MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.

Saturday, 4 p.m. (ESPNU)

What's at stake?

Both teams have qualified for the Ivy League tournament next weekend. This might be Round 1 of a season series. The Tigers (8-4) would benefit more with a win, given their subpar at-large resume and low RPI (No. 18). Cornell (11-2) is a few goals away from being undefeated. On paper, this is a high-scoring game.

Who to watch?

Princeton midfielder Tom Schreiber and Cornell attackman Rob Pannell are the best players at their position in the nation. They are future Major League Lacrosse All-Stars and Team USA participants. Pannell deferred too often in the Big Red's loss to Syracuse on April 10. The Tigers don't have a defender who can mark him. Schreiber is one of the best midfielders I've seen in two decades.

"The most interesting storyline of this game is how Princeton head coach Chris Bates and defensive coordinator Greg Raymond decide to guard Pannell with a young defense and goalie," ESPN announcer Eamon McAnaney said. "Pannell has seen everything at Ithaca, but how much of a 'gimmick' defense can you come up with for a group that has doesn't have a ton of game experience?"

What will make the difference?

Cornell faceoff man Doug Tesoriero and whichever goalie decides to get hot. "Faceoffs are always critical, but definitely in this one for Princeton," McAnaney said. "The Tigers will be able to score, but how quickly they try to attack the Big Red 'D' will be a factor. Princeton can score 16 and lose or maybe slow down a hair and score 12 and win. They need to win faceoffs to execute either game plan."

Syracuse vs. Notre Dame

MetLife Stadium

Saturday, 6:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

What's at stake?

Confidence and momentum. Both teams have qualified for the Big East Conference tournament, which begins Thursday at Villanova. The Fighting Irish (10-2) have a terrific playoff portfolio; with another win or two, they could be the No. 1 overall seed. The Orange (10-3) is in line for an at-large bid but has been inconsistent, playing well against Virginia, Hopkins and Cornell while stubbing its toe against Villanova and Hobart. Expect a proud program to be at its best on national television in an NFL stadium.

Who to watch?

Notre Dame's no-name defense and Orange passer JoJo Marasco. "Marasco is the key initiator for a Syracuse offense that moves the ball exceptionally well and creates opportunities with off-ball movement," ESPN analyst Paul Carcaterra said. "Notre Dame's defense slides early and prevents opponents from scoring off the dodge."

What will make the difference?

Syracuse has struggled on faceoffs and with off-ball defense, while Notre Dame has problems clearing and with shooting efficiency. "Notre Dame will have to contain Derek Maltz, the Orange crease attackman," Carcaterra said. "Irish early double teams could allow openings inside for Syracuse. Notre Dame's midfield has been struggling shooting, converting around 20 percent as a unit."

Quint Kessenich covers college sports for the ESPN networks and writes a weekly column for The Baltimore Sun during lacrosse season.