Day & Time: Tuesday, March 6, 2018, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.
TV/Streaming: ESPNU/ACC Network Extra
Radio: Syracuse IMG Network, WAER 88.3, Sirius 93/XM 193
Wake Forest blog: Blogger So Dear
Rivalry: 6-1, Syracuse
Current Streak: 1, Orange
First Meeting: After beating Michigan State in the 2001 Preseason NIT, Syracuse squared off with the Demon Deacons in the championship game and beat them, 74-67. DeShaun Williams led the way with 23 points and the win vaulted the Orangemen to 12th in the subsequent poll.
Last Meeting: Syracuse led by 10 at halftime at the Carrier Dome on February 11, then made things a little interesting in the second. The Deacons hit whatever three they wanted and pushed the Orange (and Jim Boeheim) to the edge, before SU did just enough to get out by a score of 78-70. Tyus Battle had 34 points, and SU actually hit 50 percent of their shots from outside. This was a stressful game.
Head Coaches: SU: Jim Boeheim (42nd year, 1,023-369); Wake Forest: Danny Manning (4th year, 54-71)
Coach Bio: Manning won a national title with Kansas in 1988, then spent 15 seasons in the NBA (with two trips to the All-Star Game). He returned to KU in 2003, where he served as a team manager for three years and then as an assistant from 2006-12. Manning got his first head coaching job at Tulsa, getting to the CBI in year one, then taking the Golden Hurricane to a Conference USA title in 2014. That was enough to earn him a shot with Wake. In four seasons, he’s made one NCAA Tournament (last year) over a Syracuse team that beat them.
Last Year: Wake rode out a rough start in ACC play to get to 9-9, including an upset over Louisville. They’d get to the second round of the league tournament, and earn an 11-seed and a First Four date with Kansas State. The Deacons’ season would end in Dayton, with a 95-88 loss to the Wildcats. Wake finished 19-14 overall.
Last Game: Wake Forest had a chance to move up into the 12 vs. 13 game with a win on the road vs. Georgia Tech this week. But a 64-56 loss sealed their place as the No. 14 seed — their worst ACC Tournament seeding under Manning. Bryant Crawford (22 points) and Doral Moore (12) were the only two Deacons players to hit double digits. The teams’ other three starters combined for six points and they shot just 33.3 percent from the floor as a team.
”Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Bryant Crawford terrorized the Orange last time around, putting up 24 points including four threes. He’s also Wake Forest’s leading scorer on the season, with 16.7 points per game on 40.9 percent shooting. Doral Moore was pretty effective against SU last time too, and he could potentially create some foul trouble for the Orange’s bigs.
Jack Ferguson Memorial Random Three-Point Performance: Donovan Mitchell is your out-of-nowhere bet, as he’s 15-of-33 from three so far this year in just 11.2 points per game. But really, Mitchell Wilbekin’s your threat from outside. He hit 4-of-5 last time around against the Orange, and shoots 43.5 percent from three on the year. So definitely know where he is at all times.
If Syracuse Wins: They’re one step closer to potentially making the tournament, and getting to 20 wins again is a nice check box. They’ll have UNC up next, which is a pretty challenging matchup for the second round.
If Syracuse Loses: That’s another loss to a sub-.500 team, and the second to Wake Forest in three meetings this year. It would be extremely surprising to see Syracuse included in the NCAA Tournament field if they lose this game.
Fun Fact No. 1: Of the nine current ACC teams that have won the conference tournament since 1954, Wake has the third-least recent title (1996). Georgia Tech (1993) and NC State (1987) are the only two schools with less recent championships. Wake is also just one of two schools with a 30-year gap between titles. Virginia is the other.
Fun Fact No. 2: Far from a “fun” fact, but this is the longest Syracuse has ever gone without a conference tournament victory. Since joining the ACC, the Orange have infamously won zero games in the league’s championship tournament — a four-year stretch that includes one season in which they did not participate. The only other multi-year stretch of conference tournament futility was a two-year stretch with no wins (1994 and 1995).