Dayton will face off against Syracuse in the first game of Friday's slate in the Midwest region. The Orange will be looking to get revenge on the Flyers for the the round of 32 upset Dayton pulled in 2014.
The seventh-seeded Flyers finished the regular season on a better note, with wins over Richmond and VCU. Syracuse, meanwhile, lost four out of its final five games. Dayton also did better in the conference tournament, losing in the second round to eventual champion St. Joseph's while Syracuse bowed out on the first round of the ACC Tournament.
The Flyers have an experienced core. The five players getting the most minutes are upperclassmen and four of them were a part of the 2014 team that reached the Elite Eight and advanced to the round of 32 last season despite being a part of the First Four. Led by junior guard Charles Cooke's 16 points per game, their offense is solid enough to put points on the board, but it's their defense that has been the main reason for their success, as they rank 17th in the NCAA in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom.
The Orange, which will return to the Big Dance after not being eligible last season, are not afraid to launch three-pointers, averaging over 24 attempts per game. They are streaky, but when things are going their way they can do serious damage. They are led by senior point guard Michael Gbinije, who is averaging 18 points while shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc in over six attempts per game, and have three other players shooting over 34 percent on three-pointers. Catching fire from outside won't be easy against the Flyers but might just be necessary for Syracuse to pull off the upset.
The Orange will try to slow things down and muck up Dayton's offense with their 2-3 zone while the Flyers might look to push the pace a little more than they are used to in order to set the tone for the game. Their defense and rebounding should give them enough of an edge to get the win but as we saw two years ago, anything can happen when these two teams meet.
How to watch No. 7 Dayton vs. No. 10 Syracuse
Time: 12:15 p.m. ET
Place: Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.
Online: CBS All Access