Evan Washburn is back serving as a college lacrosse analyst for the CBS Sports Network. Washburn, a defenseman at Delaware, will be part of the channel's college basketball coverage through March, but will call his first lacrosse game on April 2 when No. 2 and reigning NCAA champion Denver visits No. 17 Georgetown. Washburn, who can be followed on Twitter via @EvanWashburn, shared his reaction to several storylines from this past weekend.
There were a number of upsets including then-No. 8 Loyola Maryland edging then-No. 6 Johns Hopkins, Hofstra defeating then-No. 7 North Carolina, Massachusetts knocking off then-No. 11 Ohio State, and then-No. 19 Penn State nipping then-No. 15 Cornell. At this point, should we be shocked by any of them?
I think it's OK to be surprised, but I think you need to take it all with a grain of salt. I think we all understand that we can take a look at these results, but we also understand how early it is in the season and that this is the new reality of what a season is. The teams as they are constituted now and the way that they're playing aren't necessarily what they will be down the road as things get important. But I think just like in any sport, what we do in the preseason and offseason in terms of forecasting things is, we have to return to the mean a little bit in those first few weeks to know if teams are truly what we thought they would be. So I think it's OK to still be surprised. I was caught off-guard that UNC lost to Hofstra. But I think what it does for me at least is, it makes me re-evaluate what I thought of Hofstra going into the season. I think there's a healthy balance, but this is kind of the world we live in where we want to predict things and forecast things, but we have to be ready to be wrong on some of those things. That's the world you live in the first few weeks of any season. There's going to be upsets. It just so happened that they occurred all on one weekend.
Of the upsets, would it be fair to speculate that No. 13 Hofstra was the greatest beneficiary of its 10-5 victory at No. 11 North Carolina and that Ohio State absorbed the biggest blow via its 16-9 loss at Massachusetts?
I was caught off-guard the most by Hofstra's win. I thought Carolina deserved the ranking that they had and the predictions that many of us had of what they could be this season, and all of those things are still in play. They just need to figure some things out. But what Hofstra was able to do makes me have to look back at what I thought and do some more homework and understand Hofstra better. And I think Ohio State put themselves in a position with their loss that things are bit concerning. But they have plenty of room and time to dig themselves out of it. And I think Hopkins put themselves in a situation. They did a lot last season in making that Final Four run, but when they lose a game, because of their schedule, they don't necessarily have a game that they can maybe rebound with easily.
What was your reaction to Denver's 14-12 win against No. 3 Duke at the Cobb County Classic in Georgia?
Denver is my No. 1 team in the country, and I think they proved that with the way they played against Duke and the way they were able to get that win. With what they have at the X in [sophomore Trevor] Baptiste and then all of the other factors and [coach] Bill Tierney's ability to create a situation where this team – despite the success they've had – there's still an edge that you can see and that jumps off the film. I thought it was an extremely well-played game for where it was in the season. I loved the atmosphere down in Atlanta. I think the fans were treated to an awesome event, and I think Denver is right there with Notre Dame as the top team in the country.
What does that loss mean for Duke?
I think it just means that there are areas they can look at. They can say, 'Look, here's where we hung with one of the top two teams in the country, and we were right there.' A lot of eyes are focused on their defense right now based off of last year, and I think that's still an area that needs to improve. But they faced an offense that is about as efficient as you will find, and I don't think they necessarily played poorly on that end. I think they'll be able to pick things out of that and [coach] John Danowski will do that. And he does that as well as anybody in terms of taking something from a loss – and in this case, I don't think it's a loss where you have to re-evaluate too much – for fine-tuning. It's not a start-from-scratch process. I think defensively, that's probably where that focus will lie, but I think all things considered – especially at the [faceoff] X where they were hanging tough with the best in the country before things tailed off toward the back end of the game – it should be a positive film session with a few things that need to be fine-tuned, which is what Duke does best.
Were you surprised by the 16-7 score No. 3 Syracuse posted in Sunday's demolition of No. 18 Albany?
A little bit. But I think I need to remember that Albany is not what they were when [two-time Tewaaraton Award-winning attackman] Lyle Thompson was there and that they're not the team that we've come to know in the last few seasons. That was probably going to be a moment where it was a wake-up call to all of us. The flipside of that is Syracuse is very good, and they showed you the depth they had. I know they've been dealing with some injuries, and some guys got nicked up in that game, but to be able to put up 16 and to be able to spread the scoring around the way that they did against a high-caliber goalie in [senior] Blaze Riorden, I think it says a lot about where they are offensively and the firepower that this team has. But to be honest with you, my biggest takeaway was probably that Albany is not going to be the highlight-reel, fun team to watch as it is currently constituted without Lyle Thompson. I'm sure under coach [Scott] Marr, they'll get back there, but this was a reminder that Albany is different in 2016.