The Syracuse Men's Lacrosse Bandwagon Fan's Guide To The 2014 NCAA Tournament

Drew Hallowell

Welcome back, SU Bandwagon Fan. We've missed you. Kinda.

Hello Syracuse Orange Lacrosse Bandwagon Fan!

Good to see you again. It's been a few weeks since we briefly reunited for March Madness. We had a mere week to get reacquainted and...poof...you were gone.

But, it's May and that means it's time for you to start paying attention to Syracuse Lacrosse! The really exciting news is that it's a great time to not only get in on the men's squad but also affix your wagon to the women's squad as well. Both of them have a great shot at returning to the Final Four and even maybe winning the whole damn thing.

Before we get there, however, we need to get you up to speed. We'll do our best, starting with the men.

Syracuse Men's Lacrosse Bandwagon Catch-Up

So Are We Undefeated Or What?: Well, no. And to be honest with you, things didn't look too good early on. Six games in we were 3-3 and had just been brutalized by Duke, 21-7. After that, however, we got it together and rattled off six-straight wins, including a vengeance victory over Duke in the ACC Tournament. We lost in the ACCT Finals to Notre Dame but wrapped up the regular season with a thrashing of Colgate to finish 11-4.

Did This Whole ACC Thing Work Out? I guess so? Thanks to the loaded conference schedule and their usual murderer's row, the Orange played the toughest schedule in the nation and ended up with a No. 1 RPI. Every ACC squad made the NCAAs and they all spent the season in or near the top ten. Not crazy to think an all-ACC Final Four is possible.

What Are We Seeded?: Syracuse earned the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament behind No. 1 Duke. That means they'll host the winner of the Siena - Bryant game on Wednesday night. Incidentally, Syracuse beat Bryant in the first round last year and beat Siena in the first round three years ago.

Who's Really Good? Who Should We Be Afraid Of?: Well, despite beating them a couple weeks ago, we should all fear Duke. They're the new oligarchs of college lax and they've gone to seven-straight Final Fours, winning the National Title (over us) last year. No. 3 Loyola was atop the rankings of the season but folks aren't entirely sure what to make of them. No. 6 Notre Dame beat us last week for the ACC Title and we could see them or Loyola in the Final Four. One sleeper to be worried about is Albany. The Danes took us to the limit earlier this year and boast a Thompson Trio that would absolutely love to send us home if they got the chance. They've got a long road ahead of them if they want the opportunity, though.

When We Win Our First Game, Who Do We Play? Don't get too cocky. This ain't the olden days when you could just pencil SU in to the Final Four. We should beat Bryant or Siena but both teams feature dominant face-off specialists. Bryant's Kevin Massa dominated SU last year and kept them in the game. SU beat Siena 19-7 earlier this season but stranger things have happened. If we do beat our opponent, the winner of Maryland - Cornell awaits. The Orange got beat up by Maryland early on and did some beating up of Cornell soon after. However, this is a different team than the one who got pummeled by the Terps.

Who Are The Players I Need To Pretend I Know About? The Syracuse scoring attack usually flows through a three-headed monster consisting of Kevin Rice (33G, 43A), Randy Staats (32G, 22A) and Dylan Donahue (36G, 16A). Don't sleep on Billy Ward (18 goals) and Derek Maltz (14 goals), either. On the ever-important face-offs, Chris Daddio has become our go-to guy. He's 177 of 346 (.512) and has improved on what was our weakest unit. Dominic Lamolinara is our usual starting goalie (12.5 GAA, .485 save pct) but Bobby Wardell will see plenty of action as well (10.65 GAA, .518 save pct).

Who's Wearing No. 22? Freshman Jordan Evans, who is still working his way up the ranks. He saw action in ten games this season, scoring two goals on six shots. Give him some time and let the roster clear out ahead of him. He'll get there.

Where Are The Powells? They stopped making them, unfortunately.

I Remember Complaining About Face-Offs Last Year, Will I Be Doing That Again? Probably, yes. But maybe not as much as last year and God willing not anything like the NC game. While the Orange are improved, we're also due to take on some pretty good FOGOs.

Where Does The Road To The Final Four Go Through? Syracuse's 1st Round game will take place in the Carrier Dome, so that's easy. If they win, they'll head to Hempstead, NY on Long Island for the 2nd Round. Win there and it's off to M&T Stadium in Baltimore for the Final Four and, we hope, the National Title game.

What Should I Expect? Are We Final Four Bound? By all measurements we should be. We might be the No. 2 seed but we had a decent case to be the No. 1 seed overall. We've got wins over No. 1 Duke and No. 6 Notre Dame as well as North Carolina and Cornell. Now that we've gotten a taste of beating the Blue Devils, no one else seems invincible. The Orange, as usual, will have to make sure they don't beat themselves in face-offs or poor goalie play. Do those things well, keep scoring goals and they should go far.

Wait, Where's Princeton? In Princeton.

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