May 9, 2012

Coyne v. Censer: Predicting the Entire Tourney

by Jac Coyne and Joel Censer | | Coyne Archive | Twitter

What does the future hold for No. 2 Cortland this year? Well, Coyne has the Red Dragons winning the whole enchilada while Censer sees them flaming out in the second round. Who's right?
© Greg Wall

We've been picking games all season, so Joel and I figured we'd lay it all on the line and pick the entire tournament from beginning to end to see who is the true Division III savant this spring. I currently hold a three-game edge (47-18 to 44-21), which will be factored into the final tally.

The scoring will be as follows: 1 point for first round games, 2 points for second round games, 4 for the quarterfinals, 6 for the semifinals and 10 if you call the national champion now. Feel free to join in via the comments section if you've got some picks.

Since, in a bit of gallows humor on the part of Lacrosse Magazine "Editor-in-Chief" Matt DaSilva, Censer and I will be rooming together in Foxborough over Memorial Day Weekend, the winner buys cocktails on Sunday evening in Providence.

To the games...

The Bracket

Wednesday, May 9

Springfield (14-3) at Stevens (16-2)
COYNE: These two teams are very different than the first time they met (a 11-4 Stevens win), but Springfield hasn't improved enough to take down the Ducks on their home field. Tech, 10-7.

CENSER: Stevens is running a zone, have seemed to have settled on a goalie (albeit a freshman), and have a bunch of veterans who can fill it up quick. Gene Peluso's squad is built for May. Quack, 13-7.

Mount Ida (15-4) at Bowdoin (13-5)
COYNE: The only other time the Polar Bears made the tournament, they faced Mount Ida in the first round. The Mustangs came out in a zone, something Bowdoin willl be ready for this spring. PBears, 13-4.

CENSER: Mount Ida has been putting a lot of goals up...oh wait. Bowdoin gives the Mustangs a short, 60-minute sampling of life in the NESCAC. Bowdoin, 18-2.

Montclair State (11-5) at Union (11-4)
COYNE: Tyler Meth and the Red Hawks are talented enough to give plenty of teams in the tournament trouble, but Union isn't one of them. Montclair won't be ready for the suffocating defense. Dutch, 9-4.

CENSER: In some ways Union is a ripe for a first round picking. But the Red Hawks don't have an ace at the face-off, and I can't see Sean Aaron and the rest of the stingy Dutchmen defense giving up too many here. Union 8-3.

New England College (12-6) at RIT (14-2)
COYNE: The move to the NAC allowed NEC to get earn a tournament bid. The move to the NAC also means the Pilgrims see RIT in the first round. The proverbial Catch 22. Tigers, 15-5.

CENSER: Congratulatory garbage plates all around in Roc City as Brendan McDonald, Allister Warren, and the rest of RIT's young Canadian outfit give the Pilgrims an Upstate welcome. Tigers 19-3,

Western New England (12-4) at Connecticut College (10-6)
COYNE: Let's just say that there are plenty of coaches baffled by the Camels inclusion into the tournament. Conn. can go a long way of ending the chatter by beating the Golden Bears. I'm not sure they can. WNE, 9-6.

CENSER: Conn College (getting a home game no less!) isn't going to be an easy out for WNEC. But Joe Martin does enough at the face-off dot, Patrick White takes care of the scoring load and Brewster Knowlton plays well enough in cage for a scrappy Golden Bears outfit to preserve the road victory. 11-10 WNEC.

Eastern Connecticut (12-5) at Trinity (10-6)
COYNE: I do have a three-game lead, which makes it very tempting to taking Eastern Conn. because I think this one is going to be extremely close. My NESCAC-iness won't allow me to do it. Chickens, 10-8.

CENSER: The Bantams ended the season with a thud, losing four of their last six games. And if Eastern still had face-off savant Eric Vasil doing the duties at the stripe, I probably would take the Warriors (although it's worth mentioning that Vasil's understudy Josh Dubinsky is having a great year). Still, I think Trinity netminder Peter Johnson does enough to keep state bragging rights in Hartford. 11-7, Trinity.

