Paul Carcaterra on the No. 1 seed and the Final Four
Here is Part 2 of my conversation with former Syracuse All-America midfielder and current CBS College Sports analyst Paul Carcaterra. Carcaterra opined that if he were on the selection committee for the NCAA tournament, he would nominate reigning national champion and No. 1 Syracuse for the No. 1 seed -- but not without some hesitation.
"They certainly have the potential to win a national championship," Carcaterra said. "But I think they kind of backed into this No. 1 seed based on everything that’s kind of gone on with Brown beating Cornell and Virginia getting skunked by Duke. Talent-wise, they’re certainly in the discussion of being the top team in the country along with three or four other schools. Being the No. 1 seed, I don’t think they did anything over the last four to six weeks that just wowed people to put them in that spot, but I think they do deserve it based on everything that happened over the weekend."
Carcaterra wasn’t as high on Duke’s resume for the No. 1 seed.
"I don’t think their whole body of work constitutes a No. 1 seed," he said. "I think they match up really well against Virginia. ... But I think if you look at their entire body of work, they lost to Cornell at home, they lost to Maryland earlier in the season, and they lost to Harvard. I think they’ve played themselves into being a top-four seed by winning the ACC, which is the best conference in college lacrosse. But if you look at their entire body of work, I can’t see how you give them a No. 1. They’re certainly a hot team at the right time."
Carcaterra also offered his opinon on which teams will play at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., on Memorial Day Weekend. Here are his thoughts on the four schools:
* "I’d probably say Syracuse. I really like the way they’re playing. I did their UMass game [a 10-3 result last Saturday] and what was pretty reassuring to me was the way they played defense and their goaltender. I thought [sophomore John] Galloway was great and the defense forced UMass into some poor-angled shooting."
* "You’ve got to love Duke. I’ve loved Duke even after that first Virginia upset. I did their game against Army, and I think they’re playing some punishing defense. a lot’s been said about their offense putting up big numbers and that can’t go unnoticed, but they’re playing some defense in Durham, too. You look at their four long poles in [senior Ryan] McFadyen, [sophomore Mike] Manley, [junior Parker] McKee and [freshman C.J.] Costabile, a long-stick middie who can face off and score goals. That’s the best unit in the country right now defensively."
* "I still like Cornell. I like Cornell because of their senior leadership. [John] Glynn and [Max] Seibald are four-year starters at the midfield who really cause havoc, and they’ve got this kid [Rob] Pannell who is giving them some balance on the attack end. He’s one of the best feeders in the country, and he’s only a freshman. Defenses now can’t just worry about the top of the field against Cornell’s offense. They have to deal with some of those kids behind [the net], and [junior Ryan] Hurley’s a great finisher, too. Their offense is one of the best in the country, I think. They’re not as deep in the midfield though. That can be a little bit of an issue."
* "Believe it or not, I think the fourth team is Johns Hopkins just because of the way Coach [Dave] Pietramala always makes adjustments from losses earlier in the year. Look at their schedule. They have seen everything. I do respect Notre Dame, and I think they have a great team, but look at their schedule. They’re undefeated and they’ve beaten one team in the top 10. Hopkins has played, what, six or seven teams in the top 10. A team like Hopkins is battle-tested, they’re always going to play great team defense, and I think they’re going to make adjustments. Don’t be surprised if the Blue Jays are playing on Memorial Day."