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TNIAAM’s NCAA Tournament Final Four picks, predicting Syracuse ’s March Madness run

How far can Syracuse go without Frank Howard?

NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Round - Salt Lake City - Practice Sessions Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician crew gathered for another round table to pencil in our Final Four staff picks and to try and predict just how far the Syracuse Orange can go in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. We initially pitched the discussion prior to the Frank Howard news, so naturally that changed things for some of us.

While the Orange have never won a game in the tournament as a No. 8 seed (0-1), the Nunes team unanimously thinks that will change even without Howard.

Andrew Godnick

Final Four: Duke, Michigan, Virginia, UNC. Syracuse loses in Sweet 16.

Corey Crisan

Duke, Michigan, UVA, Iowa State. Duke over UVA in the chip. ‘Cuse eliminated by FSU in the Sweet 16.

Andy Pregler

Final Four - Duke, Gonzaga, Kentucky, Virginia (Duke Champion)

Syracuse Out - Round of 32 vs Gonzaga

If you asked me a week ago, I would have had Gonzaga winning the whole damn tourney. If there’s a coach in this field who won’t sleep on Boeheim or the zone, it’s Mark Few. He’s seen first hand what can happen when ’Cuse goes on a run and I can’t imagine a coach of his caliber lets that happen again. Then again, Tony Bennett exists…

Duke looks terrifying, and I think their toughest game will be versus Michigan State in the Elite 8. My one non-chalk region has Kentucky get through, not by beating UNC, but Auburn. Of all the one seeds, their matchup versus an insanely hot Auburn team lends to a upset that Kentucky takes advantage of.

ACC Basketball Tournament - Championship Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Kevin Wall

My FF is Duke, Florida State, Villanova, UNC. I’ve got Syracuse losing to Gonzaga in the Round of 32.

Matt McClusky

Final Four: Texas Tech, North Carolina, Duke and Virginia *pukes all over keyboard* I have Syracuse losing to Gonzaga but I firmly believe that the Orange can win that potential match up. While the Bulldogs are clearly talented, Syracuse has played better teams the last couple of months. In the end, the Zags probably hold on for a close win.

James Szuba

I’ve penciled in Duke, Michigan, Virginia and UNC in my Final Four because #ACCBias but I did think heavily about the Virginia pick. I have UNC taking down Duke in the title game — if that happens, Blue Devils vs. Heels round IV might be the highest rated championship game of all-time.

Anyway, following the Frank news I still think Syracuse gets it done against a Baylor team that turns the ball over a good amount and 3s should be hard to come by against the 2-3 zone. Baylor rebounds incredibly well for the shortest team in the Big 12, but the length of the forwards along with Paschal Chukwu should mitigate that to some degree.

Gonzaga handles Syracuse in the Round of 32. I’ve watched the Zags a few times this season and they’re very efficient (only team to beat Duke at full strength). Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke are legit, and the fact that they played against Washington and Hop’s 2-3 zone doesn’t help.

John Cassillo

Final Four: Duke, FSU, Virginia, Kentucky... it pained me picking against the Heels, but had to go with UK to avoid the All-ACC Final Four.

Had SU upsetting the Zags before the Frank Howard news broke, then losing to FSU in the Sweet 16. Now I think the Orange get by Baylor, then lose to Gonzaga in the round of 32. Meh.


What about you? Who do you have in your Final Four and how far do you think Syracuse can go? Join in on the discussion below.