NCAA Lacrosse Championship 2010: Can UVA Handle Distractions?
On Sunday, the NCAA released the field for the 2010 Men's Lacrosse Tournament. Eight seeded teams and eight unseeded teams take to the field with first round action starting May 15 and May 16 with eyes looking to the championship game which will occur on Memorial Day, Monday May 31 at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium.
One of the biggest questions heading into the tournament will be whether the University of Virginia squad can handle the distraction of former teammate George Huguely awaiting trial for murder.
Fifteen other teams have their sights on knocking off the tournament's top seed. Here is a look at how the first round matchups shape up.
(1) Virginia v. Mount Saint Mary's: 5/15, 7:30 p.m. EST (ESPNU)
Virginia is in hot pursuit of their fourth title in school history, all since 1999, and are in great position to do so. Virginia is the top speed in the tournament for the second straight season.
UVA went 14-1 during the regular season and take on a 12-4 Mount St. Mary's club.
Again, the biggest question is how the Cavaliers will handle the stress and attention hovering over their club. The Cavaliers also battle last year's disappointment of getting bounced in the semifinals in the 2009 Tournament.
(2) Syracuse v. Army: 5/16, 7:30 p.m. EST (ESPNU)
Syracuse enters the tournament as the two-time defending national champion and the two-seed in this year's tournament. Syracuse owns the NCAA record 10 national lacrosse titles. Syracuse enters the field after a 13-1 season while Army comes in with a 10-5 mark.
Army is in the field for the first time 2005. The Black Knights have a record of 3-15 in their history in the tournament.
(3) Maryland v. Hofstra: 5/15, Noon EST (ESPNU)
No. 3 Maryland is back in the tournament for the 10th time in 11 years (2002 only miss) and will face Hofstra which is in the tournament for the second straight year after missing out on the field the previous two years.
Maryland enters following an 11-3 season while Hofstra comes in with a 9-4 record. Hofstra has won only four tournament games in 14 appearances.
(4) North Carolina v. Delaware: 5/16, 5:00 p.m. (ESPNU)
It's been 19 years since North Carolina won a national championship. The Tar Heels, who were bounced by Duke in the quarterfinals a year ago, look to regain some of their pedigree after making the field for just the fourth time since 1998.
Delaware is in the field for the fifth time in school history, the first since 2007. Delaware is 3-4 overall in seven games in the tournament.
UNC enters the field after a 12-2 regular season. Delaware went 10-6.
(5) Duke v. Johns Hopkins: 5/15, Noon EST (ESPN)
Duke, in the tournament for the fourth straight year, looks to get over the hump and claim the program's first national championship after runner-up finishes in 2005 and 2007. But first, the Blue Devils (12-4) must go through the team that defeated them in the '05 and '07 national title games-Johns Hopkins.
Meanwhile, Johns Hopkins has been in every tournament except for the first back in 1971. Hopkins has missed only three Final Fours since 1999 but face an uphill task following a 7-7 season that left them unranked for the first time in tournament history. A strong RPI and historical preference arguably landed Hopkins in the field.
(6) Princeton v. Notre Dame: 5/16, 2:30 p.m. EST (ESPNU)
Princeton slipped to the No. 6 spot after falling in the quarterfinals a year ago. Princeton, which last won a national championship in 2001, takes on a Notre Dame squad which is in the tournament for the fifth straight year.
Princeton enters following an 11-4 regular season against Notre Dame and its 7-6 record. Princeton fell in the quarterfinals last year, 6-4 to Cornell, in the lowest-scoring game of the tournament.
(7) Cornell v. Loyola (MD): 5/15, 2:30 p.m. EST (ESPNU)
Cornell's, last year's national runner-up, returns to the field for the sixth time in seven seasons, drawing Loyola (MD) which makes its fourth appearance since 2000. Cornell won the first tournament back in 1971 and two more titles in the 1970s. Loyola (MD) has one national runner-up in its program history.
(8) Stony Brook v. Denver: 5/15, 5:00 p.m. (ESPNU)
Stony Brook makes just its second tournament appearance in program history (first since 2002) where they will take on Denver who makes its second appearance in program history.
Stony Brook comes off a 12-3 regular season and will face a 12-4 Denver team led by former Princeton coach, the legendary Bill Tierney who takes his team to the tournament in his first year at the helm.