Previewing The 2022 Big East Tournament

(Photo Courtesy of Georgetown Athletics)

The 2022 Big East Men’s Lacrosse Tournament will get underway on Thursday, May 5th with the semifinals. The championship game will be played on Saturday.

As the top seed, Georgetown will play host.

The Bracket

The Teams

No. 1 Georgetown (13-1, 5-0)

In many respects, its Championship Weekend or bust for the Georgetown Hoyas this season. They came into the season expected to roll through the Big East and have done just that, getting through league play unbeaten and entering the postseason with only a loss to Princeton on their entire resume.

Star Player: Will Bowen, Defense

A likely Schmeisser Award contender, Bowen came in to Georgetown after making a name for himself at North Carolina and thus far he has only continued to reputation as one of the bets defensemen in college lacrosse. Often matching up with the opponents best player, Bowen has recorded 32 caused turnovers, 38 ground balls. He has also scored one goal and assisted on three others with his transition ability.

The X-Factor: Dylan Watson, Attack

Since the calendar turned to April, Watson has seemingly taken his game up a notch even higher than it was earlier this season. Watson has averaged 5.2 points (4.6 goals) per game in each of the Hoyas’ last six outings. He is playing his best lacrosse of the season right now and Watson getting hot will be crucial to the Hoyas staying the course.

Player to Watch: Owen McElroy, Goalie

It hasn’t been as smooth of a season for McElroy as he likely would’ve liked it to be. Injury hit him in the preseason and then again late in the season as he sat out against Lehigh, Denver, and Providence. But the fifth-year goalie has still remainder as impactful as ever, making 113 saves with a 62% save percentage as the anchor for the nation’s best defense.

No. 2 Denver (9-5, 4-1 Big East)

A down year for Denver was expected. However, they are still amongst the top in the Big East and have shown some real promise at times this season. But can they beat Georgetown?

Star Player: Jack Hannah, Midfield

Denver has had a much more midfield-heavy offense this season. The leader of that group is Jack Hannah. The Ohio native has scored 30 goals this season while also dishing out four assists. When he is on, this entire offense seems to be able to roll.

The X-Factor: Alec Stathakis, Faceoff

As has bene the case for multiple seasons now, the x-factor for this Denver team lies at the X with Stathakis. Going 208-for-367 (56%), he has been crucial in some of the Pioneers’ biggest wins this season, helping to give the offense those extra possessions needed, as well as momentum.

Player to Watch: Malik Sparrow, LSM

The Pioneers have struggled at times to make plays in the middle of the field like they did a season ago. Sparrow has been the lone exception, proving to be a menace roaming around up top and causing havoc everywhere. He has grabbed 27 ground balls, caused 19 turnovers, and dished out one assist this season.

No. 3 Villanova (8-5, 3-2 Big East)

The perennial third-best team in the Big East, the Villanova Wildcats have been just that, yet again, this season with their only two league losses coming against Denver and Georgetown. And as always, they are the one team that could likely surprise.

Star Player: Matt Campbell, Midfield

Leading the charge for what is a deep and experienced top six on offense, Campbell has had himself a stellar season. Campbell has led the Wildcats with 57 points off 37 goals and 27 assists in 2022. That includes a career-high 7-1-8 outing against Delaware and a five-goal game against Marquette.

The X-Factor: Chet Comizio, SSDM

It’s been impossible in recent years to talk about Villanova and no mention a single defensive midfielder. Comizio has been the most impactful player on that rope unit once again this season and in many respects has been their best defender. He has notched a team-high 22 caused turnovers whole also grabbing 41 ground balls, and tallying seven points (3G/4A).

Player to Watch: Justin Coppola, Faceoff

Coppola has progressed over his college lacrosse in a way that is hard to not recognize. He went 44% as a freshman, 52% as a sophomore, and now as a junior has gone 60% with a 203-for-336 mark. That includes a 17-for-29 (65%) performance against Denver and 50% (11-for-22) mark against Georgetown.

No. 4 Marquette (4-10, 2-3 Big East)

Marquette enters the postseason very much looking to get back into the win column as they are on a four-game losing skid and will be looking to reset and possibly make a statement after a rough regular season.

Star Player: Bobby O’Grady, Attack

One of the best freshmen in college lacrosse this season, O’Grady made his collegiate debut with a four-goal game against Bellarmine in the season opener and hasn’t slowed since. He leads the Golden Eagles with 44 goals and has also dished out five assists, giving him a total of 49 points on the season.

The X-Factor: Michael Allieri, Goalie

The redshirt freshman is another first-year player finding success for the Golden Eagles this season. A day one starter, Allieri has made 180 saves with a 50% save percentage this season and has been crucial in keeping the Golden Eagles in some of those tougher games.

Player to Watch: Mason Woodward, Defense

Woodward has been the most impactful player out in front of the cage for the Golden Eagles’ defense this season, causing 17 turnovers, and grabbing 54 ground balls. He is the heart and soul of that unit in many ways.

Tanner’s Picks

Semifinals

Georgetown vs Marquette: Georgetown

Denver vs Villanova: Villanova

Championship

Georgetown vs Villanova: Georgetown

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