first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse (27-5, 14-4 Atlantic Coast) earned the No. 3 seed in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament and will play No. 14-seed Western Michigan (23-9, 14-4 Mid-American Conference) on Thursday in Buffalo, N.Y.Tipoff is scheduled for approximately 2:45 p.m., or shortly after the conclusion of the game between No. 6-seed Ohio State and No. 11-seed Dayton. If Syracuse beats the Broncos, it would face the winner of that game in the Round of 32 on Saturday in Buffalo.But SU head coach Jim Boeheim knows the importance of not looking past Western Michigan.“There’s no such thing as an easy starting game in the NCAA Tournament anymore,” Boeheim said. “Western Michigan is a very, very good basketball team. They won a very difficult conference tournament.”If Syracuse knocks off the Broncos and Ohio State or Dayton, it will head to Memphis for the Sweet 16. SU is also in the same region as No. 1- seed Florida, No. 2-seed Kansas and No. 4-seed UCLA.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Gators have won 26 consecutive games and received the No. 1 overall seed. Kansas is missing star big man Joel Embiid, but he could return if Syracuse plays Kansas. UCLA won the Pac-12 tournament, knocking off favorite Arizona in the process.Despite the difficult draw, Boeheim is confident in his team’s ability to compete.“I’m very confident with the way we’ve played overall the last couple games,” Boeheim said. “Before that we didn’t have Jerami Grant. I’m very confident that this team will be ready to play on Thursday.”He’s not worried about the fact that SU has lost five of its last seven games after starting the season 25-0. He mentioned that the last two times the Orange entered the NCAA Tournament fresh off a Big East championship, it got bounced in the first round.Boeheim cited the Florida State game as a reason to be confident moving forward. The Seminoles needed a signature win to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive, but Syracuse squelched any hope they had of making the dance, running away with a 74-58 win on March 9.Even against North Carolina State in the ACC tournament quarterfinals, though the No. 2-seed Orange lost to the No. 7-seed Wolfpack, Boeheim said his team played well. SU simply missed shots it usually makes. Boeheim has maintained that the Orange has not been in a slump all season.“I think we’re right where we should be,” SU forward C.J. Fair said. “We’re a three seed and we had a great year this year. Unfortunately, we had a little losing streak toward the end of the season, but overall the season I think is a success as far as regular season, so going into the Tournament we’ve just got to keep fighting and make that one last push.”The quest for a second consecutive trip to the Final Four starts in Buffalo, a city less than three hours from Syracuse. Fair said Syracuse is ready to play anywhere and is simply excited to be in the Tournament, but that having home-court advantage will definitely be helpful.“I don’t think it really matters as far as us because we get a good fan base anywhere we play,” Fair said. “Of course, people normally like to travel to different places they’ve never been, but us going to Buffalo — it definitely can help us.” Comments Published on March 16, 2014 at 6:13 pm Contact Trevor: [email protected] | @TrevorHasslast_img

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