Day & Time: Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 9:10 p.m. ET
Location: University of Dayton Arena, Dayton, Ohio
Line: Arizona State (-2)
TV/Streaming: truTV/March Madness Live
Announcers: Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
Arizona State blog: House of Sparky
Rivalry: Tied, 1-1
Current Streak: 1, Orange
First Meeting: The teams first met in Portland back in 1968, a 93-77 victory for the Sun Devils. Bill Smith had 16 points, but that was far from enough in a season of struggle for the Orangemen. In Roy Danforth’s first season, Syracuse went 9-16. He improved SU’s win total for four straight years thereafter, though.
Last Meeting: Three-seed Syracuse walked through Arizona State in a game that had the potential to be worrisome and very much... wasn’t. The Orange won 78-67, earning a nine-point lead at halftime and then coasting from there. ASU star James Harden was 2-of-10 from the floor, scoring just 10 points on the contest. SU had four players in double figures, led by Eric Devendorf with 21.
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (42nd year, 1,024-370); Arizona State: Bobby Hurley (3rd year, 46-46)
Coach Bio: Hurley spent four years playing for Coach K at Duke, taking home two championships and Most Outstanding Player honors in 1992. He spent five years in the NBA afterward, then got into scouting and racehorse breeding. Hurley returned to college hoops in 2010 as an assistant at Wagner, and was at Rhode Island as an associate head coach not long after that. He earned the head job at Buffalo by 2013, turning a two-year stint of success into the Arizona State job. In three years, the Sun Devils have progressed incrementally, making the NCAAs for the first time (under him) this year.
Last Year: ASU struggled through non-conference play, then continued treading water in league play. The Sun Devils finished 15-18 and 7-11 in the Pac-12, with the most notable win being over a 26-win USC team. That doesn’t seem great, though it was progress from the year before, when they went 15-17 and 5-13 in league play.
Last Game: Opening up the Pac-12 Tournament against Colorado, the Sun Devils could’ve used a win to get back on track. Instead, they fell 97-85 to the Buffaloes, which almost derailed their NCAA Tournament hopes (they were one of the last four teams in, after all). Colorado shot 53.2 percent from the field and 61.9 percent (13-of-21) from three. Six players hit double figures. They put on an offensive clinic.
”Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Tra Holder’s pretty dangerous as the team’s leading scorer, putting up 18.4 points per game, plus 4.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists. He’s scored 30 points or more three different times (including 40 vs. Xavier) this season, though he also has his moments of struggle. Holder has scored in the single digits four different times, including zero points in 30 minutes vs. Oregon nearly a month ago.
Jack Ferguson Memorial Random Three-Point Performance: No one really qualifies since ASU’s three-point shooting is largely relegated to four regular rotation players all hitting around 38 percent from outside. But if we’re nominating anyone, it’s Austin Witherill, who’s hit three of six on the year. It’s probably not going to be Witherill.
If Syracuse Wins: YOU’RE NEXT, TCU! The Orange would advance to the “actual” NCAA Tournament and hopefully we’re on our way to a lot more. Hope you’ve memorized your apologies to America.
If Syracuse Loses: Getting selected to the field was a victory in itself with this group, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to be alright with a loss right away.
Fun Fact No. 1: With this game, Arizona State will tie with Arizona for the Pac-12 opponent Syracuse has faced the second-most times ever (three apiece). The only Pac-12 foe the Orange have faced more is California. After three straight wins to star the series, the Golden Bears got right back in this and won the most recent (fourth) matchup.
Fun Fact No. 2: The Sun Devils haven’t made the Elite Eight since 1975, which was also Syracuse’s first trip to the Final Four. SU and ASU could’ve met in that year’s championship game, had the Orangemen beaten Kentucky and the Sun Devils managed to get past UCLA (and then Louisville in the Final Four).