clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Best Lacrosse Team in the History of History Tournament: (9) 1981 North Carolina at (8) 1984 Syracuse

Alright, time to pick these things back up. Notre Dame getting all antsy in the pantsy the other day kind of threw things out of whack. What a bunch of selfish jerks.

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

(9) 1981 North Carolina Tar Heels

Details of Incredible Importance

Record: 12-0
Tournament Seed: 2
National Champion?: National champion
Four Really Important Names: Mike Burnett (A); Tom Sears (G); Doug Hall (M); Jeff Homire (M)
Hall of Famers: Two -- Mike Burnett; Tom Sears
All-Americans: Seven -- Mike Burnett, Doug Hall, Tom Sears (First Team); Peter Voelkel, Gary Burns (Second Team); Kevin Griswold (Third Team); Jeff Homire (Honorable Mention)
Scoring Margin per Game: 8.08

Brief Notes For/Against

  • Absolutely decimated opponents throughout the year, holding a +97 scoring margin and an 8.08 scoring margin per game mark. While the team's total goal mark for the year isn't all that impressive -- just 200 -- they were earned over only 12 games and the team's goals per game value -- 16.67 -- stands as the 13th best all-time. The Tar Heels never failed to score under double digits in 1981 -- eclipsing the 20-goal mark twice (against Roanoke and Duke) -- and did it even against traditional powers: Virignia (11); Syracuse (13); Navy (17); and Johns Hopkins (14). This may have been the best offense that Willie Scroggs had in his career at Chapel Hill.
  • Of its 12 victories on the year, five -- Virginia, Syracuse, Maryland, Johns Hopkins, and Navy -- came against NCAA Tournament teams. In those games, Carolina held a +23 scoring margin (4.6 goals per game, including a double overtime game against Maryland). Against non-tournament teams, Carolina held a +74 scoring margin (10.57 goals per game). That's . . . that's beating up on some little guys, but it's also important to note that the NCAA Tournament invited only eight teams to compete in 1981. So, Carolina did whip 62.5 percent of the country's best teams that year by a pretty nice cushion.

(8) 1984 Syracuse Orange

Details of Incredible Importance

Record: 15-1
Tournament Seed: 2
National Champion?: Doh!
Four Really Important Names: Tim Nelson (A); Brad Kotz (M); Dave Desko (M); Tom Nims (G)
Hall of Famers: Two -- Brad Kotz; Tim Nelson
All-Americans: Eight -- Tim Nelson, Brad Kotz (First Team); Dave Desko (Second Team); Tom Korrie, Randy Lundblad, Kevin Sheehan (Third Team); Jeff Desko, Tom Nims (Honorable Mention)
Scoring Margin per Game: 8.50

Brief Notes For/Against

  • Syracuse entered the 1984 final against Johns Hopkins riding a 22-game winning streak (freaky!) and were defending their surprise 1983 title (the first NCAA title for the program). Syracuse, somehow, didn't earn the tournament's top overall seed -- that went to Hopkins -- despite the fact that the Orange had been ranked at the top of the polls since the start of the rankings (they didn't start at the beginning of the year back then). Despite all of Syracuse's greatness in 1984 -- the team's scoring margin per game still ranks ninth all time; only 19 teams have scored more goals per game than that iteration of the Orange -- the team succumbed to the Jays in the final, 13-10. Johns Hopkins was still in a ridiculous golden era at that point, and the fact that Syracuse did what it did in 1984, despite failing to take home back-to-back titles, is strong evidence of just how good the team was. (For what it's worth, Syracuse put together another outstanding season in 1985, dropping only two games -- to Hopkins (still in an awesome era of dominance) in both the regular season and the NCAA championship.)
  • Syracuse played seven teams in 1984 that were all ranked in the top-15 of the country. In those games, Syracuse held a +29 aggregated scoring margin, good for a 4.14 scoring margin per game value. Against top-10 teams Syracuse was a little shaggier, holding a +19 mark (that includes a 21-5 whipping of Adelphi) and a 3.8 scoring margin per game value. The destruction in its totality, though, is breathtaking: the team top 20 goals six times, held opponents to under 10 goals 11 times, and even held opponents to five goals or fewer five times. This is a team that only once failed to generate double-digit goals in a game -- an 8-7 overtime victory over seventh-ranked Rutgers -- and was a crushing force of humanity for 15 games.

So, who are you taking: 1981 North Carolina or 1984 Syracuse? Back up your expression of freedom in the comments, homeslice.