Syracuse (8-4, 2-2 ACC) will be the No. 4 seed for the ACC Tournament, and will face No. 1 North Carolina (8-5, 3-1 ACC) in the first semifinal on Friday at 6 p.m. in Kennesaw, Georgia. Following that game, No. 2 Notre Dame (9-2, 3-1 ACC) will play No. 3 Duke (9-6, 2-2 ACC) in the second semifinal. The winners will play in the ACC Championship on Sunday at noon.
In preparation for the tournament, The Juice Online’s Brad Bierman and Dan Brannigan made their predictions:
Brad Bierman: Syracuse is going to come into this game with a nine-day gap since they played Binghamton. It’s going to be interesting in that regard to see if Syracuse is a little slow from the time off. And, of course, North Carolina will be coming into the game with a ton of momentum with a stirring fourth quarter comeback to beat Notre Dame to claim the No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament.
I’m going to give Syracuse the edge, a very close edge, to beat North Carolina in Friday’s semifinals. Then, they’ll face Notre Dame in Sunday’s championship game. This is going to be an overtime game, with the Irish pulling it out. But, Syracuse will be in great shape, with one final tune-up against Colgate, before hosting an NCAA First Round Tournament game at the Carrier Dome.
Dan Brannigan: Have the nine days of rest given the men’s lacrosse team a chance to recover or rust? I’m hoping it’s the former and that the Orange won’t be hindered by the long layoff. In its past two games, it looked like Syracuse finally was putting all its pieces together. The Orange dispatched North Carolina 13-7 on April 16 and Binghamton 13-5 on April 20. Syracuse may have a harder time containing the potent Tar Heels offense on Friday than it did last time. North Carolina is riding high after its impressive comeback—seven unanswered goals—to beat Notre Dame 17-15 this past weekend, but I still like the Orange to move on.
Play stingy defense, get good communication and leadership from goalie Evan Molloy and if Ben Williams does Ben Williams things (i.e., win the face-off battle), Syracuse will take care of business. Meanwhile, expect Notre Dame to be playing with a major chip on its shoulder after the Tar Heels’ shocker; the Irish should easily overcome Duke. For the championship game, I expect Syracuse to play the Irish a lot closer than the 17-7 drubbing from earlier this season, but Notre Dame is too complete of a team. The Orange should gain some confidence from the game. Perhaps a third time will be the charm against the Irish if they meet again in the NCAA tournament.