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Looking at Syracuse men’s lacrosse ACC Tournament possibilities

The Orange are done with the conference slate — but the same can’t be said for the rest of the ACC.

Syracuse Athletics

The Syracuse Orange men’s lacrosse team has already wrapped up the 2019 ACC slate, going 2-2 with wins over Duke and North Carolina, and losses to Virginia (in OT) and Notre Dame. SU’s solidly “in” the NCAA Tournament field at this point — at least based on current bracketology projections. But what about the ACC Tournament coming up next weekend?

To start, here are the ACC standings, plus the upcoming game for each team:

  1. Virginia Cavaliers (3-1): vs. Marist
  2. Syracuse Orange (2-2): vs. Navy
  3. Duke Blue Devils (2-2): “at” Marquette (Bethpage, N.Y.)
  4. North Carolina Tar Heels (1-2): at Notre Dame
  5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-2): North Carolina

Obviously the top three teams are done with ACC play, so that puts all of the attention on the two teams at the bottom, UNC and Notre Dame. Whichever team loses will definitely be the 5-seed and have to play in the first round game next Thursday. But what happens to the winner depends on who it is.

Scenario 1: Notre Dame beats North Carolina

The Irish beating the Heels creates a three-way tie for second with ND, Duke and Syracuse all sitting at 2-2. All three are 1-1 against one another, which sends us to the other tiebreaker scenarios. Part one of that is record versus team(s) occupying the higher position in the standings. In this case, that’s Virginia, which gives second place to Duke. Notre Dame then bests Syracuse for the third seed via head-to-head tiebreaker. That means SU’s headed to the first round game against UNC — a team they beat 12-9 just last weekend. Still, not ideal to play the extra game if you can avoid.

Scenario 2: North Carolina beats Notre Dame

This one’s a little more advantageous for Syracuse. A UNC win also creates a three-way tie for second with Duke and Syracuse. However, SU’s beaten both teams, so they’d be the second seed. North Carolina beat the Blue Devils earlier this year, so they’d be the three-seed. Duke gets the four in that case, and has to play in the first round against Notre Dame.

So either way, Syracuse is going to face North Carolina next. The question is just whether that will be on Thursday or Saturday. Chris will get into more specific detail about the tournament next week. But for now, just know you’re rooting for the Heels (which, welcome to the club, I guess?).