NCAA Tournament: Syracuse Orange (31-2) vs. UNC-Asheville Bulldogs (24-9) GameThread

Why does Boeheim have to wear a bracelet? (Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE)
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And so, the one-seed Syracuse Orange begin their quest to win the East Region and do much, much more, when they take on the 16-seed UNC-Asheville Bulldogs in second-round play from CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

The big story is of course Fab Melo's ineligible status for the NCAA Tournament. The Big East Defensive Player of the Year leaves a huge hole in the middle of the 2-3 zone and forces the Orange to rely on back-ups (Rakeem Christmas, Baye Moussa Keita) as well as think about speeding up the game with more defensive pressing and offensive transition.

SU absolutely needs Kris Joseph, Scoop Jardine and Dion Waiters to bring their A-games the entire tournament. No more off-nights allowed.

And the Orange will also look to C.J. Fair, James Southerland and Brandon Triche to pick up the slack, doing what each of them do best.

Syracuse is 3-0 all-time against the Bulldogs. Most recently, the two met on Dec. 28, 2003 in the Carrier Dome when the Orange cruised to a 81-63 victory.

We're not supposed to be nervous about this game and yet, here we are. We need some motivation. We need...this guy:

I feel much more inspired, thank you.

Leave your pre-, in- and post-game comments below.

G'ORANGE!

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