For the first time in a while, Syracuse didn’t really have to sweat out Selection Sunday. They’ll face Baylor for the right to take on West No. 1 seed Gonzaga, barring a crazy upset.
Syracuse was inconsistent all season, but the Orange did just enough to earn a spot in the 68-team field. SU finished with a 20-13 record that included a 10-8 mark in the ACC. The Orange scored big wins over Duke, Louisville and Ohio State, but also had some questionable losses. Syracuse will need big performances from Tyus Battle and Oshae Brissett to make noise this year. Buddy Boeheim, who had his best game of the year against Pittsburgh in the ACC Tournament, is another player to watch.
After playing in the NIT last year, Baylor returns to the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in the last 10 years. An up-and-down regular season ended in a 19-12 regular season record and the No. 4 seed in the Big 12 Tournament. Baylor was quickly beaten by eventual Big 12 tournament champion Iowa State, but still showed enough mettle to get into the tournament.
See ya in Salt Lake! pic.twitter.com/UA0rZFbT5Z
— Syracuse Basketball (@Cuse_MBB) March 17, 2019
Date: Thursday, March 21
Time: ~9:57 p.m. ET
TV Channel: truTV
Location: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
Announcers: Andrew Catalon / Steve Lappas // Lisa Byington
Prediction: These two teams are pretty similar on paper. Both have been known to utilize a 2-3 Zone, though Syracuse obviously far more than Scott Drew’s Baylor Bears. Baylor is a top 30 offense and top 70 defense, while the Orange are a top 25 defense and top 65 offense. Both play at an extremely slow pace.
Don’t expect to see a lot of points in this one, which is how Syracuse probably wants it. Jim Boeheim’s team has thrived in the NCAA Tournament as of late, no matter what seed the committee gives it, and will take home this first round game in Salt Lake, setting up a third NCAA Tournament game against Gonzaga since 2010.