Goucher (17-1) at Washington College (11-5)
COYNE: The Gophers have gone to Chestertown and already won once. Can they do it again? I'm a huge fan of this Goucher squad and I think they will in extra time. Kyle Boncaro with the GWG. Goofers, 9-8 (ot)

CENSER: In my book, going through the Centennial grinder means something. Not to take anything away from the Gophers, but they just haven't played anyone since taking Gettysburg to the wire in February. I'll take the more battle-tested team here. WAC, 8-6.

Kenyon (10-4) at Dickinson (14-3)
COYNE: Sometimes teams just match up well stylistically to make for a good game. This is not one of those times. Dickinson gets some rest for its starters in preparation for the rematch with Cabrini as the Devils roll, 14-4.

CENSER: Jac's right. There's a blueprint for how to beat Dickinson (win the face-off battle, have a hot goalie). Kenyon will struggle to do either. Dickinson, 13-5.

Eastern (13-4) at Cabrini (15-2)
COYNE: Whatever the NCAA lost by flying Birmingham-Southern to Stevenson, they made up for it with this match-up. The two campuses are listed as 49 seconds apart on Mapquest. I'll take the "home field" and the Cavs, 11-5.

CENSER: Eastern has made an impressive leap the past couple years from Main Line bottomfeeder to pesky upstart. But can they take down big brother and neighborhood bully Cabrini? Not yet. Cavs roll, 14-4.

Birmingham-Southern (14-4) at Stevenson (15-4)
COYNE: BSC is probably not going to win this game, but a free trip to Baltimore that gets the school's name out there won't hurt the overall effort. Hot goalie or not for the Panthers, the Mustangs advance, 15-3.

CENSER: Stevenson hasn't been blowing anyone away recently. But Stephen Banick, Tyler Reid and the rest of the 'Stang offense get some shooting practice against a quality keeper in this opener. SU, 17-4.

Washington College is making its first trip to the NCAA tournament since 2008. Joel believes WAC will be moving on to the second round. Jac sees trouble at home against Goucher ahead for the Shoremen.
© Kevin P. Tucker

Ohio Wesleyan (10-4) at Gettysburg (10-6)
COYNE: This is not your father's Gettysburg team, but it's also not an extremely powerful OWU squad, either. The Bishops are dangerous, but they'll get chewed up in the Bullet meat-grinder. The 'Burg, 10-6.

CENSER: Watching the Centennial semis on livecast, I was shocked to see Gettysburg playing a zone (even if Dickinson has struggled at times going against one) and having trouble penetrating in the half-field. These things will hurt the Bullets later in the year, but not against some Pool B beneficiary. Gburg ruins Bullet alum and OWU head coach Mike Planholt's homecoming, 11-4.

Adrian (17-1) at Denison (13-1)
COYNE: I've already got one upset on the board (Goucher), but this will be No. 2. Adrian has a bunch of confident Canadians who won't be timid stepping on the field with the Big Red. It's a reach, but I'll take the Dawgs, 14-12.

CENSER: Betting the farm on a bunch slick-sticked, chirpy Canadians is usually my wheelhouse. Certainly, Denison won't be able to chew up the Bulldogs in their half-field grinder. But I think the Big Red will win the possession war, score enough and be organized enough on defense to quell the Midwest rebellion. At least for the time being. Granvillers, 11-9.

Saturday, May 12

Stevens (17-2) at Cortland (18-0)
COYNE: Last year, Stevens brought the nation's highest scoring offense to Cortland. Sixty minutes later, they had three goals to show for it. The Ducks can still score, but the Dragons have ground down the best. It's always SUNY in Cortland, 10-5.

CENSER: You know what Jac's forgetting about last year? Cortland had Chris DeLuca winning 75 percent of his draws in that game. This year, DeLuca's long gone and the Ducks have enough possessions for their offense to take care of the rest. Stevens pulls the upset, 9-8.

Bowdoin (14-5) at Union (12-4)
COYNE: This is going to be a slugfest. We know Union loves to grind, and it showed some prowess doing it last year in the 6-5 tourney loss to Tufts. The Polar Bears are no stranger to streetfights, either. Mainiacs in a close one, 4-3.

CENSER: Single-digit scores seem to make Bowdoin's backline - which includes star defenseman Matt Egan and netminder Chris Williamson - more comfortable. Not to mention Polar Bear face-off man Brendan Hughes should have a field-day at the face-off stripe. Bowdoin 8-4.

