East meets West in a battle out west to determine who advances in the...East. You've got to love the NCAA's "pod" system, or whatever the hell its calling it these days. Either way, the Syracuse Orange know the who, where, and when of what's next.
- Who - Montana Grizzlies
- Where - San Jose, California
- When - Thursday, 10 p.m. (approximate) TruTV
A lot to digest! Especially since about a week ago most fans and pundits were tucking and rolling as they jumped from the Syracuse Bandwagon.
But, we're here -- NCAA tournament, the road to Atlanta. Starting...
IM GOING GOING BACK BACK TO CALI CALI— Michael Carter-Willi (@MJCWilliams) March 17, 2013
Well it appears the players are pumped about the location. (Although I don't think L.L. Cool J or Biggie Smalls were rapping about San Jose exactly.) What say the fans about the trip west?
@matthewmcclusky @nunesmagician will this game be played on an aircraft carrier?— Terry Holden (@Terry_Holden3) March 18, 2013
Checking...Nope, it'll be played at the legendary HP Pavilion at San Jose Center. The hell is HP Pavilion at San Jose Center?
Whatever it is it's not a boat and that means Syracuse should get credit for leaving New York to play a team all while NOT floating on water (I think).
Still, anyone else a little perplexed that Syracuse is playing in the East Region in San Jose? Not only that, Montana, the first opponent, is actually closer to its home gym than Syracuse by over a thousand miles. Should the Orange advance they'll face either No. 5 UNLV (a decent flight's trip) or No. 12 California (literally less than an hour from home). Syracuse has had some real favorable roads in the past *cough* Albany *cough* but this does seem a little daunting for a top four seed, right?
@matthewmcclusky yeah this year by far has the worst sites for this field. A lot of sites make no sense for the matchups.— Josh O'Hearn (@thejoshohearn) March 17, 2013
@matthewmcclusky Not liking having to travel to Cali then play a Thursday game after 4 tough games this weekend.— Donald Maitland (@DMait44) March 17, 2013
A lot of Orange fans seemed to have a similar thought.
@matthewmcclusky Confused how SU as the higher seed will play 2 west coast teams in California?— Robert Bosco (@OrangeBob77) March 17, 2013
No one was too distraught all things considered, but...
@megv44 @matthewmcclusky Cal in San Jose? How did that happen.Cal campus only 1 hour from San Jose?— Eric Reinhold (@eric_theorange) March 17, 2013
We've dealt with this form of "pod" seeding for over a decade now, and while the NCAA has tweaked its rules over the years, it seems like every March a higher seed gets fully or mildly screwed -- I think this is a screwing, but just a mild one. Had the Orange not collapsed in February they would probably be playing Philly.
Yet, come round two if the Orange survive the Grizzlies, with everyone rooting against Syracuse (it seems like neutral crowds instantly take to Syracuse's opponent -- which maybe a compliment in some ways), most fans won't be happy with the game's location.
Now getting to round two means getting past Montana. Seth Davis doesn't think it can happen, do you?
@matthewmcclusky @nunesmagician Seth Davis is no longer welcomed into my home.— Tom Clark (@ClarkPBA) March 18, 2013
I assume you mean via your TV, right? Otherwise, you've got some 'splaining to ,Tom.
@matthewmcclusky Aside from Seth Davis, I think it's a favorable draw for Cuse. A lot nicer than other 4 seeds in terms of Sweet 16 road— Andrew Pregler (@acpregler) March 17, 2013
@matthewmcclusky @nunesmagician I think we smoke Montana. Their big is out and they are all guards. We can rebound vs. them.— Matt Josephs (@Brosephs950) March 18, 2013
Ah, rebounding. If the Orange do that and play defense like they did in New York City, this game should be one of those ugly, closer-than-fans-would-like, double-digit wins. Being a No 4 seed means you should move on and fans seem to think the Orange will do just that, although it's worth noting that the Grizz have just two losses since December -- teams that only know winning (even against lesser competition) can be tough outs.
second third round game that has some fans worried...
@matthewmcclusky @nunesmagician Really concerned about UNLV in the second round. They rebound well and Anthony Bennett is a monster inside— Brian Pilatzke (@BPilatzke) March 18, 2013
Bennett is one of the better players most east coast fans have missed out on this season. And as for rebounding? The Runnin' Rebs are top six in the department, averaging over 40 per game. Shooting and scoring are major issues, but rebounding and team-oriented offense aren't. UNLV could be trouble.
Manage that trouble, and it'll be Indiana in D.C. for Syracuse...
@matthewmcclusky @nunesmagician Sweet 16 appearance is quite likely, however UNLV can be scary.... Indiana will beat Syracuse by 14.— Anthony DeMiceli (@Anthonydemo) March 17, 2013
Hey, it's March and to be the best you've got to beat the best. And if not, there's always football(?) to look forward to...
@matthewmcclusky hey, spring ball starts on Tuesday. So we got that going for us, which is nice.— Dave Dixon (@lummgr) March 18, 2013
Hmm...I still think there could be something here. I don't know if it will be a 1996 style run for Syracuse, but given how the season has gone for everyone, just digest one game at a time.
Probably the best philosophy for all.
Odds And Ends -
- Selection Show - Anyone else find it odd to hear that Syracuse was one of eight Big East teams to make the field? I used to be that "Conference Guy" who would feel a little pride when the Big East would get a lot of teams in, or feel anger when the conference wouldn't get as many in as I thought it should have. This year? I didn't even pay attention to the conference numbers.
- Atlantic Coast Conference - OK, that's not true, I did pay attention to how many ACC teams made the field. Four. That's it. Of course Duke and Miami received high seeds, but this powerhouse of a league Syracuse is headed to isn't really that at all.
- New Atlantic Coast Conference - Now, factoring in Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, and the Orange -- all about to join -- vaults the ACC number up to seven. Add in Louisville, joining the league in '14, and the ACC looks like the power conference its been known as all these decades.
- Pat Forde - I know what you're thinking, "What's Pat Forde have to say about...anything? I needs me some Pat Forde!" Well...
Pat Forde on Dan Patrick Show says he could still see Boeheim retiring after season. Sites ACC move and "ongoing investigation" into program— Matthew McClusky (@MatthewMcClusky) March 18, 2013
Dan Patrick asked Forde about Boeheim, so it wasn't like Forde brought it up the Hall of Famer himself. And Forde was just opening speculating, not saying anything with confidence. But it is interesting he mentioned that there was an ongoing investigation. A "wide-ranging" one at that. Over a year after Yahoo! brought this to everyone's attention, we haven't heard a thing about it. I wonder if an investigation, of any kind, is really on-going?
- Who Cares - I've said time and time again that Boeheim will be back next year. And speculating on investigations creates buzz for writers/reporters and little more.
@matthewmcclusky Its good to see Pat Forde is still an idiot.I hate change!— K M (@orangetailgater) March 18, 2013
Just enjoy the next game...games...maybe even weeks?