The 2019 March Madness bracket was released last night and my Syracuse Orange are dancing once again. Syracuse is the 8th-seed in the West Region and will face the 9th-seeded Baylor Bears in Salt Lake City on Thursday. They’re a nerve wracking team to follow because we never really know what to expect from ‘Cuse, but we know they love to make some noise in March Madness.
I attended SU from 2012 to 2016, and that means I was also part of the only Syracuse class to see two Final Four appearances in four years on the hill. Both runs were wild rides –I can easily see this 2019 squad do the same over the next couple weeks.
Here’s their West Region:
Let’s just focus on our first round opponent for now, Baylor, who went 23-11 overall and 10-8 in the Big 12. They finished their regular season on a 3-game losing streak, and had an early exit in their conference tournament at the hands of Iowa State, a team they beat twice this year.
I looked into some team statistics to see what Baylor does well, and it isn’t much. They are ranked in the top 50 statistically in only 2 categories: rebounds per game and blocks per game. The rebounding could hurt ‘Cuse as it’s one of their chronic weaknesses.
On the bright side, and what has me very confident in the Orange on Thursday, is Syracuse’s defense. Non-conference opponents tend to have NO IDEA how to play against Coach Boeheim’s famous 2-3 zone.
Syracuse holds their opponents to the 17th lowest shooting percentage in the country. Baylor ranks 197th in shooting percentage as it is. I remember last year watching 6-seed TCU and 3-seed Michigan State blindly huck deep 3’s over the zone and falling to the then “offensively challenged” Orange in the tourney. This year’s Orange have been much more capable, I’m looking forward to much more ‘Cuse coverage over the next couple weeks.
If you’re just in it for the money, I love ‘Cuse -2 and the under looks promising at 133.
Let the madness begin…GO ‘CUSE!