Growing up in my mother's household, with my step father leading the charge, Syracuse lacrosse season was nearly as important as football season, and one consistent about lacrosse season was the mandatory attendance of a Syracuse vs. Princeton showdown at the Carrier Dome.
Not only were the Tigers a worthy opponent, they were very easy to dislike because of there snooty, leopard-printed wearing fans and hot headed, whiny head coach Bill Tierney.
In the early 2000s, it was always Syracuse vs. Princeton in the NCAA Finals and most of the time -- besides 2001 -- the Orange came out on top.
It was freakin' awesome seeing Tierney cry like a little girl as Syracuse celebrated ANOTHER National Championship, and this upcoming Saturday (5 p.m. ET on ESPN2), when Syracuse faces Tierney's new team, the Denver Pioneers, in the national semifinals in Philadelphia, I hope to revisit history.
The Pioneers, who earned an impressive come-from-behind victory, 12-11, over North Carolina on Sunday in Indianapolis, will be making their second appearance in the lacrosse Final Four in the past three seasons.
A lot of this has to do with Tierney, who nearly four years ago decided to take the upstart job in Colorado -- my guess is because he hated losing to Syracuse so much -- and since then has done a tremendous job trying to build up the sport on the West Coast.
It maybe a different school, but my feelings towards beating Tierney on Saturday will be the same. For someone that has lost track of the sport the last few years, this will be a good way to suck me back in. I'll make it a point to watch and cheer hard for the Orange (15-3) in this one.
The winner of top-seeded Syracuse and No. 4 Denver (14-4) will play either non-seeded Cornell or No. 7 Duke, which will play earlier in the day (2:30 p.m. ET) on ESPN2.
As of right now, the Big Red (14-3), who smoked Ohio State, 16-6, in the quarterfinals, will enter the weekend as the favorite to win the National Championship on Monday.
The Blue Devils (14-5), who squeaked out a 12-11 victory over Notre Dame in the quarterfinals, are making their seventh straight Final Four appearance. (10 more seasons of that and they will be just sniffing Syracuse's record of 22 consecutive.)
The bracket it setting up for an exciting weekend, and I can't wait to watch.
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