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SU sets stage for historical sports weekend

The moment the buzzer sounded in Chicago on Sunday and the Syracuse men’s basketball team started cutting down the nets, joyful screams erupted throughout upstate New York. Voice of the Orange Matt Park had the radio call, exclaiming “The Orange have pulled off an Easter Sunday miracle for the ages, they beat top-seed Virginia 68-62, Syracuse to its sixth and most unlikely Final Four.” After Elite 8 victories from both the Men’s and Women’s basketball teams, an SU sports weekend for the ages is set to ensue. While most fans will be looking ahead to the Men’s Final Four game, Orange football is holding their annual spring scrimmage at 11 A.M. this Saturday, April 2. The event provides a first glimpse of new schemes incorporated by head coach Dino Babers. Earlier this off-season, Babers urged the chain crew to stretch heavily before games and not to work out that day, because of how fast and frequently they will have to move the chains.The scrimmage will feature free admission and parking for fans, as well as a complimentary hot dog and soda. The post event festivities include selfie stations and a kids’ clinic with former players such as Chandler Jones, Rob Long, Delone Carter, and many more. Also on Saturday, the track and field team will be attending the Stanford Invite and Florida Relays.Coming off back-to-back overtime losses to Johns Hopkins and Duke, the SU Men’s Lacrosse team has dropped to the seven spot in the latest Inside Lacrosse Division I rankings. In a game that many circled on their calendar months ago, Notre Dame comes into the Carrier Dome on Saturday ranked number 2 in the nation. The Orange are led by senior attackman and Camillus native Dylan Donahue, who has 33 points on the season. Notre Dame’s only loss came to Maryland earlier this month, and Mikey Wynne paces the Fighting Irish with 20 goals on the year. The game is slated to start at 5 pm.While all these events have huge implications, they seem like mere undercards to the heavyweight prizefight of the night, the Final Four matchup between North Carolina and Syracuse. In one corner, we have the powerhouse Tar Heels, coming in with a number one seed and a record of 32-6. Roy Williams’ team is headlined by All-American bruiser Brice Johnson and veteran point guard Marcus Paige. In the other corner, the shoe fits for the Cinderella Orange, who defeated Virginia in a comeback thriller to win the Midwest Region and become the first 10 seed to ever make the Final Four. Basketball Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim is at the helm in a year that many see as his best coaching job in all his 39 seasons as head coach. In this magical run that no one saw coming, Syracuse is getting contributions from all over, with the latest being a 21 explosion in the second half from freshman Malachi Richardson. Tip-off is tentatively set for 8:49 Saturday night, depending on how long the previous game goes.Sunday’s big draw consists of the Women’s Final Four, with the Tennis team, Women’s Rowing, Women’s Lacrosse, and Softball also in action. The Women’s Basketball team enters the first Final Four in program history, and began this year never getting past the round of 32. Quentin Hillsman has guided the 4th seeded Orange to a 29-7 record, and Alexis Peterson averages a team best 16.1 points per game. They will take on the Washington Huskies, with a start time scheduled for 8:30.After improbable Final Four runs from both SU basketball teams, Orange athletics will have a weekend tailored for the history books. While the results may be unpredictable, a few things are guaranteed: racing hearts, lost voices, and plenty of emotion. Keith Bremer is a 2015 graduate of Newark High School and is currently attending Syracuse University and is a contributor to FingerLakes1.com. Comments and feedback on this article can be directed to Keith at kbremer@syr.edu.

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