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Let The Madness Begin

Syracuse won't know who it's opponent tomorrow is until around 11:30pm EST tonight but before that happens, the rest of the Big East Tournament first round is underway.  There's a bevy of ways to watch but if you're stuck at work you can watch it live over on BigEast.org.  Schnazzy.

It's the initial year of the "everybody's in...even DePaul!" format and for the teams playing in the first round, any hope of making it all the way to the conference championship is tempered by the idea of playing, and winning, five games in five days.

“Five game in five days,” [Seton Hall coach Bobby] Gonzalez said Monday to no one in particular as the team bus crept through midtown traffic. “You know how people always say, ‘We’re taking it one game at a time? ’ We actually mean it.”

Dan Wetzel even breaks down just how daunting the road would be for a team like Seton Hall, assuming all the other top seeds win out:

Wednesday: Syracuse (No. 18 in the AP poll), Thursday: Connecticut (No. 3), Friday: Pittsburgh (No. 2), Saturday: Louisville (No. 5)

It's not just the first-round players who have something left to reach for.  Every team in the tournament is playing for something better, even the top seeds. Mike Waters breaks down each team and their goal this week, including SU:

At stake:The Orange is ranked 20th in the RPI, which is right on the fringe of a No. 5 seed. Syracuse could go as high as No. 4 or as low as No. 6.

The story:Syracuse survived its 3-7 stretch in the middle of the Big East schedule to finish with four straight wins. A healthy Arinze Onuaku makes Syracuse a legit Sweet 16 team.

The key guy:Jonny Flynn provides the spark. If he's scoring, making shots and not turning the ball over, Syracuse can play with any team in the country.

As far as NCAA-seeding go, I took a look what might be for the Orange depending on how they do in the BET.  As far as how far the Orange can go once they get there...who know.  There is someone who might know a thing or two about such things...the nation's leading Brackethesiologist, Joe Lunardi:

"I think Syracuse has an excellent chance to be in the sweet 16 this year. I've liked them from the beginning. I wish they'd play a little better defense...Last year and this year's groups, for whatever reason for Syracuse, just hasn't made that committment and hasn't gotten the results at the defensive end....Could they win two or three games in the NCAA Tournament? Absolutely."

We'll take it.