Item: With the annual media day on Wednesday and the season opener 32 days away, the preseason ranked No. 10 Orange are again on a quest to return to the sport’s marquee event, the Final Four at The Linc in Philadelphia, the site the last time SU played for the national title in 2013.
When the 2019 Syracuse lacrosse schedule was released a couple of weeks back, there were several items that jumped out to us:
- The reconfiguration of the ACC Tournament to end the regular season the weekend before the NCAA Tournament gets underway (details below), necessitated moving the Colgate game from the season-ending tune-up sandwiched between the ACC and NCAA games, to the season opener, this year in the Dome.
- With Colgate followed by annual games against other state foes Albany and Army, plus a second straight year hosting Johns Hopkins because of prior scheduling conflicts, and the conference rotation with home/away games, it means SU has seven straight home games to begin the season, not playing an away outdoor game until March 30 at Notre Dame.
- On the flip side of seven straight home games to open the season is that four of the final five games are on the road, meaning if SU does not host the ACC title game (see below) or a first-round NCAA Tournament game, then the April 9 meeting with Cornell would be the last home game of the season. That’s four and a half weeks before commencement weekend, in other words, pretty early in April to be finished with home games.
- The aforementioned new schedule for the ACC Tournament has the No. 5 and No. 4 seeds meeting in a first round game (this year the rotation has the event at North Carolina) on April 25, the winner advancing to face the No. 1 seed on April 27, joined in a semifinal doubleheader with the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds meeting in the other game. The semifinal winners meet at the site of the highest remaining seed the following week, May 4. That means Syracuse could also conceivably have a ninth home game in the Dome prior to NCAA play.
- The NCAA is absolutely in love with Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium in Hempstead as a quarterfinal locale because it has been awarded as a host site through 2022. Upstate Orange fans may be making several trips to Long Island over the next four seasons. A new site in the quarterfinal rotation this year is Rentschler Field in East Hartford. This year’s games will serve as a prelude to the Final Four being contested at The Rent in 2021-22.
- Philadelphia will also host the Final Four next year followed by the East Hartford experiment, the first time the sport’s major event will have moved out of an NFL Stadium into a primary college football venue since 2002 at Rutgers.