The Syracuse Orange men's lacrosse program seemingly earned its biggest victory of their 2012 season Thursday, but also got its biggest break. Before routing the Villanova Wildcats, 15-6, in round one of the inaugural Big East Conference Tournament, the No. 19-ranked Orange (8-7) watch the St. John's Red Storm stun the lacrosse world by knocking off the top-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 8-7, to advance to Saturday's Championship Game (noon ET on ESPNU).
The victory for the Red Storm (8-6) set-up a rematch with the Orange, who defeated host St. John's 9-8 on March 10 and needs the conference's automatic-qualify berth to make the NCAA Tournament. A loss for Syracuse would more than likely crush its hopes of making the 16-team, NCAA field.
On Thursday, Syracuse seemingly did everything right in its blowout win over the tournament's host, the Wildcats. The Orange got goals from eight different players, including four form sophomore Bobby Eilers, to survive the win-or-go-home scenario.
Currently, projections have Syracuse sitting on the NCAA Tournament bubble and would need a lot of help to go into the field if it was to fall to the Red Storm.
Meanwhile, St. John's only hope of continuing its season is to knock off Syracuse, which in the previous meeting used a game-winning goal by Tim Desko with 1:25 remaining to squeak past the Red Storm.
One of the keys for Syracuse in earning a victory Saturday will be stopping All-Big East Conference attackman Kieran McArdle, who netted seven of St. John's eight goals in the upset over Notre Dame.
St. John's will want to make it a sloppy defensive struggle, which can hopefully snap a five-game losing streak to the Orange.
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.