By: Jack Rose
Coming off a loss in the first round of the ACC tournament, the fourth-seeded Syracuse Orange will take on the MAC champion Western Michigan Broncos in a second round matchup today at 2:15 EST.
The 14-seed Broncos are coming off a 23-win campaign, led by senior guard David Brown. Brown is one of three WMU players who average in double figures, leading the team with 19.4 points per game. The Broncos are also a fairly good rebounding team, which could spell trouble for the defensive rebounding-challenged Orange.
Inside, 6'11" center Shayne Wittington will have the opportunity to exploit the weak interior defense of the Orange. Witting, at 16.3 points and 9.1 rebounds, already averages close to a double-double and the Orange will have to be aware of his large frame down low at all times. If a frontcourt player like Rakeem Christmas is to get into foul trouble, much like he did against in their last game against NC State, Syracuse could be in trouble.
Good news for the Orange is WMU's shooting numbers. Although they shoot fairly well from the field at 46.6%, the Broncos are no sharpshooters from three, shooting only a respectable 33%. The easiest way to knock off Syracuse is to bomb threes, and it does not seem like Western Michigan has that capability.
All told, however, this is another game the 'Cuse should win. That by no means is to say that the Orange will prevail, as they have made just about every game this season more difficult than it had to be. The feeling on campus is, in a word, uncertain, as students are not sure which Orange team is going to show up this afternoon. Five weeks ago, everyone on campus would have had Syracuse in the Final Four of their bracket. Now? We just hope our Orange make the Sweet 16.