xml:space="preserve">

Evan Washburn will participate as analyst for CBS Sports Network's coverage of the Big East tournament semifinals at Denver on Thursday and then No. 10 Duke's road game at Boston University on Sunday. Washburn, the former Delaware defenseman who can be followed on Twitter via @EvanWashburn, discussed No. 3 Maryland's prospects of winning the Big Ten tournament, No. 8 Loyola Maryland's run to the Patriot League tournament championship, and No. 14 Navy's footing for an at-large spot in the NCAA tournament.

Would it be fair to say that Maryland is the overwhelming favorite to win the Big Ten tournament?

Advertisement

Overwhelming? Based on what you saw from [No. 9 Johns] Hopkins who played with them [in Saturday's 11-8 loss], that might be a stretch. I think they're the favorite. They're playing probably as well as anybody in the country right now. They make you play their style of lacrosse. It may not be the most visually appealing, but it's about winning games, and they've done a bunch of that. Coach [John] Tillman has got them confident and rolling at the right time. So I would say they're the favorite in the Big Ten, but I wouldn't say overwhelming. I think Johns Hopkins can play with them, and who knows if [No. 17] Rutgers can make a run or [No. 18] Penn State can upset them. I would be shocked to see that, but at that point, things can happen.

You mentioned the Atlantic Coast Conference as a four-bid league for the NCAA tournament in part one of the Q&A. Can the Big Ten be a three-bid league?

The way I see it, it's a two-bid league unless Penn State or Rutgers is able to upset Maryland or Hopkins in the semifinals. If Penn State can get to the finals, then I think Penn State puts itself in a strong position for an at-large. Similarly with Rutgers, if they're able to beat Hopkins and get to the championship game. That's where I could see it grow to a three-bid league. I kind of look at those semifinals as possible play-in games for teams like Penn State and Rutgers.

How potent does Loyola Maryland look after routing Army, 14-6, in the Patriot League tournament final?

Loyola's fun. I was asked if they're a team that can go on a special run like they did in 2012, and I'm not sure I'm there yet with this group based on the fact that they're relying on freshmen in really key positions with [goalkeeper] Jacob Stover in the net and Pat Spencer as an attackman. Look, he's playing as well as anybody in the country right now, but I think they are a team where if they're winning faceoffs and creating transition and Spencer's doing what he does on the offensive end and Stover maybe elevates his game to another level, they're a team that could be potent and could be dangerous. My concern with Loyola is on the defensive end if they had to deal with a team with ACC or Big Ten speed in the midfield and the attack because they just don't have the one-on-one defenders that you usually see with Loyola in years past – whether that was Joe Fletcher or Pat Frazier or the short-sticks like Pat Laconi and Josh Hawkins. But they've been good and what they've done has been a lot of fun and special. I really credit Charley Toomey. This is one of the better coaching jobs he's done.

Is No. 11 Towson the favorite in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament?

Oh yeah. The thing about Towson is, every game seems to be a bit of slog. I know the defense under [coach] Shawn [Nadelen] has become one of the better units in the country, but manufacturing goals is a process. At Hofstra, that game was tight. I think it's going to be exciting probably to watch as a fan. I'm sure if you're a Towson fan, it will be a little bit stressful. I think they're the favorite, and they've proven to be the best team in the CAA. But it's not going to be a quick run through it because I just don't think that's how Towson is built.

How worried should Navy be about its positioning for the NCAA tournament?

I've thought a lot about this based on the fact that on Friday on the air, I was pretty emphatic that they were not going to get in. I may step back that from a little bit after diving into the teams and numbers a little bit more, but I still wouldn't feel good about it. I don't think they're going to make the tournament because the biggest factor is they don't have any games. They don't have a chance to improve their RPI, improve their perception to the committee. They just have to sit back and the last visualization we have of Navy is Friday laying an egg against a team that they're better than, they were at home, and not showing themselves to be a tournament team. All that being said, they still have a strong resume in terms of RPI, but when I looked at the teams that are in the same neighborhood to grab an at-large – whether that's Penn State or Rutgers or [No. 19] Marquette or [No. 16] Villanova – I think Navy runs out of steam based on them not having anything to do this week to maybe change their destiny. If I had to put a percentage on it, I'm 75 to 80 percent sure that they're not going to make the tournament.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement