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

Former Syracuse midfielder and current ESPN men's lacrosse analyst Paul Carcaterra will help provide coverage of Saturday's Atlantic Coast Conference tilt between No. 5 Syracuse and No. 11 Duke. Carcaterra, who can be followed on Twitter via @paulcarcaterra, also shared his thoughts on No. 7 Johns Hopkins' 11-10 overtime win against the Orange, No. 6 Maryland's return to the Top 5, and No. 17 Loyola Maryland's biggest issue.

How significant was the Blue Jays' victory over Syracuse?

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I think it's huge. I have so much respect for those kids because it would have been easy to point fingers and say, 'Wow, they can't do things easy.' They lost [sophomore midfielder] Joel Tinney to a NCAA suspension, [senior midfielder] Connor Reed blew his knee out, and they've lost a couple other guys. They're so nicked up, and they're just maximizing all of their talent. I think [offensive coordinator] Bobby Benson with the offense has done a fantastic job because they're doing less dodging, but they're doing some funky cutting patterns and great ball movement. I really like this team just in terms of how they've really responded. When the playing field is kind of level and things are unpredictable, I think it's the teams that believe in each other and have dealt with adversity will rise. They didn't have coach [Dave] Pietramala on the sideline Saturday and yet [associate head coach] Bill Dwan coached and did an awesome job. I know the kids love him on that team. They are going to continue to make some noise this year, and they look like they're built for the future. That's a scary team for the next couple of years with all of those guys coming back.

After a 1-2 start, Maryland has won three in a row. Is this the Terps team many expected at the beginning of the season?

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I think so. From a talent standpoint, they're up there with anyone. They had six guys drafted in the Top 19 of the Major League Lacrosse draft. So if you look at their talent, they're really, really good all over the field. I think the one thing offensively that they don't have is a guy who truly runs the offense, a quarterback. But not many teams do. I look at what they've done defensively, and along with [No. 2] Notre Dame, they've kind of set the standard over the last decade on how to play defense. They have a lot of really good players, good shooters, guys like [senior midfielder Bryan] Cole and [junior attackman] Colin Heacock and [junior attackman Matt] Rambo. They're really loaded on offense in terms of their skill players. I would not be shocked at all if they make a run at the national title and go to Final Four weekend. I almost would be pretty confident that they're in good shape to make a run. I like all of their pieces other than a guy who really runs the offense. I think Rambo's a really good lefty dodger/scorer, but they're kind of missing a quarterback. I think Cole's a good feeder for them in the midfield. They're a team that is definitely back. I mean, they were tied 4-4 with Notre Dame a couple weeks ago in the fourth quarter. That score wasn't really indicative of how tough that game was. They look pretty good right now.

Loyola Maryland opened the season with three consecutive wins, but has gone 1-3 since. What is the team's biggest issue?

They've been a little nicked up. I think on defense, they've had some injuries. But I also think that's a team on paper that you looked at as really strong from a starting standpoint, but probably lacks some depth. You see a team Hopkins that can soak up some losses because of injury. But Loyola is a team where the depth really isn't at the level of some of these elite teams right now. I think that kind of shows when you get into the season and play some of these midweek games like against Towson. I think depth is a huge storyline, and that's why I think teams like Maryland are built for the long haul. There's a reason why a team like Hopkins can absorb some losses. I think Loyola is still a dangerous team. The Duke game was a little concerning for me, but in their other losses, they were right there. So I wouldn't be too concerned right now. I just think it's a team where some of their better players are kids, too. If you look at a guy like Pat Spencer, the freshman attackman, he's a phenomenal young attackman, and you can see that he really understands offense. He's a guy that controls the offense, and he's a guy that is going to continue to learn. Their first midfield is awesome with [junior Brian] Sherlock, [junior] Romar Dennis and [senior Tyler] Albrecht, but there's no second midfield that has plugged up numbers right now.

Is there a team flying under the radar that more fans should be aware of?

I think [No. 14] Navy's an interesting team. I feel like they're a team that can compete. They were right there with Johns Hopkins, they beat Loyola. They have [junior defenseman Chris] Fennell on defense, and [junior Matt] Rees is a Top 3 long-stick midfielder in the nation. He's so disruptive in what he does for their team and in transition. He's just so rangy. I really like that team. They need some better attack play. I think the midfield is young and talented. The kid, [freshman] Greyson Torain, is a nice little player. [No. 4] Brown is not really under the radar, and people are starting to respect them. But I think this is their second year in their hyperspeed offense, and you're seeing them just take their game to another level. They hired an offensive coordinator, Sean Kirwan, from Tufts last year, which was their first year. So now they've got an entire year, an entire offseason under their belt, and they're playing faster. They're so good. And [junior] Dylan Molloy has evolved into a true dual-threat attackman. He was leading the nation in assists last week. Last year, he led the nation in goals-per-game. So his game is complete. They've got those long-stick midfielders in [juniors Alec] Tullet and Larken Kemp, and [senior attackman Kyle] Bellistri takes a lot of pressure off of Molloy. So to me, that team is really dangerous. I can't wait for the Yale-Brown game later in the year because it will be contrasting styles between two teams that have grabbed the early stranglehold in the Ivy.

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