Monday Notebook: MCLA Division I
- Should we be concerned about No. 13 Minnesota-Duluth after the Bulldogs were swept for the second time in as many two-game road trips? For many teams it would be an issue, but these trips are extremely low-risk for Duluth. Even the most optimistic of teams in the UMLL doesn't really believe that UMD won't win the league's automatic qualifier and a trip to Denver. The Dawgs are looking at a No. 8 to 11 seed in the tournament, meaning a very difficult quarterfinal opponent awaits if they get that far, but there aren't a lot of cupcakes once the field is narrowed to eight anyway.
On the positive side, Duluth is getting some great experience. Not only are they realizing that they are not far off -- they played to within a goal of No. 4 BYU, lost by one to No. 18 Oregon and three to No. 6 Colorado -- but they won't see a team anywhere close to that level in their conference. Could a UMLL team jump up and bite the Dawgs in the conference tourney? Sure, but that specter has been there every year and has never played out. It won't this year, either. As such, UMD is going to be a miserable first round draw and a very dangerous quarterfinal opponent.
- How about BYU's lost weekend in Michigan? Should there be any concern there? Perhaps I'm being Pollyannaish, but even Jason Lamb used to say that during the Cougars national championship seasons, they never went undefeated. This past weekend they tried to double down on two very good teams, on the road, in a couple of tough venues and lost both. There might be some concern that they weren't very competitive with Michigan, but that certainly isn't an exclusive club. BYU will beat Central Michigan today and then can load up for their game against No. 5 Chapman on Saturday at home. If the Cougars win that contest, they'll forget about this weekend quickly.
- Keep an eye out for a story on Central Florida's David Drehoff, who is leading scorer in MCLA Division I, later today.
- I've certainly maligned the GRLC along the way, so I have to give the league -- and, in particular, Illinois -- its propers when they earn it. And the Fighting Illini did this weekend, traveling to Cal and handing the Bears a 10-9 defeat on its home field. Marc Singer made 20 saves and Dan Dickson scored four goals and set up two others in the winning effort. The GRLC is still a one-bid league and the conference champ will likely be the No. 16 seed in Denver, but the Illini gave the conference something to brag about.
- If Oregon beats Colorado this afternoon, I bet it will scrub the pollsters memories of that opening weekend catastrophe against Cal and Santa Clara, and the Ducks will be Top 10...is Lindenwood any good? That loss to N.C. State was disturbing and now the Lions are heading back to SELC Country for their spring break. Lindenwood will play No. 10 Florida State next Sunday...UNH was on the cusp of having a miserable opening week in the desert. The Wildcats were blown out by No. 2 Arizona State and stifled by No. 19 Arizona heading into its game with No. 23 Santa Clara. Trailing by as much as 6-1, UNH rallied to pull off the 10-9 stunner. I'm not sure if it's enough to keep them in the poll, but it was a great way to salvage their spring break...Sunday's Chapman-Loyola Marymount game was postponed because of rain...No. 24 Illinois at No. 7 Cal Poly this afternoon.