The Chocolate Games

Jeff Zelevansky

Inside Lacrosse has announced the fields for two other "mega" events next spring: the Mile High Classic and the Independence Classic.

Remember that time that I was wrote a eulogy on the lacrosse tripleheader? Well, good news, everyone! The tripleheader is back -- outside the city of throw-snowballs-at-Santa-Claus and Cheez-Whiz-is-a-vegetable -- and will be smashing your face in early March! Huzzah!

As part of Inside Lacrosse's growing catalogue of "mega" events, the magazine announced today the fields for two of its events sponosored in conjunction with Whitman's Candies (which, I assume, is an industrial chemical waste processing firm). The highlight is the revelation that PPL Park -- a 2012 NCAA Tournament quarterfinals host -- in Chester, Pennsylvania, will be hosting a tripleheader called the Independence Classic, featuring four Pennsylvania schools and two from New York (naturally):

March 9, 2013
Game I: St. John’s vs. Syracuse (noon)
Game II: Pennsylvania vs. Villanova (2:30 p.m.)
Game III: Penn State vs. Lehigh (5 p.m.)

While the Johnnies-Orange game will carry some serious implications in the Big East standings, the game of the entire event is probably the nightcap featuring the Nittany Lions and Mountain Hawks. Lehigh will likely be a top-10 team throughout 2013, and Penn State -- if everything comes together under Jeff Tambroni -- probably won't be far behind. If I had my druthers -- what the hell are druthers? -- I'd probably swap the St. John's-Syracuse game with the Pennsylvania-Villanova contest purely to create a slow burn throughout the day, increasing the volume of my excitement as the day progressed. With the Quakers and Wildcats being "local" participants, though, they get the middle game treatment.

Also: I'm just assuming that Syracuse is no longer playing any games in Carrier Dome any more. While the Orange haven't released their schedule yet for this season, Syracuse has already been confirmed as participating in the Big City Classic against Notre Dame, robbing the Orange of another opportunity to play an important conference game under the teflon roof.

The other event announced today -- the Mile High Classic at Sports Authority Field in Denver -- is heavily-flavored with ECAC undertones, showcasing three current league members and a former one:

March 16, 2013
Game I: Loyola v. Air Force (4:00 p.m.)
Game II: Notre Dame vs. Denver (6:30 p.m.)

The headliner -- in complete "no doink" fashion -- is the Irish-Pios tilt which could be an all-top five affair in mid-March at altitude. The undercard isn't all that bad, though, with Loyola squaring off against a quietly competitive Falcons team that could surprise some people next spring should the team continue to progress as it did in 2012. The 'Hounds will be a decided favorite against Air Force, but as an appetizer to a monster nightcap, it isn't too bad.

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