Northwestern lacrosse's hopes of extending its Final Four streak to 11 years in a row took a big hit Sunday with the release of the NCAA Tournament field.
The Wildcats were given the No. 8 seed, meaning a first round matchup with Louisville. But the tough news is that they will likely have to go through top-seeded Maryland -- to whom NU lost 16-5 earlier this season -- to reach the Final Four (full bracket below).
NU will host its regional at Lakeside Field. Also headed to Evanston will be Notre Dame and Ohio State, who will square off in the other first round game. Should Kelly Amonte Hiller's team advance, its Sweet 16 matchup would be against either the Fighting Irish or the Buckeyes, who just took down No. 1 (and previously undefeated) Maryland at the Big Ten Tournament this past weekend.
However, the Wildcats have already beaten each of the three teams in their group once this season. They knocked off Louisville 12-10 at home on March 29, won at Notre Dame 10-9 on April 16, and beat Ohio State 16-6 on senior day on April 25.
Northwestern struggled late in the season though, and lost in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals to eventual champions Penn State. NU finished the season 12-6 (3-2), its worst overall record since 2003.
This is probably the Wildcats' toughest road to championship weekend in over a decade. Here's the full bracket: