TALE OF THE TAPE

NCAA Tournament First Round: #4 Syracuse Vs. #13 Montana

#4 Syracuse
#13 Montana
(credit: Elsa/Getty Images)
(credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(credit: Elsa/Getty Images)
(credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Coaching
Winner This one is absolutely no contest. Jim Boeheim has reached three Final Fours and won a national championship (2003). He will bring his top-of-the-line acumen to the ACC next year, but for now, it’s to the big dance on behalf of the Big East.
Wayne Tinkle has done an exemplary job with the University of Montana, turning the Grizzlies into a perennial force in the Big Sky Conference, but he has a long way to go before he’s in Boeheim’s company.
Offense
The Orange score at a pretty decent clip, with C.J. Fair, James Southerland and Brandon Tiche in the mix, and as an excellent rebounding team (20th in the nation), they create more opportunities for themselves.
Winner Clearly, the Grizzlies haven’t played the same level of competition that ‘Cuse has, but it’s impossible to deny how much Montana maximizes its possessions, shooting 47.4 percent from the field, thanks to 50 percent plus shooting from leading scorers Mathias Ward and Kareem Jamar.
Defense
Winner This is the Orange’s bread and butter, as the players have bought into Boeheim’s system. Keeping opponents to low shooting efficiency, low points totals and grabbing nearly nine steals a game makes them a formidable bunch.
The Grizzlies are not nearly as stifling as Syracuse, with inferior defensive numbers in a far inferior conference. They also don’t force many turnovers (5.8 steals per game).
Bench Depth
Backup center Baye Keita anchors the reserve unit with prowess, and Jerami Grant can be counted on when the Orange really need him. Freshman guard Trevor Cooney is also capable of making an impact, though he is still finding his way.
Winner Sophomore forward Mike Weisner is a stud off the bench, shooting nearly 50 percent from downtown, and Keron DeShields has also made a significant impact.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

(credit: Elsa/Getty Images) (credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Syracuse has the advantage, but Montana is a sneaky team far more capable of pulling the upset than people think. Still, chalk will probably prevail, thanks to Syracuse’s superior talent level.

-Adam Spunberg, College Basketball Contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. Members of the New England Patriots celebrate with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in Super Bowl XLIX. Recording artist Katy Perry performs onstage during the Pepsi Super Bowl XLIX Halftime Show.
    Was Super Bowl XLIX Or Katy Perry’s Halftime Show More Exciting?

    I don’t usually watch Super Bowl halftime shows. But when I do, it has Katy Perry. How did her performance measure up to the game?

  2. New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick talks to the media during a press conference Sunset over water
    More Shocking, Bill Belichick Not Aware Of Deflated Footballs Or Sun Setting In West?

    The sun sets in the west every day. But is that more shocking than Bill Belichick claiming ignorance in Deflate-gate?

  3. Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Which Team Has The Super Bowl Edge? New England Patriots Vs. Seattle Seahawks

    The Patriots have managed to outsmart both the Ravens and Colts with trick plays in the postseason, and the Seahawks will have to be on high alert here.

See All Tales of the Tape