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NCAA Tournament GameThread: #8 Syracuse Orange vs. Albany Great Danes

The Orange and Great Danes hit the turf at 7:30 on Sunday. Syracuse beat Albany 16-7 back in February but Albany has shown significant growth since then.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange and Albany Great Danes will meet at 7:30 PM  tonight in the Carrier Dome. Albany has only beaten Syracuse once in its history and fell to the Orange 16-7 earlier in the season. Nevertheless, anything can happen in the NCAA Tournament, just ask Denver.

Blaze Riorden comes into the game as a Tewaaraton Trophy Nominee and one of the best goalies in college lacrosse. In the regular season matchup, Riorden picked up 17 saves while handling the 33 shots on goal that Syracuse threw at him. On the other side, Evan Molloy will start in net for 'Cuse. Albany has not faced Molloy yet, so there could be an adjustment period for the Danes in the first period.

Albany is vulnerable in the defensive end and will have problems matching up with all the Syracuse midfield shooters. It will be interesting to see whether the Danes pole Sergio Salcido or Nick Mariano. In the regular season Mariano and Derek DeJoe had three goals each.

At the faceoff X, Ben Williams burned Albany by winning 17 of 24 in the regular season. Zach Ornstein has a .560 winning percentage but is not at the same level as Williams. That being said, faceoffs really haven't been determinative this weekend.

The winner of Albany-Syracuse will take on Maryland in the Quarterfinals next weekend. With Denver now out Maryland should be the favorite to win it all. That being said, UMD has the toughest road to the finals with potential matchups with Syracuse, and Yale or Brown.

Enjoy the game, leave your comments below, and of course....G'ORANGE!