Syracuse made the NCAA Tournament by the skin of it’s Orange peel. 

The Orange were named the 68th and final team in the field. They will open in Dayton on Wednesday at 9:10pm in the last of the First Four games. SU faces Arizona State for the right to an 11-seed and a date with TCU in Detroit on Friday. 

“I was so excited,” Tyus Battle said. “Honestly, going into it, I wasn’t really sure. It coulda went either way, but when they announced our name, I was so excited. Our team worked so hard just to get an opportunity to do this.” 

“The locker room was the most excited I’ve ever seen our players in all the years we’ve been in there,” Jim Boeheim said. “Most years, you think you’re in… you are in. But, this one, when you’re on the edge like this, it’s one of those things where everybody jumped.”

If Syracuse qualifies for the game Friday, it will tip at 9:40pm and been seen on CBS and News 8. 

Joining Syracuse in Dayton is the St. Bonaventure Bonnies. They play Tuesday in the same time slot as Syracuse against UCLA. The winner goes to Dallas and will get Florida on Thursday. 

“This is the best time of the year. It’s the third season,” guard Jaylen Adams said. “This is the first time that I’ve been able to be a part of the NCAA Tournament. It’s a real way to go out, especially with the seniors and the way we fought this year.”

Bonaventure was hoping to get a bid directly into the final 64 teams, but instead were cast out into the Play-In Round.

“I was excited to just be a part of the tournament. I’ve got so many of friends who just told me that it’s an incredible experience. I was excited just to know that we’re in,” Adams said. “In the play-in game, it was a little downer, but I’m still excited. This is the best time of the year.”

The Bonnies Thursday game (if they get there) is scheduled for 9:57pm and will be seen on TruTV. 

The only upstate New York team to avoid the First Four was Buffalo. The Bulls are a 13-seed in the South Region. They will play Thursday in Boise, Idaho against 4th seeded Arizona. Tip time is 9:40pm and the game will be seen on CBS and News 8. 

“When I was watching them play the late games on the west coast, I wasn’t really scouting them,” head coach Nate Oats said. “I didn’t anticipate playing them, but I have seen them a handful of times.”

The game will pit two of the nation’s best offenses. Buffalo is 7th in the country and Arizona is 41st. Both teams average over 80 points a game. 

“Obviously, they can play a little bit of offense. We know that. They’re really good offensive team,” forward Nick Perkins said. “We gonna see, can they play some defense. I don’t think they’ve seen nothing like us all year. A team that can get out and run, got size. So, we gonna see.”

Senior guard and MAC Tournament MVP said the Bulls didn’t who care they played in their third trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2015.

“We knew we was gonna have a high major team that was gonna be a little tough for us,” Clark said. “Just try to stay to our principles, get to still playing fast and do what we do.”

East High grad Dontay Caruthers will represent Section Five for the Bulls, but he won’t be the only Rochester grad in the Big Dance. 

Deyshonee Much and Iona will be a 15-seed in Pittsburgh. Their task on Thursday is to try and take down mighty Duke. That’s the second afternoon game on Thursday and is scheduled for 2:45pm. It will be seen on CBS and News 8. 

All the games of local interest are the second in a two game window. The start times will all be dependent on the finish of the game before in the same window.