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Syracuse Lacrosse: Where & When They Might Lose First

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SU lacrosse is the only team in the nation without a loss, and looking as strong as ever. Assuming this team ever loses, who are the most likely candidates to deliver that first blow?

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

I mean … I think it’s possible … but with this group and the parity we’ve seen the last four or five years, it’s highly unlikely ... So going undefeated? Look, a lot of people didn’t think it was possible to undefeated in hoops, and Kentucky has a pretty good shot at it. It takes a special group of players but it also takes a special year in terms of competition.

- ESPN Analyst Paul Carcaterra on whether or not it's possible to go undefeated in DI lacrosse in 2015.

So it's probably not possible to go undefeated anymore. The Syracuse Orange are only halfway through the regular season - 7-0 with five games remaining plus two ACC Tournament games. Add that to the four NCAA Tournament games they'd need to win, and there's still 11 possible chances for a team to knock the Orange off.

But when you race out to a 7-0 mark with five of those wins coming from top 20 teams and three of them coming from top 10 teams, and you come off an absolute throttling of the two-time defending champions and No. 4 team in the nation, it might be worth at least a fleeting thought.

But if the Orange are going to lose somewhere, who's it going to be? Let's breakdown the most likely candidates:

1. Notre Dame - March 28

The toughest test is likely just a few days away as the Orange head on the road to South Bend to take on the No. 2 Fighting Irish. Notre Dame is 5-1 with its only loss coming on the road at No. 5 Denver. The Irish defense is averaging just 7.3 goals against per game, and are coming off an astounding 9-0 SHUTOUT against a previously ranked Ohio State team (Note: If you don't watch much lacrosse, shutouts are very rare). Could Notre Dame be the first defense to hold the Orange in check? SU has scored at least 12 goals in every game this season, but it also hasn't gone on the road yet this year, so it will be a major test.

2. North Carolina - April 11

If the Orange survive at Notre Dame, the No. 4 North Carolina Tar Heels await just a few weeks down the road. Another road test, but a completely different type of matchup, as the Tar Heels excel on the offensive end, averaging 15.4 goals per game. North Carolina was another unbeaten team until just this weekend, when former conference foe Maryland went into Chapel Hill and shut down the potent UNC offense in a 10-8 win, proving a great defense is capable of standing up to the Tar Heels' offense.

3. Albany - April 2

I was tempted to rank the Great Danes second on this list, simply because they have the best player in college lacrosse in Lyle Thompson. The defending Tewaarton winner is averaging a cool 4.5 assists per game to go with 2.0 goals per game so far. He leads an Albany offense that averages 16.8 goals per game, and scored 26 and 24 goals in its previous two games. If you like high scoring lacrosse, this should be a great matchup for you. The one caution for Albany though, is in its only game against a top opponent - Cornell - the Great Danes scored just nine goals in a 16-9 beating in Dallas. You may remember the Orange handled the Big Red pretty easily in a 14-6 win back in February.

4. ACC Tournament

Without knowing who the Orange will face in the conference tournament, it's tough to put this one at the top of the list, especially since the first loss is likely to come sooner. Syracuse already dominated its first two ACC opponents, but the thing that sticks out is that both had inexperienced defenses playing against an extremely experienced Orange attack. North Carolina and Notre Dame don't suffer from the same ailment, and after a full regular season, Duke and Virginia may be more prepared for SU's offensive onslaught in the tournament. So don't sleep on anyone by that point.