Men's Championships Brain Dump
Wrapping up some things in the press box at M&T Bank Stadium following Virginia's 9-7 win over Maryland for the NCAA Division I men's lacrosse championship.
Here are some odds and ends for your consumption.
The assembled media selected the All-Tournament Team.
Attack: Steele Stanwick, Va.; Nick O'Reilly, Va.; Grant Catalino, Md.
Midfield: Jeremy Noble, Denver; Curtis Holmes, Md.; Colin Briggs, Va.
Defense: Brett Schmidt, Md.; Bray Malphrus, Va.
Goal: Niko Amato, Md.; Adam Ghitelman, Va.
Most Outstanding Player: Briggs
A few of us were talking, and this has to be the first time the tournament's MOP award went to a player that did not play in a semifinal. Briggs had that much of an impact, however.
Maryland coach John Tillman alluded to the rest Briggs got during his suspension Saturday, and I don't think you can discount that. Briggs played with considerable energy on a 96-degree day; one that the Cavs and Terps had to struggle through less than 48 hours after semifinal games.
Speaking of which, we all love the final four event, but it doesn't necessarily foster the best lacrosse on the field.
Today was another example -- another near-dud of a championship game, only slightly better than Duke's 6-5 OT win over Notre Dame last year.
Why? Weather and time in between games will continue to play a role.
Think about it: college coaches have extended this season into the depths of winter because they want to minimize the number of weeks in which they play two games. But then we have the two most important games of the season played less than 48 hours apart. It shows on the field. There were plenty of dropped passes, errant passes, terrible shots, stall warnings and players just running around the offensive zone playing keep away.
I found myself bored at times in today's game.
I'm not sure I have a solution. Maybe if players got accustomed to playing two games in a week -- as was the case more frequently in the past -- the product on championship Monday might not be so mediocre.
Mediocrity also describes today's attendance. Granted it was 96 degrees at faceoff, but the game drew only 35,661.
That's the smallest crowd for a final in the nine years the NCAA has held it at an NFL stadium. The second smallest was 37,126 last year. What's common? Both games played in Baltimore.
I'm not sure why fans didn't turn out in better numbers for a championship involving two teams with strong alumni bases in the area, but the performance by the fans here in Balto the last two years pretty much ends their argument of wanting the NCAA to permanently make the city the home of this event.
That's not going to happen; nor should it.
Next year's championships are in Foxboro, Mass. In 2013 we go to Philadelphia before returning to Balto in 2014.