In the second round (the round formerly known as the first round), Syracuse has won its matchups for the last four seasons, but that isn’t preventing some in the media from believing that the Grizzlies can pull off the upset.
Under the tutelage of Jim Boeheim, Syracuse has made three Final Fours, two championship games and one national championship in 2003.
Montana has one tournament win to its credit, an upset of Wisconsin in 2006 as a No. 12 seed, giving it a 1-8 overall record in the Tournament.
Wisconsin avenged that loss last season with a 73-49 whipping in the second round.
Syracuse played 15 games against teams that made the tournament this season and came away with seven wins.
Montana went up against three tournament teams and came up with a goose egg in the win column.
Because Montana is an excellent three-point-shooting team, many in the media believe that the undersized Grizzles, which lost their leading scorer to foot surgery, will be able to shoot over the Syracuse 2-3 zone and cause nightmares for the Orange.
Sports Illustrated writer and in-studio analyst for CBS Seth Davis declared the demise of the Orange as soon as the brackets were released. In the attached video Davis declared,
I’ve been looking for upset picks; you know I like to pick them. The 13-4 line is where the most upsets, I think, are going to be in this tournament. I think Montana beats Syracuse to advance to the next round.
Pat Forde, Yahoo’s college basketball expert, is also not optimistic about a championship team in Syracuse, stating, “Chances of another one this year: Not good unless the late-season woes get fixed in a hurry coming out of the Big East tournament.”
In the same line of Forde, Trevor Whenham of Doc’s Sports has been unimpressed by Syracuse, writing, “I don’t like how Syracuse is playing coming into this tournament at all, and I really think the Grizzlies have a chance to make things ugly for the Orange.”
Even Bleacher Report's own JR Jackson couldn't bring himself around for some Orange love, declaring, "This match up has upset written all over it and should result in Montana surviving the first round of March Madness."
The impressive run by Syracuse in the Big East Tournament was enough to sway a few experts over to the Orange, however.
According to Patrick Stevens, resident bracketologist for USA Today Sports, the Orange should fare a little better. Stevens wrote,
So is Syracuse really back to its early-season self? The Orange will find out against a slightly overseeded Montana bunch that is nonetheless a tournament regular out of the Big Sky. You should pick: Syracuse
Agreeing with Patrick Stevens, Hoopsworld.com declared, “The Orange’s zone defense will prove to be too problematic for the Grizzlies to score against.”
As far as I'm concerned, Montana was lucky to be seeded as high as No. 13 and without its leading scorer and a big height problem, Syracuse should run away with this game.
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