NCAA DIVISION I MEN'S LACROSSE CHAMPIONSHIP
No. 1 Syracuse (16-3)
vs. No. 7 Duke (15-5)
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, today
TV: ESPN, 1 p.m.
TOP PLAYERS: Syracuse doesn't feature an elite attack as in past years, but midfielder JoJo Marasco has taken control of the offense. He led the team in scoring and had two goals and three assists in the semifinal. Attack Luke Cometti had a hat trick vs. Denver. Defense Brian Megill is one of the nation's best. Duke is an offensive machine, with five 25-plus goal-scorers, led by attacks Jordan Wolf (four goals vs. Cornell) and Josh Dionne. Freshman Case Matheis (goal, two assists against Cornell) is a rising star.
L.I FACTOR: Duke goalie Kyle Turri (West Islip) is 13-1 since becoming a starter and made a career-best 16 saves vs. Cornell. Faceoff specialist Brendan Fowler (Chaminade) won 16 of 31 against Cornell and set an NCAA single-season record for faceoff wins.
KEY STATS: Syracuse is the tournament's No. 1 seed for the ninth time and has won 11 NCAA titles. The Orange allows only 8.5 goals per game and played 10 one-goal games. Duke has reached the Final Four for seven consecutive seasons and averages 13.9 goals, third-best in the country.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Syracuse defeated Denver, 9-8, in Saturday's semifinals, tying it with 58.8 seconds left and winning on Derek Maltz's goal with 19.2 seconds left. Earlier Saturday, Duke built a 14-6 lead over Cornell, then withstood a furious rally, 16-14.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Syracuse is more of a ball-control team, far different from its fast-break pedigree. Duke likes the transition game. Both teams share the ball well on offense, and neither features a single go-to player. The X-factor? Might be at the faceoff "X," where Duke's Fowler is the best in the country and where Syracuse has struggled. However, the Orange defense often makes up for lost faceoffs by forcing turnovers.