Working Off The Weekend: Five Things to Know
1. The Shot Clock Argument is Already Back
The great part about more lacrosse on television is that there is more lacrosse on television. But it also allows fans, old and new alike, to see the shot clock debate unfold before our eyes. Late in Ohio State's 10-9 upset of Denver on Sunday afternoon on NBC Sports Network, as the Buckeyes held the ball and milked the clock while trying to win, game analyst Evan Washburn suggested the events as evidence for certain fans' desire for a rule that would force teams into shooting or turn over possession.
In a TV interview on the field immediately after the game, Denver coach Bill Tierney brought up the point as well. "This is what people complain about," he said, later mentioning the game was a "slow one."
One big TV game into the season and the shot clock suggestion is back squarely on the table in Division I men's lacrosse. It's the first time we've heard it on lacrosse television this season, but certainly won't be the last. All that happened Sunday is within the rules.
The ironic part about it all is that Nick Myers' Ohio State team was one of a just a handful that participated in experimental rules scrimmages this fall. The Buckeyes played with a 60-second shot clock against North Carolina, and Myers supported the time constraint. "That's the way the game should be played," Myers said then. But coaches, no matter their philosophical outlook on the game, will err on the side of winning, and the current rules allow teams to "hold the ball" to do it.
2. Lacrosse on NBC Sports Network
Late Sunday night, after a weekend of posting recaps, photos, stories and boxscores from a bounty of games, I fired up the DVR in the LaxMagazine.com home office and watched the first half of the Denver-Ohio State game that I originally missed. I wanted to fully gauge what I believe was NBC Sports' first foray into modern men's college lacrosse coverage.
During the second half I watched live earlier Sunday, I had no issues. And after watching the first half on replay, my opinion didn't change. From the camerawork, to play-by-play by Brent Harris, analysis from Washburn, sideline interviews from Amber Theoharis, to graphics and replays, everything was generally solid (aside from mispronoucing Navy goalie RJ Wickham's name in the second game of the doubleheader). I actually got excited seeing that multicolored peacock logo associated with a lacrosse game. It reminded me of some of my favorite sports television coverage of all-time: the glory days of the NBA on NBC in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I would have never thought then that I'd see a mid-February lacrosse doubleheader on an NBC Sports network featuring teams from Denver, Ohio, Florida and Maryland. But I'm glad I did.
You could tell NBC wanted to educate new fans of the sport, but I don't think they dumbed down the broadcast that much. The game was more than watchable for this lacrosse fan. The picture-perfect Florida weather in high-definition didn't hurt.
3. Purple Reign is Alive and Well
For those expecting that the Northwestern-Duke women's game on Sunday would have had a closer result, the top-ranked Wildcats do not say they're sorry. How's this? 13-5 on the road in Durham, N.C., in less than ideal weather conditions. Make that two straight Sunday losses for the Duke women, going back to last week against Vanderbilt when they managed just five goals. Northwestern, on the other hand, looks like it will play in the final game this season – again.
4. Nobody is Safe
On the men's side, the view from the top is not as sturdy. From the previously mentioned Denver upset to top-ranked Virginia's wild opener against Drexel, to Lacrosse Magazine's preseason No. 2 team, Duke, going down on the road at Notre Dame, the buzzword "parity" that's been thrown around lacrosse circles like gravy on Thanksgiving, is still applicable.
5. A Few Words on State Flag Fashion
I tweeted this on Sunday but this is a chance to share with a larger audience. I'm neither a huge gear head nor a Maryland native, but Stevenson's Maryland state flag/Stevenson green helmet combination is awesome.