ESPN analyst and former Syracuse All-American midfielder Paul Carcaterra will provide commentary for No. 1 seed Virginia’s first-round game at Klockner Stadium in Charlottesville, Va., against Mount St. Mary’s this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Carcaterra offered his opinion on the omission of Georgetown, the seed with the easiest road to the Final Four, and the local team with the best chance to reach the Final Four.
Question: How would you evaluate the selection committee’s decisions regarding the make-up of the 16-team field?
Paul Carcaterra: "One interesting team that popped out at me was Georgetown. It’s almost unfair to put them head-to-head with another team, but when you look at the Georgetown-Notre Dame situation, it doesn’t make complete sense unless you were in that committee. Georgetown had the better record, a better strength of schedule, a better RPI, and they beat Notre Dame head-to-head. So to me, there’s some kind of discrepancy there. Look, it’s not an easy job because this year – more than ever – so many teams beat each other. For example, Loyola beat Georgetown, Georgetown beat Notre Dame, and Notre Dame beat Loyola. That’s just one example of how it’s so cyclical with all of these teams beating each other. I think there was probably a lot of tension on who should be in and who should be out. If Georgetown got in and Loyola didn’t, then people would be barking that Loyola beat them head-to-head, and something similar could be said for a lot of these situations. It was not an easy situation to be in if you’re on the committee, but that was one team that possibly got a raw deal."
Q: So it sounds like you had Georgetown pegged for the tournament. If that’s the case, which team did you think was out?
PC: "I was kind of debating between four teams for the last two spots, and they were Hopkins, Loyola, Hofstra and Drexel. I thought Drexel had a pretty nice body of work. Drexel beat Notre Dame, beat Hofstra. The other situation that I thought was kind of interesting was that Drexel was almost penalized – in my mind – for going to the conference tournament. Hofstra doesn’t make the conference tournament, but gets in the NCAA Tournament, and Drexel stays home because they lost to Delaware again. When you think about it, Drexel hurt themselves by going to the conference tournament and losing again, whereas Hofstra stayed idle and got to the NCAA Tournament. So those were my four teams, and I felt like it came down to either Hofstra or Drexel and Hopkins or Loyola. I had Georgetown in and Notre Dame in, so it wasn’t necessarily about Georgetown getting in over Notre Dame. Hopkins beat Loyola last weekend, and even though they had a worse record, they also played a much tougher schedule than Loyola. So I thought that Hopkins and Drexel should have gotten in. I think Hofstra’s a better team – top to bottom – than Drexel, but they just didn’t take care of business when they should have. And not making your conference tournament – although that’s not a pre-requisite – to me, that just didn’t add up."
Q: What were your thoughts on Stony Brook getting the No. 8 seed and a home game in the first round?
PC: "I was surprised because when you think of Stony Brook and their body of work – although they have two of the most explosive offensive players in [junior midfielder] Kevin Crowley and [junior attackman] Jordan McBride – what’s their top win? I looked at their schedule, and they had no big wins on that entire schedule. They beat Towson, but Towson’s at home and they’re 7-8. Delaware’s their best win, but you don’t get a No. 8 seed when Delaware’s your best win. I would have given the No. 8 seed to – as crazy as it sounds – Georgetown. Georgetown beat Notre Dame, they played a very difficult schedule, and they didn’t have any bad losses. Georgetown had a top-10 RPI and their strength of schedule was ninth. That’s why when Georgetown didn’t get in, it was like, whoa. With that said, I think Stony Brook can beat Denver because Denver is traveling all the way to the East, and it’s at Stony Brook."
Q: Would you agree or disagree that Virginia has the easist path to the Final Four at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Memorial Day weekend?
PC: "Absolutely. Virginia’s path to the Final Four is drastically easier than the other top seeds. They’re playing a Mount St. Mary’s team that is actually pretty good this year. They’re not a poor team by any stretch, but for the No. 1 team in the country, they will be heavily favored and should win that game without too much trouble. And that quarterfinal game, when you think about it, is normally a bear of a game for every top seed. It’s usually a difficult game more times than not. But to face either Stony Brook or Denver as opposed to [No. 4 seed] North Carolina and [No. 5 seed] Duke potentially squaring off, [No. 2 seed] Syracuse possibly playing [No. 7 seed] Cornell, and [No. 6 seed] Princeton playing [No. 3 seed] Maryland, those are much tougher games than Virginia’s. Unless North Carolina gets healthy, I think Duke is a few goals better than North Carolina right now. Syracuse and Cornell, the last two times those teams have played, it’s come down to the last second, so you can’t tell me that’s an easy game."
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