Analyst Mark Dixon and play-by-play man Mike Corey covered No. 8 seed Syracuse's 11-9 win against Albany Sunday night in an NCAA tournament first-round game. The former Johns Hopkins midfielder, who can be followed on Twitter at @DixonLacrosse, offered his opinion on that contest and other first-round matchups from this past weekend.

What was your reaction to the results in the first round of the NCAA tournament?


I thought that especially Sunday, the tournament was a great reflection of the regular season. You had two upsets in Towson and Navy, and you almost had a third with Albany and Syracuse. I thought Saturday kind of went according to script and then Sunday was more representative of what we saw in the regular season with upsets and great performances. That was the difference in the two days. Favorites on Saturday, and then Sunday was a little more chaotic.

In the game you covered, Albany had a 6-2 lead at halftime, but lost to Syracuse. What happened?

I thought [junior] Ben Williams did much better at the faceoff dot. I thought he changed his technique. I thought the wings were much better for Syracuse – in particular, [junior long-stick midfielder] Scott Firman, No. 25. I thought they just really did a much better job at the faceoff dot to get possessions, and once they got their possessions, they were able to get into a rhythm, I thought they were much more aggressive offensively in the second half. They created slides by Albany after not really running by anybody and creating anything in the first half. And I thought they shot the ball a whole lot better against [senior goalkeeper] Blaze Riorden in the second half. It was a tale of two halves. Albany had a 6-4 lead at halftime in terms of faceoffs and really kind of controlled the game. And then Syracuse in the second half went on one of their patented runs, 5-1 in the third quarter. So they turned a 6-2 game into a 7-7 game and won the fourth quarter.

Between Towson's 10-9 win at No. 2 seed and 2015 national champion Denver and Navy's 13-10 victory at No. 4 seed Yale, which one was the more surprising outcome?

I think both were surprising, but to me, it's Navy over Yale. I saw Navy play Maryland [on April 19], and they lost 10-5. Granted, it was three days after playing Army with a lot of emotion spent and a lot of strength spent, but they just looked really flat. And then they beat Sacred Heart 7-1 [on April 22], a really uninspired type of effort, and then they got throttled by Army at home for the second year in a row in the Patriot League tournament. Then they're going to New Haven, a really tough place to play against a Yale team that not only won the Ivy League tournament championship but also got their best defenseman [in senior Michael Quinn] back. So I really think Navy, a team that I was really disappointed in when I saw them, I thought the win over Yale was more surprising than Towson's win over Denver.

Which team had the most impressive showing in the first round?

You have to be impressed with the upsets, but I think [No. 1 seed] Maryland went out, and they did what they had to do. I was surprised at how [No. 3 seed] Notre Dame handled Air Force as quote-unquote easily as they did. But I thought the most impressive performance belonged to [No. 7 seed] Loyola [Maryland] beating Duke, 16-11. I thought the Greyhounds offensively played really well and you have to take into consideration Duke smacked them around in March at Ridley. So to come back in the tournament and beat them the way that they did, I think you have to say that Loyola over Duke, that was probably – from start to finish – the most impressive result of this past weekend.

Was there a team that underwhelmed you?

[Johns] Hopkins. I thought offensively, they were going to be able to create and generate more scoring chances, and they just didn't. Especially early in that game, Brown was not playing particularly well, and the Blue Jays just could never get on track. I have to give a lot of credit to Brown, but at the same time, Hopkins' offense has been held together with Scotch tape and bubble gum all year, and they still seemed to be able to score goals, and they just couldn't get anything going against Brown. When you've got [senior] Craig Madarasz and [sophomore] Hunter Moreland as your faceoff guys and you have to go to long-pole [freshman Robert Kuhn twice and junior Austin Spencer once] to face off, that's really disappointing. I thought Madarasz was hot there toward the end, and I thought Moreland did a terrific job particularly in the Big Ten tournament.

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