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Syracuse Lacrosse: Previewing SU's NCAA Tournament Matchup vs. Maryland

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The Syracuse Orange will travel to Providence, RI for a quarterfinals matchup with the Maryland Terrapins. Let's take a look at the 2016 Terps.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland Quick Facts

Maryland All-Time Record Vs. SU: 10-6

Maryland Streak Vs. SU: W2 (2014, 2009 NCAA Quarterfinals)

Maryland Last Win Vs. SU: February 22, 2014 (UMD win 16-8)

Syracuse Last Win Vs. Maryland: May 16, 2009 (NCAA Quarterfinals)

Syracuse vs. Maryland in NCAAT: 4-3

Syracuse vs. Maryland in NCAA Quarterfinals: 1-2

Maryland 2015 Record: 15-4; Lost in the B10 Semifinals; Lost in Finals of NCAAT

Maryland 2016 Record: 15-2; Wins versus High Point, Drexel, Princeton, Albany, UNC, Penn, Michigan, Penn State, Rutgers, Navy, Ohio State, Johns Hopkins, Penn State, Rutgers, Quinnipiac; Losses versus Yale, Notre Dame

2016 B10 Preseason Coaches' Poll: #2 out of six

2016 B10 Preseason All-Conference Players: Matt Rambo (A), Isaiah Davis-Allen (M), Matt Dunn (D), Kyle Bernlohr (G)

2016 All-Conference Players: First Team: Kyle Bernlohr, Bryan Cole, Isaiah Davis-Allen; Honorable Mention: Greg Danseglio, Colin Heacock, Tim Muller, Matt Rambo

Maryland vs. Common Opponents: 4-9 L vs. Notre Dame, 10-7 W vs. Albany, 11-8 W vs. UNC, 11-8 W vs. Johns Hopkins

If you recall the 2011 NCAA Tournament Syracuse and Maryland matchup, two things come to mind: Syracuse's ugly yellow socks and Grant Catalino scoring the game winner in overtime.

The Maryland Terrapins have won two National Championships, but have not taken the title since 1975. UMD is 2-6 in National Championship games, most recently losing to the Pios in 2015.

With the Denver Pioneers now out of this year's Tournament and Notre Dame with a tough matchup versus UNC, Maryland is the favorite in my mind. Yet, the Terps have the toughest road to the final four as they now have to face the Syracuse Orange in what is a Championship caliber game.

Maryland has allowed ten goals just twice, and has won both those matchups versus High Point and Penn State. The overtime win against PSU sent the Nittany Lions into a tailspin that likely kept them out of the Tournament. As a complete side note, I absolutely loved those Sunday night Big Ten matchups. I know not everyone gets the Big Ten Network, but as someone who does, what a great way to showcase your conference and provide some great Sunday night action.

Attack

Maryland has so many scoring threats with five players who have scored 20 plus goals this year. I would expect to see a lot of play behind the net for Maryland as that's where this offense likes to set up. The leading goal scorer for Maryland is Colin Heacock who has 37 goals in 2016 and has a fourteen game goal scoring streak.

Matt Rambo has a team leading 57 points and was one of three Terps to have a hat trick against Quinnipiac. The junior can create offense with his wing dodge and movement from X and has no problem taking a hit on the dodge. He is also one of the best outside shooters on this team. The biggest problem that Rambo presents is that he demands a double team, but with 22 assists on the year, he is very good at finding the open man.

Can you be any more of a disloyal idiot than Dylan Maltz? Dylan's father, Derek Maltz, won a National Championship at Syracuse in 1983. His brother, also named Derek Maltz, played at Syracuse and was the leading goal scorer in 2012. Dylan joined Syracuse in 2014 rated as the 18th best incoming freshman by Inside Lacrosse. Following that season, his brother graduated and Dylan transferred to Maryland. Since joining the Terrapins, Maltz has had 45 points over two years. It would have so nice to have Dylan on this Syracuse attack line, but so it goes. Currently, the younger Maltz has the best shooting percentage of all Terps with over 10 shots. He has 21 goals and 8 assists on the year.

Watch out for Maryland on the ride. The Terps have held opponents to a .862 clearing percentage. The starting attackmen have a combined 15 caused turnovers with five each. Syracuse has the seventh best clearing unit in the country but coughed up two to Albany on Sunday.

While Maryland likes to run its offense from behind cage, they will also try and crowd the crease. The Terps will test Syracuse's inside defense through behind cage feeding passes to the crease. The crease checks will have to be on point for SU.

Maryland's two losses came against very good defenses in Yale and Notre Dame. In both those games, Maryland was held to under six goals. I have serious doubts that Syracuse will be able to hold the Terrapins to under ten goals on Saturday so the Syracuse offense will have to be rolling and that will be tough against goalie Kyle Bernlohr.

