Teams: Syracuse Orange (15-8) vs. No. 1 UConn Huskies (25-1)
Day & Time: Tuesday, March 23 at 9 p.m. EST
Location: NCAA Tournament Round of 32 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas
TV/Streaming: ESPN with Beth Mowins (pxp), Renee Montgomery (analyst), & Holly Rowe (sideline)
Opponent Blog: The UConn Blog
Current Streak: Syracuse: W1 | UConn: W15
All-Time Series: UConn leads 39-12
Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament: 10-10
UConn in the NCAA Tournament: 122-20
Teams Last Meeting: The then No. 8-seed Syracuse fell, 94-64, to No. 1-seed Connecticut in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Tournament. Sounds uncomfortably familiar...
- ‘Cuse earned the eight seed in the River Walk Region of the NCAA Tournament. The Orange are 3-4 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.
- UConn has won 11 NCAA Titles, most recently against Syracuse in ‘16. The team is making its 32nd straight appearance in the Big Dance and the 22nd time as a No. 1 seed. The Huskies hold a 102-11 record as a top seed.
- Kiara Lewis leads the Orange in scoring with 14.3 points per contest. Kamilla Cardoso is averaging 13.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Tiana Mangakahia is contributing 11.6 points and 7.5 assists per contest, while Emily Engstler is adding 10.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.
- The Orange rank in the top-25 nationally in blocked shots per game (1st) and total blocks (3rd). Nationally, Mangakahia ranks in assists per game (1st) and total assists (11th), while Cardoso ranks in field goal % (12th), blocked shots per game (13th), and total blocks (14th).
- 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 a shortened bench. The Orange fell to No. 5 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.
: Highlights from our first round win over South Dakota State, 72-55. pic.twitter.com/LL7skqBXZg— 'Cuse Hoops (@CuseWBB) March 22, 2021
Syracuse’s Last Game: The Orange defeated the ninth-seed South Dakota State Jackrabbits in the Round of 64 at the Frank Erwin Center, Austin, Texas, 72-55, on Sunday.
All five Syracuse starters scored in double-figures in the win. Emily Engstler led the team with 18 points (10 pts in fourth quarter), 12 rebounds, a career-high six steals, and a season-high four blocks. Digna Strautmane also tallied a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Kiara Lewis (14 points), Kamilla Cardoso (12), and Tiana Mangakahia (11) also contributed double-figure scoring. The team blocked an NCAA Tournament program-record 14 shots.
Head Coaches: Syracuse - Quentin Hillsman (15th year, 319-168) | UConn - Geno Auriemma (36th year, 1,140-144)
Opponent Coach Bio: Auriemma is in quarantine until March 24 after testing positive for COVID-19. Associate head coach Chris Dailey is taking over for the Hall of Fame coach and holds an 11-0 record in previous Auriemma absences.
Opponent’s Last Game: The Huskies defeated No. 16-seed High Point in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament, 102-59. Paige Bueckers led the team with 24 points and six assists.
Opponent Player’s to Watch: Freshman Bueckers leads the Huskies in points (19.9) and assists (6) per game this season. She is the first player to ever be named BIG EAST Player, Freshman, and Tournament Most Outstanding Player in the same year. She is also the third freshman ever named to the AP First Team All-American.
If Syracuse Wins: Pull the upset and advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2016!
If Syracuse Loses: The end of the 2020-21 season on a semi-high note advancing through at least one round of the Big Dance.
Next Game: The winner of Tuesday’s game will advance to the Sweet 16 and play the winner of No. 4-seed Kentucky/No. 5-seed Iowa. The third round game is scheduled for Saturday, March 27. Kentucky and Iowa will play Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. EST.