Part 2 of Q&A with ESPN men's lacrosse analyst Paul Carcaterra

Paul Carcaterra, who served as on-field reporter for ESPN's broadcast of the NCAA tournament quarterfinals at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday, will fill the same role for the network's coverage of the semifinals and final at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia this weekend. The former Syracuse midfielder, who can be followed on Twitter via @paulcarcaterra, provided his thoughts on each of the semifinal games, his pick to win each contest and finally his choice to capture the 2016 national championship.

What catches your eye about the first semifinal between North Carolina and No. 7 seed Loyola Maryland?


I mentioned [Tar Heels junior faceoff specialist] Stephen Kelly before, and I was just so impressed with his ability to scrap. Even when he doesn't win, he's just a warrior. He doesn't stop. So he's really important. I also think that Loyola's first midfield is important. They do some things where they have three dodgers at a time on the field in [redshirt junior Brian] Sherlock and [junior Romar] Dennis and [senior Tyler] Albrecht, and Albrecht has been a little banged up, so they bring in [sophomore Jay] Drapeau, who is really quick. They have that dimension, and when they're dodging well, that takes some of the pressure off of [freshman attackman] Pat Spencer. So can Loyola somewhat slow down Stephen Kelly? And for Carolina, can they slow down Loyola's offense – not only Pat Spencer but also that first midfield?

What interests you about the second semifinal between No. 5 seed Brown and No. 1 seed Maryland?


Obviously, the status of [Bears junior attackman and Tewaaraton Award finalist] Dylan Molloy is huge. If the midfield for Maryland can put pressure on Brown and get goals from guys like [senior] Pat Young and run six offensive middies, they're going to be a really tough out. The way that I think Maryland wins is if the second midfield and [junior Colin] Heacock on attack get going. Everybody knows about [junior attackman Matt] Rambo, and Rambo's playing really well. But Heacock to me is so polished, and he's primed for a huge weekend. The way Brown wins is the crazier the game is, the more it sides with Brown. I think turnovers – even those at the beginning of the game – are not bad for Brown because that's going to force some havoc. The more havoc, the better Brown has a chance, especially if Dylan Molloy doesn't play because those attackmen are really good in transition, and they'll get the goals. [Senior faceoff specialist] Will Gural is the most important player on the field in that game because he's been dominant at the faceoff X. And he's not just a guy who wins faceoffs and can't handle the ball. He's scored a ton of goals. He scored three against Virginia, two against Johns Hopkins. He's putting pressure on teams where if you don't slide to him, he stings it. Brown has to hope for havoc because if Molloy doesn't play and they don't get havoc, it's a half-field game and I don't think they have a chance.

So who do you like in the semifinals?

I would pick Maryland and Loyola to win. But because of the way this year is going, I'm picking Brown and North Carolina. I say that because this is the craziest year and any time you think you know something, you know nothing. But Maryland and Loyola are the ones that I think would win.

And your pick to win the NCAA title?

Maryland is the deepest team. But if Brown can beat Maryland on Saturday, two days is not enough time for North Carolina or Loyola to game-plan for them because they play way different than any other team in the country.