NCAA 2019 Conference Predictions: Big Ten

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Photo Credit: Rich Barnes

We are just about three weeks away from the start of the 2019 NCAA season as February 1st marks opening day. The first game of the NCAA season will be Utah vs Vermont to kick off what should be an exciting season. 

Over the next few weeks I will be giving my own personal conference by conference predictions for this upcoming 2019 season. Going in alphabetical order we move on and take a look at the Big Ten.

Final Standings

1. Maryland

Never count out Maryland no matter what year it is. Coach Tillman and the Terrapins have been one of the most dominant teams in the country year after year. Even when it may appear to be a “down year” they find a way to come up big. The Terrapins come into the 2019 season after losing to Duke in the NCAA semifinals.

Offensively Maryland brings back a lot of talent as always. Junior midfielder Jared Bernhardt, Sophomore midfielder Bubba Fairman, and sophomore midfielder Logan Wisnauskas look to be the leaders on that offense along with a host of other contributors as well. On defense Maryland will be relying on senior Curtis Corley, sophomore jack Welding, and senior LSM Nick Brozowski. One of the biggest holes to fill will be in goal as the Terrapins graduated Dan Morris. We will likely see senior Danny Nolan in cage for the Terrapins this season. At the faceoff dot Maryland returns sophomore Justin Shockey who looks to be the main guy again after a stellar freshman campaign.

2. Penn State

The Nittany Lions have been on an upward trend over the past few season as they look to make it back to the NCAA tournament in 2018 after missing out in 2018. Penn State returns a strong core group of guys and they get to play in that awesome new lacrosse stadium they just built! 

One of the big keys for Penn State’s success is just to stay healthy, that was an issue last season. On offense the Nittany Lions return junior attackman Mac O’Keefe, redshirt junior attackman Grant Ament, junior attackman Dylan Foulds, and others to lead the charge. The Nittany Lions have firepower on defense as well with senior Chris Sabia and sophomore Brayden Peck to help lead that defense. In goal is junior Colby Kneese who looks to have an even better season did he did last year. At the faceoff dot they return Gerard Arceri who looks to have another stellar season.

3. Ohio State

The Buckeyes are coming off a season in which they made it to the Big Ten Championship game where they lost to Johns Hopkins and missed out on the NCAA tournament. Ohio State returns a ton of talent as they look to get back to Memorial Day weekend, where they were in 2017. 

Offensively the Buckeyes return their top three scorers from last season in junior midfielder Tre LeClaire, senior attackman Jack Jasinski, and sophomore midfielder Jackson Reid. They also have a whole host of other weapons coming back as well. At the faceoff dot sophomore Justin Inacio looks to improve of off a very impressive freshman campaign. On the defensive end of the field Ohio State does lose some key pieces from last season in Freddy Friebott and Erik Evans. Senior Matt Borges and junior Jeff Henrick will be helping to lead that defense. In goal for the Buckeyes looks to be junior Josh Kirson who was the backup last season.

4. Johns Hopkins

The 2018 Big Ten Champions look to comeback strong in 2019. The Blue Jays lose some key pieces but as always they have the talent to make a run come NCAA tournament time, especially after a first round exit last season. 

Offensively the Blue Jays return some big pieces in senior attackman Kyle Marr, junior attackman Cole Williams, sophomore midfielder Connor Desimone , and others. The Jays offense looks to be pretty strong with those three helping to lead the charge. At the faceoff dot it’ll be more of a question mark as they lost Hunter Moreland to graduation. It does look like sophomore Kyle Prouty will be taking  the majority of the draws this season. On defense they have a veteran core with senior Robert Kuhn, senior Patrick Foley, junior Jack Rapine leading the way. In goal for the Blue Jays looks to be sophomore Ryan Darby as they did graduate Brock Turnbaugh.

5. Rutgers

Can the Scarlet Knights finally get over the hump and make the NCAA tournament after nearly three years of barley missing out? That question will be answered as they do bring back a lot of talent from last season on both ends of the field. 

With Jules Henningberg graduated and tearing up the pro game the Scarlet Knights offense will be led by sophomore attackman Kieran Mullins and junior midfielder Casey Rose. Redshirt sophomore Adam Charalambides looks to have a strong comeback after suffering a torn ACL in the preseason two years in a row. On defense Rutgers will be led by senior Garrett Michaeli and junor Garrett Bullett. Anchoring the defense in goal will be senior Max Edlemann as he looks to cap off his Rutgers career on a high note.At the faceoff dot senior Alex Schoen will be taking the majority of the draws again this season.

6. Michigan

Many, including myself, believe that Michigan can see a big improvement in year two under Kevin Conry. The Wolverines bring back a lot of talent from last season and many have some high expectations for this Michigan squad. They will try to live up to the hype and maybe even shock the nation a bit.

Michigan returns their top five point scorers from last season in senior attackman/midfielder Brent Noseworthy, sophomore attackman Kevin Mack, senior midfielder Decker Curran, sophomore attackman Alex Buckanavage, and junior attackman Rocco Sutherland. On defense the Wolverines will be led by senior Nick Decaprio, junior Sam Bouhdary, and senior Michael Borda, among others. In goal for Michigan will be junior Matt Towbridge as the starter as he was the backup last season and did see quite a bit of action. At the faceoff dot sophomore Connor Cronin looks to improve off of a stellar freshman campaign last season. 

Freshman Watch

Here are some freshman that you should keep your eyes on this season across the Big Ten.

Bryce Clay, A, Michigan

Nick Rowlett, FO, Michigan

Kyle Long, M, Maryland

George Wichelns, A, Maryland

Brandon Fischer, M, Ohio State

Jack Myers, A, Ohio State

Joey Epstein, A, Johns Hopkins

Brady Keneally, D, Johns Hopkins

Nate Buller, A, Penn State

David Sprock, M, Rutgers

ALL Big-Ten Team Prediction

A – Jared Bernhardt, Jr, Maryland

A – Grant Ament, R-Jr, Penn State

A – Kyle Marr, Sr, Johns Hopkins

M – Christian Mazzone, Sr, Rutgers

M – Tre LeClaire, Sr, Ohio State

M – Brent Noseworthy, Sr, Michigan

D – Patrick Foley, Sr, John Hopkins

D – Curtis Corley, Sr, Maryland

D – Chris Sabia, Sr, Penn State

G – Max Edlemann, Sr, Rutgers

SSM – Ryan Terefenko, Jr, Ohio State

LSM – Robert Kuhn, Sr, Johns Hopkins

FO – Gerard Arceri, So, Penn State

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