Saturday's matchup with the Cowgirls represents the first time in program history that Syracuse has played Oklahoma State. Here we are on Tuesday night playing in the NIT. Katz worked at ESPN for 18 years as a college basketball reporter, host and anchor.
The Cuse have done a very nice job defensively throughout this season, if they can keep this game in the 50's-60's, they should be able to win this one as comfortably as a Syracuse team can. Arizona State led the Pac-12 with an 83.5 scoring average and a plus-four turnover margin.
The Sun Devils were lucky to get into the tournament after finishing 8-10 within the league and exiting the conference tournament early with an embarrassing loss to Colorado. But here the Orange are, and going up against an ice-cold Arizona State team, they've got the chance to prove they belong with a tournament victory. The opening line favors Arizona State to win at -1.5, 64.6% have picked Syracuse to cover the spread. "When you beat a team that is in the top 30 of the RPI. if the name was different, everybody would be excited". Syracuse won 10 of its first 11 games before a 10-12 finish.
The Bulls, who are 26-8 this season, feature a high-powered offense that scores 84.8 points per game, good for eighth overall in the nation. Leading-scorers Shannon Evans II and Kodi Justice can both be risky from 3-point range and if they're on, it'll break Syracuse's zone.
Behind freshman Malachi Richardson and senior Michael Gbinije, the Orange made the Final Four as a 10th seed in 2016 in its most recent tournament appearance before losing to North Carolina. The Orange finished 10th in the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season standings.
USC athletic director Lynn Swann said Tuesday he was in "shock" after the Trojans were not selected as one of 36 at-large teams for the NCAA Tournament.
The last time the Sun Devils played the Cornhuskers was in 2009 when they lost 62-58.
Syracuse was led in scoring by Tyus Battle, with 19.8 points per game. But Syracuse plays the better defense, holding opponents to under 40 percent field-goal shooting on the season.
"We watched them a few time this year and know they're a good team with good players but we're also a good team with good players and we're going to come out and be ready to play", junior guard CJ Massinburg said. The Tigers haven't lost in almost a month, and enter the Big Dance on a seven game winning streak. "People talk about us being 0-13". Texas Southern has been in the tournament four out of the last five years. "We've created the standard at North Carolina Central and I'm proud because our guys upheld that standard".