Editor’s note: Brauck Cullen (Oregon ’07, 2012 MCLA Tournament Staff) stops by to share his thoughts on the upcoming 2012 MCLA National Tournament in Greenville, South Carolina.
Oh it is that time of year again…. sundresses, finals, preparing for internships and summer jobs, and the MCLA Tournament….
The marquee event for the MCLA is moving, again, this time to Greenville, South Carolina for a little southern hospitality. After stops in St. Louis, Minneapolis, Dallas, and Denver, the Southeast is getting in on the action and trying to make a lasting impression. Hopefully gone are the days of lightning delays, small venues, snow, stifling heat, and more snow… oh it is truly always an adventure at this tournament.
I will be making my triumphant return to the MCLA tournament for the first time in 5 years, and I am looking forward to it more than ever. After participating in four straight tournaments, three as a player and one as a MCLA volunteer (2004-2007), I took a bit of a break, but I’m ready to get back down there to see the action live.
Though the league has grown by leaps and bounds and coverage over the years has gotten much better, the lack of a central place of discussion and information this year has made the field a little bit harder to follow (EVERYONE CHECK OUT THE BOARDS ON LACROSSEALLSTARS.COM). I know the basics about the traditional powers and have followed the teams I have worked with over the past few seasons, but information about the relative new guys (Pitt, Buffalo, Illinois) is lost on me. I look forward to seeing these teams play in person and also seeing the hopeful growth of the Division 2 game.
So without much more rambling, here are some of my pre-tournament thoughts and a few questions that will hopefully be answered during the upcoming week…
1. Why did my favorite teams get snubbed this year?
This is going to sound very biased, (I am a Duck so I bleed green and yellow, and I currently attend VaTech for grad school) but Oregon and Virginia Tech got hosed. I don’t understand how these two teams, especially Oregon, got seeded where they did. It could be argued the Tech really got stung by the loss to WV. I know in the interview that Mr. Lovic did earlier this week with Jac Coyne he stated the committee didn’t use the poll as much as in years past. To this I question what teams are supposed to do? How are they supposed to judge if they are working in the right direction in the committee’s eyes?
2. What happened to the tournament committee trying to prevent first round matchups of regular season contests?
Though both games shall be very intriguing and entertaining, both Chapman/Oregon and Arizona State/Texas are rematches of earlier season games.
3. What has Buffalo done to earn the 5th seed?
I am not hating on the Bulls, but I am far from a believer just yet. As I stated, I haven’t seen them play and I know next to nothing about them, but their resume doesn’t scream fifth best team in the country to me either. I will wait and pass judgment here in a few days.
4. Which Colorado team is going to show up?
I have always enjoyed watching and interacting with the Colorado guys in past tournaments. Boulder has a similar vibe to Eugene and the guys that played on their team seemed to be cut from the same cloth as many of my past teammates. This year’s version has been a work in progress, but anyone that has followed the career of Coach Galvin knew he would have them where they needed to be come tournament time. I just hope the version of the team that beat BYU by two shows up, rather than the one that lost to LMU and Clemson…
5. Will Spencer Price make the trip for Texas?
Spencer hasn’t recorded a stat since the end of March loss to Arizona, but Coach Meyers hasn’t let that stop the Horns from winning the LSA. Price is a smart player with a deadly shot, and I hope to see him down there doing his thing in SC. He had one of only four goals scored in Texas’ early season win against ASU, and I think he will be needed if UT hopes to win again a second time.
Also, I wish I knew more about MCLA Division 2 ball... D2 guys, don’t think I don’t have any thoughts or questions about y’all, I have a ton. I just know next to nothing about 98% of the teams and I look forward to seeing the games on the first day before I start having random thoughts about it online.
In general, I am really looking forward to a week of good lacrosse and old friends. It gets me out of work for a week and back to a place that I enjoy, where I can just relax for a while. Here’s to a great week ahead in Greenville, South Carolina!