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NCAA Tournament: Early look at Syracuse women’s basketball’s River Walk region

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Get to know the River Walk teams from the No. 1-seed UConn to the No. 16-seed High Point

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 25 Div I Women’s Championship - Second Round - South Dakota State v Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s Tournament Time! The Syracuse Orange women’s basketball team earned the eighth seed in the River Walk Region and will battle No. 9 seed South Dakota State in the First Round on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. EST on ESPN2. The tournament will be held in San Antonio, Tex.

Navigating the River Walk Region will be no easy feat for Coach Quentin Hillsman and his Orange squad. With an SDSU rematch on the docket (more on that later...) and the top three-seeds having combined to win 19 of the last 25 national championships, Syracuse has a long road ahead of them to earn the program’s first National Title.

Let’s take a look at the other 15 teams in ‘Cuse’s region before heading into the weekend:

No. 1 Connecticut Huskies (24-1)

Team Stats | AP Top 25: No. 1

UConn needs no introduction. The Huskies are competing in their 32nd-straight NCAA Tournament and have advanced to the Final Four in the last 12 years. UConn has won 11 National Championships, including four in a row from 2013-2016. Their 2016 Title, which is the team’s most recent win, was an 82-51 victory over Syracuse.

UConn leads the all-time series versus Syracuse, 39-12. The last time these two teams met was in 2017, where the Huskies defeated the Orange 94-64 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. If ‘Cuse advances through the first round, they will face UConn in the Round of 32.

No. 2 Baylor Bears (25-2)

Team Stats | AP Top 25: No. 5

Baylor is technically the ‘Defending National Champions’ since they won their third Finals back in 2019. In the last 10 years, the Bears have earned a two-seed or higher in the NCAA Tournament. Baylor is making its 19th NCAA Championship appearance and has advanced to the Sweet 18 in the last 12 years.

Baylor leads the all-time series versus Syracuse, 2-0. The last time these two teams met was in 2014, where the Bears defeated the Orange 74-72. If both ‘Cuse and BU advance through, they will meet in the Elite Eight.

No. 3 Tennessee Volunteers (16-7)

Team Stats | AP Top 25: No. 13

The Vols have advanced to every NCAA Tournament in history (39 straight). Tennessee is 125-30 all-time in NCAA play and has won eight national titles, most recently in 2008.

The all-time series is tied, 1-1. The last time these two teams met was in 2016, where the Orange defeated the Vols 89-67 in the Elite Eight. If both ‘Cuse and the Vols advance through, they will meet in the Elite Eight.

No. 4 Kentucky Wildcats (17-8)

Team Stats | AP Top 25: No. 18

The Wildcats have appeared in 10 of the last 11 NCAA Tournaments and are 21-15 all-time in the tournament. UK has advanced to four Elite Eights.

Kentucky leads the all-time series versus Syracuse, 3-0. The last time these two teams met was in 2014, where the Wildcats defeated the Orange 64-59 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. If both ‘Cuse and KU advance through, they will meet in the Sweet 16.

No. 5 Iowa Hawkeyes (18-9)

Team Stats | AP Top 25: RV (43)

The Hawkeyes have appeared in 27 NCAA Tournaments and have reached seven Sweet Sixteens, four Elite Eights, and the 1993 Final Four.

Iowa leads the all-time series versus Syracuse, 3-0. The last time these two teams met was in 2014, where the Hawkeyes defeated the Orange 97-91. If both ‘Cuse and Iowa advance through, they will meet in the Sweet 16.

No. 6 Michigan Wolverines (14-5)

Team Stats

A sixth-seed is the highest position Michigan has ever received in the NCAA Tournament. This will be the Wolverines’ ninth NCAA Tournament appearance and third in the last four seasons. The team is 5-8 all-time in the tourney.

Michigan leads the all-time series versus Syracuse, 5-0. The last time these two teams met was in 2018, where the Wolverines defeated the Orange 84-76 in OT. If both ‘Cuse and UM advance through, they will meet in the Elite Eight.

No. 7 Virginia Tech Hokies (14-9)

Team Stats

Virginia Tech earned its tenth NCAA Tournament bid in program history and the first since 2006. The program is 9-9 all-time in the tourney.

