Syracuse was the best team in the nation for most of the season. After their overtime loss to Boston College, they just fell off a cliff. C.J. Fair and Tyler Ennis haven’t played well and head coach Jim Boeheim made an ass out of himself in the Duke game.
Western Michigan won the MAC tournament to earn an automatic bid. They haven’t been tested all season and benefited from a cake schedule.
Which Syracuse squad will show up in the first round, the team that won its first 25 games or the the team that lost to 8-24 Georgia Tech?
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If the NCAA Tournament was a month earlier, Syracuse would have been the #1 overall seed. After winning their first 25 games, they finished the season 2-5. Three of their loses came to teams who made the NCAA Tournament (Duke, NC State & Virginia), but the losses to Boston College and Georgia Tech were inexcusable. C.J. Fair and Tyler Ennis are two of my favorite college players to watch. When they are playing well, Syracuse is unstoppable. Unfortunately, they are both struggling.
Western Michigan received an automatic bid after winning the MAC conference tournament. The MAC is usually ultra-competitive conference with many teams on the bubble. This year it was just a two-team race. WMU bested Toledo in the tournament final and are the only team from the MAC in the NCAA Tournament. The Broncos have a pair of seniors that the offense flows through. Guard David Brown and 6’11 center Shayne Whittington will each need to have their best game to beat Syracuse.
I know Syracuse limped into the tournament, but they are on an entirely different level than Western Michigan. Yes, they have struggled the last month, but Jim Boeheim will have them ready. Syracuse will beat Western Michigan by 20+ points. Their second round matchup against Ohio State will be a fun game to watch.
Prediction: #3 Syracuse Orange
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.