The Best Lacrosse Team in the History of History Tournament: (16) 2005 Johns Hopkins at (1) 1990 Syracuse

Here we go, folks. We'll start with the top of the bracket, pitting 1990 Syracuse against 2005 Johns Hopkins. Both teams ran the table that year; both were national champions. Those are both important things, but this is more important: Which team was better?

To the truncated profiles! (There's a poll at the end for you to cast your vote.)

(1) 1990 Syracuse Orange

Details of Incredible Importance

Record: 13-0 (sort of)
Tournament Seed: 1 (sort of)
National Champion?: National champion (sort of)
Four Really Important Names: Paul Gait (M); Gary Gait (M); Pat McCabe (D); Tom Marechek (A)
Hall of Famers: Four -- Paul Gait; Gary Gait; Pat McCabe; Tom Marecheck
All-Americans: Seven -- Paul Gait, Gary Gait, Pat McCabe, Tom Marechek, Greg Burns (First Team); Matt Palumb (Second Team); Eric Holbrook (Honorable Mention)
Scoring Margin per Game: 11.31

Brief Notes For/Against

  • One of the most dominant teams ever assembled, holding the highest average margin of victory per game since the onset of the NCAA Tournament. The Orange's closest game that season came at Pennsylvania where Syracuse walked away with a 15-13 victory. The team won its postseason games by a combined 62-31 margin.
  • Gary Gait led the way that season for the Orange with 72 points (46 G, 26 A), good for 5.5 points per contest. He was a velociraptor before it was cool to be a velociraptor.
  • No team has approached its 20.85 goals-per-game average, with only the 1991 incarnation of the Orange looming in that territory with 18.27 per contest. The team's 12.46 assists per game is second only to Cornell's 12.50 mark earned in 1976.
  • The NCAA says that this team never existed. So, yeah; that's kind of an issue.

(16) 2005 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays

Details of Incredible Importance

Record: 16-0
Tournament Seed: 1
National Champion?: National champion
Four Really Important Names: Kyle Harrison (M); Tom Garvey (D); Paul Rabil (M); Jesse Schwartzman (G)
Hall of Famers: Zero
All-Americans: Seven -- Kyle Harrison, Tom Garvey (First Team); Paul Rabil (Third Team); Jake Byrne, Matt Pinto, Chris Watson, Jesse Schwartzman (Honorable Mention)
Scoring Margin per Game: 4.69

Brief Notes For/Against

  • The Hopkins team that snapped the 18-year title drought; that kind of pressure -- and performance under pressure -- has to count for something. This Blue Jays squad also pulled the undefeated trick in a different kind of era of college lacrosse, the first team to run the table in the ultra-modern era of the game's participation explosion since Princeton's crushing destroyer in 1997.
  • Won nine of its 16 games by three goals or fewer. Four games went into overtime, include a double overtime affair against Duke (second-ranked at the time). This was a team that found ways to win in difficult situations; it wasn't a bulldozer of death. The team's scoring margin per game doesn't even register in the NCAA record book.
  • Defeated nine teams over the course of the season that were ranked in the top-10 at the time they met. This Blue Jays squad -- somehow -- defeated what was the second-ranked team in the country three times (Virginia and Duke in the regular season and Duke, again, in the national championship). The combined margin of victory in those games was +4; against all of the top-10 teams that Hopkins faced, the combined margin of victory was +25 (that includes a 19-9 shellacking of Massachusetts in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals round).

So, who are you taking: 1990 Syracuse or 2005 Johns Hopkins? Back up your expression of freedom in the comments, homeslice.

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