The Syracuse Orange men's lacrosse program will be in a unfamiliar circumstance Thursday, as they begin play in the inaugural 2012 Big Eat Conference lacrosse tournament on the campus of Villanova University. The No. 19-ranked Orange (7-7), who will play in the day's night cap against the host Wildcats (7 p.m. ET on ESPN3), are going to need win the conference tournament crown, which comes with an automatic-qualifying berth for the NCAA Tournament, to more than likely continue their season.
This situation is something the Syracuse lacrosse is very unfamiliar with, as it has missed the NCAAs just once ('07) in the past 29 years. According to projections, if the Orange do not win the Big East Tournament it will not make the 16-team field.
"I am a kind of a hypocrite," said Syracuse head coach John Desko on Wednesday, when talking about the new conference tournament format for the Big East which he first wasn't in favor off. "Here we are, we're in a position, where we pretty much may need the conference championship to get into the tournament this year."
Earlier this season, the Orange were edged by the Wildcats, 11-10, March 25, at the Carrier Dome. Since then, No. 19 Villanova is 3-3 and is looking to improve on its 8-6 overall record, which currently has them into the NCAAs, according to projections.
However, a loss could be enough to push the Wildcats out and let a bubble-team sneak in.
Meanwhile, the St. John's Red Storm (7-6) are in the same boat as Syracuse, as they also need a tournament crown to continue their season. St. John's first-round match-up (4:30 p.m. on ESPNU) with top-seeded Notre Dame Fight Irish (11-1) will be a very good test, as earlier this year, during the Big City Classic at MetLife Stadium, the Fighting Irish routed the Red Storm 13-6.
All-time, St. John's is 0-4 against Notre Dame, which finished the regular-season with a perfect conference record of 6-0. The Red Storm edged three other Big East lacrosse programs -- Georgetown Hoyas, Providence Friars and Rutgers Scarlet Knights -- for the right to play in the Big East Tournament.
For more on the Big East Lacrosse tournament, check back to this SB Nation New York Storystream. Meanwhile, Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician is all about Syracuse lacrosse and College Crosse has everything on the world of lacrosse.