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NCAA Tournament: First Round Predictions

The first round of the NCAA Tournament kicks off on Saturday at noon. Both Saturday and Sunday will feature four games each. Check out below for Jim and Brian's picks for the weekend and an awesome pre-game talk from Coach Simmons.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Well it is finally here. WELCOME TO THE FIRST ROUND EVERYBODY!!! Brian Tahmosh and I have added our picks below, tell us what you think in the comment section. If you want to look at previews for each game, click on the date and time next to each matchup and it will bring you to a preview courtesy of College Crosse.

Also, I don't want anyone to forget that the SU Women's team will be playing the Penn Quakers on Sunday at 3 pm.

If you want some further reading I've compiled some good links below. Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Brian's Lost Trophy Article

Brian's Article on the Pressure Facing Syracuse

Syracuse's Tewaaraton Finalists

LaxMagazine's Tournament Podcast

LaxMagazine's Matchups and Predictions

Inside Lacrosse's Rematch Revenge

Quint's First Round Breakdown

Inside Lacrosse's Offense Wins Championships Article

Oh, and in case you weren't jacked up already, here's something for you (video below).

"You know you're all born average, every one of you, but you know you're not average any more. You know, you put that seed in your heart. That seed of a dream, in your heart, and you made it grow. You made it grow through your perseverance and your attitude. History is going to made here in the next couple of hours, and you're the guy that's going to make the history. So what are you going to do about it? You've already won a trophy, that's a given. Now the object is to make sure that it's gold, two hours from now. WE DON'T WANT MEDIOCRITY, WE WANT ANOTHER GOLD." - Coach Roy Simmons Jr.

Christ, I could listen to that all day.

#8 Cornell Big Red vs. Albany Great Danes (Saturday, 12 pm, ESPNU)

Jim: We all knew this would be a matchup heading into Selection Sunday, and what a tough game this is to predict. Cornell is a well-rounded team while Albany is all about offense. Coach Marr is an offensive coach and it has shown in his recruiting. The Great Danes have the best player in lacrosse, and maybe the best player to ever play the game, in Lyle Thompson. Quite frankly, this kid is incredible to watch; he does things no one else in the game can do. Defensively, this is a very vulnerable team. Cornell has a great faceoff specialist in Domenic Massamilion who has a .645 win percentage. Massamilion went 13 of 23 versus Ben Williams in an early season loss to the Orange. This is a complete toss-up for me, but I'm going with Albany. Prediction: Albany 16 - Cornell 13

Brian's Prediction: Albany Great Danes - Albany is the sexy pick to "upset" Cornell even though Vegas has the Danes as the favorite, and I'll bet on Lyle Thompson to get one more win and secure the Tewaaraton by making it to the quarters.

#6 Maryland Terrapins vs. Yale Bulldogs (Saturday, 2:30 pm, ESPNU)

Jim: This is a really interesting matchup. Faceoff specialist Charlie Raffa has been held back with an undisclosed injury, but expect him to be on the field which could spell trouble for Yale. In goal, Maryland has Kyle Bernlohr Jon Garino, maybe the best goalie in college lacrosse. I originally had the Bulldogs taking the upset, but I've gone back on that. Prediction: Maryland 13 - Yale 9

Brian's Prediction: Maryland Terrapins - It's would be so Maryland to play two unseeded teams on the way to another "how the hell did THEY make it to another Final Four?" run.

#1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Towson Tigers (Saturday, 5 pm, ESPNU)

Jim: Sorry Tigers, but this will be all Irish, all day. Notre Dame stumbled in the ACC Tournament, going up against a suddenly strong Duke team, but I think that may have gotten this team refocused as it came back and beat Army 17-8. Towson's strength is in net with Tyler White holding the second best goals against average in the country and sitting in eight for save percentage. Nevertheless, I would expect he will face a lot more shots than he is used to. Prediction: Notre Dame 18 - Towson 9

Brian's Prediction: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

#5 Duke Blue Devils vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (Saturday, 7:30 pm, ESPNU)