Western New England (13-4) at RIT (15-2)
COYNE: The Golden Bears are no strangers to heading upstate and causing some problems, and they have a goalie who has performed on the big stage. Not this time, however. Tyler Russell goes for six in a 12-7 Tigers win.

CENSER: RIT is a tough matchup for WNEC. The Rochester boys can match the Golden Bears at the face-off stripe and between the lines (especially with Canuck Alex Crepinsek as the catalyst). And Russell and the offense will put up enough to win this one handily. Tigers 13-8.

Trinity (11-6) at Tufts (16-2)
COYNE: Oh, man. This one is going to be ugly. It's always nice when you've got a built in motivational tool, and the Jumbos have one after their overtime loss in Hartford earlier this spring. Toughs, 14-5.

CENSER: Last time these two played, Trinity needed a superhuman performance from Johnson in cage (and some poor Tufts shooting) to upset the Jumbos. Looks like two teams headed in different directions now. Tufts rumbles here. 15-7 'Bos.

COYNE: Goucher (18-1) at Salisbury (19-0)
They made one trip to the Eastern Shore, so why not make it two? This second trip to the beach won't be quite as nice, as the Gophers don't have the kind of defense or FOGO to withstand Salisbury. Gulls, 14-6.

CENSER: Washington College (12-5) at Salisbury (19-0)
The War on the Shore deux. Yes, WAC is a nice story and looks like they're on the right track. Yes, Pete Stewart has had an outstanding season in cage. Yes, coach Jeff Shirk has silenced the doubters. Still, The Sea Gulls don't care much for reclamation projects and certainly have no plans on entertaining history. Bradman, Mendes and Cannone roll here. Gulls 14-6.

Cabrini (16-2) at Dickinson (15-3)
COYNE: Dickinson managed to down the Cavs during the regular season by a goal on the road, and now the Devils will get a chance at home. That should be the difference for a team that is peaking. Devils, 9-7.

CENSER: Here's what we know about Cabrini; early in the season they gave Dickinson and Lynchburg all they could handle. Since then, however (and to no real fault of their own), the Cavs have feasted on CSAC cupcakes. So where does that leave us more than two months after the first Cabrini/Dickinson tiff? In that earlier game, Dickinson goaltender Greg Hanley was pulled after making just one save in the first half. Last week, Hanley played hero/resident Brick Wall as the Red Devils won their second straight Centennial title. I'll go with what I do know then. Hanley keeps the mojo going in cage, 10-9 Dickinson.

Gettysburg (11-6) at Stevenson (16-4)
COYNE: The last time these two met was in 2009 and Gettysburg punched its ticket to the national championship game by unseating the then-No. 1 Mustangs in the semifinals, 12-7. Won't happen again. Stevenson, 8-4.

CENSER: Neither team is filling it up. But Stevenson is a little better than the Bullets everywhere on the field - including in net where Ian Bolland's performance cannot be underestimated. Stevenson grinds this one out, 10-6.

COYNE: Adrian (18-1) at Lynchburg (17-1)
The ride finally ends for the Bulldogs, but they make it interesting for a half before Dylan Hoff and company take over. The Hornets' starters shake off the rust but are rested and ready for Stevenson. Bugs, 13-8.

CENSER: Denison (14-1) at Lynchburg (17-1)
Denison is a pesky, slow-down squad that no one wants to play come May. But I don't think the Big Red have enough offensive firepower against defensemen Joe Lisicky, Jon Lombardo, Jon Gill, goaltender Franc Cook and the rest of the Lynchburg backline. Hornets in this one, 12-7.

Wednesday, May 16

COYNE: Bowdoin (15-5) at Cortland (19-0)
COYNE: Tom McCabe ends his career guiding the Polar Bears to their greatest heights, but the Bowdoin offense bogs down under Cortland's pressure and can't find an answer for Mike Tota. Dragons get it done, 13-6.

CENSER: Stevens (18-2) at Bowdoin (15-5)
The scrappers from Brunswick meet Hoboken's high-flying, transition-friendly offensive roadshow. Rich Dupras, Alex Hofrichter and Co., score enough to get the Ducks into the semis. 12-10, Stevens.

