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Time for May Madness!
It's May, which means Syracuse is playing for a National Championship. Syracuse squeaked in as the last seeded team, earning the 8th spot and a home game with Cornell. Both John and I filled out brackets, so you can enjoy them here. We actually have the exact same brackets except I have Loyola beating Virginia and advancing to the Final Four, while John has Virginia making it to Foxboro. Enjoy and we hope to see you in Massachusetts on Memorial Day!

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The moment no Syracuse fan will every forget.
April 7, 2003 was the day it finally happened. Syracuse earned their first NCAA Tournament Championship. Syracuse fans, former players, and alumni everywhere could finally rejoice and celebrate the Orangemen finally winning the big one, and finally put to rest the ghosts of Kieth Smart and Indiana in 1987. Again, John and I were apart with him getting a first hand experience of Syracuse winning, while I was on campus in the Carrier Dome, watching with hundreds of other Syracuse fans and my friends that were still on campus. John and I look back on the night magic happened for Syracuse 15 years ago.

As this was a Monday, I had class that day. I remember being very excited and probably not paying very much attention in my classes. I probably just read the D.O. in Maxwell Auditorium (I don't remember my schedule that semester but I assume I had a Monday class that was in Maxwell Aud.), counting down the hours until tip time. I decided early that day that since some of my friends were watching in the Carrier Dome that I would go buy a ticket. If you recall, I was under 21 at the time. And I wanted to be able to have a few drinks during the game. However, while the security at the Carrier Dome was a little looser than it is today, I still would not be able to just carry in a 30 rack of beer, nor was I of age to do that. The only booze I could find in my dorm room (DellPlain 7 baby!) was Amaretto, and the only mixer I had was sour mix. So I grabbed some Tupperware, filled that sucker up, and hid it in the deepest coat pocket you've ever seen between the liner. I went to the Dome, booze in my coat, and waited for the game to start. It did, and then Gerry McNamara decided to hit all of the three pointers. We got more and more excited, without relaxing because we knew there would be an entire second half coming. The Dome was also buzzing with a lot of excitement, but 1987 was in the back of the minds of a lot of people. We all knew Kansas wasn't going away. Syracuse let the game get tight. Hakim Warrick missed some free throws down the stretch (I've seen it before), and finally, Kansas was within three with the ball and able to tie the game. At least Syracuse wasn't going to lose on a last second shot. Kansas passed the ball around and Keith Langford took a shot from the corner. He was pretty open. But Hakim Warrick wasn't going to let him have a free shot to tie the game. His huge wingspan allowed the shot to be blocked. As we learned, it's not how tall it's how long, and Hakim Warrick got a piece of it. We started to get very excited. It seemed like Syracuse couldn't be denied. Then the clock ran out, Kueth Duany grabbed the ball, and Syracuse was the Champion. The team hit the court in a pile. People hopped the railing in the Dome and were running all over the turf celebrating and hugging each other. I was hugging my friends. I called my parents and it might have been a little dusty in the Dome that night. We then ran down to M Street again, and "rioted". Syracuse PD was prepared with riot cops this night. No one did anything. the only casualties were a t-shirt someone lit on fire, and a few more tree branches not taken on Saturday night. We didn't want the world to end, so we went to our friend's house on Ackerman to party for just a little bit longer. We were feeling pretty good, because my one male friend did a naked bottomless lap on Ackerman, and a female friend did a topless lap on Ackerman. Yes, it was snowing. It took a while to go to sleep. No school work was attempted. And luckily all of my professors knew so they kindly gave extensions. While we appreciated it, we wouldn't have cared. It was pure magic. And nothing was going to dampen the celebration. It was a night we wouldn't ever forget. And 15 years later, it's hard to believe we were in school for it. It wasn't New Orleans, but it was still pretty special.

