The Syracuse Orange not only made the NCAA Tournament but they'll be hosting a first-weekend pod for the first time ever in the Carrier Dome. While it's easy to look ahead to a potential showdown with 5-seed Florida, the Orange can't forget about the team they'll have to play in the opening game: Army.
The Army Black Knights had a spectacular season, finishing first in the Patriot League regular season standings and winning the conference tournament. The Black Knights finished with a record of 29-2 and lost only one game in conference play, going an outstanding 17-1. Fortunately for the Orange, Army has played only one game against a ranked foe. Early in the season, No. 14 Duke Blue Devils defeated Army by double-digits.
Kelsey Minato is one of Army's best players. The senior became the first player in West Point history to have her number retired while still active. She hit over 100 3-pointers this season and is shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc. Syracuse's Brianna Butler is having herself quite a year from three-point range as well but she shoots 31 percent. The long-ball battle might determine who will advance to the next round.
On the defensive end, Syracuse should watch out for Aimee Oertner. Oertner averages 6.8 rebounds per contest and also blocks around three shots per game. The Black Knights are outrebounding their opponents by seven and a half per game.
Army might not have played many quality teams but they've dominated the ones they have played. They're currently on a 19-game winning streak and averaged a 20-point victory margin per win.
Syracuse and Army will face each other in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday at 2:30 pm. The game will be televised on ESPN2, right after the men's game against Dayton.