Go home, Saturday. You've done enough here.
The day started with Canisius and Detroit playing knockout for the MAAC Tournament's final seed and ended -- functionally -- with Syracuse earning a huge Big East victory over Notre Dame at MetLife Stadium (the two teams are set for an epic rematch this coming weekend at Villanova (the Orange will serve as the tournament's second seed; the Irish slot into the third position)). Lots of stuff happened in between, though, and the best part of all of this is that it continues tomorrow (albeit at a different volume and with different circumstances) and rolls through the coming week. This is the beautiful part of the season, you guys. It doesn't get better than this.
Anyway, let's put a button on the day.
- Syracuse 10, Notre Dame 4: The Irish and Syracuse danced around in the first half like animals in the rainforest gauging the suitability of the other for mating, but in the second half the Orange asserted itself as the alpha male of the ecosystem: Going on a 9-1 run over the final 30 minutes of play (the Orange held Notre Dame scoreless for the final 19:58 of play), Syracuse positioned itself with momentum entering the most important part of the season. While the Orange were some form of elegance in the second half, the Irish never seemed to get out of their own way on the day: Notre Dame finished the evening turning the ball over on about 71 percent of their offensive opportunities (the Orange caused about 35 percent of the Irish's turnovers). The combination that Notre Dame exhibited on the day -- a proclivity for not valuing the ball, an offense that couldn't solve a Syracuse defense that played with enthusiasm and with purpose throughout the evening, and a defense that played much leakier than Gerry Byrne's units are known for -- was ultimately the Irish's downfall. The outcome repositions Notre Dame in the national conversation, reiterating increased concerns about the Irish's ceiling this year. It isn't just me that believes that the Irish stinked up the joint tonight; Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan put his team's performance as succinctly as possible: "We were bad all night. A very poor performance from our team."
SYRACUSE OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY: 34.48
NOTRE DAME OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY: 16.67
POSSESSION MARGIN: Syracuse (+5)
Elsewhere around the country:
- Albany 21, Stony Brook 12: That's what a Thompson Trio explosion looks like. The triumvirate combined for 22 -- twenty-two! -- points on the day with Miles Thompson leading the way with 14 (on five goals and nine assists) points attributable to his crosse. Lyle and Ty Thompson each pitched in four points (Ty on three goals and an assist and Lyle on two goals and an assist), but the sheer ridiculousness of generating 22 points out of three players is surpassed only by the fact that the Great Danes will have the opportunity to do this again next week against Stony Brook in the America East Tournament. Is it possible that the Thompson Trio could account for 40 points in consecutive games? If Scott Marr acts like an emotional cripple, it's certainly possible.
- Georgetown 15, Rutgers 7: The Hoyas booked their ticket to the Big East Tournament. The Scarlet Knights were never really in it at home, falling behind 8-1 late in the second quarter before entering the half with a 10-2 deficit to deal with. Rutgers' ceiling looks higher in 2014 than it was in 2013, and if Brian Brecht is brought back to the program following the university's investigation into his "coaching situation," the Scarlet Knights could rattle a few more cages next season. Meanwhile: Kevin Warne has put Georgetown in the Big East Tournament in his first season on The Hilltop. The first-year head coach deserves a lot of credit for pushing Georgetown after a season-opening overtime loss to Lafayette.
- Penn State 16, Hofstra 7: Goodnight, Pride. Due to the head-to-head result against Massachusetts a week ago, the Minutemen will leapfrog Hofstra for the last seed in the THUNDERDOME! Tournament. This has been an epic collapse from the Pride, losing six of their last eight games in indescribably difficult circumstances (four of those six defeats were by only a goal). Seth Tierney has to wonder what the hell Hofstra has done the last two seasons to deserve this kind of heart-shattering existence, but the Pride are officially earning a badge as one of Division I's least invincible teams.
- St. Joseph's 6, Towson 13: Shawn Nadelen didn't dial it back heading into the THUNDERDOME! Tournament. The Tigers are a cut below Penn State, but Towson is on the same relative plane as Drexel, and that means that they could be dangerous in State College this week.