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Syracuse Men and Women Earn #2 Seeds in National Tournaments

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The NCAA finalized their tournament fields on Sunday, and both the men's and women's lacrosse teams for Syracuse have earned #2 seeds in their respective national tournaments. The women will face the winner of Stony Brook and Towson while the men will take on the winner of Siena versus Bryant.

Winslow Townson

Sunday night, the NCAA announced the tournament fields for the men's and women's lacrosse tournament.

Let's start on the women's side. The women's tournament bracket features 13 automatic qualifiers: Stony Brook (AmEast), Florida (American Lacrosse Conference), Maryland (ACC), Jacksonville (Atlantic Sun), UMass (A10), Louisville (Big East), High Point (Big South), Towson (CAA), Penn (Ivy), Canisius (MAAC), Denver (Mountain Pacific), Bryant (NEC), Loyola (Patriot).

Syracuse fell to Maryland in the ACC Championship game, so the #2 Orange made their way into the NCAA Tournament through one of the 13 at-large bids. The ACC landed a total of 7 teams into the tournament this year including: Boston College, Duke, UNC, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Virginia. Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Ohio State, Penn State, Princeton, Stanford and perennial powerhouse Northwestern round out the field of 26.

The Syracuse Orange women's lacrosse team will ride the second seed into the tournament where they will get a first round bye. The Orange will face the winner of Stony Brook-Towson. The only other ACC team on Syracuse's side of the bracket is Boston College, and SU could potentially face them in the 3rd round.  The fourth round could feature the Orange taking on fifth seeded Northwestern or fourth seeded Florida.

Now, onto the men's side. The Bracket is below.

Bracket_copy_medium

We will start with Syracuse. The Orange picked up the second seed and will face the winner of Bryant-Siena next Sunday. Bryant will take on Siena on Wednesday at 4 pm to decide who will earn the right to visit the Carrier Dome.

Last season, Syracuse barely got past Bryant in the first round. That game featured Bryant's Kevin Massa going 22-23 on face-offs as the Bulldogs embarrassed Syracuse at the face-off X. This year, Kevin Massa has continued his dominance as Bryant has been one of the best face-off teams in the country. Bryant's goalie Gunnar Waldt came into the week third in the country in save percentage, and sports a 7.40 goals against average. Siena is a little weaker at the FOGO spot but Casey Dowd is still slotted fifteenth in the nation in winning percentage. Siena's Richie Hurley is their primary offensive weapon, finishing the regular season with 34 goals and 44 assists. Obviously Syracuse got the tougher of the play-in game opponents, but Orange fans should be hoping for Siena seeing as how we already beat them 19-7 earlier in the season.

Syracuse's potential second round matchup would be against either the Maryland Terrapins or the Cornell Big Red. After a phenomenal start that included wins over Virginia and Penn, Cornell really stumbled towards the end of their season. Syracuse took down the Big Red 14-9 in early April as part of a three game Cornell skid. Syracuse fell to Maryland 8-16 in a devastating loss. As we now know however, that Syracuse team was not the same one that emerged in the second half of the season.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are also included in the Syracuse half of the bracket, but the two would not face each other until the final four. The most interesting matchup in our half of the bracket is Albany vs. Loyola. The Albany Great Danes have that high profile attack of Lyle, Miles and Ty Thompson and a very solid goalie in Blaze Riordon. It will be interesting to see how Albany handles the Greyhounds.

Overall, the biggest point of controversy, by far, is the seeding of Penn. The Quakers snagged the #4 seed and will play at home against cross-town rival Drexel. Personally, I had Penn slotted in the #8 seed, even before they won the Ivy League. If you had an opportunity to watch the Ivy League Championship then you know that it was not a very impressive showing for the league. The Penn seeding is especially eyebrow raising when considering that UNC did not get a top 8 seed. Just for fun, here is the head-to-head comparison based on statistics from Laxpower.com

Category

UNC

Penn

RPI

10

2

Strength of Schedule

10

3

Quality Wins

Maryland

Johns Hopkins

Virginia

Denver 12-10

Quality Losses

Syracuse (2OT) 10-11

Duke (OT) 8-9

Notre Dame 10-11

Duke 6-9

Bad Losses

None

Princeton 12-15

Head-to-Head Wins Versus Tournament Teams

Maryland

Johns Hopkins

Virginia

Harvard

Denver

Cornell

Harvard (twice)

Head-to-Head Losses Versus Tournament Teams

Notre Dame

Duke

Syracuse (2OT)

Virginia

Duke

Cornell

You can decide for yourself, but as far as I'm concerned, statistically Penn looks like the better team when you see their very high SOS and RPI. That being said, the controversial "eyeball test" puts UNC on top. UNC will head to Denver to take on the Pioneers in the first round of the Tournament. One of the other big matchups to take note of is the Virginia Cavaliers versus the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays. The winner of that game will take on the winner of the Duke Blue Devils versus Air Force/Richmond.