In an odd twist, the Syracuse Orange lacrosse team has to face-off with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for the second time this week. This time in Philadelphia, PA in the first round of the Big East Tournament (4:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU).
The other half of the bracket features the one seed Villanova taking on Georgetown (7 p.m. on ESPN3). The winner of the tournament gets the conference's AQ for the the NCAA tournament field of 16.
This past Saturday, the Orange defeated Notre Dame, 10-4, thanks to a six-goal fourth quarter led by season's breakout star Dylan Donahue.
Last year, the Orange needed to win the tournament to ensure it's spot in the postseason. This time around, things are a tad different.
Syracuse has quality wins over then No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 2 Cornell and top-20 programs Virginia, John's Hopkins and Princeton.
Its only three losses came to Co-Big East regular season champions Villanova (hence their one-seed in the Big East Tournament), Albany, who is now making noise and stands a good chance on making the dance, and Hobart.
The Orange are probably looking straight at a five seed as is in the tournament with a bump up to a four if they defend their Big East Tournament title.
The difference between a four/five seed? Not a whole lot since only the top eight teams get seeded in the tournament with travel distance playing a large factor in determining who the lower eight teams are seeded up against.
Focusing more on Notre Dame, Syracuse has the blue print for success: great defense and solid off-ball movement while on offense.
Dylan Donahue scored his three goals on a near identical play as the Orange offense possesses superior athleticism to Notre Dame defense.
Sean Rogers, a senior attackman who leads the Irish offense, was blanked last game thanks to the play of Brian Megill, a feat that will need to be repeated if Syracuse wants to win the rematch.
My money is on Notre Dame making it a lot closer for the full 60 minutes and don't surprised if the Irish knock out 'Cuse in round one. Thankfully, this year the Orange will be a ok with just a piece of the Big East regular season title.