FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Cornell has made me look dumb for the last two rounds.
Maybe the Big Red will do it again.
But if they do, it’ll be because one of the most disciplined Syracuse teams in memory (maybe the most disciplined Syracuse team in memory) unraveled.
After all, we know what Cornell is going to do – and it’s going to do it very well. The Big Red will win faceoffs, be patient and not beat themselves.
Hofstra couldn’t do enough to beat them. Nor could Princeton. Nor could Virginia.
Syracuse, though, probably can.
The major influence of the result today will be very much like that of Saturday’s second semifinal. Cornell rolled to a 15-6 pummeling of Virginia – and that score said a lot more about how bad Virginia played than anything about the Big Red.
Cornell can win today. It’s up to Syracuse to determine whether the Big Red really will.
Prediction: Syracuse 11, Cornell 9. It’s difficult to envision Syracuse not cracking double figures. It’s also difficult to envision the Big Red yielding much more than eight or nine goals.
If this stays in single-digits, the game is the Big Red’s for the taking. But a higher scoring game will surely favor the Orange, since it will indicate the establishment of a pace much to Syracuse’s liking.
Syracuse has won big playing slow (against Maryland) and fast (against Duke) in its last two games. The Orange are versatile and can adapt to nearly any situation. They look the part of champions, as they often do.
And by mid-afternoon, Syracuse will be the first back-to-back champs in more than a decade – but only after needing their best performance of the tournament to turn back the plucky Big Red.