Syracuse will open NCAA tournament against Bryant

Syracuse, named the No. 1 overall seed in the 2013 NCAA tournament, will open against Bryant on Sunday night at the Carrier Dome.

IN SYRACUSE’S LAST GAME: Syracuse won its second consecutive Big East Championship with a convincing 13-9 victory over Villanova on Saturday. Following a first half in which ‘Nova only trailed 8-5 because it won the faceoff battle (9-5), the third quarter belonged to the Orange as they ran past the ‘Cats to go up 11-6 entering the final period.  As in the regular season meeting, Villanova slowly crept back in it, taking advantage of winning faceoffs and getting SU in man-down situations to pull within two at 11-9. But Dylan Donahue’s goal with 6:47 left made it 12-9, SU then added one late goal and held off VU’s final flurry.

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Syracuse is the No. 1 overall seed

» Related: McAnaney says Syracuse does not have a cake walk to the title

IN BRYANT’S LAST GAME: Bryant captured an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament by defeating Robert Morris, 14-7, to capture the NEC title. Bryant scored six unanswered goals in the fourth quarter, and Tournament MVP Peter McMahon notched his third-straight hat trick in the win. The Bullsdogs jumped out to an early 4-0 lead and never trailed, as Kevin Massa went 21-for-25 at the faceoff X. Bryant also outshot Robert Morris 44-25, and picked up 59 groundballs to RMU’s 26.

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: Massa was the conference Player of the Year after leading the nation in faceoff winning percentage (.713, 293-411), which has been a problem for Syracuse all season. Massa also set an NCAA single-season record with 223 ground balls in 2013. Also, look out for midfielder Colin Dunster, who led Bryant with 31 goals and 14 assists.

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: This will be the first time the schools have faced each other.

GAME INFORMATION: Sunday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Carrier Dome. TV: ESPNU.

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Wes Cheng

About Wes Cheng

Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.
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