March Madness: SJU, SHU, ‘Cuse headline locals at the dance

March Madness. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
March Madness. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
5 of 5
March Madness
Tyus Battle, Syracuse Orange. March Madness. (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images) /

Syracuse Orangemen (20-13), 8th seed, West Region

How they got here: #38 RPI, #42 Net Ranking, Winning record in the toughest conference.

Opening round opponent: #9 seed Baylor 3/21

More from Empire Writes Back

The Orangemen finished sixth in the power-packed Atlantic Coast Conference. It’s fair to say that they were the best non-ranked team there. Before the Atlantic Coast Conference tourney, they were 1-3 versus the big three of Duke, North Carolina, and Virginia. They actually beat number one ranked Duke in Durham, NC, back in January. Against the other top-25 teams in the ACC, Virginia Tech, Louisville, and Florida State, they were 1-2.

Syracuse has some star power of their own with Tyus Battle. The 6-6 junior guard from Edison, NJ averaged 17.2 PPG. He, like his team as a whole, can be very inconsistent. Swingman Elijah Hughes, a transfer from East Carolina, averaged 13.4 PPG. Oshae Brissett, a 6-8 forward from Canada led ‘Cuse in rebounding with 7.5 per game and added 12.4 PPG.

It’s been a demanding regular season for Syracuse and it doesn’t get easier in the postseason. Coach Jim Boeheim, the ageless wonder, has taken Syracuse to March Madness 33 previous times. It will take all his guile to get past a very tough Baylor team from the Big 12. Should the Orange prevail, they can look forward to a showdown with the region’s top seed, Gonzaga.

Next. An important next few weeks for Gang Green. dark

It’s unlikely any of the local teams make the “Sweet Sixteen” but some have a puncher’s chance.