The showdown at John Paul Jones Arena isn't the only big Syracuse-Virginia matchup Saturday.
The No. 4 Cavaliers and No. 6 Orange lacrosse teams renew their rivalry at Klöckner. The teams will face off for the 30th time in history but this year there's a twist -- now the two are ACC opponents.
"This one now has more at stake in terms of conference alignment, possible seedings for the conference tournament later in the spring," Virginia head coach Dom Starsia explained. "It's put a little more edge on the game than we've had previously. I think both teams want to get this one."
"I don't know if it adds too much," junior attack Owen Van Arsdale followed. "All the ACC teams want to beat up on each other. It's just another game against one of the top teams we're going to play against this year."
The Cavs are off to a 5-0 start going into Saturday's ACC opener. The Orange already have one league game under their belt, a loss to Maryland this past week.
But the Wahoos say this will be their toughest test thus far.
"I think this should be our biggest game so far this season but I think we're ready and very excited for the task at hand," senior defender Scott McWilliams said.
"Syracuse has been scoring a lot of goals. They're dangerous everywhere. They're a handful when you're trying to figure out how to defend them," Starsia said. "At this early stage, similar to others years when you're trying to figure out who you are, I would expect there'll be a lot of offense in this one."
And the players say the Syracuse game is one they have marked on their calendars going back to the offseason.
"I think Syracuse week is always one of the more exciting weeks for us in general," McWilliams said. "We're always looking forward to playing these guys because they always give us a good game."
"It's a game we look forward to," Van Arsdale added. "We like to say there's no big games but this one is definitely fun to prepare for and get ready for."