CBS Sports Network analyst Evan Washburn took part in a Q&A on Monday. The former Delaware defenseman, who can be followed on Twitter via @EvanWashburn, also answered a few questions about Johns Hopkins, No. 9 Maryland, No. 11 Loyola and No. 16 Johns Hopkins.
Johns Hopkins’ streak of 41 consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament ended Sunday night. Was that the right decision by the selection committee?
For sure. It was obvious. I did their Army game on Friday night and was able to speak with [coach Dave Pietramala] throughout the week, and he seemed to have a reality to it. I said this on the broadcast that when we look back on it in a few years, this will be maybe even a positive. I think they need to hit the refresh button. They need to put that streak behind them. I think at times, it’s been a burden on the players that they had to play with at Hopkins. At the end of the day, they’re kids and they have more pressure on them than any other team in the country. So the fact that they can put this streak behind them and they can go forward with a fresh start, a fresh perspective and possibly in a conference, I think it’s a positive. I think this is an example of the committee getting it right and really being as professional about this as they could.
Cornell’s defense is overshadowed by the offense. Can sixth-seeded Maryland’s struggling offense take advantage of that matchup?
If you had to find a weakness with Cornell, it would be their defense. I think that Maryland, in that Colgate game [18-6 on Saturday], found some confidence offensively. They were a little more dynamic. I think that they have a team built to beat Cornell. While I think it will be close, if both teams are at their best, I think Maryland is the better team. So it’s a question of which team shows up for Maryland. The one in the first half of the season that put up big numbers against Duke and Loyola? Or the one that we saw against Johns Hopkins? But to answer the question, the place to beat Cornell is by taking advantage of their defense and their lack of depth. I don’t think they are as deep a team as Maryland does. That second midfield for Maryland is key. They need to be productive.
Loyola’s last game was a loss to Ohio State in the semifinals of the Eastern College Athletic Conference tournament. Any concern that the setback will plague the reigning national champion in its first-round game against seventh-seeded Duke?
Loyola’s been tough to figure out. You see the way they played Hopkins [on April 27], and they looked really good. The Rope unit was back and this was the team that won the national championship. And then you mentioned the Ohio State game. So I’m not sure. I think there are two teams that could show up. They have the mentality and the ability to go down to Durham and beat Duke. It’s a question of if there is a hangover lingering from the course of the season. They’ve dealt with a lot over the course of the season coming back from winning the national championship. But I doubt they’ll have a hangover from the ECAC because Charley Toomey is going to do his best to get them motivated. They’ve played well, so there’s confidence in that. I know they lost to Duke, and it was a one-goal game, but I think they feel healthy and with all of their weapons included, they can go down to Durham and win.
Not many people are giving Towson a shot against third-seeded Ohio State. Can the Tigers pull off the upset?
They’ve had an incredible season. To start the year off losing to High Point and then win the [Colonial Athletic Association tournament] over a Penn State team that everybody had penned in as the champion is incredible. What Shawn Nadelen has done is Coach of the Year-worthy. I’ll go back to my experience when I was at Delaware in 2007. We were very similar to Towson. We only got into the CAA tournament because we won our last game against Villanova. If you get hot at the right time, anything can happen. I’ll admit that I haven’t seen enough of Towson to know if they have the pieces to make a run, but it’s hard to ignore results, and at the moment, they’re a hot team. They go up and play an Ohio State that is new to the moment and in a new situation, and of course they have a shot.