As you know if you read my post about the Final Four game against Texas, I was in New Orleans with the Sour Sitrus Society for the Final Four. After celebrating the Texas win down on Bourbon Street (and making it back to the hotel safely), we were just biding time until Monday, April 7, 2003. Awaiting us was the Kansas Jayhawks. We had seen what they did to Marquette the other night, and quite frankly, had no idea what to expect. The band was escorted to a warm-up area inside the Superdome where we played a few songs and tuned our instruments (well, to the extent that we tried), and were then escorted out to the floor and to our area behind the basket. We were set up at the Syracuse bench end of the court, which meant Syracuse was scoring baskets at the opposite end for the first half. So as Gerry McNamara went on his three-point cascade, we had to see it from the length of the court. Well, I mean, some of them seemed like they were shot from mid-court, so I have to believe that Gerry did that just to allow Sitrus to get a closer view. As the Syracuse lead continues to grow, our adrenaline skyrockets. When we get a chance to play songs during time outs (and sometimes you can hear this on the TV broadcast) I think we're playing these songs several ticks faster than usual. We had to alternate playing the media timeouts with Kansas, and got to play during Syracuse-called timeouts. So if you ever wondered why Brian & I know the under-16/12/8/4 timeouts, as well as the 30 ----> full, it's because getting ready to play at those marks just became ingrained in us playing in the band. So the halftime lead for Syracuse was 53-42, and we're going freaking nuts. We had a pretty standard halftime setlist, kicking things off with Espana, and probably with some favorites like Road to the Final Four, Sell Out, Championship (Championsheeeeep?), Mississippi Mud, you know, all the Sitrus classics you grew to love that they don't play anymore. I honestly don't remember halftime. I just remember going through everything and thinking "Holy shit, is Syracuse actually going to win a National Championship in my presence?" Obviously, the second half developed much differently from the first. Syracuse was scoring at our end, which was nice (well, when they were actually scoring), and Kansas was cawing their way back at the other end. Much of the second half saw Carmelo Anthony sitting on the bench with a sore back, which made Josh Pace's performance that much more impressive and important to maintaining the lead. Credit also goes to Kueth Duany, who scored when the team really needed him; and also Craig Forth, who was a great presence down low and had the presence of mind to go right up to the basket with the ball when he got it (which is what any tall center should do, TBH). At any rate, Syracuse was holding onto a 81-78 lead down the stretch, and Hakim Warrick was fouled with 13.5 seconds grabbing a rebound under Kansas's basket. Syracuse is in the double bonus at this point, and Hak can likely put the game out of reach from Kansas by just hitting both free throws. He gets the ball at the foul line, the rest of the team is back, and Sitrus (and probably all of Orange Nation) puts their arms up, ready to swoosh the ball through the net. But the ball rims out. My heart is pounding, but hey, Hak just needs to make the second shot and Syracuse is up by four -- a two possession game. Arms up again. Another rim out. With no coverage from Syracuse, Kansas grabs the rebound and races the ball up the court, as Hak runs back. Syracuse got into its 2-3 zone, but some good passing around the top of the arc moves the zone around to where, as Lee gets the ball in the corner, there's not a defender there. Hak was virtually under the basket at this point, but sees Lee wide open with the ball, ready to put it up and potentially tie the game with a three. He somehow teleports himself close enough that with his crazy long wingspan and a perfectly timed jump, he's able to make The Block. The Block. A lot of my memory of The Block was been painted by the video, by the photos, all that. But I saw it in person. Unfortunately, it was at the opposite end of the court, so we did get a great view of it. And quite frankly, I don't think we knew or appreciated just how amazing The Block was at that point. There was a lot of confusion. Was there any time left on the clock? If so, how much? Whose ball was it? Again, with no replays in the Superdome, we were kind of in the dark as to it all. While the officials checked the monitor for timing and all that stuff, Sitrus is playing the fight song. At warp speed. Followed by the "Let's Go Orange" chant that seemingly everyone except those Jayhawk fans were yelling. They were still waiting to do their Rock Chalk Jayhawk chant (which they didn't get to do!!!!!). So anyway, 1.5 goes back on the clock, Kansas inbounds the ball, gets it to Heinrick who puts up a shot at the buzzer, which is too long, falls into the hands of Kueth Duany, and SYRACUSE IS YOUR NATIONAL CHAMPIONS! The Syracuse team collapses into a celebratory heap near mid-court. Sitrus plays the fight song at an even faster warp speed (we're probably at mach-5 by now). I literally have no idea how I was even able to play at that point. I wanted to scream. I wanted to run onto the court (like the cheerleaders and dance team did). I wanted to jump up and down. We were hugging & high-5ing each other. I don't know how any of us played. It was just truly amazing. We stayed around for the trophy presentation, and One Shining Moment. We didn't get our own natty championship swag, but like you and me and everyone else we went out and bought some. Eventually we had to leave, so we loaded onto the bus, changed at the hotel, and went back down to Bourbon Street. It was a sea of orange! Literally just one big Syracuse celebratory party. I can't imagine that Bourbon Street is typically this crowded on a Monday night. So many "Let's Go Orange" chants up & down the French Quarter. So many performances of the Hey Song. So much drinking. The team eventually made their way out as well, even Jim Boeheim, who had acquired that iconic orange hat by then and wore it up & down Bourbon Street like the pimp he was. I was doing my best to, uh, help some people get certain beads. It was like a scavenger hunt! A lot of fun. I don't remember getting much, if any, sleep, and we had to load the bus to get to the airport for our flight back pretty early. After a delay because a certain band member had been cavorting with a certain basketball player a little too long, we finally went wheels up and were back in Syracuse by early afternoon. But Syracuse had finally won its first National Championship, and I was there. April 7, 2003 goes down as the best day in my college career.

