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February 25, 2010

Schooling Schooler: Weekend of Feb. 27

by Jac Coyne | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff | Coyne Archive | Twitter

John Paul and his Wolverines start their quest for three consecutive national championships this weekend. We couldn't include them in the competition because they should handle Arizona, but we'll give Michigan its deserved time in the spotlight.
© Ryan Mckee

We've been doing the competition for nearly three weeks now and the defending national champs have finally decided to grace us with their presence. After increasing its NCAA Division III street cred by dispatching Wittenberg and Ohio Wesleyan in scrimmages over the past two weeks, Michigan finally starts "Operation 3:60" on Saturday in Tucson.

The Wolverines game this weekend didn't make the cut for the Scho-Scho as the UM-Arizona tilt isn't exactly a brain-buster. But since John Paul loves the limelight and Michigan has won 40-straight games, we'll give the champs their due and make them the lede.

A 4-1 week by yours truly has managed to tie this competition up, as both Nick and I have dueling 6-4 records heading into the weekend.

To the games...

Indiana (1-0) at Tennessee (4-0), 7 p.m., Saturday
COYNE: I think both of these programs are on the rise and I also believe both of these teams are hovering in the same vicinity - always competitive in the league, but just outside of national consideration for now. Former Notre Dame standout Matt Karweck and Matt Synowiez have done nice jobs building the Hoosier and Vol programs, respectively.

It will be the little things that determine the winner of this one.

The one "little thing" that pops out at me is Tennessee will be playing a game on Friday night, while Indiana will be fresh for Saturday. Granted, the Vols will be playing Georgia and the Dawgs haven't put up much of a fight this year, but I think it will give the Hoosiers just enough edge to take this one down.

SCHOOLER: I'm not going to try to B.S. here. I don't know anything about either of these teams. I can't recall either team having any national success in the past and have only heard a few good things here and there about Tennessee, so I am going to have to go with the Vols in this one. They play in a tougher conference and have a few more games under their belt, including a win over conference rival, Clemson.

No. 2 Chapman (3-0) at No. 8 Cal Poly (3-0), 1 p.m. PT, Sunday
COYNE: There is typically a gap between the Top 5 teams and the next tier, and I think that gap will be on display Sunday. Cal Poly is definitely a strong program, but there are holes that will keep the Mustangs from being one of the elites. Those holes will be exploited on Sunday. Chapman has been tested in the crucible of the MCLA the last two campaigns, both in the regular season and tournament, and that experience will be evident on Sunday.

This game will be a little closer than one might expect only because Chapman has to play a San Diego State team that has been challenging a lot of high-end programs on Friday night. I like the Panthers by four.

SCHOOLER: I actually had an opportunity to see Cal Poly play this year. They didn't seem as good as they were last season, but I was a bit inebriated, so the game is a blur. Chapman, on the other hand, seems to be just as good, if not better, than last year. I think they are the number two team in the country at this point in the season. While I think that Cal Poly will give them a very good game, I think Chapman will sneak away with a close victory.

No. 14 Texas (4-0) at No. 21 Lindenwood (1-2), 1 p.m. CT, Sunday
COYNE: Lindenwood needs this game badly. After the debacle against Minnesota and the clean sweep in the Twin Cities last weekend, the Lions are reeling and need to get their confidence back. Troy Hood and the boys did receive some good news when it became clear that the sleeping giant that is Wisconsin is still fast asleep, keeping LU as the favorite in the GRLC. But if the Lions lose to Texas, they'll be heading to Denver as the No. 16 seed. Good night. Lindenwood takes the desperation win at home.

SCHOOLER: My two least favorite conferences, the GRLC and the LSA, face off in this game for the title of ‘Worst Conference in the MCLA.' After losing to Minnesota last week, Lindenwood is showing some signs of a tough season ahead. Texas, on the other hand, has had a good showing early in the season and actually caught my attention. I'm going with the Longhorns in this one.

Coyne's Pick
Stanford (0-4) at Chico State (1-0), 1 p.m. PT, Saturday
COYNE: We'll see if Nick takes the bait on this one. If you look at the scores and records, you might think this game is a mismatch. It is, but in favor of Stanford. The San Diego and Washington losses aren't good, but the Cardinal showed they can play with a couple of sure-fire tournament teams in UCSB and Oregon. Chico destroyed a Nevada team that was pounded earlier by D-II bantamweight Willamette. Experience counts. Stanford by a deuce.

SCHOOLER: Drew Virk went out on a limb and scheduled some tough early season games for Stanford. It didn't pay off and they are off to an 0-4 start. Chico has not been tested yet, and the Reno game was an easy victory. I'm struggling with picking this game and I think this will be the key to beating Jac this week. Because I was born and raised to hate everything Stanford, I'm picking Chico in this one.

Schooler's Pick
No. 19 UC Santa Barbara (2-3) at San Diego (1-2), 5 p.m. PT, Sunday
SCHOOLER: Some may look at this game and wonder why I chose it. It might be my Left Coast bias, but the game also means a lot for the large-headed, Charlie Weis look-a-like Michael Dewan, USD's head coach. Dewan played for UCSB back at the turn of the century. He is also a close friend of mine and I know that he has had this date circled on his calendar since scheduling it months ago. It is probably the only reason they lost to Chapman and Claremont this season. Add ASU to that list after Saturday.

This will definitely be a low scoring game. Both teams take defensive strategy very seriously. Dewan has his over-the-top defensive schemes while the Gauchos stack their coaching staff with defensive-minded coaches. It is unclear where UCSB stands. They have a double overtime loss to BYU, but also have two losses to Cal and Cal Poly. I don't think this game will clear anything up. UCSB will win this game by 3 or 4 goals.

COYNE: Obviously, the Santa Barbara alumni council has instructed Schooler to pick a game in which the Gauchos are prohibitive favorites, because you can book the outcome of this game. The bromance between Schooler and Dewan warms my heart, but UCSB will win it, 10-5, in a snoozer.

Previous Schooling Schoolers
Weekend of Feb. 13
Weekend of Feb. 20

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