Teams: Syracuse Orange (14-8) vs. South Dakota State Jackrabbits (21-3)
Day & Time: Sunday, March 21 at 5:30 p.m. EST
Location: NCAA Tournament Round of 64 at the Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas
Opponent Blog: N/A
Current Streak: Syracuse: L1 | SDSU: L1
All-Time Series: South Dakota State leads 1-0
Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament: 9-10
SDSU in the NCAA Tournament: 4-9
Teams Last Meeting: Syracuse lost to South Dakota State in a heartbreaker back in 2019. The Jackrabbits upset the Orange, 75-64, at the Carrier Dome in the NCAA Tournament second round. SDSU closed the game on a 14-2 run to advance to the Sweet 16.
- ‘Cuse earned the eight seed in the River Walk Region of the NCAA Tournament. The Orange are 2-4 all-time as an 8-seed. This year’s tournament marks the program’s 12th total and eighth straight bid. Learn more about the other teams Syracuse could face in their region here. View the full bracket here.
- The Orange’s best finish in the NCAA Tournament was back in 2016, where they advanced to the Finals. The team fell to UConn in the Championship, 82-51. ‘Cuse has advanced to the second round in five of their last six Tournament appearances.
- Syracuse is one of 26 schools to have both their women’s and men’s basketball teams in the NCAA Tournaments.
- After missing the entire ACC Tournament due to a lower-body injury, Tiana Mangakahia is active and will play on Sunday.
- Priscilla Williams, who suffered an upper-body injury in the conference tourney, will not play in the NCAA Tournament. Taleah Washington, Kiara Fisher, Khamya McNeal, and Faith Blackstone (violation of team rules) also did not travel with the team.
- Syracuse went 2-1 in the ACC Tournament, advancing through to the semifinals despite the shortened bench. The Orange fell to Louisville, 59-72, in the semis. Emily Engstler, who started in place of Mangakahia, earned All-Tournament Second Team accolades after averaging a double-double in the tournament with 13 points and 10 rebounds in three starts.
- ‘Cuse finished the regular season with a 12-7 mark overall, 8-1 at home, and 9-7 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. Read my full regular season recap here.
- At the beginning of March, four Orange players were honored with ACC season awards. Kamilla Cardoso was named Freshman of the Year, Co-Defensive Player of the Year, All-Defensive Team, All-Freshman Team, and First Team All-ACC. Emily Engstler earned Co-Sixth Player of the Year, while Tiana Mangakahia and Kiara Lewis were named to the All-ACC Team Honorable Mention. Cardoso, Engstler, and Lewis were also named to the All-ACC Academic Team.
- Heading into tourney time, Lewis leads the Orange in scoring with 14.3 points per contest. Cardoso is averaging 13.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Mangakahia is contributing 11.6 points and 7.5 assists per contest, while Engstler is adding 10.1 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
- The Orange rank in the top-5 of the ACC in blocked shots (1st), blocked shots per game (1st), free throw attempts (3rd), 3-PT field goals attempted (3rd), 3-PT field goals made (3rd), free throws made (4th), steals (4th), steals per game (4th), 3-PT field goals per game (4th), turnovers forced (4th), assists (5th), assists per game (5th), field foal % defense (5th), rebounds (5th), and won-lost % (5th). The team ranks top-25 nationally in blocked shots per game (3rd) and total blocks (5th).
- In the conference, Mangakahia ranks in total assists (1st), assists per game (1st), and free throw % (5th), Cardoso ranks in total blocks (1st), blocked shots per game (1st), field goal % (2nd), and rebounds (5th), Lewis ranks in free throw attempts (1st), minutes played per game (2nd), free throws made (4th), and total minutes (5th) and Engstler ranks in rebounds per game (4th), total blocks (5th), and blocked shots per game (5th). Nationally, Mangakahia ranks in assists per game (1st) and total assists (12th), while Cardoso ranks in field goal % (10th), blocked shots per game (16th), and total blocks (17th).
Syracuse’s Last Game: The Orange lost to the No. 5-ranked Louisville Cardinals in the semifinal round of the ACC Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on March 6, 72-59.
Emily Engstler led the Orange with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Maeva Djaldi-Tabdi tallied her second-straight double-figure scoring game with 11 points. Freshman Kamilla Cardoso also contributed 10 points for Syracuse.
Head Coaches: Syracuse - Quentin Hillsman (15th year, 318-168) | SDSU - Aaron Johnston (21st year, 513-169)
Opponent Coach Bio: “Johnston has guided SDSU to 13 postseason appearances, including nine NCAA Tournament berths, since the program made the jump to Division I in 2004-05. The four-time Summit League Coach of the Year (2008, 2009, 2012, 2014) has guided the Jackrabbits to a winning record in all 20 years at South Dakota State and has led SDSU to 17 20-plus win seasons, including 13 of the last 14 years.” - SDSU Athletics
Opponent Last Year: Last season, South Dakota State went 23-10 with a 13-3 mark in Summit League play.
Opponent’s Last Game: The Jackrabbits ended their 18-game win streak and suffered their first conference loss of the year on March 6 against Omaha. SDSU fell 40-52 in its conference tournament quarterfinals.
Opponent Player’s to Watch: Two Jackrabbits are averaging double-figure scoring this season, including Tylee Irwin (13.3 ppg) and Paiton Burckhard (12.9). SDSU lost its leading scorer and rebounder in Myah Selland with three games left in the regular season due to a season-ending knee injury.
If Syracuse Wins: Advance to the second round of the tournament and highly likely to battle UConn for a spot in the Sweet 16.
If Syracuse Loses: The end of the 2020-21 season.
Next Game: The winner of Sunday’s game will advance to the Round of 32 and play the winner of No. 1-seed UConn/No. 16-seed High Point. The second round game is scheduled for Tuesday, March 23. UConn and High Point will play Sunday at 8:00 p.m. EST on ESPN.