The Syracuse Orange's 2016 NCAA Tournament run has been about separating the regular season from the postseason. They ended the regular season with their third loss in three tries to the Pittsburgh Panthers. Now as they head to the Final Four, they'll have the chance to break the mold once more when they take on the North Carolina Tar Heels for the third time this year.
The Tar Heels defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the East Regional, 88-74. Because of the way things played out, the ACC is guaranteed one team in the National Championship game. Most assume it will be UNC. Syracuse is here because they've defied most assumptions in the last two weeks.
Of course, the deck is stacked against the Orange because their opponent is already 2-0 against them this year. The Tar Heels came up to the Carrier Dome in January for Jim Boeheim's first game back from suspension and won 84-73. They also withstood Michael Gbinije's late push and held on for a 75-70 victory in Chapel Hill.
The Heels will be heavy favorites and you'll be hard-pressed to find many reasons the Orange should win this game. But that's what everyone's been saying about the team for a while now and they're still here.