Next month's rematch of the 2012 NCAA lacrosse title game has found a TV home.
NBC Sports Network will handle the broadcast for the Feb. 23 date between defending national champion Loyola and runner-up Maryland at the Greyhounds' Ridley Athletic Complex, a source familiar with the situation said.
A formal announcement is expected later today.
It represents perhaps the most high-profile plunge into lacrosse yet for the NBC Sports Network, which was known as Versus until last year. The network broadcast an early-season doubleheader in Jacksonville, Fla., last year (Navy-Jacksonville and Ohio State-Denver) and will cover the same event this year on Feb. 17 (Denver-Penn State and Ohio State-Jacksonville).
The Loyola-Maryland showdown would logically offer significant appeal to ESPNU, which broadcasts an extensive lacrosse package. But the game coincides with the BracketBusters weekend, and ESPNU is committed to airing basketball for most of that Saturday afternoon. With that option gone, NBC Sports Network emerged as a possible home for the rematch.
Last year's Memorial Day game in Foxborough, Mass., --- a 9-3 Loyola triumph --- was the first meeting of two programs separated by about 35 miles since the 1998 NCAA semifinals.
Maryland holds a 19-2 edge in the series, with only three of the games being played since 1960. This year's game is the first regular-season meeting between the schools since 1989, though the series is expected to continue in College Park whenever the schools can make their respective schedules work.
--- Patrick Stevens