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  • Chris Jastrzembski

2023 Men's Lacrosse Week 2 Preview: The Ivies are back

Courtesy: Larry French/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

By the end of this long weekend, everyone will have played at least one Division I lacrosse game. So for the final time, we're definitely back.

A loaded 36 games are on the docket this weekend, with 29 of them on Saturday. A huge rivalry game in Baltimore, along with the debuts of the Ivy League schools, headline the weekend action. Hopefully the action is as good as it was last weekend. I've covered college lacrosse since 2015 (a short time span I know), but that was the wildest and most fun weekend of watching lacrosse I've ever had. And we had the 2019 quarterfinals. I hope this season continues to be wide open, similar to what we're seeing in college basketball.

Hampton will also make their season-debut. Last week, I assumed that their matchup with Division III Guilford was a regular season contest for the Pirates despite Guilford listed it as an exhibition. Despite it being streamed with both teams in their normal uniforms, it ended up being an exhibition that Hampton won. It's a win nonetheless for Chazz Woodson's crew, but it won't count toward their regular season record. They play Queens on Sunday. Hoping for some more wins from Hampton.

You can find every game, along with live stream and stat links, on this Google Sheet. It's the best place to get everything all at once for game day.

Let's check out some of the best games of the weekend (all spreads courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook).

The Charles Street Rivalry

Johns Hopkins @ Loyola (12 PM, ESPN+); Loyola -1.5

Easily the game of the weekend. And there's some sweet gear available too.

Johns Hopkins being back is college lacrosse's version of "is Texas back" in college football. They beat Jacksonville followed by a much more impressive upset of Georgetown. They led North Carolina at halftime but it looked like they ran out of gas in the second half and lost to the Tar Heels. To answer the question: No, they're not back...yet.

Loyola had a very impressive and surprising upset over defending national champion Maryland last week. They never trailed in the game and in a conference where it's wide open for the taking, they stood out the most for the right reasons.

Plenty of contributors on offense that included Evan James, Seth Higgins, and freshman Matt Minicus. Luke Staudt made 19 saves in his second career start.

A vital game that could matter come April and May. The atmosphere at Ridley better be rocking for this one.

The Ivies

Penn @ Georgetown (12 PM, FloSports); Georgetown -1.5
Cornell @ UAlbany (12 PM, ESPN+ ); Cornell -8.5
Quinnipiac @ Brown (1 PM, ESPN+); Brown -7.5
Dartmouth @ Merrimack (1 PM, America East TV); Merrimack -3.5
Monmouth @ Princeton (3 PM, ESPN+); Princeton -12.5
Harvard @ Virginia (4 PM, ACCNX); Virginia -5.5
Yale @ Villanova (Sunday 12 PM, FloSports); Yale -2.5

A fun slate for the Ivy League's debut, who had six teams make the NCAA Tournament last year.

On paper, Penn-Georgetown looks to be the best game in terms of talent. The Hoyas have a chip on their shoulder after losing last week to Johns Hopkins. Penn hopes to make it to the national semifinals since 1988, which was their lone trip there in the NCAA Championships era (since 1971). We'll see two of the top midfielders go at it in Sam Handley (Penn) and Graham Bundy Jr. (Georgetown).

After getting into the NCAA Tournament last year, Harvard starts their season with a challenge against Virginia. The Cavaliers were in a tussle with Michigan last weekend in a back-and-forth affair. Four players had at least four points, led by Payton Cormier's game-high five goals and seven points. Michigan went 14-of-32 on clears in the game and never got to 50% in any of the four quarters. Virginia went 18-of-32 on clears themselves.

Yale-Villanova is usually a tight game. Half of their six all-time meetings have been decided by three goals or less, including last year. Meanwhile, the Wildcats beat Penn State by two last week. I was lower on the Nittany Lions than others even though they came close in a number of games last year but they looked solid last Sunday.

Intrigued to see Dartmouth-Merrimack. Are the Warriors legit? How much has Dartmouth improved?

The Intriguers

Denver @ Duke (Friday 4 PM, ESPNU); Duke -5.5
Stony Brook @ Penn State (12 PM, BTN+); Penn State -3.5
Syracuse @ Maryland (1 PM, BTN+); Maryland -4.5
Vermont @ Utah (2 PM, Pac-12 Plus); Vermont -1.5

Full disclosure: I'm going to be out for most of the weekend in beautiful Sea Isle City, New Jersey. It's also one of the most popular vacation spots so I hope you all understand.

