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Part 1 of Q&A with CBS Sports Network men's lacrosse analyst Evan Washburn

Part 1 of Q&A with CBS Sports Network men's lacrosse analyst Evan Washburn
Wesley Berg (No. 14) and Tyler Pace (No. 3) of the Denver Pioneers react after a goal alongagainst Maryland in the NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Mitchell Leff / Getty Images)

Evan Washburn served as color analyst for CBS Sports Network's coverage of No. 10 Navy's 16-9 victory over Colgate on Saturday. Washburn, a former defenseman at Delaware, will be part of the channel's broadcast of this Saturday's contest between Cornell and Lehigh. Washburn, who can be followed on Twitter via @EvanWashburn, shared his reaction to several developments from this past weekend.

After Sunday's 8-6 win against No. 16 Duke, has top-ranked Notre Dame separated itself from the rest of the field?

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I really don't think that they've separated themselves. They're very good, but what I took away from that Duke game was they showed warts in that game that I hadn't seen in recent weeks. Their defense is great, but their offense at times wasn't as effective as I thought it could be against a Duke defense that had really been allowing teams to put up big numbers. The ability to come back and claw back into the game is something that should be commended, but I've been able to see Denver in person and they were able to get a win at Notre Dame. So I think there are some contenders that could definitely play with Notre Dame, and I'm really excited to learn more about Yale and Brown, which we will obviously learn this weekend, to see if they're in that conversation. Their records and their rankings obviously put them there, but until I see it in person or on film, I like to be a little tempered in my expectations. But I do not think that Notre Dame has separated itself.

Regarding Saturday's game between No. 2 Yale and No. 4 Brown, which team needs this more?

It's a challenging question because I think both teams need it badly. The perception is these teams are having great seasons, but have they really beaten anybody of note? Do they have a resume that maybe matches that of Notre Dame? Yale is [No.] 2 in the rankings in the media poll, and Notre Dame is 1, but Yale is unblemished. So if I had to choose one, I'd say Brown could use the win more not just because they have one loss to Bryant without their faceoff guy, but I just think that Brown could prove some people wrong who are maybe doubting them more than Yale, and their style and the way they want to play could prove a lot to us. So I think both teams need it, but not desperately because they're both in a great position in the big picture.

Two Atlantic Coast Conference members in No. 9 Syracuse and Duke are struggling a little bit. Which one should be nervous at this time?

I think, at this point, we have to be more concerned about Duke. I've made this point that each time I've doubted Duke, they've proved me wrong, and they've proved a lot of people wrong. We're creeping closer to May, and some of the things that seem to be a concern for Duke continue to be there. Their defense played much better against Notre Dame. I'm not sure on the surface if that's a testament to what Duke did defensively or the way that Notre Dame played offensively, but I thought Duke's offense let them down, which was a surprise. You usually see them put up big numbers. So the inconsistency that we've seen from Duke over the course of the season leads me to think that their standing at the moment is more concerning than where Syracuse is standing. Syracuse has some work to do to bounce back, but at the root of it, Duke's problems and concerns have been more worrisome than Syracuse's.

Is this a down year for the ACC or do we make that conclusion because the teams are beating up on each other?

I think that's kind of the narrative you get from the conference year in and year out. They're going to beat up on each other, but then all of the teams are going to get into the NCAA tournament. That could be in jeopardy this year, I think. UVA is in a really tough spot at the moment and even [No. 11] UNC to a point and Syracuse has put itself in a precarious spot as well as Duke. But I don't think that this year in the ACC is much different than years past. I think we may have had a team at this point in the season or at least two in the conference that may have separated itself a little bit, but I still think of the ACC as four teams. Now it's just gotten a little bit bigger. You had UNC-UVA yesterday and you think, 'UVA could easily win this game,' and then they get blown out. It's an unexpected conference in that regard. I thought Duke played well enough at times to win that game against Notre Dame, and they're the No. 1 team in the country. So to me, not much else has changed in terms of what I think of the ACC and how they do beat up on each other.

We're more than a month away from even thinking about championship weekend in Philadelphia, but right now, which teams would be your leading candidates to get there?

I think it could be a mixture of Denver, Notre Dame and Maryland. I think they've almost flown under the radar. I like what Maryland is doing. I'm going to reserve judgment on Yale and Brown until I see them go up against one another on Saturday to see whether I throw them in that race. But I think one of those two teams – based off of results and everything that we've seen from them – could be in the conversation.

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