Game Details: Friday, March 19, Indianapolis, Ind. | 9:40 p.m.
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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Syracuse makes its 41st NCAA Tournament appearance as an 11-seed on Friday evening when it faces sixth-seeded San Diego State in the first round. Tip off from Hinkle Fieldhouse is set for 9:40 p.m.
The game will be televised nationally on CBS. Matt Park and Jim Satalin will call all the action on the Syracuse Sports Network from Learfield IMG College, including TK99/105 locally.
The Orange enter the NCAA Tournament having won three of their last four contests. Syracuse defeated two tournament teams (North Carolina and Clemson) at home to close the regular season and earned a dominant 89-68 victory against NC State in the second round of the ACC Tournament. In the quarterfinals of the conference tournament, Syracuse stood even at 69 with top-seeded Virginia before a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Reece Beekman dashed the Orange’s hopes of an upset.
Junior guard Buddy Boeheim leads the team in scoring with 17.1 points per contest. He recently earned All-ACC Tournament First Team honors after scoring 27 points against NC State and tallying a career-high 31 points against Virginia. In the two ACC Tournament contests, Boeheim was 20-for-33 (.606) from the field, including 11-of-20 (.550) on 3-point attempts. He was an unblemished 7-of-7 (1.000) from the free-throw line, and averaged 29.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.
Boeheim’s brilliant play put him in rare air among some of the program’s most notable sharpshooters. He currently ranks sixth in Syracuse history on the career 3-pointers made list with 207 triples. His 110 points through five conference tournament games ranks third in program history behind only Sherman Douglas (115) and Pearl Washington (113), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
In addition to Boeheim, Alan Griffin (14.7) and Quincy Guerrier (14.4) also own double-digit scoring averages. Guerrier grabs a team-best 8.8 boards per game while Griffin has swatted a team-best 45 blocks.
‘CUSE IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
The Orange are making their 41st appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Syracuse has made 19 appearances in the Sweet 16, nine in the Elite Eight and six in the Final Four. The Orange won the national championship in 2003.
This season marks the second time Syracuse has been seeded 11th. The first time was in 2018 when the Orange were the No. 11 seed in the Midwest Region and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen. Syracuse is 3-1 all-time as a No. 11 seed. The 2018 tournament also marks the last time the Orange were placed in the Midwest Region.
SCOUTING THE AZTECS
San Diego State speeds into the tournament on a 14-game winning streak. As the top-seed in the Mountain West Tournament, the Aztecs downed Wyoming and Nevada before defeating second-seeded Utah State, 68-57, to claim the conference crown.
The 2021 Mountain West Player of the Year Matt Mitchell leads San Diego State in scoring average (15.4 ppg.) and steals average (1.5). Jordan Mitchell (14.3 ppg.) has also averaged 10+ points per game for the Aztecs. The senior guard owns the third-best 3-point field goal percentage (.467) in the nation and scores the 22nd-most 3-pointers per game in Division I (2.89), both of which are best in the Mountain West. All-Mountain West Honorable Mention selection Nathan Menseh leads the Aztecs in rebounding at 6.1 boards per contest.
Brain Dutcher is in his fourth year at the helm of the San Diego State program. He has led the Aztecs to four Mountain West title games and two Mountain West Tournament titles. His 2019-20 squad ranked No. 6 in the final Associated Press poll with a 30-2 overall record.
Syracuse is 2-0 all-time against San Diego State. The teams played on November 11, 2012 aboard the retired aircraft carrier USS Midway. The Orange emerged victorious in the contest, 62-49.
The ‘Cuse hosted the Aztecs in the 2007 NIT. An NIT-record crowd of 26,752 in the Dome watched Syracuse prevail, 80-64.
The winner between Syracuse and San Diego State takes on the winner between West Virginia and Morehead State in the Second Round on Sunday, March 21.
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