This is it. It all started on February 2, 2013 -- a somewhat stunning 12-10 win for Delaware over High Point. From that point forward, the 2013 season -- a rocket ship headed for points unknown -- provided a heck of a ride: just six days after falling to Delaware, High Point beat Towson -- the eventual THUNDERDOME! champion -- and changed the course of human history (maybe); Maryland looked like a super team but eventually succumbed to an offense that blew its transmission; The Thompson Trio shattered faces from coast-to-coast and became lacrosse's equivalent to concentrated doses of sunshine and rainbows; upsets happened all over the place -- Manhattan over Marist, Hobart over Syracuse, Dartmouth over Princeton, Mount St. Mary's over Bucknell, Lafayette over Georgetown, and on and on and on -- and everyone accepted it as bonkers became the new normal; Cornell and North Carolina established themselves as the nation's elite, only to fall before the final notes were played in the season's song; Johns Hopkins announced that they would pursue conference affiliation on the heels of failing to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in over 40 years; Marist, after dominating the MAAC all season fell to Detroit in the conference final, only to see the Titans almost pants Notre Dame in the first round of The Big Barbecue; ad infinitum.
And here we are: Memorial Monday, prepared to watch Duke and Syracuse -- the former finding grace after forgetting its Emily Post at the start of the season; the latter quietly building itself into an elite team as the season approached its climax -- battle for their second and 12th titles, respectively. It's been an awesome season -- one that flew by too fast -- and it'll be sad to see it go.
If you've missed anything this week, checking out College Crosse's NCAA Tournament hub (it's a window into your soul) is the best way to achieve total consciousness. If that's too much to handle, these are your necessaries:
- National Championship Stategories: What a computing machine that is drunk on math thinks will happen this afternoon.
- The Look of a Champion: With Cornell eliminated, which team -- Duke or Syracuse -- looks most like one of the four prior national champions?
- My kind of Memorial Day picnic.
- NCAA Tournament Final Four Tailing Recommendations: If you're not in Philadelphia, you can still pull this off in your backyard.
Otherwise, here is your highlight for today:
- (7) Duke v. (1) Syracuse: The Orange are the more balanced team but play at a possession deficit due to uneven faceoff play; the Blue Devils lead with their offense and are able to hide some of their defensive deficiencies due to the enormous possession margin they play with. Consequently, there are two related issues that may dictate the outcome of today's game: (1) Whether Syracuse's defense -- one of the stronger units in the nation -- can withstand defensive possession after defensive possession, generating stops and giving the Orange's offense a decent amount of opportunities to beat the Devils' defense (the focus, of course, is Syracuse's ability to kill possessions that derive directly from a Duke faceoff win to mitigate make-it-take-it scenarios); and (2) Whether Duke's defense puts together a performance that somewhat mirrors their effort against Cornell, generating an effort that exacerbates Syracuse's problems associated with possession-starvation. All signs point to this being a one- or two-goal type of game, and I think it's how the two teams' defenses perform that will ultimately dictate which program adds a fancy doorstop to their collection.
|Duke||Syracuse||1:00||LIVE STATS||VIDEO||ESPN (Broadcast) // ESPNU (SkyCam)|
This is your open thread for Monday's title game. It's our last open thread together in 2013, and I'm getting kind of emotional about it. People will be around to yak about whatever is tickling their fancy.