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The quintessential moment of the game.
It's been 15 years to the day that Syracuse played Texas for the right to advance to the 2003 National Championship. So tonight Orange::44 pays tribute to the game leading up to the game we will never forget. Both John and I were in very different places, but we both had pretty great experiences watching this game. We'll take you back to April of 2003, on the faithful night no one that watches college basketball would ever not know Carmelo Anthony or how hard someone could dunk.

I was a sophomore at the time. While I was in the Pep Band and got to go to Syracuse's Sweet 16 and Elite 8 wins in Albany that year, I didn't have enough points (allegedly) to get to go on the trip to New Orleans. I had a chance at tickets, but due to some personal obligations, I couldn't make the car/plane ride down. I was in Syracuse to watch the game. And being under 21 at the time, my only choice, really, was to go to a friend's house and watch the game. The Sour Sitrus Society only travels 30 band members by rule, and at the time we had tickets for 96 members for each men's game. But there were about 200 or so members. Which meant a lot of us were in the same boat, stuck in Syracuse to watch the game. But with good friends, there are worse situations to be in. I was invited to the corner of Livingston and Stratford. 2nd Floor. Maybe a dozen of us. We had some friends that lived further down Livingston that also joined us. We had plenty of beers, and some good food by college kid standards. And a pretty large, standard definition television. I remember being nervous for the game, but I'm never as nervous at home as I am if I'm actually there, so I was pretty calm. While Syracuse seemed to have the lead from the jump, they never really pulled away. Carmelo kept putting the ball in the bucket. And then, or course, we all remember what happened when Hakim Warrick headed to the basket with authority. Royal Ivey sadly found out the hard way that you can't stop something with that amount of force. However, in one of the most unusual plays you will ever see, the officials counted the basket, but called a charge on Warrick. Either way, that's 2 points that were earned, and to whatever photographer was smart enough to click at the exact right moment, congrats and thank you. The picture above will live forever in the hearts and minds of Syracuse fans. "The Block" is #1 for Warrick, but this was #2. I remember the whole room yelled out when it happened. I think it was at that point, that was assumed Syracuse was going to win. The game really wasn't that tight over the last couple minutes. But none of us wanted to move, or leave the room, or say anything that would jinx the game. Syracuse held on, we all yelled out as the clock hit 0:00. And without talking about it ahead of time, or planning it in any way, we all just ran down the stairs and outside. And for some unexplained reason that still is a mystery to me today, it happened on Livingston with every house full of students watching the game. And we all just started hugging each other. I remember hugging about 15 strangers and just jumping up and down with everyone in the middle of Livingston. And then someone just shouted "we gotta get down to M Street". So we all just started moving to Euclid so we could make the trek down. We got to about 20 feet before the end of the street before a SPD police cruiser pulled into the street and with their bullhorn shouted "GET OUT OF THE STREET". So we waived and moved onto the sidewalk for an orderly march down to Marshall Street. We made it. We "rioted" by just hugging everyone and watching people try and climb trees. No one smashed anything and no one did any real damage, save for a couple tree branches that couldn't handle the weight of even the skinniest college freshman. And it was amazing. Not as amazing as what Monday would become, but we didn't know that then. This was college. We were lucky that we were there and our team made it to the National Championship. I imagine it wouldn't have felt too much different from the kids there in 1987 or 1996. But it was our time, and we were there. It actually happened. Syracuse made it to the National Championship and I was in school for it. Next to many of my friends who also couldn't believe it. I called my parents, and specifically my Dad who grew up watching Syracuse games and was actually born in Syracuse. We shared a moment that could only be topped by winning it all. There were only two teams left, and Syracuse was one of them. I think we then left to drink the night away, with a less enthusiastic but still very electric walk back to the other side of campus. But it was one of those Saturdays in college that you can never forget. We knew we were lucky to have had it. And we knew that it was rare. Anthony had put up 33 points for his career high in college, and it was truly the night he became a Syracuse Legend. Hakim Warrick would follow up his big moment with an even bigger one, but for now we talked about how Ivey was owned... forever. The beers flowed heavy that night my friends. It was truly special.

