Day & Time: Friday, March 16, 2018, 9:40 p.m. ET
Location: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Mich.
TV/Streaming: CBS/March Madness Live
Announcers: Ian Eagle, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
TCU blog: Frogs O’ War
Rivalry: Syracuse, 4-0
Current Streak: 4, Orange
First Meeting: Syracuse ran through TCU, 87-58 back in 1987 at the Carrier Dome. Sherman Douglas had 23 points during the demolition. The Horned Frogs were actually coming off an NCAA Tournament berth the previous year, but ended up going 9-19 during the 1987-88 season. Jim Boeheim likely wondered aloud back then, as he would now too, what the hell a horned frog is.
Last Meeting: TCU made another ill-fated trip to the Carrier Dome nearly 18 years to the day of their first one. They dropped the 2005 contest, 80-64 after Demetris Nichols put up 24 points on them. That was actually an NIT-bound Frogs team at the time. Syracuse would’ve been in that tournament as well in the spring of 2006, if not for some heroics from Gerry McNamara in the Big East Tournament.
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (42nd year, 1,025-370); TCU: Jamie Dix — GODDAMMIT (2nd year, 45-26)
Coach Bio: After wrapping up his playing career at TCU, Jamie Dixon went on to play in the Continental Basketball Association and the New Zealand Basketball League. The latter experience led him to a coaching position there, then at L.A. Valley Community College (he’s from North Hollywood, originally). He worked his way through Division I schools like UC-Santa Barbara, Hawaii and Northern Arizona as an assistant, before arriving at Pitt with Ben Howland in 1999. Four years later, he was in charge of the Panthers, going 328-123 with two Big East regular season titles and a whole bunch of early NCAA Tournament flameouts (plus one Elite Eight trip). Pitt got tired of having a basketball program two years ago and sort of pushed him out. He went back to his alma mater and won an NIT title in year one and made the NCAAs in year two.
Last Year: TCU looked like they might break their near two-decade streak of NCAA Tournament misses last year before Big 12 struggles derailed them and relegated them to the NIT. They still went 24-15 and won it, however, which is something SU has never done. Also, the NIT championship replaces Dixon’s CBI title as the most notable accomplishment of his coaching career. I’m sure he’s the only coach to have won both of those events.
Last Game: The Frogs lost to Kansas State for the second time in three tries this year, this time in the Big 12 Tournament. Tied at 59 after regulation, the Wildcats did just enough to outlast TCU in the extra period, hitting a game-winner late to take home a 66-64 victory. Frogs guard Kenrich Williams scored 20 points while adding 10 rebounds and three steals.
”Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: While he’s not the leading scorer — that honor goes to Vladimir Brodziansky -- it’s probably Williams. Unlike ASU’s smaller guards in the First Four game, Williams comes in at a tall 6-foot-7, and can both defend and hit threes at a reasonable clip (40.9 percent). However, in two games against Baylor’s zone defense this year, he’s put up a combined 16 points.
Jack Ferguson Memorial Random Three-Point Performance: Going with Shawn Olden here. The junior Pepperdine transfer has hit 17-of-45 threes this season while playing just 11.8 minutes per game. He’s seen 12 or more in four of the last five games, though, and was a combined 4-of-7 from three in wins over Baylor and Kansas State in late February.
If Syracuse Wins: The Orange continue marching through a tournament at least one pundit would claim we don’t deserve to be in. A win in the round of 64 would set up a matchup with either Michigan State or Bucknell on Sunday. We’re clearly rooting for the Bison, just for a repeat of 2016.
If Syracuse Loses: We won a game in the NCAA Tournament despite having a five-man rotation (and a three-man offense) for much of the year. Of course it’s not fun to lose. But that’s still a pretty successful season. But goddammit, Jamie Dixon...
Fun Fact No. 1: In three of the four years these teams met previously, Syracuse won the BIg East championship. The lone exception was the 2001-02 season, when the Orange shuffled off to the NIT Final Four instead (and then went on to win the national title the next year anyway).
Fun Fact No. 2: Syracuse is 20-2 all-time against schools from Texas. The lone losses were both in the NCAA Tournament, however: A 69-56 defeat vs. Texas Tech in 1976, and a 66-58 loss to Texas A&M in 2006 when Gerry McNamara was hurt.
Fun Fact No. 3: Shut up about Dixon’s record against Syracuse...