Beginning in the Spring of 2014, the NCAA Lacrosse Tournament will include two more teams than years before, jumping from 16 to 18 participants. This jump was made possible by NCAA changes to rules dealing with the way play-in games are handled. The rule amendments will also affect men's volleyball, women's field hockey, and men's and women's water polo.
While a relatively benign change, the addition of two extra teams could be extremely beneficial for the ACC, or rather for the teams outside the ACC. With Syracuse and Notre Dame joining the ranks, there is a really good chance that all six members of the ACC make the playoffs. Literally, one third of the tournament field could be the ACC.
Duke, the reigning National Champs, look to return strong. Syracuse lost to Duke in the finals last season. North Carolina, Notre Dame, and Maryland rounded out the top ten in the final rankings. Virginia had a team last year.
While the Wahoos missed the playoffs last year (which is still so, so painful for me to discuss), they have a bevy of young talent coming in to include Zed Williams and Matt Emery. The defense should be strong, and when you have Chris 'Shocker' LaPierre on the field, things get interesting.
An automatic qualifier is expected for the ACC, but that could be affected by Maryland's departure for the Big Ten next season (which we are all very
excited sad about).
Check out Inside Lacrosse's coverage of the expansion here.
For the Streaking the Lawn preview of ACC incoming classes, check it out here.