By Gus Weinstein, Casey Platenik, Jake Socia
The Syracuse Men’s Basketball team has had a roller coaster ride of a season. In November, no one expected this team to beat SU’s all-time regular season record of 21 straight wins. But in January, they were 25-0. Then things went sour.
After losing to unranked Boston College, SU went on to lose their next three out of four games. This dropped SU to a No. 3 seed for this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. “The team has not played well together the past couple games,” said freshman Gavin French, who thinks players like Trevor Cooney are not playing to his potential and need to step up.
SU was three-seeded in the South bracket and will play Western Michigan in their first round game at 2:45 pm on Thursday in Buffalo. If they advance to the second round, SU will face either Ohio State or Dayton. The Florida Gators are the No. 1 seed in their bracket. “The three seed in the NCAA tournament is exactly where SU belongs,” said freshman Eric Antosh; “they started off hot and ended bad. But if they play to their potential, they can go to the Final Four. That’s about the farthest they’re going, I think.” Senior Chris Wood believes that SU can go all the way and win the national championship, if point guard Tyler Ennis can play consistently.
But not everyone believes in the Orange. “I don’t think Syracuse will advance out of the second round,” said senior Nick Wright; “They aren’t playing well enough to win two games in the tournament.” The Orange’s first round opponent, Western Michigan from the Mid-American Conference, has a 23-9 record with key win over New Mexico State. “I know it is a bold prediction but I believe SU will lose in the first round,” said freshman Kyle Hurley.
Looking on the bright side of SU’s winning drought, freshman Bess Murad believes the losses at the end of the season and a first round loss in the ACC “will give SU the motivation they need to go deep in the tournament.”