The idea of four Maryland lacrosse teams in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Final Four for a first time intrigues University of Maryland coach Dick Edell, but not enough to distract him from today's quarterfinal game with No. 2 Brown.
Or enough to make Towson State coach Carl Runk look past his quarterfinal game at No. 3 Princeton (12-2) today.
"Wouldn't it be something?" said Runk, whose team (10-3) is seeded 11th. "It would be like the Choice Classic in the fall. We're definitely going to try and do our part. First, we've got to get by Princeton."
Edell said, "I wouldn't mind if it happened, but we're involved in four very tough games today.".
In the other quarterfinal games, No. 4 Johns Hopkins (8-3) plays host to No. 5 Syracuse (11-2) and No. 8 Loyola (9-3) is at No. 1 North Carolina (13-0). All games start at 2 p.m. except for No. 7 Maryland (9-4) at Brown (13-0), which begins at 1:30 p.m.
Since the tournament began in 1971, three state teams -- Maryland, Navy and Johns Hopkins -- appeared in the Final Four four times from 1976 through 1979. For years Marylanders have argued with Long Islanders and Ivy Leaguers about which conferences and areas play the best lacrosse.
Runk says it really doesn't matter.
"The Ivy League has always been strong and so have private schools," said Runk. "I think the state schools are getting better players now, and everything is balanced."
It wasn't like that for the past three years. Syracuse had the Canadian-born Gait brothers -- midfielders Paul and Gary -- and the Orangemen won three straight titles.
The Orangemen lost two of their first four games this season, including 18-12 to Johns Hopkins in the fourth game, then have won nine straight.
Their schedule has been relatively easy, partly because teams like Brown and Navy dropped Syracuse once the Orangemen became a power.
Syracuse-Hopkins II should be a great overall display of lacrosse. The Orangemen like to run while the Blue Jays prefer a deliberate approach but will run if there is an opening.
Attackmen Tom Marachek and Jamie Archie lead the Orangemen in scoring with 46 and 31 goals, respectively. The Blue Jays counter with defenders Brian Voelker and Bill Dwan and are led in scoring by attackmen Matt Panetta and Mike Morrissey (13 goals, 14 assists).
"If you play a team twice, you prefer to go into the second gamhaving lost the first one," said Seaman. "But it really doesn't matter because we played just about everybody in the top 10.
"With Syracuse, you have to be concerned with the whole team because everybody can play. It's a typical Roy Simmons team. They like to run, they all can pass, they all shoot within 4.5 seconds. What we're going to have to do is be selective with our shots and play good defense. When we have done that, we have been successful."
Runk isn't as concerned with Princeton as he is with his owteam. After a 14-13 upset by Towson State over Virginia Wednesday in the opening round, Runk had only meetings with his players Thursday and a light workout yesterday.
The Tigers are also studying for final exams. Meanwhile, Princeton, which had an opening-round bye, had most of its coaching staff at Wednesday's game.
"We've had guys in and out," said Runk. "We expended a lot of energy, emotionally and physically on a hot day at Virginia. I thought it was best to take a rest. I know Princeton is a good team and they play excellent defense. We're looking forward to another challenge."
Maryland shouldn't get nearly as tough a challenge from Brown. Despite the unbeaten record, the Bruins have played only two top-caliber teams, Loyola and Princeton. Brown will have to find a way to stop one of the best attacks in the country, the Terps' Mark Douglas (43, 20) and Rob Wurzburger (38, 9).
"Despite what people are saying about Brown, we're going need a fine effort," said Edell. "We're the type of team that needs a total team effort to win."
Loyola will need a great effort from its attack. North Carolina has allowed only 80 goals this season while attackman Dennis Goldstein scored 37. Attackmen Kevin Beach and Jim Blanding lead the Greyhounds in scoring with 29 and 26 goals, respectively.
"North Carolina plays at a higher level than anyone else," said Loyola coach Dave Cottle.