No. 3 Colorado (10-0) at No. 6 BYU (11-1) – Saturday, 4 p.m. MT
COYNE: BYU is on quite a roll. There’s no underselling what they were able to do against three strong programs earlier in the week. However, as I assess this game, I have to take a peek back to the Arizona State loss. Sure, we can chalk that up to one bad game, but I think there are some clues we can take from that contest that will help selecting a winner here.
Both Colorado and Arizona State are teams predicated on their defenses, and the Cougars had trouble solving the Sun Devils backline. Tying into this, BYU was able to jump out to substantial first quarter leads against Oregon (up 5-1 after 15 minutes), Cal (4-0) and Stanford (3-1), which allowed the Cougs to manage the game. That’s not going to happen against Colorado. It’s going to be a grinder, and that does not play to BYU strengths. The Buffs leave Provo with a 7-5 win.
SCHOOLER: Every season has its low point, and for the Cougars, that low point was their trip to Arizona. Nearly losing to Grand Canyon and getting handled by ASU must have left a bad taste in their mouths because they ripped through northern California, beating three top ten teams in three days.
If that is not great practice for nationals, I don’t know what is. Should we just hand them the trophy? Probably not. Crazy things happen in the RMLC and the undefeated Buffs come to town this weekend. Can they knock off two undefeated teams in a row? I think the chances of that are likely. BYU wins, 9-8.
No. 25 Simon Fraser (5-4) at No. 24 Davenport (5-2) – Sunday, 2 p.m.
COYNE: Canada’s team travels to Michigan to play a squad that operates with Canadian flair. The save percentages are going to be low and the shot totals high when these two meet on Easter Sunday. Fraser’s Colton Dow (20g, 10a) and Sam Clare (18g, 7a) will square off with Jordan Richtsmeier (17g, 24a) and Dominic Baggiano (21g, 11a) to see who can put up the most goals, assists and style points.
Both teams will come into the contest a little tired as Davenport plays Indiana Tech for the WHAC Championship on Saturday while the Clansmen must contend with Michigan State. Fraser definitely gets the rougher end of that trade, allowing the Panthers to score the final three goals in an 18-15 victory.
SCHOOLER: This is a tough one for me. I have not been able to follow SFU very closely, but I have been impressed with what I have seen from Davenport. They have made a smooth transition to Division I and give hope to all of those teams hoping to make the move like Liberty.
I think this game will be close, but two tough games in row may be too much for the Clansmen to pull off this win. They may come out of this road trip with two losses, effectively knocking them out of the AL hunt for nationals. Panthers win, 10-8.
Clemson (4-3) at No. 16 Georgia (9-0) – Friday, 7 p.m.
SCHOOLER: I picked this game because there seem to be very few intriguing games this weekend and because I think Clemson has a chance to win this game. Or at least that is what I was hoping Jac would think.
A young team led by senior Trent Dean, the Bulldogs will just get better as the season progresses. The Tigers are the opposite with three senior attackmen led by team captain James McLoughlin (14g, 11a). The key for Clemson will be controlling Dean, but I do not see that happening. ‘Dogs win, 13-10.
COYNE: This one looks like an easy pick, with Georgia one of the six undefeated teams left in the Top 25 this week. The safe route is to go with the Bulldogs, especially with Dean (33g, 11a) hanging at least a hat trick on every team UGA has faced and David Lumsden operating a high level between the pipes. The Dawgs’ hot start has me believing that their trip to Colorado in a couple of weeks won’t be a complete whitewash.
Still, trap games come in different shapes and sizes, and this will be one for Georgia. The Tigers have spent the last two weeks game-planning this contest while UGA is undoubtedly taking a peek into April where three key conference games await along with the trip to the Rockies. Clemson’s goalie tandem gets hot and pulls a stunner, 7-6.