Item: As conference tournaments get underway this week, and the NCAA’s are quickly on the horizon, in what’s now an ultra-competitive Div. I sport among the top 20 or so teams spread out through multiple time zones; it’s an even more daunting task against the top 10 and four closely-packed ACC foes, which again made up this year’s Syracuse lacrosse schedule.
The fact that this year’s young SU team went undefeated in the ACC, and controls its NCAA destiny this week at the conference tournament in Virginia by meeting the host Cavaliers Friday night in the semifinals (8:30 p.m. ET / ESPNU), is a testament to the coaching staff and the handful of veterans mixing with a majority of young players who’ve both grown up (4-0 ACC mark), and taken their lumps (five defeats), against that tough list of opponents.
In an era of post season games often times being separated by a matter of inches, as if a particular shot hit the crossbar or pipe instead of lighting the scoreboard, the margin of error is slim to win two NCAA games and advance to the Final Four, something that has eluded the Orange since 2013.
Winning the ACC title by beating Virginia then either Duke or Notre Dame, followed by a Dome victory over Colgate in the season finale May 5, would seemingly wrap up a top eight seed and NCAA first round home game in the Sunday night slot on May 13.
That’s the path necessary to make a Final Four bid, along with a favorable bracket matchup in the quarterfinals at Hempstead or Annapolis.
With a five year 14-7 record in ACC play, and 5-2 in the tournament, the ’Cuse is in position this weekend to set itself up for a potential surprising deeper run in post season play.