RIT (16-2) at Tufts (17-2)
COYNE: The Tigers tried to go toe-to-toe with Tufts last year and ended up getting runover, 16-12. Look for RIT to try to impose a more methodical pace in this one. It'll work for a little while, but eventually the dam will break. 'Bos, 12-8.

CENSER: These teams are similar in a lot ways (save RIT's Canadian influence). But the biggest difference? Tufts is used to running by quality teams in the second half. Sean Kirwan gets it going late for the Jumbos. 12-11, Social Medias.

What's in store for Stevenson? Censer envisions a third loss at the hands of Salisbury. Coyne sees the first-ever trip to the championship game where heartbreak awaits.
© John Strohsacker

Dickinson (16-3) at Salisbury (20-0)
COYNE: Last year, Dickinson headed to Salisbury and attempted to take the air out of the ball and managed to be within two goals at halftime. It's nearly impossible to do for a whole game, and won't work this year, either. Birds, 10-5.

CENSER: You know what Dickinson's real problem is against the Gulls? The Red Devils make a living with face-off technician Chip Murray and long-stick extrodinaire Brandon Palladino tilting the possession war in their favor. But against the Gulls, 6-foot-3, 215-pound man-child Tyler Granelli and his 67 percent face-off percentage is in their way (and clearly, there's not much you can do about that). Granelli and the Gulls continue the march to Foxborough. 15-9, Birdz.

Stevenson (17-4) at Lynchburg (18-1)
COYNE: The Hornets managed to shutout Stevenson for the final 40 minutes in the last meeting between the two schools. I don't see that happening again. Mustangs earn a third contest with the Gulls, 10-8.

CENSER: There's many things not to like about Stevenson in this game. But I do think this 'Stang team has learned a thing or two since early March and has a feel when to turn it on. Kyle Holechek, Parker Bratton and Ryan Rubenstein put the clamps on Dylan Hoff and Andrew Wilfong to stamp their ticket to the semis.

Sunday, May 20

COYNE: Tufts (18-2) at Cortland (20-0)
The Jumbos upset in Cortland in 2010 was a seminal moment for Mike Daly's troops and a blow to Cortland's pride. Two years later, the Red Dragons finally exact their revenge. SUNY side up, 10-7.

CENSER: Stevens (19-2) at Tufts (18-2)
Both teams can fill it up. But Tufts netminder Patton Watkins will be the difference (earning immediate NESCAC folkhero status) to help get the local boys from "Medfahd" some home-field, title-game advantage, 13-9.

Stevenson (18-4) at Salisbury (21-0)
COYNE: The Mustangs may never be as prepared to beat Salisbury ever again with its impending move to the MAC, and with an All-American game out of Ian Bolland, they pull the upset of the season. Stevenson, 11-10.

CENSER: Some teams freak out when they have to play a team three times in seasons. But the confident ones could care less about who their opponent is or how many times they had to play them. I also think Coach Berkman and his troops are tired of hearing about upstart Stevenson and all the parity going on in Division III. A 2012 Stevenson-knockout punch would be particularly special. Salisbury, 13-9.

Sunday, May 27

COYNE: Stevenson (19-4) vs. Cortland (21-0)
The Red Dragons take advantage of a sloppy first-half by the jittery Stevenson players playing on the big stage for the first time to build a four-goal lead in the first 30 minutes. Stevenson tries to chip away, but can never make it back. Cortland, 12-11.

CENSER: Salisbury (22-0) vs. Tufts (19-2)
For the third time' in as many years, these teams will meet in the championship. Anyway, what's more exciting than getting to fly up to Boston and watch some NESCAC school get pummeled by a Southern power in their own backyard? It's the little things in life. Gulls, 19-7 (you know, for old time's sake).

Coyne v. Censer Archive

Week Twelve: The Beauty of Conference Playoffs
Week Eleven: Choosing a School, Not a Coach
Week Ten: Player of the Year Qualifications
Week Nine: The Death of a Rivalry?
Week Eight: Defining "Institutional Advantage"
Week Seven: Making a Case for the NCAC
Week Six: Whittier Still California Dreaming
Week Five: Finding the ODAC's Blueprint
Week Four: NESCAC's Degree of Difficulty
Week Three: Using Scheduling to Recruit
Week Two: The State of the Shoremen
Week One: Starting with a Must-Game

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