I have unique memories of the 2003 Final Four, because I was lucky enough to be in New Orleans with the Sour Sitrus Society. Brian wasn't. But that's another story. We flew in on a charter on Friday morning. Our flight was very much delayed, because the plane we were flying in on had to come from (Boston I think?) and because of weather, didn't leave there when it was supposed to. So, we had some quality time at Hancock. But we eventually got to New Orleans and once checked into the hotel, convinced the charter bus to bring us to Bourbon Street. A smarter John Brennan would have paid closer attention to the route from hotel to Bourbon, but I was 21 and wide-eyed and had other certain things on my mind. Miraculously, and with the help of some great Syracuse fans, later that night I made it back, repeating that "I just wanna go to my room!" Again, another story for another day, if you've never heard it. But the next day was game day, and I needed to get my sh*t together. A pregame pep rally at the hotel conference room really psyched us all up for the game. I remember Coach Mike Hopkins taking to the podium -- probably at the height of adrenaline in his life -- bragging about his "hot wife" and how we could beat Texas. I remember Kenneth "Buzz" Shaw, the greatest Chancellor Syracuse has ever had, taking the podium and showing us the Texas "horns" hand sign -- and then flipping them over and saying "Hook 'em and Cook 'em!" Whatever fogginess I had from the night before had dissipated. Had I gotten my sh*t together? And that I did. The bus dropped off the band at the Superdome, we went in, and were brought to our seats courtside. The first game was Kansas vs. Marquette, so we sat there and watched that one while anticipation built. The Golden Eagles had Tom Crean at the helm, and Dwyane Wade at guard, but stood no match for Kansas. That game was out of reach in the first several minutes. I think I spent that entire game just taking it all in -- the Superdome, the Final Four -- I had been to New Orleans my senior year of high school, but I was 21 now and it was totally different, and the enormity of everything seemed to fall on me during that first national semifinal. So after the Kansas blowout of Marquette, there was the 30-minute gap between games, and Syracuse came out to warm up and prepare for its game against Texas. By now it wasn't a secret that for the Orangemen to win the title, that road would take them through the heart of the Big 12. Texas tonight, and then Kansas on Monday if things fell the right way. Sitrus played our normal pregame, and the teams were ready to tip. In all honesty, I don't remember much of the game. I mean, I do, but in the 15 years since, I've seen the TV previews, the media pictures, and all that -- and it sort of rewrites your own personal memories of the event. You all know that the most memorable moment from that game was Hakim Warrick dunking on Royal Ivey -- which has been memorialized in a picture-turned-poster in my office signed by Hak as the "Texas TBag Dunk" (see below). At the time, I remember it being a monster dunk, but didn't really think much of it -- probably because they didn't show replays in the Superdome so I didn't know just how epic it was. Plus -- and this is probably lost to time -- Hak was called for an offensive foul. It was one of those rare calls where the basket counted but the offensive foul was called. But really, who remembers that? Certainly not the poster in my office! Syracuse, as we all know, won that game 95-84. Carmelo Anthony was a beast, and had his best game of the Tournament with a career high 33 points. That effort probably wrecked his back more than he realized, as he struggled during Monday's title game, but we'll let that slide. After the game, the band, cheerleaders, and dance team filed back onto our charter bus back to the hotel. On the bus, Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful" came on the radio. For whatever reason, we were all so high on good feelings that we did the best and most memorable singalong I've been a part of. Literally every time I hear that song, my mind goes right back to that bus in New Orleans. I'm not mad about it. So yeah, Saturday, April 5, 2003 was a pretty, pretty, pretty good day. Beautiful, you might say.

