Stock watch: Quint Kessenich tells you who to buy, sell or hold
By Quint Kessenich
For The Baltimore Sun|
Apr 07, 2016 at 11:15 AM
Five weeks remain in the regular season and it's time to take stock on who to buy, sell or hold.
It's during these five weeks where players and teams step up for the postseason. Are the top players ready to lead? Are the teams that have surprised to this point for real?
We're about to find out.
Strong buy: The Tewaaraton front-runners are Myles Jones (Duke), Dylan Molloy (Brown) and Connor Cannizzaro (Denver). The trio has gro a hefty lead over the rest of the pack and I would be shocked if someone else took home the trophy.
Cannizzaro had seven points (two goals, five assists) in Denver's17-4 bounce-back victory over Georgetown. Cannizzaro extended his consecutive-game point streak to 34 games and has 145 points (91 goals, 54 assists) in that stretch.
Jones, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 Major League Lacrosse collegiate draft to the Atlanta Blaze, scored a career-high 11 points in a Duke home loss to North Carolina. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound senior took 16 shots and dominated.
Molloy leads the nation in points (6.38 per game) and assists (3.25 per game), and is sixth nationally in goals (3.13 per game). At 220 pounds he packs a powerful punch that few defenders can handle. The junior had six goals and five assists in the Bears' 19-8 win over Princeton, and three goals and two assists in Brown's 19-8 win over Villanova. Molloy has registered at least one point in Brown's last 28 games, a point streak that dates to April 19, 2014.
Hold: Brown (8-1, 2-0 Ivy) lost to Bryant on a frigid Tuesday night, 11-10. Mid-week games can be a minefield, and Tuesday is for the hunter. Brown utilizes a run-and-gun goal scoring style and has a handful of stars who could start for anybody. But when you play so many bottom feeders, or scrub opponents, you don't improve.
Senior goalie Jack Kelly leads the country in save percentage (.619). Kelly registered 10 saves in the Bears' win over Princeton, and made 10 saves vs. Villanova, allowing just eight goals, while also scoring his first career goal from midfield against a 10-man ride. He was the difference in Brown's win over Stony Brook, making 20 saves. The Bears risky style puts pressure on Kelly.
The Bears rank in the top five in offensive and defensive efficiency. They have never won the NCAA title in 61 years as a varsity program and haven't won the Ivy title outright in 22 years. The time is now. Brown plays Yale on April 16.
Buy: All Yale does is win. Sometimes it's ugly. The Bulldogs are the only unbeaten team in Division I. Beating Penn and Princeton by identical 11-10 scores does little to inspire long-term confidence. In fact it raises a red flag. Coach Andy Shay has been down this road before. The Bulldogs win by taking care of the details and playing fundamentally sound defense. AN April 16 showdown at Brown is the regular season game of the year. Winning the Ivy is within their reach, and so is playing on Championship Weekend for the first time since 1990.
Buy: Notre Dame, The 17-7 victory over Syracuse last Saturday marked the worst loss at home for the Orange in 29 seasons. Attackman Matt Kavanagh put a career-high nine points on the board, torching an unorganized Syracuse defense. The Irish have the nation's top rated defense in terms of efficiency. Notre Dame's performance was the most complete I've seen all spring. It bodes well for its run at a first NCAA championship.
Recommended for your portfolio: Maryland women. Across the landscape of women's lacrosse it's been a crazy season, but one thing is for sure, Maryland is the team to beat. Its team speed is incredible. Taylor Cummings is the star. Florida and Syracuse look to be threats come Memorial Day weekend.
Buy: Navy. Brady Dove became the ninth player in Patriot League history to win 400 faceoffs after a 13-of-16 performance at the "X" in Navy's 12-3 win over Holy Cross on Saturday. Patrick Keena chipped in three goals and three assists in the win, helping Navy improve to 5-1 in League play and clinch a spot in the Patriot League tournament. Coach Ricky Sowell was given time to develop this program and the patience has been rewarded.
Hold: Towson. Alec Burckley won 16 of his 21 faceoffs in Towson's 11-7 CAA opening win over Drexel last Saturday. The faceoff specialist picked up nine groundballs along the way as he finished with the second-most faceoff wins in the Shawn Nadelen era. The combination of faceoff wins and stout defense makes Towson the favorite in the Colonial.
Buy on any dips: Maryland. An 8-7 win last week in Ann Arbor was much closer than expected. The game was played during a snowstorm and the Terps were playing their third game in a week. I've got so much respect for coach John Tillman and this team's toughness and grit. Even when the Terps are not clicking on offense they are difficult to beat. Maryland has shown a consistency of effort in a topsy turvy year. Hopkins' loss to Rutgers puts the Terps in the Big Ten front row.
Buy: Penn State. Nobody plays harder than the Nittany Lions. Are they the most talented? Absolutely not. Their effort is undeniable. They sprint, they hustle, they check hard, they are in the right spots, all signs of a group that is physically and emotionally ready for action. Magical things can happen when you have 40 guys and a coaching staff on a mission. The sum of the parts combined with a relentless attitude goes a long way.
Growth stock: Loyola's Pat Spencer (Boys' Latin) scored four goals and had five points in Loyola's 12-4 win at Colgate on a frigid Sunday. This kid is super-talented and makes everything look so easy. He now has 18 goals and 24 assists and is leading the Greyhounds in points.
Penny stock worth purchasing: Freshman goalie Christian Klipstein was the difference maker in Bucknell's 8-7 win over Army. The rookie made 14 saves in 29 shots faced to finish the contest with a .667 save percentage. The seven goals he allowed was the lowest scoring output by the Black Knights this season, after they entered the game averaging 13.3 goals per game.
Emerging Big Cap: Marquette. Milwaukee's best shut down a potent Villanova offense on Saturday in a surprisingly lopsided 11-3 win. Golden Eagles goalie Cole Blazer made 13 saves in his first career start and allowed just three goals to a Wildcat offense that entered the game averaging 14.88 goals per game.
The Golden Eagles (7-1) re-entered both national polls on Monday, checking in at No. 17 in the media poll. I couldn't be more impressed with the way coach Joe Amplo has built this new program.
Consider selling: Johns Hopkins. In what was one of the worst defensive performances in school history, Hopkins got run out of Rutgers Stadium 16-9 last weekend. It was the Jays' third road game in six days. Their fans hope the return of Coach Dave Pietramala fixes a defense leaking oil. The offense ranks high in efficiency stats which offers hope.
Hold: Loyola. I watched the Greyhounds methodically dominate Colgate on Sunday. No doubt, the Greyhounds are good. Just not sure they are great yet.
Unload: Princeton. The Tigers are just 2-6 and in the cellar of the Ivy League. To make matters worse, coach Chris Bates elbowed a Brown player on the field near the substitution box last week as the player was running off the field. Bates was suspended indefinitely by the Princeton athletic administration and then on Wednesday the school issued a statement saying he was no longer employed.
There is no place for poor sportsmanship and Bates was over the line. He broke the cardinal rule of coaching -- you can't talk to or touch an opposing player. I thought the proper penalty for Bates would have been a two-game suspension. Bates has a strong track record of prior behavior and is a respected leader of young men. This type of incident can be a learning tool for all players and coaches, and it alone should not have cost Bates his job.