QUICK HITS

The Baltimore Sun

1. Can Syracuse repeat?

It's a question that has been "repeated" since 1998 when Princeton capped a run of three consecutive national championships. But if there's a team poised to join those Tigers, it's this year's Orange, which returns six starters and adds a pair of transfers in senior midfielder Scott Kahoe (Georgetown) and sophomore defenseman John Lade (Villanova) - both of whom are expected to start. If junior attackman Cody Jamieson (122 goals, 237 points in two seasons at Onondaga Community College), a transfer, can clear eligibility, watch out. The key could be finding a replacement for faceoff specialist Danny Brennan, who led the nation with a .667 percentage.

2. Maybe this is the year ...

... that a school other than the bluebloods - Syracuse, Johns Hopkins, Princeton or Virginia - captures the national title. One of those four programs has taken home the crown each year since 1992. The last team outside those four to win the national championship? North Carolina in 1991. Those Tar Heels, Maryland, Cornell, UMBC and Duke are deserving of mention.

3. Princeton on the rise

For the first time since 2005, the Tigers failed to collect an NCAA tournament invitation, but a repeat is unlikely. Why? Princeton has not spent May at home in back-to-back seasons under coach Bill Tierney since 1988-1989. Graduation took a toll on the defense, but the offense might be even stronger than last year's.

4. Is there a surprise team on the horizon?

Hofstra returns four starters who scored no fewer than 22 goals each. Georgetown is still fuming over being left out of the tournament, and Bucknell and Colgate renew a budding rivalry with Navy. Brown might have a say in determining whether Cornell or Princeton takes home the Ivy League title.

5. Go west

All four teams that make up the Atlantic Coast Conference earned a seed, but the Great Western Lacrosse League didn't fare too poorly, sending Notre Dame, Ohio State and Denver to the NCAA tournament. Notre Dame and Ohio State advanced to the quarterfinals, with the Irish on the cusp of upsetting eventual champion Syracuse. Sending those three teams again could be tough, but not impossible.

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