The key, it seems, is to tell the 2012 Syracuse Orange lacrosse team that every game is a Big East Tournament game. Because when the 2012 Syracuse Orange lacrosse team plays a Big East Tournament game, they're unstoppable.
The Orange clinched an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament by winning the BET with a dominating 12-4 victory over the St. John's Red Storm on Saturday. Leading 7-0 at halftime, the second half was merely a formality for SU, who erased the painful 7-7 regular season with a two-game tournament that reminded everyone what this team and this program is capable of.
The win ensures that Syracuse will play in the NCAAs in every season since 2007 and in every season except that one since 1983.
Tommy Palasek was a monster with seven points. He scored three goals of his own but had four critical assists to power the Orange offense. Goalie Bobby Wardwell finished with seven saves and held the Johnnies scoreless in the first half.
Whether or not this newfound firepower and game control will follow SU into the NCAA Tournament remains to be seen. The talent level will take a step up in a hurry and the Orange still have to prove they can hang with the big boys (all due respect to Villanova and St. John's).
SU now turns its eyes to the NCAA Tournament selection show, televised live on ESPNU at 9:00 ET on Sunday. Early brackets seem to have SU heading to North Carolina to take on the future-conference rival Tar Heels. We'll know for sure Sunday. Wherever we end up, it's a whole lot better than the alternative.