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Syracuse - Duke NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Preview

Syracuse students agree: There isn't much more satisfaction to be had than beating Duke.
Syracuse did the unthinkable by winning three games in the NCAA Tournament in five days, including beating a fairly decent favorite to reach the Final Four, Michigan State.  And now, it only gets harder as Syracuse will take on familiar foe Duke in the Sweet 16. In the one game Syracuse played against Duke at Duke this year, Syracuse was able to hold Duke to 60 points, seemingly the magic number for the Orange in this Tournament. The problem, however, was that Syracuse only scored 44 in that game. The good news is that Duke was held to 2-18 from long range, and Grayson Allen (who doesn't seem to be a good person) was 0-6 from distance. I think the Syracuse defense will be up for the task of stopping Allen, and getting on the shooters. SU has done that all tournament so I'm honestly not worried about it. What I am worried about, is foul trouble with the bigs, and guarding Marvin Bagley III. But really, the defense will do it's job. The issue is can Syracuse score more. Syracuse only made 6-25 against Duke previously. Syracuse needs to get about 8 three pointers, but also limit turnovers to single digits, and get some steals of their own. Battle, Howard, and Brissett will do their part. Syracuse needs some offense (or at least attention from the defense) from Dolezaj. And if Chukwu can stay out of foul trouble, I think Syracuse has a pretty good shot in this game. Syracuse is in the Sweet 16, and everything is gravy right now. But after 2016, and the way Syracuse has been so far in this Tournament, we all don't want it to end quite yet, along with getting some revenge on a conference rival. I had Syracuse's road ending against Michigan State, so my pick is basically invalid on this one, but I'm going to take Syracuse in another nail biter by 2. This game is available nationally on CBS at approximately 9:37pm, and streaming on March Madness on Demand. I'll be out watching the game with some fellow friends and alumni. John will also be watching. If this is the end, Syracuse had one hell of a season undermanned and light on respect when it came to this Tournament. But Syracuse has overachieved again. Jim Boeheim has put in another example of why he's a phenomenal in game coach. This team plays hard, and I can't be made at where we all ended up. But if they win, my god, what fun and possibilities await. GO ORANGE!

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Syracuse is Playing in Nebraska!

Tonight, #11-seed Syracuse will play against #2-seed Duke in the Sweet Sixteen (Midwest Regional) of the NCAA Tournament. This regional is Omaha, Nebraska. Truth be told, I've never been to Omaha. But, last summer, I was in Nebraska.

My brother-in-law scored a teaching job back in his hometown in Florida, so he and my sister had to move from Oregon to Florida. He made the trip in July so he could get ready for school, while my sister stayed back in Oregon to maximize her job time there (and also wait for when I had time in my schedule to fly out there and help her move). I was lucky enough to be in Oregon near the solar eclipse's maximum totality landfall and the next day we began our trip to Florida. We mapped out some approximate landmarks to make it to each day, so we could make the trip in a respectable amount of time, but also see some of the sites along the way. When I initially mapped out Eugene, Oregon to Sebring, Florida, I noticed that after Lincoln, Nebraska, the route took us around Ohama toward Iowa/Missouri. And in the process, that route took us by a small town in Nebraska named Syracuse.

So it was fate. The most reasonable route took us by Syracuse, Nebraska. And so, I insisted to my sister that we stop in Syracuse. And I insisted that we wear our orange Syracuse shirts. I had previously bought her a Real Girls Wear Orange shirt for an earlier trip to the Carrier Dome, while I have, well, an entire wardrobe of Syracuse gear. So after a fun stop-off in Lincoln overnight (and a fun minor league baseball game), we embarked toward Syracuse on Friday, August 18. It was a cloudy, dreary day, so I immediately seemed at home.

As we drove off the Syracuse exit from Route 2, I immediately began searching for good photo spots. There was a rock memorial with the engraving Syracuse 1875 -- which I recognized to be five years after our beloved University was founded.

