BTN.com staff, March 24, 2015
Each Tuesday of the Big Ten men's lacrosse season, I'll check in on the top stories from around the conference. This week I examine Maryland's big win, Johns Hopkins' NCAA tourney hopes, and the beginning of Big Ten play. Don't forget to check out the BTN TV schedule for lacrosse as well as the BTN Plus live streaming schedule, too.
Maryland scores a big one
With all due respect to Ohio State?s strong win over Denver the Terrapins scored the biggest out of conference takedown when they knocked off then second-ranked North Carolina of the ACC on Saturday in California. Granted, the Terps are only one year removed from the ACC, but now as a member of the Big Ten it is a huge boost to the conference to knock off an ACC team.
The Atlantic Coast Conference is the premier league in college lacrosse, and UNC represents what they are all about: Size, speed, skill, and athleticism. This was the proverbial offense versus defense matchup and the defense won out. Maryland has a formula of "First to ten," meaning if they can score 10 goals they will usually win the game. To score double digits against the Tar Heels and only allow eight is a great accomplishment.
Hopkins needs conference wins and/or the AQ
The Blue Jays are now 3-5 with no wins on their resume that will go anywhere towards an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament. The latest setback was to Virginia, 16-15 in overtime. Johns Hopkins must now rely on league play or the AQ (automatic qualifier) given to the winner of the Big Ten Conference Tournament title game in May. Right now wins over Ohio State and/or Maryland could prove beneficial; Hopkins will root for both to excel then hope to knock them off when they play in the coming weeks.
The Blue Jays can score goals. The problem at the moment is defense and goaltending. This is one of the main reasons Hopkins shed their independent status to join the Big Ten- they have never had the luxury of conference benefits if they should falter in the regular season.
Conference play begins this weekend
The time has come as the Big Ten Lacrosse Conference season officially commences this weekend with the first round of league play. There is a lot of excitement and anticipation around the beginning of conference competition. Rutgers travels to Hopkins, while Ohio State will tangle with Penn State.
Both will be televised on ESPNU so the action will not be missed. On Sunday at 5 p.m. ET Michigan visits College Park to take on the Maryland Terrapins. That game will be live on the Big Ten Network and kick off our men?s Game of the Week coverage on the network. It is sure to be an exciting weekend of lacrosse so get out to a game or catch it on the tube.