Odds to Win It All: 7.5-1
Season's Linchpin: Michael Carter-Williams
When a guy is predominantly referred to by his initials, you know he's doing something right. MCW has been the heart and soul of Syracuse from day one, leading the team with 17 points, five steals and four assists in the season opener against San Diego State.
He's struggled in the assist department over the past two games, but he's more than made up for it with his scoring and defensive prowess.
Necessary Catalyst: Steals
In their last five losses, the Orange are averaging just 5.4 steals per game. In the other 33 games this season, they're at 9.6 steals per contest.
I wouldn't put them in the same steal-or-die-trying boat as VCU—as the Orange are much more talented on offense—but their chances of winning improve drastically when they're repeatedly pilfering the ball and scoring in transition. You could say that about any team, but the Orange thrive on it more than most.
Potential Millstone: Brandon Triche
There's an old saying that the captain goes down with the ship. Occasionally, it's the captain's fault that the ship is going down in the first place.
Brandon Triche has been unable to find his shot this season, but it's been particularly awful when playing from behind. He's made just two of 32 (6.25 percent!) three-point attempts in Syracuse's last seven losses and is sitting at just 29.4 percent for the season.
Triche has also committed 4.4 turnovers per game in those losses. He doesn't need to catch fire as much as he needs to recognize when he's having an off night.
Syracuse should be able to get by Marquette on Saturday, but that will likely be the end of the run. Whether Michigan or Florida comes out of the South Region, that's a better team than Syracuse.