Anyways, if I have down time (or have a phone with power), I'm going to try to keep an eye on these games. Denver-Duke might be the only game out of the quartet where I'll watch. It's Bill Tierney's last go-around in Durham. Both teams lost last week; Denver to Air Force and Duke to Jacksonville. Both were a bit surprising with Denver's a bit more surprising in my opinion. Is it a "must-win" game or a "can't lose" game for these teams?

Of course as a Syracuse alum, the Orange and Terps will be a game I follow/watch. Maryland goalie Logan McNaney is reportedly out for the season with a torn ACL, according to Edward Lee of The Baltimore Sun. In comes Binghamton transfer Teddy Dolan who had a .543 save percentage last season with the Bearcats. He's a good replacement to have for McNaney. As for the Orange, the young guys will have their first huge game of their careers. 'Cuse is a 4.5 goal underdog and lost to Maryland by four last year. This should be our best early gauge at the Orange.

Vermont and Utah lost their season-openers in Week 0 before winning last week against Boston University and Marquette respectively. Good bounce-back wins, but an even better one if you're the Catamounts. These teams could be conference champions in the America East and ASUN respectively.

The "Real or Fake" Game

North Carolina @ Ohio State (Sunday 12 PM, BTN+); Ohio State -1.5

North Carolina had a great win last weekend over Johns Hopkins. Both teams were on short rest but the Blue Jays did have a much tougher opponent and one less day off than the Tar Heels. That might have played a role, maybe not. UNC did have a very balanced offense with plenty of guys recording points throughout the win.

Ohio State's two games have been against Air Force and Cleveland State. This is where their schedule begins. After UNC it's Virginia in Florida, followed by Cornell at home and Notre Dame on the road. Big time opponents for Jack Myers and the Buckeyes.

The Others

Rutgers @ Army West Point (12 PM, ESPN+); Rutgers -3.5
Boston University @ Bryant (12 PM, ESPN3); Boston University -3.5
Hobart @ Lehigh (12 PM, ESPN+); Lehigh -3.5
Hofstra @ Michigan (12 PM, BTN+); Michigan -6.5

Three of these games involve Patriot League opponents. Not high that Army West Point will cover against a Rutgers offense that's looked solid over their last two games against Marist and Stony Brook.

BU need a bounce-back game against Bryant, who won't be an easy opponent. They beat Providence last weekend in Rhode Island. And I'm not so sure about Providence being a top four team in the Big East based on their first couple of games this season.

Last year, Hobart upset Lehigh in Geneva by a goal. Adam Shea and Mike Sisselberger each won 14 of 28 faceoffs in the matchup. The lacrosse faceoff community should love this matchup (and game).

Finally, I want to see how Michigan responds after last week. They looked great against the Cavaliers and if they played like they did last week, they should cover the spread. Hofstra's still looking for their first win of the season. They'll take on LIU and St. John's in games next weekend.

The Last Thing

This is the time where we all hope for a lacrosse version of College Gameday or even a lacrosse version of NFL RedZone. The first idea is much easier to do than the second.

On the idea of College Gameday, which happens every year. I used to work at ESPN for three college lacrosse seasons. It's not going to happen in the near future. I've been doing my #CollegeLaxGameday streams and Twitter Spaces since I believe 2016 in various forms. To me, that was the closest I could do to have everyone get ready for the Saturday slate in a different fashion. There also wasn't that type of content anywhere. I've seen a few iterations here and there after I started but none of them are as good as what I've been producing. I hope that changes soon.

By the way, those Twitter Spaces are typically every Saturday at 11 AM. I'll tweet out a link the morning of to listen in. Always feel free to participate and speak in those, it's what makes those fun.

Second, a lacrosse version of RedZone.

Sorry if I'm mean but that's a pipe dream. It won't happen. Conferences have different streaming partners such as ESPN, FloSports, BTN, and more (ESPN has the most partnerships with lacrosse conferences). The idea is great; the logistics to make it happen are really difficult. You can't try to do it yourself and air content that's on another service (which for the most part you have to pay to watch those games) unless you have partnerships with the providers and the conferences. I'm not sure how possible that is, but I would say it's slim.

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