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2009 E-Lacrosse Feature: Analysis: I'm Shipping up to Boston - NCAA predictions and a musical mea culpa

Our most loyal reader and prolific commenter SK wants me to eat crow for my Gilman pick, so here goes. It is set to the music of the Dropkick Murphys' "I'm Shipping up to Boston," which will be playing in my car on the way up tomorrow and everywhere when we get there!

(intro music - start kicking your leg like an Irishman now)

I'm a Pundit wreck
And I picked Gilly Tech
Was on the losing side
I lost my pride
I'm shipping up to Boston

EVERYBODY: whoa oh oh
I'm shipping off
To find my winning way
I'm a blogger strayed
I've lost my way
I spurned the Dons
I can't go on
I'm shipping up to Boston
EVERYBODY: whoa oh oh

I'm shipping off
To kill the blues
I'm a blogger bruised
But I've paid my dues
Now I just can't lose
I've picked the 'Cuse

I'm shipping up to Boston
EVERYBODY: whoa oh oh
I'm shipping off
To find my winning way

NCAA final four predictions

So, I am not fond of predicting. I do it inadvertently sometimes while discussing lacrosse topics and here in the blog, where it's my job to sometimes be a pundit and prognosticator, but the first thing I can predict and should always say is that lacrosse is not so predictable sometimes, and that's what makes it so great. If there's ever a Vegas line on lacrosse, the bettors are suckers either way. With that said, here's my predictions for the NCAA final four this weekend in Foxboro, Mass.

Salisbury will beat Cortland in overtime in the Division III men's final, completing one of the most heralded seasons ever played in Div. III with an undefeated record, father and son Player and Coach of the Year awards, and a national championship.

Jack Kaley's NYIT team will beat LeMoyne in the Div. II final.

Syracuse will beat Duke in the final. Just a feeling. Duke should win but a Hopkins or Virginia title would not be a stunner. There is no real upset pick here. But the Orange WILL be the home team. And here are my other predictions:

People from all over the nation will meet up and have a great time regardless of which team wins or what happens on the field. That's really why we are there.

Many new people, who have never seen an NCAA final four live will get the chance and have the time of their lives. If you live in New England -- you gotta be there, rain or shine!

Most out-of-towners are flying in from far places but there will be an evident caravan up Interstate 95 on Thursday and Friday from Baltimore, Philly, New York and all points south of Boston. Drive safely and honk if you see us! No one will yell "O" during the anthem. If Maryland had made it, we'd hear some but that's not the Hop's style. The Foxboro authorities will be well prepared for the eccentricities of our lacrosse crowd. Patriots fans are nuts. They are the Salisbury of the NFL.

The crowd from the state of Maryland will be the noticeably scant. I know very few going to the event and I have been asking everyone around here for weeks. When Maryland lost, a huge part of the state lost any interest in driving up or booking a last-minute flight. It's just too far and too expensive. "If both Hopkins and Maryland were in, maybe, but ..." is what I keep hearing from those lame folks.

Because the game is on ESPN and not ESPNU, someone will actually see it!

The Syracuse fans will be back in force, though many showed up last year just for the event.

Because of the extra eligibility controversy, there may be some boos if Duke wins. Fair warning. They will have to win many fans this weekend to change that and their stellar play may do just that. Watching NCAA championship-level lacrosse live in that crowd is often a transcending experience.

A slew of sponsors will be purported as supporting lacrosse all over the grounds and in the game programs, but if it wasn't for the NCAA bundle package they bought so they could sponsor, for example, men's basketball, some of these companies would never have considered supporting the sport in any way.

It will be a far less social evening scene at the tournament because it is being held 30 miles from civilization. Boston will be buzzing with lacrosse folks all over town but we will see far fewer of them in any one place than usual. Get used to it. They picked Boston again without even trying it once first. Sounds shady, but I think Bill Belichick was involved somehow, so I am sure it wasn't.

The Ivy League has no representation in the final four this year, but look for a huge Ivy presence in the parking lots. This is Ivy country!

No less than 25 party tents will be on site representing NCAA teams and alumni from schools that have never made the tournament but still show support every year.

Quint Kessenich, our Ryan Seacrest, will glorify at least one fundamentally bad playing habit per game. If Duke wins, people will herald it as a huge indication of the growth of the game.

Belichick will be there, dressed like a teenager, but he won't cheat. Everyone will suck up to him, even me. The attendance will not break a record, but will be adequate and a success.

The Banks family barbeque will make the long haul to Foxboro and feed me kindly.

I will hug at least 400 people over the course of the weekend. This is essentially, my family reunion. An athletic director will call me Tuesday asking me not to use the footage he heard we had of his team playing cups or sucking on a beer bong in the parking lot. We will accommodate them like we always do.

Even more than Baltimore and Philly, the ticket scalpers will have no idea what lacrosse even is. Because a medieval festival is probably not going on in Foxboro this weekend, the tournament will not be out-promoted 5-1 locally by a medieval festival.

Gillette Stadium, for perhaps the first time ever, will be filled with folks who don't worship the Patriots. The place may never be the same again.

There will be, for once, plenty of parking for everyone. Foxboro is a parking lot.

So that's it for predictions. And if I'm wrong, I'll write another song.

May 22, 2008
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