The 10-seed Syracuse Orange will face a familiar NCAA Tournament foe Friday when they take on the 7-seed Dayton Flyers in the first-round. The last time SU played a tournament game it was the Flyers eliminating them. Now the Orange would love to return the favor.
Can SU get the win and move on to an assumed showdown against Michigan State? Let's see what everyone thinks.
Syracuse 68 - Dayton 63
I have an odd, but great feeling that the Orange are going to pull this one out. I still hold faith that if Syracuse as a whole, and especially Trevor Cooney, start knocking down shots that they could make a nice run, and knock off Dayton. The Flyers are one of the best rebounding teams in the country, but do so with many undersized players, the Orange will need to keep them off the glass and knock down threes if they are to win.
Syracuse 64 - Dayton 58
While many of the primary players on both sides are long gone from the 2014 debacle in Buffalo, I'm expecting a similarly low-scoring affair from the Orange and Flyers. Both teams lean on their defense, especially Dayton which is a top 15 team on that end, per Ken Pomeroy. The major difference, stylistically at least, is Syracuse's reliance on the three. While SU is not always the most efficient shooting team, I'm pretty sure it won't go 0-for-10 like two years ago. Add in Michael Gbinije's ability to create offense and get buckets from anywhere, something the entire team lacked two seasons ago, and I'll take the good guys in a close, ugly game this time.
Syracuse 64 - Dayton 60
Expect Dayton to try to get up and down and for Syracuse to play at Syracuse's pace. Ultimately I think Syracuse will eek out a victory behind the play of Gbinije, Cooney and Richardson while Dayton struggles to shoot against the 2-3.
Syracuse 64 - Dayton 60
Neither of these teams is as good as they were in 2014. As much as we hear about Dayton wanting to push the ball, I think they will be happy to be patient and make this a grinding game using Pitt as a template. I don't think Syracuse will go O for the 3-pt line this time and I wouldn't be surprised if we see Dajuan Coleman with a double-double as the Orange advance.
Syracuse 69 - Dayton 67
Payback is in order and the Orange have the "nothing to lose" incentive this time around. They should play like there's no tomorrow, so let's hope they do. If the Orange can get the three-point game going, there's no stopping them.