Skip to main content
reese burek army

The Post-Week Tailgate: March 3, 2024

March 3, 2024
Brian Logue
Rich Barnes

A week ago this time, I looked at the upcoming weekend’s NCAA Division I men’s slate and referred to it as “Judgement Week” in an internal team chat with my colleagues. It seemed like we would know a little bit more about who the real championship contenders would be after this weekend’s games.

The reality?

I think we’re all more confused than ever.

Duke began the week at No. 1, but lost a tight one, 14-12, in the rain to Penn on Friday night before bouncing back to rout Princeton, 17-8, on Sunday.

Penn itself was unable to carry over the momentum, falling on Sunday to a North Carolina team that had dropped two straight games.

With Duke’s Friday night loss, No. 2 Virginia appeared poised to take over the top spot, but Johns Hopkins outgunned the Cavaliers 16-14 to win its fifth straight.

The opened the door for 2022 national champion Maryland, the No. 3 ranked team, to take over the throne. But last year’s champion, Notre Dame, snapped back from its loss to Georgetown last Sunday to beat the Terps 14-9 earlier today in South Bend.

What are we left with? Five undefeated teams that probably no one expected to be the last of the unbeatens — Army, Denver, Harvard, NJIT and Quinnipiac.

I think what it means is that we’re going to have a really fun time the next three months. As much as the loaded rosters of some of the experienced teams seemed to be on a different level when we analyzed the season back in January, it truly feels like things can shake out multiple ways in the coming weeks.

Random Observations

Army made it a perfect 5-0 to start the season with Sunday’s 16-11 victory over Lafayette. It’s the first time the Black Knights have started 5-0 since 1993 when they won the Patriot League and advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals.

Army has been strong is recent years – 10 winning seasons in the last 11 years and a trip to the NCAA quarterfinals last year – but this Army team feels different. One coach told me after their win over Syracuse on Wednesday night, “They’ve always had strong, tough athletes, but these guys are highly-skilled lacrosse players. They can flat out play.”

Case in point – this goal by Reese Burek.

For the second year in a row, Notre Dame’s football team showed up in force on the sidelines of a big game. This time, they had one of their own to root for. Freshman midfielder, Jordan Faison, a wide receiver on the football team, delivered with a hat trick, including a behind-the-back to the delight of both sets of his teammates in the 14-9 win over Maryland.

I can’t help but think that Doyle Smith would have loved the Johns Hopkins at Virginia game on Saturday. Smith was a Johns Hopkins lacrosse team manager, longtime SID at Virginia and publicist for the sport through his role with the USILA. The winner of the game has won the Doyle Smith Cup for the last two decades.

Smith was a one-man public relations shop for the sport at a time when there was little national coverage. I had the good fortune to meet him in 1987 and our paths continued to cross occasionally through the years. Saturday’s game was everything the sport has to offer to the point that even the losing team saw some of the good in the game.

“These are tough games you love to play,” said Virginia head coach Lars Tiffany. “You know Hopkins is pushing their transition and getting the ball up and down the field and playing aggressive. We survived a lot of their transition. We scored in quite a bit of transition. We’ve got the sun here at Klöckner, the crowd, great stuff. Let’s not take that away. The result? Feels awful. Of course it does.”

Michigan's Michael Boehm
Michigan's Michael Boehm went over 200 career points in Michigan's win at Delaware.
Kevin P. Tucker

Road Warriors

No one is going to shed tears for Michigan spending time in Florida instead of Ann Arbor in February, but the Wolverines three wins over the last week-plus should not be glossed over. Michigan beat Marquette, 20-12, last Saturday in Naples, Fla., stayed in the Sunshine State and beat Jacksonville, 13-10, on Tuesday and then finished up the trip with a 13-8 win at a tough Delaware team yesterday.

Up next for the 5-1 Wolverines? Unbeaten Harvard on Sunday and then games against the last two NCAA champions — Notre Dame and Maryland.

Penn State’s 15-14 overtime win against Yale didn’t seem possible at halftime. The Bulldogs led 9-2 at the half and it just felt like they had complete control of the game.

The Nittany Lions scored the first five to open the second half, but Yale appeared to have withstood the storm and stretched the lead back to 13-8 late in the third quarter. Penn State never gave up and Mac Costin tied it with 4:50 left in the fourth quarter to force overtime.

Jake Morin scored the winner in overtime – the only time Penn State had a lead the entire game – and set off a wild celebration in Happy Valley.

By the Numbers

7 • School-record tying goals for Richmond’s Luke Grayum in the Spiders 19-10 win over Binghamton. Richmond trailed 4-1 and 6-4 early and led just 8-7 at the half. Grayum scored five of his seven in the second half.

36 • Consecutive games with at least one goal for Johns Hopkins’ Garrett Degnon, one away from tying the school record.

47 • Points for Syracuse’s Joey Spallina, best in the nation, following a seven-goal, two-assist effort against High Point on Saturday.

Cornell's C.J. Kirst
Cornell's C.J. Kirst
Rich Barnes


Goals for Cornell's C.J. Kirst in the Big Red's 15-11 win over Ohio State. It was the fourth time in his Cornell career that Kirst tallied seven goals in a game. Kirst has had at least a hat trick in every game this season and is shooting 42.1 percent, the best of his career.

14 • Career-high tying saves by Duke freshman goalie Patrick Jamieson (just five goals allowed) in the Blue Devils 17-8 win over Princeton on Sunday.

2008 • The last time Quinnipiac opened the season 4-0 before the Bobcats matched that start with a 15-12 win over Merrimack. Mason Oak made 15 saves now has 68 for the season and his 17.0 saves per game leads the country.

84 • Saves for NJIT goalie Liam Brown this season, tops in the nation.

17.6 • Goals per game for Harvard with the offense led by Sam King (16g, 16a).

3 • Consecutive wins for VMI, the school’s longest winning streak since 2008. Following a 15-10 win over Detroit Mercy, the Keydets are off to a 4-2 start, their best start since 2000.

18 • Days Detroit Mercy went from its opener on Feb. 13, a 22-8 loss to Marquette, to its second game, a 15-10 loss to VMI on Saturday.