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Syracuse students agree: The first round is always exciting.
It is that time again. Syracuse is in the Big Dance with 68 other teams. It's anybody's tournament this year. Well... within reason. I think we all know a 16 seed isn't winning the thing.
UNC-Asheville are the Bulldogs coming out of the Big South Conference. They play teams like Coastal Carolina and Charleston Southern. Yes, you may be asking, this is a one bid league. And that would go to the Conference Tournament Champion. Winners of their first two NCAA games they've played in their two tournament appearances, they were play in games in Dayton. They proceeded to lose their next games versus top seeded teams. Their best scorer is Matt Dickey, who averages 16.5ppg and can shoot 38.1% from behind the arc. What the Bulldogs do well is they are efficient in scoring, which is not that surprising compared to the level of defenses they are facing, but they pass the ball very well. They are 5th in the NCAA in assists. Syracuse will have to have the guards on point at the top of the 2-3 Zone. While I do not think that UNC-A will chuck a bunch of threes up, they will obviously try and shoot a few, and they can make them decently, as they hit around 35% as a team from long range. Unfortunately for UNC-Asheville, they are not a tall team. Their tallest player is still four inches shorter than Baye Moussa Keita. While Syracuse is not a great defensive rebounding team, they should have an easier time in getting them in this game. I do think Syracuse will lead this game in rebounding. This game could be close at first, but Syracuse should have a decent lead by the half, and cruise in the second. I'm taking the Orange by 17 points.
This game will be broadcast on TruTV at approximately 3:10pm (check your local listings) on Thursday. If Syracuse is the victor, they will be playing on Saturday again from Pittsburgh, playing the winner of Kansas State and Southern Mississippi. Either way, John is live in Pittsburgh and will have updates from the game, while I'm in the new home office and will be on the laptop. It should be a great time as the first day of the tournament is always fantastic. Enjoy yourself, watch out for the boss, and good fortune to your bracket.

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