Morning Jac: Two MCLA Spoilers Emerge
A pair of MCLA teams capped off 1,000-plus mile, three-game spring break trips on Monday evening and established themselves as potential spoilers in the upcoming MCLA Division I tournament. No. 13 Boston College blanked No. 15 Arizona for 45 minutes in a 6-4 win in Tucson while No. 7 Michigan State beat No. 24 Oregon in Eugene, 14-9.
It wasn't a perfect weekend for either team. Both went 2-1 with a loss to a ranked team. BC smoked Texas A&M on Friday and then lost to No. 2 Arizona State, 14-5, on Saturday. Sparty fizzled against No. 19 Sonoma State in overtime, but beat No. 17 Simon Fraser, 17-14, on Friday. Despite the imperfect trip, both teams are going to be a miserable draw on a May Tuesday in Denver.
BC has the biggest potential to be a spoiler. The Eagles are obviously a talented team -- remember, this is a program that is developmentally a month behind all of the teams they played in the desert -- but they will be matched up with a Top 4 seed in Denver. Because of the dead weight on their schedule and the lightweight nature of the PCLL, the Eagles will be hard-pressed to get into the Top 12 at nationals.
On a quick aside, let's rid ourselves of the notion that New Hampshire is going to usurp BC's hegemony in the PCLL. The Wildcats are undoubtedly a program on the come, but I'm starting to believe this Eagles team is better than last year and UNH is probably going to be weaker. Could I be proven wrong? Sure. But I doubt I will.
As for Michigan State, its season will follow the same plotline: piggy-back off Michigan to pick up several second-day victories, maintain a decent ranking, lose to the Wolverines in the CCLA finals, and enter the tournament as a No. 9 seed. BYU dodged the upset last year as the No. 8 seed, but Sparty made them sweat. This year's No. 8 may not be so lucky.
Both teams will likely plummet when the Prodigy poll is released today, but don't put too much stock in that. Boston College and Michigan State are both quality teams, and are going to make some team's life miserable in two months.
Best & Worst
Worst part about today: Lent starts tomorrow and I'm going 40 days and 40 nights without a drop of alcohol. No small feat for an Irish Catholic writer from Boston with an affection for 12-year-old Scotch.