Lacrosse Final Four

Set your TiVo. You can still do your yard work tomorrow or take your kids to the beach, you don’t want to miss the men’s lacrosse final four. Trust me. ESPN 2 will have both games on Saturday – Maryland vs. UMass at 11:30 and Virginia vs. Syracuse at 2, and ESPN will have the finals on Monday at 1.
Even better, if you live anywhere near Philadelphia, go see the games. I’ve been to a few lax final fours, and it’s always a great time – big, lively crowds and exciting games.
As I mentioned above, the four teams include two ACC schools, Maryland and Virginia, one perennial power in Syracuse and one outsider, UMass. UMass is sort of like lacrosse’s version of George Mason, a small program hitting the big time for the first time. ESPN’s preview of the four teams is here.
Maryland should beat the Minutemen to reach the finals, where they will likely be the underdog against either the Cavaliers or Orange (God, I hate that new nickname). Syracuse wasn’t their usual powerful self this year, but they’ve been coming on strong. If they beat the undefeated Cavaliers, I think it’s safe to say they’d be the favorite against the Terps.
As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago (and check the comments on that article), UVA is undefeated and is the favorite to take it all. Last week, they completely dismantled a good Georgetown team 20-8. The Hoyas had given up 10 goals only one time this year. Virginia beat ‘Cuse earlier this year in a shootout, 20-15 and they beat Maryland twice, 15-5 and 11-5.
But, this is different. Beating teams in the regular season is no guarantee of beating them in the tournament. Syracuse has had a ridiculously good NCAA tournament record over the past couple of decades and Virginia has a history of losing heartbreaking, one-goal games to end their season. I expect this one will be fairly close and there will be a lot of goals.
In the end, I’m sticking with my team. I say (and hope) that the Cavaliers will be hoisting the trophy on Monday after a tight game against Syracuse and a six-goal laugher against the Terps.

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