Syracuse leads the all-time series versus Virginia Tech, 8-7. The Hokies defeated the Orange 76-68 on Feb. 21. If both ‘Cuse and VT advance through, they will meet in the Elite Eight.

No. 8 Syracuse Orange (14-8)

Team Stats

Syracuse is 9-10 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. The Orange have advanced to the second round in five of its last six tourneys. ‘Cuse is 2-4 all-time as an 8-seed. The last time the Orange were an 8-seed, the team fell to Oklahoma State, 57-84, in the first round (2018).

In the team’s last tournament appearance in 2019, Syracuse was upset by South Dakota State in the second round. The third-seeded Orange lost 75-64 to the sixth-seeded Jackrabbits. SDSU closed the game on a 14-2 run to advance.

Syracuse’s best finish in the NCAA Tournament was in 2016, where the Orange advanced to the Finals. ‘Cuse fell to UConn 82-51 in the Championship.

No. 9 South Dakota State Jackrabbits (21-3)

Team Stats

SDSU is making its 10th NCAA Tournament appearance and third straight bid. Their best finish was in 2019 when South Dakota State beat Syracuse to advance to the Sweet 16. The Jackrabbits fell to the Oregon Ducks, 63-53.

The 2019 match-up was the lone meeting between Syracuse and South Dakota State. The Orange and Jackrabbits will battle in the First Round on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. EST on ESPN2.

No. 10 Marquette Golden Eagles (19-6)

Team Stats

Marquette earned its 13th appearance in the NCAA tournament and fourth in a row. The team is 6-12 all-time in the tourney and has won at least one game in four of their last five appearances. The Golden Eagles have never advanced past the Round of 32.

Syracuse leads the all-time series versus Marquette, 8-4. The last time these two teams met was in 2013, where the Orange defeated the Golden Eagles 92-79. If both ‘Cuse and Marquette advance through, they will meet in the Elite Eight.

No. 11 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (26-2)

Team Stats

FGCU has appeared in seven NCAA Tournaments. The Eagles earned a spot in the tourney after winning the program’s eighth ASUN Tournament Championship.

Syracuse and FGCU have never played. If both ‘Cuse and the Eagles advance through, they will meet in the Elite Eight.

No. 12 Central Michigan Chippewas (18-8)

Team Stats

The Chippewas earned their sixth total and third-consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. The team’s best finish was in 2018, when Central Michigan advanced to the Sweet 16. CMU is 2-5 all-time in the tourney.

Central Michigan defeated Syracuse 74-68 in 2010 in the team’s only meeting. If both ‘Cuse and CMU advance through, they will meet in the Sweet 16.

No. 13 Idaho State Bengals (22-3)

Team Stats

The Bengals earned their fourth NCAA Bid in program history. ISU earned a spot in the tourney after winning the Big Sky Tournament Championship.

Syracuse and Idaho State have never played. If both ‘Cuse and ISU advance through, they will meet in the Sweet 16.

No. 14 Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (17-7)

Team Stats

The Blue Raiders earned their 19th NCAA Tournament appearance and 17th consecutive postseason appearance. The team has never advanced past the Round of 32.

Syracuse and Middle Tennessee have never played. If both ‘Cuse and MTU advance through, they will meet in the Elite Eight.

No. 15 Jackson State Tigers (18-5)

Team Stats

The Tigers earned a trip to the big dance after winning the SWAC Tournament Championship. This is their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2008.

Syracuse defeated Jackson State 85-74 in 2008 in the team’s only meeting. If both ‘Cuse and JSU advance through, they will meet in the Elite Eight.

No. 16 High Point Panthers (22-6)

Team Stats

The Panthers will play in their first NCAA Tournament in program history. High Point clinched the Big South Tournament Championship to earn a spot in the tourney.

Syracuse and High Point have never played. The Panthers will play UConn in the first round. The winner of that game will battle the winner of Syracuse/South Dakota State in the Round of 32.

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Wow. I was speechless when the bracket was released and I am equally as speechless now after researching all 16 teams. Who do you think the biggest challenge is for Syracuse? What is your prediction for the Orange? Let us know in the comments!