays topped fifth-seeded Brown and possibly fourth-seeded Yale — easier said than done. Johns Hopkins arguably shouldn’t have made the tournament, but a Final Four run to meet Syracuse would be as exciting as it is unlikely. — Jon MettusLogan Reidsma | Senior Staff PhotographerTournament MVP: Dylan Molloy, BrownBrown has a unique advantage heading into the tournament, something to couple with the nation’s best offense. Despite drawing a tough first-round home game against Johns Hopkins, the Bears will also host in the quarterfinals should they advance past the Blue Jays. It’s a stage set perfectly for Dylan Molloy, the country’s third-leading goal scorer, to take advantage of. The Bears are poised to go on a deep run, finishing the season 14-1 while averaging 16.8 goals per game. Molloy will be the spearhead of that run. He averaged 3.5 goals per game, and is capable of taking the reins on offense unlike any other player in the tournament can. — Connor GrossmanCourtesy of the ACCTeam to beat: No. 3 seed Notre Dame (10-3, 3-1 Atlantic Coast)Notre Dame had a rough go of it at the end of its season. The Fighting Irish blew a five-goal, fourth-quarter lead against North Carolina and then a four-goal lead evaporated in the ACC tournament against Duke. But equipped with a top-five defense in the country and a rigorous ACC schedule that kept the team atop national rankings, Notre Dame is primed to go streaking into Memorial Day weekend. Sophomore Mikey Wynne leads the team with 31 goals, and his offense averages nearly 11 goals a game. To counter, UND’s defense has held opponents to single-digit goals in nine games. It’s a recipe that few teams can replicate, and ultimately none will be able to. — Connor Grossman Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on May 10, 2016 at 4:41 amcenter_img Related Stories Syracuse men’s lacrosse earns No. 8 seed in NCAA tournament and will host Albany on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.Syracuse men’s lacrosse reacts to upcoming NCAA tournament matchup with AlbanyBrandon Mullins never wanted the spotlight, but now he’s the focal point of Syracuse’s defenseSyracuse men’s lacrosse’s offense is rounding into form at just the right timelast_img read more

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