From there, we proceeded to drive into "downtown" Syracuse. It was quaint, with very little happening at 10:00am on a Friday morning. But the banners on the streetposts downtown told us that they cared about their city, they were proud, and they were welcoming. I appreciated that.

I was in search of a postcard -- something along the lines of "Greetings from Syracuse, Nebraska!" But, alas, none could be found. We visited a diner, a coffee shop, a hardware shop, and even city hall. No Syracuse postcards. However, our stop by city hall did yield some results.

The city clerk was extremely impressed to see a couple people walk in wearing orange Syracuse shirts, and after hearing our story, graciously gave me a few sheets of stationary on Syracuse city letterhead. I think Syracuse Orange success in Omaha this weekend will warrant me writing city hall back on their own letterhead. They'll probably addend my letter to the city charter or something!

After a quick trip to the post office for a picture and to mail out a postcard -- just to try to get a Syracuse Nebraska post-stamp to Syracuse New York (which didn't work, they don't post-stamp there), we continued on our way out of town.

A gas station right off the highway has a big nutcracker on its grounds. Maybe there's a deeper meaning there.

Also on our travels in Syracuse, my sister's odometer hit 44,044 miles. You literally can't make this shit up.

So, while Syracuse, Nebraska is about an hour away from the CenturyLink Center in Omaha where the NCAA Regionals will be played, let's be honest: Syracuse home game.

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Syracuse students agree: Syracuse has done well, but winning today would be amazing.
Syracuse has exceeded most people's expectations of winning their play in game, and then beating TCU. Both John Brennan and I called this correctly of course. But now we both have them playing Michigan State and both of us have Syracuse's road ending in Detroit. Now you and I both know that big upsets happen in this Tournament. Just Friday night, while Syracuse was beating TCU, Virginia was taking it on the chin from 16 seed UMBC. Either way, Syracuse has a tall task if they want an upset because Michigan State on paper looks like a really good basketball team. Michigan State is deep, they have a very big low post presence (like UNC), and they rebound very well. If Syracuse is unable to rebound, they get into foul trouble, or turn the ball over and just can't score, this is going to be a 20 point loss. While I anticipate Frank Howard bouncing out of his shooting slump (4-18 from 3 in his last three games [that's bad for even being sick]), unless Syracuse makes like 15 three point buckets, they probably won't outscore a very good Michigan State team. And that's not to say Syracuse's defense won't hold Michigan State to 10 to 20 points below their season average, because they probably will. It's just that Syracuse won't be able to score enough to out pace Sparty. Syracuse will put up a fight, and maybe even have the game tied with around 8 minutes to go. But it will be a heavily pro-State crowd in Detroit, and I just don't think when the rubber meets the road here, that Syracuse can outlast Sparty. It will either be foul trouble, or Michigan State not being able to be stopped inside, or too many turnovers. Syracuse has to play a perfect game to win, and I just don't think we've seen them do it once against any team that has outranked them so much this season. It's been a great run, and a great season. Jim Boeheim got a shorthanded staff of kids to the NCAA Tournament and they won a couple games. They played better than most thought, and they overachieved on the year. I'm happy, and I'm looking forward to next year. But as for this year, pending a March Miracle, I'm taking Sparty by 13. This game will be broadcast on CBS / March Madness On Demand at approximately 2:40pm. Both John and I will be watching and we hope you enjoy the dancing while you can. It's been a fun ride with a lot of ups and downs. But, as always, GO ORANGE!

