Competition for Men’s DI Lacrosse Championship Getting Pretty Tight
Posted on May 06 2018
2018 Men's Division I Lacrosse Tournament Bracket to be announced May 6th
The tournament itself will be getting underway the following weekend. A few weeks ago, it looked like picking the winner was going to be a piece of cake. But as sports fans know all too well, you can never count your chickens (or championships) before they hatch (before you win them).
Defending national champion Maryland got off to a strong start with five consecutive wins, but then they ran into this year’s team of destiny, the Albany Great Danes, and suffered their first loss of the season. They tore off another five-game winning streak before suffering their second loss, a 12-10 defeat at the hand of Ohio State.
The win put Albany in the driver’s seat. They continued to bulldoze their way through the competition, but then they ran into a scrappy UMBC team and took their first loss of the season. This development propped Maryland back up on top— but only momentarily.
A couple of weeks later Maryland and Albany suffered their second losses of the season—which opened the door for Yale.
Nothing announces your presence to the lacrosse-loving world quite like the 14-6 trouncing Yale handed Albany late last month. Of course, the task was made easier after the Great Danes lost Connor Fields to an injury—but Yale won, and that is what matters.
Assuming they can handle Penn once again (they beat Penn 12-6 back in March), Yale will end the season as the No. 1 ranked team in the nation.
But they, along with Albany and Maryland, are going to face some pretty fierce competition in the tournament this year. Whoever gets crowned champion when the season is over and done with will have earned it.
Preseason No.1 Duke will certainly be in the mix and tough to beat. Their first loss was to another top team, Denver (15-12). But then they also lost to a pair of bubbles team (Syracuse—15-14; Notre Dame—14-11).
Yale will probably enter the tournament with just two losses under their belts, one-point defeats to Bucknell and Villanova. Yale head coach Andy Shay feels pretty good about his team as the regular season winds down (NCAA.com):
"We're a pretty good team right now," Shay said. "I would hope we continue to improve. They've answered the bell every week this year. If we continue to do that, every week we get to play, we're going to be a tough team to beat."
Anyone that overlooks Denver will be sorry they did so. Trevor Baptiste, the new Division I career faceoff wins record holder, would love to bring a title back to the Mile-High City. The team won the school’s first lacrosse national championship in 2015, Baptiste’s freshman season.
Talk about a great way to bookend a career, huh?
Who's going to win the Lacrosse national Championship?
With the brackets not out yet, the sportsbooks haven’t put odds on who’s going to win it all this year. But it is probably safe to say the odds are going to be pretty tight this year within the top five (Yale, Duke, Albany, Maryland, and Denver).
While that may frustrate gamblers looking for an edge, it speaks well of the action to come. Albany, who hopes to win his school’s first national title, said it best while talking about the upcoming postseason (NCAA.com):
“Everybody’s beatable,” he said. “I think everybody out there has a legitimate shot. It’s a really tight race.”
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