Is it the hats?
NBC’s latest news release on its Kentucky Derby ratings contained this tidbit: The telecast drew 2 percent more female viewers than male viewers. The Derby is one of just three major sporting events, along with the Winter and Summer Olympics, that draw a bigger female component, NBC reports.
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Baltimore-centric entry: ESPN’s Quint Kessenich predicts his NCAA lacrosse final four in news release today, and he says the Division I semifinals will be without a team from Maryland. The former Johns Hopkins goalie goes with Virginia, Princeton, Duke and Syracuse.
ESPN also sent out a short Q&A with Kessenich. Read it below.
Who are the players to watch in this year’s championships?
“Well for Virginia, I think there are two guys on offense … Danny Glading and Shamel Bratton. Both have the ability to take games over. For Syracuse, they have tons of offensive talent. Kenny Nims, Dan Hardy or Matt Abbott would be their key guys. Duke is all about Ned Crotty. He [Ned] leads the nation in assists. Princeton has a couple good offensive players as well with Mark Kovler and Jack McBride.”
Teams to watch in this year’s tournament…
“About eight or nine teams have shown at one time or another this year that they can jump up and play a sensational and superb lacrosse game. From that standpoint, it appears to be wide open. Lacrosse has been dominated by a few teams for the last 20 years: Syracuse, Princeton, Virginia and Johns Hopkins. But this year during the regular season, you saw some other teams really play sensational games and show that maybe they should be considered for a national championship.”
Sleeper teams to be aware of…
“Cornell is a team two years ago that made it to the national semifinals, and they have a great senior class. Princeton certainly has the tradition of excellence in the tournament and a coach who’s won the tournament six times. UMBC has a terrific first midfield, and if UMBC can win some faceoffs, their going to give the [North Carolina] Tar Heels everything they can handle.”
Key first-round matchups…
“I think the best first-round matchup may be Navy at Duke. Both teams are playing really well right now. Navy is 5-1 in their last six games. They [Navy] made a goalie change after losing a bunch of one-goal games earlier in the year. They [Navy] seem to be playing their best lacrosse this year and the same. Duke have won 11 of their last 12 games and is the most improved team in the country. So that will be a great first-round battle.”
Final Four predictions…
“I went with Virginia, Princeton, Duke and Syracuse. Virginia could be the best offensive team in the nation. They [Virginia] have really struggled on the defensive end in their last three games. In Princeton, they have a veteran senior class and the nation’s best freshman class with a coach that has won a handful of titles in Bill Tierney. Duke is playing the best right now. And then Syracuse, the defending champs, have only lost two games all year.”