A quick take on Syracuse being seeded third in the south for the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday:
WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse was selected for a 3 seed in the South Region, and will play Western Michigan in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The road to the Final Four for Syracuse will start in Buffalo, but unlike projections last month, SU’s regional will be in Memphis instead of Madison Square Garden.
ANALYSIS: The Orange will play in a region that includes overall No. 1 seed Florida and No. 2 seed Kansas. If Syracuse advances past Western Michigan in the first round, it sets up a date with No. 6 Ohio State, which eliminated Syracuse in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. A potential rematch of the 2003 National Championship awaits in the Sweet 16 if the Orange makes it out of the first weekend.
HERO: Western Michigan (23-9, 14-4 MAC) will make its first appearance in 10 years after it defeated Toledo 98-77 on Saturday night in the Mid-American Conference championship. They are led by senior guard David Brown, who averages 19.4 points and 3.6 rebounds.
The ACC ended up getting six bids to the NCAA Tournament with Virginia (1 seed, East), Duke (3, Midwest), UNC (6, East), Pitt (9, South) and bubble team North Carolina State (11, Midwest) joining Syracuse. The Wolfpack was one of the final four teams in, and certainly their win over the Orange in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals played a huge role in the selection committee’s decision. NC State will play Xavier in the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the right to play St. Louis.
ZERO: Oh, what could have been. Just four weeks ago, Syracuse was undefeated and seemed a surefire shot at a run through Buffalo and Madison Square Garden. But Syracuse lost four of five games, including two to ACC doormats Boston College and Goergia Tech, and then was eliminated in its first game in the ACC Tournament by NC State. The silver lining is that Syracuse will go through Buffalo for the first weekend, but they will be shipped out to the South region in Memphis with overall No. 1 seed Florida if they make it out of Western New York.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse won’t have to travel very far to play its first game, and it should be a heavily pro-Orange Syracuse crowd. Then again, SU lost its final two games of the season at the Carrier Dome, so it may not be as big of an advantage as first thought.