Jim: I think this could be a bad draw for Duke, and while I wouldn't be shocked to see an upset I think that this Duke team that is pumping on all cylinders coming into the Tournament takes the win. This all depends on which Ohio State team shows up: the team that beat Denver 13-11, or the team that lost to Detroit and got shut out by Notre Dame. There was some chatter about how Princeton should have made the Tourney over OSU, but I think the Committee made the right choice. Myles Jones is now the all-time top scoring midfielder for Duke, and even if he's not 100% with that hand injury he will still perform. Keep in mind that this is not the same Duke defense that got routed in the Carrier Dome. The Blue Devils made a switch in goal, going with Danny Fowler who has looked solid, and its inexperienced defense has looked better and better with each passing game. The Buckeyes have a very good net minder in Bryant transfer Tom Carey, but will need Jesse King to have a career day if it wants to get the upset. Prediction: Duke 17 - Ohio State 11.

Brian's Prediction: Duke Blue Devils

#4 Denver Pioneers vs. Brown Bears (Sunday, 3 pm, ESPNU)

Jim: Wesley Berg and Connor Cannizzaro are the point of the spear for a very strong Denver offense. If Brown has to avoid going into man-down as the Pios are the best EMO offense in the country. On the other side Dylan Molloy is number one in goals per game in division I lacrosse. I think this one ends up closer than expected. Prediction: Denver 15 - Brown 12

Brian's Prediction: Denver Pioneers

#7 Virginia Cavaliers vs. Johns Hopkins Blue Jay (Sunday, 1 pm, ESPNU)

Jim: I'm pulling for UVA. It's all about how Hopkins goalie Eric Schneider and his defense play. Schneider has been up and down all year and has been benched multiple times this year. That being said, Hopkins is hot and we all know this team plays Syracuse about as hard as any team, so I'd rather risk playing UVA and the stellar Matt Barrett in net. The Virginia defense is fairly weak and if Schneider can hold off the UVA midfield, a huge offensive threat, the Blue Jays will win. This is the second hardest first round game to pick and while I think it could go either way. Prediction: Hopkins 15 - UVA 14

Brian's Prediction: Johns Hopkins Blue Jays - The only other upset on the board is Hopkins over Virginia, which seems kind of like a no brainer with the Blue Jays surging the UVA looking pretty suspect all year in the ACC.

#3 North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Colgate Raiders (Sunday, 5:15 pm, ESPNU)

Jim: Colgate is much better than advertised, but the defense is weak and probably will not be able to be able to handle the multiple offensive threats from UNC. I think it will be UNC by at least four goals. Prediction: UNC 15 - Colgate 9

Brian's Prediction: Colgate Raiders - Big upset of the weekend will be Colgate over UNC. North Carolina hasn't made the Final Four since 1993, and it would be so North Carolina-y to drop a first-round game with their best team in two decades. Plus Colgate's defense and goalie may be enough to knock off the UNC offense, much like Maryland did to the Tar Heels earlier in the year.

#2 Syracuse Orange vs. Marist Red Foxes (Sunday, 7:30 pm, ESPNU)

Jim: The final game of the first round will take place in the Carrier Dome as the Orange attempt to shake off last year's early exit against the Bryant Bulldogs. Marist has some good shooters, but can be taken advantage of defensively. I would expect Ben Williams to dominate at the faceoff X and the SU attack to have an easy day. Marist is a passing offense and after getting embarrassed in the ACCT on defense, it will be interesting to see how SU plays on the slides. Prediction: Syracuse 14 - Marist 6

Brian's Prediction: Syracuse Orange - In the only game most of us care about, SU should dominate possession and pick apart an inexperienced defense. Think UVA without quite as much talent, a game in which SU dominated from start to finish. The Orange roll, 18-7, and make us forget about Bryant.

The Syracuse Orange will take on the Marist Red Foxes in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The game will take place on Sunday at 7:30 pm, and can be seen on ESPNU and heard on WTKW 99.5 FM. Of course you can also follow me @Orangelax for updates throughout the game.