For the first time since April of 2016, the Orange is back in the NCAA Tournament. SU isn’t the most talented team, but it has a real shot at winning a couple of games this weekend. The team’s first chance comes on Wednesday in the final of the tournaments First Four games. Here’s what you need to know:
Who: #11 Syracuse (20-13, 8-10 ACC) vs. #11 Arizona State (20-11, 8-10 Pac-12)
When: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at approx. 9:10 p.m.
Where: University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, OH
How to Watch: TruTV (Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel and Allie LaForce)
The roar heard across Central New York. pic.twitter.com/BH8KbpZMSm
— Orange Fizz (@OrangeFizz) March 11, 2018
Based off that video, I’d say Syracuse is pretty pumped to get a shot in the tournament this weekend. The Orange couldn’t have asked for a much better opponent to play than Arizona State, a team that limped its way into the tournament.
The Orange and Sun Devils last met in the 2009 NCAA Tournament in a game that SU won 78-67. This is going to be fun for many reasons, but mainly because of the contrasting styles. Arizona State is your classic west coast run and gun team, while SU likes to slow the game down use its defense to win games. Jim Boeheim has long said that defense is the means to control the other teams tempo, so that will certainly be key for the Orange on Wednesday.
As far as I’m concerned, this team is playing with house money. Let’s be honest, the pressure was on the Orange all season long to make the tournament. Even though those expectations might have been too demanding for a team with limited talent and depth, fans wanted the sour taste of missing the tournament a season ago out of their mouths. Well, that is exactly what has happened. The players no longer have to worry if they’re in or not, they just have to go out and play basketball.
We’ve seen plenty of crazy things happen in March for the Orange before, so why won’t that happen again. Now I’m not guaranteeing two wins, or even one for that matter, but this is a new season. With March comes hope. Will that hope turn into results? Let’s find out together.