Week 12 picks: 1- 2 Regular season record: 18- 19
It’s here! Championship Weekend is finally here! That’s right, it is the most exciting two days professional lacrosse has to offer. And it’s just in time for Hurricane Irene. Perfect.
I finished the regular season 1- 2 in my Week 12 Picks, thus putting me below .500 with my picks for the season. Am I shaken? Upset? Embarrassed? Yes, yes, and yes. Do I want revenge and desperately want to finish the year with a winning record? My game face is ready.
To emulate the hecticness of Championship Weekend, I will post the semifinals picks on Saturday and update the blog with my championship pick on Sunday.
Lets get right to it, shall we?
Hamilton Nationals (8- 5) vs Boston Cannons (10- 3) – Sunday at 3 p.m. ET
My Pick: Boston Cannons
If you haven’t seen them, you might want to scroll down a little bit and check out my perfect semifinal picks. I hate bragging but I am really awesome.
Lets get to this Championship pick from a Championship picker…. (Intentionally opening myself up to endless amounts of jokes).
By the way, I am typing this really quick because there is a 99 percent likely hood that I will lose power very soon.
I mentioned in my semifinal picks that the Hamilton Nationals have a ton of chemistry. What I didn’t realize is that their chemistry is so good that they can work an offense and practice stellar ball movement in a hurricane.
It was a little sloppy, but really impressive never less.
So to beat the Nationals it would take a very talented team to do so.
I think the Cannons are the most talented team in the league pure and simple.
My biggest fear with the Cannons yesterday is that they would not be able to move the ball effectively on offense and create their quick paced transition attack because of the weather. They were able to do this effectively, in the hurricane, against a team which prides itself in stopping the transition.
The field conditions in Annapolis are expected to be mucky, it will probably be hot, but it wont be as rainy, windy and wet as it was yesterday.
I expect to see cleaner ball movement and a quicker paced offense by the Cannons on Sunday and fully expect them to score at least 14 points. If the defense can hold its own against the Nationals, the Cannons will hold the Steinfeld Cup for the first time in their 11- year existence.
Chesapeake Bayhawks (6- 6) vs Boston Cannons (9- 3) – Saturday at 12 p.m. ET
My pick: Boston Cannons
The Chesapeake Bayhawks have a few things going for them.
1.) Home field advantage, playing in Annapolis, MD.
2.) They won last year, giving them the confidence that they can win again.
3.) Because Hurricane Irene is a massive lacrosse fan and did not want to miss the show, the Bayhawks will have the opportunity to play in favorable conditions that cater to their style of play. Lets break it down.
The Cannons like to run and the Bayhawks like to slow things down.
“They are a transition team and that is one of the things that we need to stop,” said Brendan Kelly, Bayhawks Head Coach at the MLL Coaches Call. “We need to play a Bayhawks tempo.”
On the other hand, “We are at our best when we are pushing the game in transition,” said Bill Daye, Cannons Head Coach.
So we have the best team at pushing the ball in transition vs. a team which prides themselves at slowing down the game and running plays. Who has the advantage?
Normally I would say the Cannons do. But if the field conditions are as bad as people seem to think (stupid meteorologists), than the Bayhawks clearly have an advantage.
But Derek your picking the Cannons. Why?
Because lets face it. The Cannons have to win. It’s not an option. After winning the regular season again, if the Cannons get bounced from the first round again, heads will seriously roll.
While everyone plays desperate in Championship Weekend, the Cannons realize that they are the only original 6 team that never won a Championship. They will come out flying.
I think the Cannons are too talented to lose to this Bayhawks group two years in a row in the tournament. I am excited to see how they will handle the pressure.
The Cannons have been the only consistently good team all season. I will be surprised if it does not translate into a win on Saturday.
Hamilton Nationals (7- 5) vs. Denver Outlaws (7- 5) – Saturday at 3 p.m. ET
My Pick: Hamilton Nationals
This pick was easy for me. No team has impressed me more this season than the Nationals.
I broke down in last weeks picks their long list of rookies complimented by a handful of veterans. After a very convincing win in Long Island in a do or die game, the Nationals have my full support and confidence.
The Nationals really look like a team. They look like they have been playing with each other for years, which is scary because they are so young. Even Nationals Head Coach Regy Thorpe acknowledged this at the conference call. “These guys really care about each other,” he said. “We have a lot of young guys, but we have a lot of guys with playoff experience who have helped the young guys along.”
The Outlaws have chemistry too. After all, the same core of players have been around for a while.
The Outlaws have been playing decent lacrosse at late, with a big win over Long Island in Week 11 and a complete beating to an uninterested Bayhawks in Week 12.
Like the Cannons, the Outlaws are also desperate for a Championship. Since their inception into the league in 2006, they have been to Championship Weekend every year and still have no hardware to show for it.
Outlaws head Coach Tom Slate said he expects the game to be a dog fight. So I’m going to pick the team, after watching them both all season, which I think has more heart. I don’t think there is a team in the league which has more heart than the Nationals.
Follow me on twitter: @DerekB_McLean