Syracuse vs. UNC-Asheville [Game info and open thread]
There is no question Syracuse (31-2) is one of the best teams in the nation. They won the Big East regular season title and only lost once until the Big East Tournament. They play Jim Boeheim's patented stifling 2-3 zone defense as well as ever. However, there will be a big hole in the middle of the 'Cuse defense in this tournament, as Big East Defensive Player of the Year, Syracuse sophomore center Fab Melo, was ruled ineligible on Tuesday by the school for the NCAA Tournament. There is no question this has been a trying year for Orange off the court. First there were the molestation allegations against long-time assistant coach Bernie Fine, then there were self-reported potential violations of their own drug-testing program and now Melo faces his second suspension of the season. On the court, the Orange has been sublime, however. Offensively they are led by senior forward Kris Joseph, versatile senior point guard Scoop Jardine and sophomore guard Dion Waiters.
The Bulldogs (24-9) were the regular season and tournament champions of the Big South Conference. They boast a high-powered offense that averages 81.2 points a game--good for fifth nationally. They have five players--Matt Dickey, J.P. Primm, Chris Stephenson, Jeremy Atkinson and Jaron Lane--who average in double figures. The Bulldogs didn't beat a single team in this year's NCAA field though, going 0-4 against North Carolina State, North Carolina, Connecticut and Ohio.
What's at stake?
The winner plays the winner of No. 8 Kansas State and No. 9 Southern Miss.
If you want to discuss the game some more, check out the FanIQ Sports Bar.