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Who Could Syracuse Play in the NCAA Tournament?

Barring catastrophe, which we can never rule out in this month of the calendar, Syracuse seems pretty locked into an 8 or 9 seed for the NCAA Tournament. According to bracketmatrix.com, a site that lists every bracketology websites seedings for teams, all 119 sites have the Orange in the field and 102 have SU as either an 8 or 9 seed. That means Syracuse is likely facing the seed that they don’t end up with in the 8/9 draw. In whatever matchup the Orange may draw, there are interesting options on the other side. Here is bracketmatrix.com’s current field of 8 and 9 seeds outside of SU.

Iowa

The Hawkeyes and Orange nearly met up at Madison Square Garden before upsets galore struck the Big Apple. The Hawkeyes have been on the right end of a lot of close games this season, especially thanks to a miracle bankshot corner three. The Hawkeyes have certainly exceeded expectations this season, but the Big Ten Tournament could play them both far north or south of the 8/9 seedline.

Baylor

Baylor has been the feel good story of the Big 12 this year. They’ve won big games and hung close in others to put them in fourth in the conference so far. The Bears were projected to finish 9th out of 10 teams, but now are almost assured a tournament spot.

Washington

Wouldn’t this be something. The student may soon meet the master in round one if the cards land right. Longtime Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins has done another outstanding job with the Huskies and very well could win his second PAC-12 Coach of the Year award in as many years. This is the only at-large worthy team out of the conference, but even Washington has its blemishes. They just lost to Cal, which is by far the worst Power Five team in the country. However, just like Syracuse, the 2-3 zone can overachieve in March.

Ole Miss

This could be a revenge treat for Frank Howard and Tyus Battle who got embarrassed by the Rebels at home in the NIT two years ago. Ole Miss will enter the SEC Tournament on a cold stretch, having lost four of their last five with one to play. However, they play teams tough. During this mini-skid, the Rebels have lost games to No. 7 Tennessee, Arkansas and No. 6 Kentucky, but only by a combined margin of seven points.

Central Florida

This would be one of the few games where Paschal Chukwu does not have the height advantage over everyone on the floor. 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall is what grabs the headlines for the Knights, but there is still a good team around him. UCF just cracked into the rankings at 25 after an impressive road win against No. 8 Houston.

Oklahoma

No Trae Young has been no problem for the Sooners. In fact, this Oklahoma team may be better than the one spearheaded by Young. There’s more fluidity with the way they play and not a total dependence on one player to take over the game. OU just turned the Big 12 upside down by beating Kansas to end the Jayhawks’ streak of 14 straight regular season conference titles. The Sooners had a cold stretch of five straight losses in conference play, but have rebounded by winning four of their last five games.

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