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Syracuse students agree: Winning one is great. Winning two is better.
The Orange handled their business in a tight one in Dayton against Arizona State in the First Four. While it was a rock fight, Syracuse got down seven points, which seemed like an insurmountable lead the way Syracuse was playing offense. But Syracuse got some stops, and a huge clutch shot from Battle, got the game close. And Chukwu, surprisingly, sealed the game with a few clutch free throws down the stretch to keep the Orange up just enough to win. As they say, survive and advance. And Syracuse did that. Now they head to Detroit to take on TCU. And we see a familiar face on the opposing bench in Jamie Dixon, who was the head man at Pittsburgh for a number of years of course. But this isn't Pittsburgh. TCU earned the 6 seed after finishing 21-11 (9-9 in the Big XII). While TCU is a good rebounding team, they are not the defensive power that some of Dixon's Pittsburgh teams were. And while TCU on average is a little taller than the other teams Syracuse faced in the ACC, Syracuse is still taller and therefore the rebounding could be even. The real threat is on the offensive glass, where TCU ranks 21st. Syracuse really needs to keep the rebounding close obviously and BOX OUT when they can. TCU is also allowing 37.9% from beyond the arc. If Syracuse can get hot, that will definitely open up the game for Syracuse on the offensive end, which as you know is not great for Syracuse. And with TCU being ranked 106th in defensive efficiency in the nation can only help the Orange. TCU has a good offensve, like ASU. If Syracuse can play well on defense, and do just enough on offense, you know... like every game, they should win. But again, the key is to play lockdown defense, get easy scores when they can, and prevent as many second chance points for TCU as possible. While Dixon knows how to beat the Zone, Syracuse is playing their best defense in several years, and they are the taller team. I think Syracuse will keep the rebounding close enough, and will be able to score on the weak defense of TCU to win the game, as I picked in my bracket on Tuesday. I'm taking the Orange by 6. This game is available at approximately 9:40pm on Friday night on CBS, or on the March Madness On Demand app. John will be in the home office. I'll most likely be out and about, enjoying the game with a couple friends so I'll be bitching about the officiating sparingly. Either way, it should be a fun one, as the Orange have overachieved on the year for what they are playing with. I'm good with it. But a win would be so sweet. Especially if Michigan State is upset again. GO ORANGE and again, sorry America.

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Syracuse students agree: Beating Arizona State would be a great bonus for the season.
The debate is over. Syracuse is in. Resumes mattered. And now Syracuse plays in the First Four against Arizona State in Dayton. Syracuse is coming off one of their longest stretches of the season where they didn't have a game, so the team that plays three players about 40 minutes every game should be well rested. That's good, because this is the NCAA Tournament and both teams will be hungry to survive and advance. At one point, Arizona State was highly ranked, coming off upset wins of now #1 Seeds Xavier and Kansas. But then they faltered, including against a team that employs a very similar defense in Washington. Washington was able to win a close game with the 2-3, holding Arizona State to just 64 points, well below their 83.5ppg average. Meanwhile, Syracuse's zone should be better with a taller big man in the middle in Chukwu. That being said, the NCAA Tournament is always a risky endeavor when fouls are precious considering that these refs aren't going to be from the ACC in all likelihood, and will generally call more fouls than you would see in a regular season game. However, Syracuse's only real task is to stop Tra Holder, the man named after a cafeteria supply. He leads the team in scoring and has the ability to go off. And while this ASU team is the kind of team that if Syracuse was playing them during the regular season, they may stop Holder and a random teammate could go off, that situation isn't as likely to occur under the bright lights of the NCAA Tournament on their boring, neutral court. Look for Syracuse to prevent Holder from scoring early, forcing turnovers, and getting Syracuse off to a good start. I think this game will be similar to the Wake Forest ACC Tournament game, where Syracuse gets up, and the lead will expand and shrink on the various offensive ASU runs, with Syracuse winning by a fair margin to advance to Round 1. I think Battle will obviously contribute greatly in his first NCAA Tournament game, but also Howard will be sharp despite battling strep throat earlier this week. I'm taking the Orange over the Sun Devils by eight. This game is available nationally on TruTV at approximately 9:10pm, and on the March Madness app. Both John and I will be watching. What else would we be doing? If you missed our brackets, check them out here. GO ORANGE!

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  • Air Your Grievances

  • This About Sums It Up

  • I am less smart for having read your blog.
  • - Anonymous Georgetown supporter.
  • You are an idiot...
  • - Anonymous Nunes/Magician Reader.
  • Congrats on not being very good at what you do.
  • - Anonymous ACC supporter.
  • You are a dweeb, my friend. Grow a backbone.
  • - Anonymous UConn supporter.
  • ...vacuous, asinine, and mind numbing...
  • - Anonymous commenter.
  • Honestly, just admit that you are pathetic...
  • - Anonymous commenter.
  • You just don't have hoops experience.
  • - Twitter commenter.
  • Leave the journalism to talented people. Brian is just another hack and another fair weather fan.
  • - Twitter commenter.
  • A bad blog about Syracuse athletics.
  • - UConn Fan on Twitter (after winning NCAA).