Today's NCAA men's quarterfinals

May 20, 2007|By GARY LAMBRECHT

UMBC (11-5) VS. DELAWARE (12-5)

Site -- Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium

Time -- Noon

Outlook -- With its first-round 14-8 rout of defending national champion Virginia, Delaware became the first unseeded team to knock off a No. 2 seed since the tournament expanded to 16 teams in 2003. The Blue Hens, who last got to the quarterfinals by beating UMBC in 1999, take their cue from senior Alex Smith, who has been the premier faceoff man in the game for three years. Delaware has enough scoring threats -- Canadians Jordan Hall and Curtis Dickson, senior M Dan Deckelbaum -- to make those extra possessions count. And junior G Tommy Scherr is hot. Then again, UMBC sophomore Jeremy Blevins matched him last week with 18 saves in a 13-9 upset at Maryland, and could be the difference today. The Retrievers need to capitalize on penalties with their excellent, extra-man offense and need to make Delaware play enough defense to turn their outstanding attack loose. Seniors Drew Westervelt and Andy Gallagher and freshman Cayle Ratcliff have 164 points among them.

DUKE (15-2) VS. NORTH CAROLINA (10-5)

Site -- Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium

Time -- 3 p.m.

Outlook -- No. 8 seed Carolina competed hard in two earlier losses to top-seeded Duke, and still fell by a combined six goals. The Tar Heels, in only their second quarterfinal since 1998, were a combined 9-18 in their previous two seasons under coach John Haus. They've got a great faceoff man in Shane Walterhoefer, and a core of young players led by freshman A Gavin Petracca, sophomore A Bart Wagner and freshman M Sean Burke has gotten them this far. But getting by Duke and its peerless scoring duo of senior A Matt Danowski and junior A Zack Greer looks like a task too big. The Blue Devils have the best transition game going, led by senior LSM Nick O'Hara and SSMs Ed Douglas and Mike Ward, and senior G Dan Loftus (64 percent save rate) is underrated. The only way Carolina flirts with an upset is by winning enough faceoffs and killing enough clock to take possession time from the Danowski-Greer scoring machine. That's not happening today.

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