The Syracuse Orange (19-14, 10-8) won their first round game against UNC-Greensboro on Wednesday, and now move on to face the No. 5 Ole Miss Rebels (21-13, 10-8) in the second round of the NIT. Ole Miss blitzed Monmouth of the second half of their own first round game, pulling the upset on the road. These programs have never played one another before, so we’re going to have to manufacture some dislike before tip-off.
Who do we think is winning this game, and advancing to the NIT Elite 8? The TNIAAM staff makes its picks (down several staffers due to spring break and vacations):
Syracuse 68, Ole Miss 63
Andrew White has been unstoppable in the last two games at the Dome, so while the attention of the Rebels is on him, it allows Tyler Lydon to break out. Fans have wondered what's happened to Lydon's scoring, but he'll remind the Orange faithful that he can still do damage from beyond the arc.
Syracuse 83, Ole Miss 73
Syracuse showed what its capable of when they get out in transition and push the tempo offensively — a 90-point performance against UNCG. I expect the momentum to continue and the Orange to continue their winning ways.
Syracuse 79, Ole Miss 76
Ole Miss hasn’t really shown themselves as a team that can take down more talented opponents (most notable wins are vs. Vanderbilt and late-season South Carolina this year). The question then becomes whether or not the Orange are "better" than the Rebels. One a pure roster perspective, yes, definitely. But the matchup could present problems for SU, especially if Sebastian Saiz gets going in the paint. If Syracuse pulls this one off, it’ll be by the skin of their teeth (no different than most wins this season).
What about you?