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Notebook: Buckeyes' Meurer, Haus among defenders tasked with guarding Pannell

NCAA: 5,500 tickets sold to Sunday's quarterfinals at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, just 865 for Saturday's games in College Park

Courtesy of Inside Lacrosse

8:29 PM EDT, May 16, 2013

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The storyline heading into Maryland's first-round game against Cornell on Sunday dealt with who to match up against Rob Pannell.

This week, there isn't as much speculation over who among Dominic Imbordino, Joe Meurer (McDonogh) and Robby Haus (Gilman) will draw the assignment — one, because fans aren't as familiar with those players as they are with the Terps' defense; and two, because Ohio State is much more likely to employ multiple strategies to slow down Pannell, as opposed to trying to play him straight up.

"We want to play with seven," Buckeyes coach Nick Myers said. "We're not going to be a team that's going to chase you and risking giving you a break. Our attitude is 'We've got seven to your six.' "

"We don't tell a lot of guys who we're guarding until the morning of the game. A lot of times that's for us, to keep us off-balance. Part of the reason we change so much is that we feel playing against our offense every day, we have to give them different looks."

•As of Tuesday, 5,500 tickets had been sold to Sunday's NCAA quarterfinals at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, compared with 865 tickets for Saturday's quarterfinals at Byrd Stadium in College Park, the NCAA released to Inside Lacrosse on Wednesday.

Additionally, as of last Friday the NCAA had sold 18,284 all-session passes and 1,980 single-day tickets for Championship Weekend, at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

The information comes on the heels of a first round that saw attendance average roughly 200 fewer people per venue than in 2012.

The news regarding Indianapolis ticket sales is promising as an NCAA men's lacrosse tournament event heads to Lucas Oil Stadium for the first time.

However, the College Park attendance prospects were dealt a significant blow Sunday as Cornell knocked off the host Terps. The Big Red plays Ohio State and Syracuse takes on Yale on the same day as the Preakness in Baltimore.

Last year, 13,390 fans showed up at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium to see Denver-Loyola and Johns Hopkins-Maryland on the first day of quarterfinals.

•Player and team improvement is a common theme in sports. Not as often do we talk about a coach's improvement. Yale coach Andy Shay has improved the process of being a head coach, leading the Bulldogs to back-to-back Ivy League titles.

At the outset of his head coaching career, when he was responsible for the Bulldogs' defense, he focused on normal coaching duties like "game-planning" and "changing the culture," he said; noble pursuits, but they had their price.

"I used to go an entire season without talking to the backups once the game prep started," Shay said. "As the season wears on, you feel bad about that because the job is more to mentor these guys and help them along."

At the suggestion of former Maryland and Loyola College coach Dave Cottle, Shay invited an outside speaker to talk to the team in 2010, and that sparked a change in Shay's mentality as a coach.

"One of the things he taught me was that the process matters more than anything else," Shay said. "I spent the rest of the year changing how we practice. I'd been a guy that said, 'We're about us,' but not full-throttle like [now]. I remember being at Delaware and UMass, and when we played Hofstra every year, I marveled at John Danwoski, and it turns out he's more about doing little things right in practice. As a coach, it's a huge leap of faith; you're playing Cornell and Princeton in early March and you have to prepare for everything they do, and you have to throw away the scouting report for a couple days? It's won me over. We've had double-digit win seasons every year since, and even to this day, we talk about process, even during the game. It's helped me really understand what makes a team tick better."