Item: When the ACC released the sites and dates for its 2018-19 sport’s championships on May 17, the announcement included a confirmation of the change first reported last December of how the men’s lacrosse regular season champion will be crowned.
Unlike the other nine major Div. I conferences which will continue to play two games over a three day span either at the end of April or beginning of May, the ACC coaches opted to have all five conference teams participate in the tournament beginning next season, when the annual rotation among the five schools has North Carolina hosting the opening round game (April 25) and semi-final doubleheader (April 27).
The winner of the opening round No. 4 seed vs. No. 5 matchup would face the No. 1 seed in the semis, joined by No. 2 against No. 3. In a new wrinkle, the winners of the semis will meet in the championship game the following weekend (May 4 or 5) on the field of the highest remaining seed., so there could potentially be an extra Dome home game in ’19.
That would necessitate a change of the regular season finale against upstate neighbor Colgate, played nine of the last 12 seasons, leaving little breathing room in seasons where the tournament games might be considered must wins for a conference that is one team short of qualifying for an automatic bid to May Madness.
At the same time it’s a chance for two, or even three more victories to boost overall strength of schedule, something that helped the ‘Cuse host the No. 8-9 matchup this season against Cornell.
Syracuse, based on longer tradition, would seemingly fall next in the rotation to host the ACC Tournament in 2020, played the weekend before graduation ceremonies take over the Dome. Only SU and Notre Dame have not hosted the tourney after Carolina does so next season.
By-the-way, Hofstra (again) and newcomer Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford host the quarterfinals next season, with championship weekend headed back to Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field.