South - No. 3 Syracuse vs. No. 14 W. Michigan
Posted Mar 16, 2014

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview, Breakdown & Pick: South Region – No. 3 Syracuse vs. No. 14 Western Michigan

Line: Syracuse -13
Why To Pick Western Michigan: The Broncos could catch the Orange napping. It's been a struggle for Syracuse to generate consistent points over the second half of the season with little to no pop from three and not enough ball movement. Everyone tries to make things happen on their own, and the O bogs down too earily.
Why To Pick Syracuse: This is an awful, AWFUL matchup for Western Michigan. The Broncos make way too many mistakes and turn the ball over way too earily. If you're not perfect against the Syracuse zone, forget about it. SU might not push the ball around well, but things really, really stall with the WMU half court attack.
The Pick: Syracuse 81-65. It's time for Syracuse to start looking like the No. 1 team in the country again. Get ready for a different-looking squad.

No. 3 South Region - Syracuse Orange
Head coach: Jim Boeheim Record: 27-5 Conference: ACC

What You Need To Know: Once upon a time the Orange had the hottest team in the land, but they've cooled considerably over the past couple of weeks and need to regain their swagger - fast. Syracuse isn't deep, but the starters are tough and play wicked defense that creates plenty of turnovers and has the ability to stop teams cold. The D uses its length in Jim Boeheim's patented 2-3 zone to upset opponents while wearing them down mentally. The problem is the offense - Syracuse doesn't score a lot of points, and only two players - forward C.J. Fair and guard Tyler Ennis - can create their own offense. Fair has good size, athleticism and versatility, and Ennis is a take-over type of guard who also is a fantastic passer. They both can be a bit streaky, and if they're not making shots, there's big trouble. Trevor Cooney provides the perimeter punch, and Rakeem Christmas and Jerami Grant both can help offensively and defend. Outside shooting and a lack of offensive firepower are the biggest issues going forward.
Strengths: Scoring Defense, Creating Turnovers, Turnover Margin
Weaknesses: Scoring, Three Point Shooting, Assists
How Far Will They Go?: The entire bracket depends on Joel Embiid's back, but even if he's healthy, Kansas will have a tough time dealing with the Syracuse D. The Orange might have struggled down the stretch, but they'll look great – before losing to the Jayhawks.

No. 14 South Region - Western Michigan Broncos
Head coach: Steve Hawkins Record: 23-9 Conference: Mid-American

What You Need To Know: The Broncos have been on a tear, losing just once since the start of February and playing with a consistency that wears teams down. Also solid defensively, and head coach Steve Hawkins is willing to play multiple styles. Guard David Brown is a 6-4 senior who's an electric scorer, doing a great job of getting to the free-throw line with his quickness. He dominates the ball, and that can lead to problems if he runs into foul trouble. Senior center Shayne Whittington is a load inside at 6-10 - he's a threat to turn in a double-double every night. He's also a decent shot blocker with just enough range to keep opponents guessing. Forward Connar Tava and guard Austin Richie provide depth and do a good job of finding Brown on cuts to the basket.
Strengths: Field Goal Percentage Defense, Scoring, Free Throw Shooting
Weaknesses: Assists, Three Point Shooting, Turnovers
How Far Will They Go?: It'll be quick. The Broncos will be done against Syracuse before halftime.