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NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament First Round Preview: (5) Georgetown vs Syracuse

It’s the most anticipated matchup of the first round. A once longstanding rivalry renewed. Final Four hopes and expectations abound. Check out our Georgetown-Syracuse preview.

Rafael Suanes/Georgetown Athletics

The 10,000 Foot View

Date and Time: Saturday, 7:30 PM ET

Location: Maryland Stadium, College Park, Maryland

Network: ESPNU

LaxRef Win Probability: 79% Georgetown

Your Anticipation Level: THROUGH THE ROOF

The Nitty Gritty Numbers

Numbers Bonanza

THE STATS Georgetown Syracuse
THE STATS Georgetown Syracuse
Adjusted Offensive Eff. 32.2% (18th) 37.3% (3rd)
Adjusted Defensive Eff. 20.8% (1st) 30.7% (43rd)
Adjusted FO% 60.1% (12th) 56.3 (16th)
Clearing Percentage 89.1% (7th) 90.2% (3rd)
Ground Balls Per Game 34.14 (14th) 83.1% (47th)

The Key Match-Ups

Georgetown Defense vs Syracuse Offense

  • No two ways about it, this is the power vs power matchup of the first round and aside from potentially a Carolina vs Georgetown or Carolina vs Maryland matchup; I’m not sure we’ll get a better one all NCAA Tournament long. The Georgetown defense is the preeminent unit in America on that side of the ball, ranking 1st in the country in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency and 1.1% better than the 2nd best team, Army. That’s the difference between Army and 6th ranked Duke. They cause more turnovers per game than any team in the NCAA Tournament. They have the 2nd best Man-Down defense in America, which is almost 9% better than the 2nd best Man-Down defense in the tournament. They go 5 deep with effective cover guys at long pole (Gibson Smith, James Donaldson, Will Tominovich, Joe LiCalzi, Alex Mazzone.) Owen McElroy leads the country in save percentage. It is a remarkable unit. And it’s matched up against the 3rd best offense in the entire country in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency in Syracuse. The Orange cook up more danger on offense than anyone except for North Carolina and Maryland, at 37.3%. The Hoyas haven’t seen an offense that poses this much danger, armed with dodgers and shooters alike from both the attack and the midfield along with willing and effective passers. Rehfuss and Hiltz can beat you both ways and Tucker Dordevic can beat you dodging with either hand. The key matchup will likely be Jamie Trimboli vs either Zach Geddes or whatever Hoya SSDM is bumped up to that assignment if Geddes can’t go. While Georgetown’s defense is remarkable; they aren’t as deep with the short sticks as they go with poles, particularly without Geddes. Trimboli will have to rediscover his 2020 form, but if he can go on a shortie in this matchup, that could be what propels the Orange to another big offensive day even against the #1 defense in the country, and a first round upset

Georgetown Offense vs Syracuse short stick defensive midfield

  • Syracuse’s shorties are attackable. Peter Dearth is capable of being an amazing player even if he’s had some struggles this season; but beyond him it’s a unit that has been run by all too often for the Orange this year and lately they’ve been struggling with injury. Georgetown’s issues on offense and when they get stuck in ruts come down to an inability to beat defenders off the dodge and draw slides for Carraway to get hands free shots and for Watson to get slam dunks inside. They create good looks and move the ball well, albeit it at a slow pace, but they’re not a great outside shooting team, which means contest shots or shots off the dodge on the run from far out are not their forte. If Syracuse’s shorties can get healthy and play their best game of the season for this one, then they can dictate the terms of engagement with the Hoyas offense and hold them to a number that could be manageable even against the best defense in the country. But if Nicky Petkevich, TJ Haley down low, or Declan McDermott get matched up on shorties and win those match-ups, then the Hoyas are going to find the exact looks they want for their two marquee goalscorers in Carraway and Watson and fleece the Orange defense with effective ball movement the way so many offenses have this year.