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Syracuse Basketball: Outlining the Orange's Possible 2016-18 NCAA Tournament Paths

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The NCAA started making some future-facing announcements around the NCAA Tournament, so we looked at how those could apply to Syracuse.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Over the weekend, the NCAA made several announcements around both the 2017-2021 Men's Final Four sites, as well as first and second weekend matchup locations for 2016-18. Also of note, the round of 64 and 32, respectively, are now the first and second rounds again. Rejoice!

So first, the Final Four sites -- and no it's not in Syracuse.

NCAA Final Four Sites

(via NCAA)

The closest one to campus is Indianapolis. For those of us on the Western portion of the country, it's definitely nice to see that Phoenix date in 2017, however. These championships rarely come out West, so the opportunity to travel a short(er) distance should you want to attend is a welcome one.

But in order to get to the five cities above, you have to play through some other cities -- the first and second weekend sites. Those are as follows:

A Syracuse team seeded in the top four could go through either Brooklyn, NY or Providence, R.I. before likely heading to Philadelphia for the second weekend en route to the Final Four. A less highly-regarded Orange squad, however, could offer both Sean and me gifts by heading to Spokane, Wash. early and then Anaheim, Calif. for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. The West has worked before, people!!!

THIS is the year Syracuse really wants to be a top seed. The Orange could have a road to the Final Four that keeps them in New York state from early March on with the ACC Tournament at Brooklyn's Barclays Center that year. Then, it's Buffalo for the first two rounds and MSG for the second two. Watch this team ends up in Greenbsoro, N.C. anyway, to the glee of ACC media everywhere...

Pittsburgh-to-Boston presents the easiest opportunity for Syracuse fans to travel and see the Orange throughout the tournament en route to the Final Four. I'd be remiss not to mention that I'm eying an underdog Syracuse team going on a magical run through San Diego and Los Angeles though, just because I'm a selfish person.

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So there you have it. Like any other team, Syracuse is guaranteed nothing in these future tournaments. But it's fun to see what could materialize just the same. There are a lot of very manageable roads for the Orange -- like always. Of course, they need to get there first.