March 31, 2010

Schooling Schooler: Nicky’s Last Chance

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

Nick has a chance to pick up five games this week if he played his cards right. He'll need to grab at least three if he wants to keep this thing interesting.

'Schooling Schooler' is a Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association pick 'em competition between LMO's Jac Coyne and Nick Schooler, a current marine biology Master’s candidate at UC Santa Barbara as well as a former All-American and two-time national champion for the Gauchos. Coyne and Schooler will be picking five games from the MCLA every week during the course of the season.

This might be Nick’s last chance.

He’s still down by six games, but we’ve chosen different teams in all five of this week’s match-ups, opening the door just a crack.

You figure Schooler needs to pick up at least three games this week to make it interesting or I can pretty much play out the string.

I was worried about Nick earlier. He didn’t respond to any of the barbed emails that I sent him at the beginning of the week. I couldn’t even flush him out by making fun of Sonoma State. I actually had a replacement picker warming up in the bullpen (Iowa lacrosse alum Matt Benson) before Schooler finally emerged. I hope the pressure is not getting to him.

We pushed again last week, so there was no blood. On a brighter note, Nick clawed his way above the .500 mark (he’s 18-17, I’m 24-11), so maybe that’s a good sign.

On to the games…

Idaho (4-4) at Washington (6-5), 1 pm., Saturday
COYNE: It’s not always about the marquee value of a game, but rather the difficulty in choosing a winner. That will certainly be the case when these two teams collide. Or at least bump into each other softly.

This has been a tough season for the top division in the PNCLL. Preseason title contender Simon Fraser fizzled out of the gate and Oregon has yet to prove they’re capable of anything more than a quarterfinal tournament appearance. What would put a miserable coda on the lost season is if a team from the PNCLL’s artificial I-AA league (Idaho) jumped up and bit a I-A member (UW). I’ve expressed my feelings on the whole I-AA concept before, so I won’t delve into it here, but if the Vandals beat Washington, the architects of the I-AA experiment have to go back to the drawing board.

I don’t they will, however. At least not yet. Huskies pull out the big win for "premier" division of the PNCLL, 11-10.

SCHOOLER: The Huskies have lost some pretty bad games this season. But so has Idaho. I despise bad lacrosse. So this is actually a really tough one for me. I want to go with my instinct and pick a team I am familiar with, but I'm trying something new. I'm picking against my heart. Let's see how well that works. Sorry to all my friends who played for U-dub, but I'm going with Idaho.

No. 4 Arizona State (7-2) at No. 9 Oregon (6-2), 4 p.m., Saturday
COYNE: I think both of these teams are over-ranked and unlikely to be a serious threat at the national tournament. That being said, this should be a good game.

Despite losing, the Ducks' defensive performance against Michigan and Michigan State shows me they can handle some pretty potent six-on-six offenses when they need to. However, neither of those teams can transition like the Sun Devils, and I think that’s where ASU will get enough goals to take this game. Oregon will get its chances offensively, but they’ll end up giving up one or two more than they net. Devils by a deuce.

SCHOOLER: Oregon gave Michigan a big scare a few weeks ago. Then they totally crumbled against Michigan State. What is up with these guys? I would normally pick ASU in this one, but after their poor sportsmanship last week against UCSB, I can't. They had a comfortable lead, and both teams put in their backups. When UCSB picked up a few goals, The Sun Devils put their starters back in so that they could maintain their margin of victory. I would love to see the Ducks poop all over ASU. I'm going with Oregon.

Also, I heard that they are giving former Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli a shot since no other sport will take him. Just joking.

COYNE: Good one.

No. 12
Texas (7-4) at No. 24 Texas State (8-2), 7 p.m., Thursday
COYNE: We’re going early this week and including a Thursday selection since Nick got a little whiney about the original choices. That’s fine. It won’t matter. Assumabley these two will meet again with the LSA auto-bid on the line in a couple of weeks, so this is a nice little preview. I don’t question Texas State’s ability to match-up talent-wise with the Longhorns, but I’m not sure it is mentally prepared to take down the defending conference champs, even on the Bobcats home field. Texas wins by five.

SCHOOLER: Jac had SFU against someone and I told him that I can't do them anymore. I know they are good, I just can't pick them correctly. Must be the Canadian thing. I thought this was a much more intriguing game.

These seem to be the top two teams in the LSA. Texas has a nice signature win against FSU, but I think that they caught the ‘Noles off guard. If you take away the FSU win, these teams are evenly matched. Texas State has a nice win against Cal and lost to a Stanford team that is finally recovering from some injuries. I'm going with Texas State in a close one.

Coyne’s Pick
No. 14 Kennesaw State (8-2) at No. 9 SCAD (7-3), 4 p.m., Saturday
COYNE: The finish to the SELC-II is going to be good viewing. We’re going to have a Top 25 team not even make the conference tournament and we’ll likely have two other programs sweating out a bid on Selection Sunday/Monday.

The way it stands now, Kennesaw State will be fighting just to make the SELC tourney and SCAD will be a bubble team. While this game won’t help the Owls – they’ll need to beat Emory to do that – it will provide some confidence heading into next Friday’s game. A win for the Bees and they’ll be tough to keep out of the nationals. I think Kennesaw pulls a little road magic, 13-10.

SCHOOLER: You know I am an expert on Division II lacrosse. Heads = SCAD, Tails = Kennesaw. Heads it is. I'm going with SCAD in a coin flip.

Schooler’s Pick
Cal Poly (6-4) at Stanford (3-7), 2 p.m. PDT, Saturday
SCHOOLER: Cal Poly has been stumbling recently. They screwed me in Canada, they almost lost to Sonoma State, and they are going to lose to Stanford. Stanford is starting to show some promise. They beat Texas State and gave FSU a close game. Drew Virk is a great coach and I'm going with the Cardinal in a nail-biter.

COYNE: We’re at odds on four picks already. Let’s go for the knockout punch. I’ll take SLO in overtime.

Previous Schooling Schoolers
Weekend of Feb. 13
Weekend of Feb. 20
Weekend of Feb. 27
Weekend of March 6
Weekend of March 13 
Weekend of March 20
Weekend of March 27


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