Interestingly enough seven of the top ten teams in the nation in shots taken made the Tournament. Out of that ten, five have made it to the Quarterfinals with UNC, Notre Dame, and Navy falling outside of the top ten in that category. Syracuse sits seventh with 653 shots and Maryland is tied at tenth with 650. That means if those numbers hold up we would see 78 shots in this game. Syracuse has only faced one team in the top ten of shots taken, Duke. In the two games against the Blue Devils, SU allowed 43 in the 16-15 loss and 41 in the 14-8 win. Maryland is averaging 38.24 shots per game and Syracuse is 2-2 in games where opponents have take at least 38 shots. What am I saying? This could be an offensive thriller.

Midfield

I expect to see a lot of inverted offense on Saturday as Maryland will try and get favorable matchups for the attack.

Known as a passer, Bryan Cole has a team high 23 assists this season to go along with his 21 goals. Cole battled several wrist injuries to start his career at Maryland and finally got his first goal in a 16-3 win against Mount Saint Mary's in 2014. Cole is a Canadian native and used to playing a much more physical and quick game. He came to Maryland with a strong right hand and worked hard to develop his left. He now has the second most assists on his team. Defensively, we've seen him get beat on the dodge so keep an eye on who Cole guards on the defensive end.

Connor Kelly is very good a dodging from X. He has 24 goals and 12 assists in 2016. Against North Carolina earlier in the year, Kelly put up three goals and three assists.

And let's not forget about Henry West, he had his third career hatty against Quinnipiac on Sunday. The senior has the ability to be a great dodger and has put up 13 goals and seven assists this year, well below his 27 points in 2015.

The biggest concern for Maryland will be its defensive midfield and whether or not that unit will be able to keep up with a stellar Syracuse first line. Watch the play at the top of the box, the Qunnipiac midfielders didn't seem to have a lot of trouble getting free at top of box and getting shots off in first quarter. The difference makers in this matchup for Syracuse could be Sergio Salcido and Nick Mariano.

Faceoff

Austin Henningsen should get most of the faceoffs against Ben Williams. Henningsen took 14 of 17 against a good Quinnipiac team and went 12-12 through the first half. The freshman has a .635 winning percentage this season, good enough for eighth in the country.

Williams ran into some trouble last week against Albany, I would think Maryland will be looking for some pointers from Zach Ornstein's first quarter performance versus Williams. Williams went just 12-24 against Ornstein on Sunday but didn't win a faceoff in the first quarter going 0-5. We saw how much Syracuse suffered without the possessions off the faceoff. Williams will need to be ready out of the gate against Maryland for SU to have an opportunity for the upset.

Defense

The Terrapins have the sixth best scoring defense, only allowing opponents an average of 7.76 goals per game. The Orange could have big problems on the offensive end given how good the Maryland defense is. The long-poles have a great stick checking ability and are known to play very close on their marks. The interior of that defense is so hard to penetrate.

Another area of concern for SU against this defense is in transition. Maryland uses its long-poles on the transition game and Molloy will definitely see some shots from the LSMs. Bryce Young knocked Quinnipiac's netminder Jack Brust out of the game for a minute or two last Sunday with a hard shot to Brust's high chest, lower neck area. The On the clear, the Terps can move the ball very quickly especially following a turnover and I think this could cause a lot of problems for a Syracuse defense that has been known to get flustered.

We did not see a penalty on either side in the Syracuse-Albany game. This will not be the case against Maryland. The defense is so physical that I would imagine this game becomes hard hitting very quickly. Maryland's man-down unit is third in the nation with a .750 kill percentage but will be facing a man-up unit that scores on .500 percent of its opportunities.

Goal

And then there's Kyle Bernlohr. Syracuse faced a very good goalie last week in Blaze Riorden. We saw Syracuse falter in the first half against Albany, a half in which SU put up just 12 shots only eight of which were on net. I don't want the offense to hold back, but poorly placed shots could lead to a quick death against a high powered Maryland offense and a goalie that can make tremendous stops. Syracuse will need to backup its shots and make the most of its opportunities. I will say that I think SU must be especially careful with its outside shooting. Bernlohr can track shots well so don't bother taking anything that is not a laser with pin point accuracy against him. On the crease, fake high and go low. I don't want to see any shot that does not come after a fake and Bernlohr is so good from in close on shots aimed at the top half of the cage that it's not even worth letting it go. Take a look at a compilation from the 2015 National Championship game.

And check this out.

Also, Bernlohr had an incredible save on James Burns in the third quarter versus Quinnipiac.

The Syracuse Orange travel to Providence, RI to take on the Maryland Terrapins in the Quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament. Faceoff is scheduled for noon on Saturday and the game can be seen on ESPNU. Of course you can also follow me @OrangeLax for updates.