After a long and eventful season, the Syracuse Orange are bracing themselves for the NCAA Tournament. The Orange received a three seed in the South Region, tenth overall in the tournament, and will be facing Western Michigan in Buffalo, New York during the round of 64.
The Orange finished 27-5 for the season and all five of those losses were in their last seven games. The latest loss was in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament to N.C. State, 66-63. Including the Orange and the Wolfpack, there are six ACC teams in this year’s field of 68. Conference champion Virginia received the fourth one seed, Duke was named the three seed in the Midwest region, North Carolina was given the sixth seed in the East and the Pittsburgh Panthers received the ninth seed in the South.
South Region Preview:
The Orange will be facing Western Michigan on Thursday at 2:45 p.m. ET. The Broncos are from the Mid-Atlantic Conference and finished with a 23-9 record overall in a 14-4 conference record. The rest of the bracket has a lot of talented teams, including number one overall seed Florida. Here is a look at the South region portion of the bracket (via NCAA March Madness Twitter Account):
There are a lot of tough teams in this bracket and I think it will be hard for the Orange to get out of even the second round with their recent play. A potential matchup with Ohio State or Dayton looms in the second round and a potential meeting with Kansas, the team with the toughest schedule in the nation, in the Sweet 16. On top of that the Gators, who have proven to be one of the best teams in the country, are looming on the other side of the bracket. A lot of tough, well-coached teams in this region, so the Orange will need to be on their A-game.
Prediction: I think the Orange will be able to make it to the Sweet Sixteen, but not much farther. They will most likely face Kansas, who has multiple shooters and players like Andrew Wiggins and Perry Ellis who can be zone busters. Especially if star center Joel Embiid is healthy (back) the Jayhawks will be tough for the Orange. So as of now, that is where I have their season coming to an end. On the other hand their inconsistencies could go to their good side and they could start playing well again. This is college basketball so anything can change at any time, so I’m not going to count the Orange out for a deep tournament run, it is just unlikely.