5/8/23 – Philadelphia, PA – The men’s 2023 NCAA tournament bracket has been released and the scene is set. Highly ranked teams like Virginia are back in while programs like Bryant sneak in with an automatic qualifier by winning their respective conferences.
This season the teams that made it are not as surprising as years past. Everyone who made the tournament completely deserves the recognition despite a few programs barely missing out.
The best first round games include: Cornell vs. Michigan, Penn State vs. Princeton, and Maryland vs. Army. Cornell is a powerhouse, but Michigan is coming off of a Big Ten tournament win over Maryland and is red-hot. Penn State has been a juggernaut all season but fell just short against Michigan in the quarterfinal, while Princeton is on the rise when the time matters most.
Coulter Mackesy is the real deal for the Princeton Tigers. Penn State will have to stop him from driving to the goal and facilitating for his teammates, which he does on a consistent basis. Despite the four losses, Penn State has the experience to stop Mackesy and the rest of the Tigers. They also have the prototypical talent to make a run to a potential championship game. Any team that plays in the top conferences like the Big Ten or Atlantic Coast (ACC) can really benefit from playing a hard schedule. This results in them potentially being more prepared for the post season than smaller schools.
This is a different Maryland team than we have seen in previous years. The Terrapins have not been as strong as we are used to seeing in years prior. Army has been consistent this entire season in the Patriot League. The Maryland defense is going to have to hold off the Black Knights’ offense that keeps games close all of the time.
If Cornell can move on, the Wolverines will have to stop the firepower of CJ Kirst and get past defender Gavin Adler. Kirst, a Tewaaraton Finalist, has had an amazing season and will look to continue it throughout the postseason.
Other than the powerhouses of the Big Ten and ACC, the Delaware and Marist matchup will be one to definitely look out for. Both teams won their respective conferences, but will have to play each other for the right to play the Blue Devils of Duke University.
Richmond will meet the second ranked Virginia Cavaliers in the first-round. Richmond has only scored less than 10 goals twice (season opener vs. Maryland and game five against Virginia). The Spiders keep games close with a very high powered offense that has put up over 20 goals twice.
The NCAA Tournament is getting closer and closer with each day that passes. Teams are ready to dance and potentially be crowned the 2023 National Champion in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.