Orange Watch: Syracuse lacrosse will almost assuredly begin NCAA path on the road

David Lipka
Syracuse plays against Binghamton. Mandatory Photo Credit: The Juice Online, Initra Marilyn.

Item:  Seven weeks after the Syracuse basketball team gathered to watch its fate on Selection Sunday March 11, and was rewarded as the last team chosen for the tournament with the bonus of a pleasantly surprising run to the Sweet 16, the Syracuse lacrosse team may have moved off the proverbial NCAA Tournament bubble as a result of action around the country (losses by Cornell, Johns Hopkins, and Rutgers) this past weekend.  A strong strength of schedule keeps the Orange well within range of being one of the 17 teams selected to the tournament, but unlike the past four years, the current 7-6 record with the regular season finale remaining against Colgate Saturday in the Dome (2:00 p.m. ET / ACC Network Extra), will mean no NCAA Dome field advantage.

Down one goal late in the fourth quarter of Friday night’s ACC Tournament semifinal loss to Virginia, standout freshman midfielder Tucker Dordevic hit the goal pipe in an attempt to tie the game.  A few minutes later, redshirt freshman attackman Stephen Rehfuss also just missed the equalizer, and with 0:24 left one final shot went wide as SU fell 11-10 to the host Cavaliers, its fifth one goal game of the season.

» Related: With loss to Virginia, Syracuse lacrosse hurts its NCAA chances

By that slim margin, (almost half (32) of the 35 all-time meetings against UVA have been decided by one goal) the “Cuse’s probably lost a No. 1-8 seeding to host a first-game tournament game, and so will begin the five year quest to return to the Final Four with a tough road meeting against the likes of teams ranked Nos. 4-7 in this week’s RPI rankings meaning Albany, Duke (not likely being an ACC mate), or Baltimore schools Loyola or Johns Hopkins (the NCAA takes into account geography and the necessity of plane trips in bracketing the field).  

“it’s a great question,” SU coach John Desko said following the Virginia loss when asked about how he sees the postseason shaping up for his team that has suffered the most defeats since going 9-8 in 2012.  

“A week ago everybody’s asking me where we stand (for a tournament seed),” Desko continued.  So many things change every weekend now. A lot of things are going to change (this weekend).  I haven’t had time to sit down and look at our body of work right now.”

When the NCAA committee sits down to look at Syracuse’s season it will find a schedule that featured eight games against the Top 17 in this week’s media poll, with wins over three Top 10 teams, along with the six losses to all ranked teams.  Not a typical SU season by far, but well within being one of the eight at-large NCAA selections (along with likely all four ACC Tournament teams).

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.