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#16 Vermont - #1 Syracuse NCAA Tournament Rd. 1 Preview

Syracuse students agree: This game is not negotiable.
It was five years ago. I was in the Sour Sitrus Society courtside in Worcester, Massachusetts. It was the NCAA Tournament and it was my senior year. Then some shit went down involving Vermont that I tend not to remember and/or have blocked out, watching as my own dreams of reaching "my" Final Four evaporate. I didn't go out, despite it being St. Patrick's Day. I sat in the hotel just staring at a wall for the remainder of the day. But that was five years ago. This is the 2010 NCAA Tournament. And the Syracuse Orange are a #1 seed. It's time for some revenge. Syracuse will have four scorers on the floor that average in double digits. Vermont only has three. Forward Marqus Blackley (17.4ppg, 9.4rpg), guard Maurice Joseph (14.1ppg, 1.1apg), and guard Evan Fjeld (10.6ppg, 6.1rpg). There is the sexy storyline between Maurice Joseph being the older brother of Kris Joseph. But let me be clear. This is Syracuse's game to lose. Vermont only shoots 32.1% from behind the arc. The key to beating a better team in the Tournament is good shooting and Vermont doesn't have it. Additionally Syracuse has the size, even with Arinze Onuaku being sidelined and the smaller lineup being played. Rick Jackson is an inch taller than Vermont's tallest player. Syracuse should have the rebounding edge in this game. But the true key is simply not forcing anything or letting the pressure get to them. Andy Rautins has committed five turnovers in the last two Syracuse games that happened to end in losses. Syracuse, and specifically Rautins and Brandon Triche need to take care of the basketball and feed the ball inside. If Syracuse does that, as well as avoid foul trouble, this game will be in cruise control by the ten minute mark of the second half. One final statistic: Vermont beat Maine twice this season by margins of eight points and 13 points. Syracuse beat Maine by a total of 46 points. You do the math. I think Syracuse wins this one by 16 and I can finally let go about my last game as a student at Syracuse University. I need this one fellas. We all do.

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