No. 14 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (24-7, 13-3 Southland) vs. No. 3 Syracuse Orange (26-9, 11-7 Big East)
NCAA Tournament First Round—South Region
Friday, March 20—3:20 PM EST on CBS
Stephen F. Austin won the Southland East conference regular season, and then made a run through the conference tournament to secure the automatic bid. This is the first trip to the Big Dance for the school.
For the Orange, this is their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since the 2005-06 season, when they last won the Big East Tournament.
They made it to the Big East finals of this season after playing seven overtimes in two games (a record six against UConn). They were clearly spent as Louisville ran away with the win.
The last time the Orange were a three seed was in 2003, when they won it all. Big East Tournament MVP Jonny Flynn will be hoping to repeat that achievement this year. Flynn was also named to the All-Big East Second Team this season.
While his teammates have not received the same sorts of accolades, they have been instrumental in Syracuse's success this season.
Andy Rautins is a three-point machine (he kept them in the game against UConn), and Eric Devendorf is a quality guard (he hit the would-be game winner against UConn at the end of regulation, but it was then taken away when the ball was deemed to still be touching him as time expired).
Paul Harris, who was a high school teammate of Flynn's, is averaging 12.6 PPG in the frontcourt, and he is joined by Arinze Onuaku (with 10.3 PPG) and Rick Jackson (with 8.1).
The two key players for the Lumberjacks reside in their frontcourt—Matt Kingsley is averaging a team-high 16.2 PPG and 7.8 RPG, and Josh Alexander adds 14.5 PPG and 5.4 RPG.
Kingsley was named as the Southland Player of the Year (in addition to being on the All-Conference First Team), and Alexander was named to the All-Conference Second Team.
By The Numbers
|Stephen F. Austin||24-7||13-3||1-2||74||237||66.3||56.0|
|FG%||D. FG%||3P%||D. 3P%||FT%||RPG||SPG||APG||TPG||BPG|
|Stephen F. Austin||44.6||37.4||32.4||27.2||65.0||38.7||6.1||13.3||12.2||3.2|
|Stephen F. Austin||Syracuse|
|PPG||M. Kingsley - 16.2||J. Flynn - 17.5|
|J. Alexander - 14.5||E. Devendorf - 15.9|
|E. Williams - 7.6||P. Harris - 12.6|
|RPG||M. Kingsley - 7.8||P. Harris - 7.9|
|APG||E. Bell - 3.6||J. Flynn - 6.7|
|SPG||J. Alexander - 1.1||J. Flynn - 1.5|
|BPG||M. Kingsley - 1.3||R. Jackson - 1.5|