Orange Receives No. 1 Seed In the East, Will Face UNC Asheville in Second Round
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – For the second time in three seasons, the Syracuse University men’s basketball team is a No. 1 seed. The Orange (31-2) earned the top seed in the East Region Sunday, March 11 when the bracket for the 2012 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship was revealed.
The Orange received one of the 37 at-large berths into the 68-team field and will face No. 16 seed UNC Asheville in the second round Thursday, March 15 at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. The Bulldogs (24-9) earned an automatic bid into the field after winning the Big South Conference Tournament.
The Orange is making its 35th NCAA Tournament appearance overall and its 29th under Hall of Fame coach Jim Boeheim. Syracuse is 53-34 (.609) all-time in NCAA Tournament play and has advanced to four Final Fours (1975, 1987, 1996, 2003). The Orange reached the national championship game in 1987, 1996 and 2003 and captured the 2003 NCAA title.
This season marks the third time Syracuse has been seeded first in the tournament and the second time it has received the East Region’s top seed. The Orange was also the East’s No. 1 seed in 1980.
Most recently, the 2010 Orange received the top seed in the West Region. Syracuse advanced to the Sweet 16 that year before losing to eventual national runner-up Butler, 63-59.
Senior all-conference first-team selection Kris Joseph (13.8 ppg) and BIG EAST Sixth Man of the Year Dion Waiters (12.6 ppg) lead this year’s edition of the Orange. Syracuse also features the BIG EAST Conference Defensive Player of the Year in sophomore center Fab Melo. One of the league’s most improved players, Melo is averaging 7.8 points and a team-best 5.8 rebounds per game. He also ranks second in the BIG EAST in blocks (2.9 per game).
The Orange is 3-0 all-time against UNC Asheville, including an 81-63 decision on Dec. 28, 2003 at the Carrier Dome the last time the two teams met.
Guard Matt Dickey (16.5 ppg) and Big South Tournament MVP J. P. Primm (15.3 ppg) lead five Bulldog scorers in double figures. Forward Jeremy Atkinson is the squad’s top rebounder at 6.6 boards per game.
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