We had some nail-biters on Thursday, from the Marquette-Davidson finish to Harvard’s upset win over New Mexico, but Syracuse wanted no part of the drama and made a statement against Montana in their first game of the NCAA March Madness tournament. The Orange blasted Montana, winning by a final score of 81-34, making it the largest tournament margin of victory for Syracuse since they drop kicked Brown 101-52 back in 1986.
Three Syracuse players hit double digits in scoring, but the production was pretty evenly spread out among all the Orange as everyone was getting on on the fun on Thursday.
For Montana, the game just wasn’t fun to watch or to endure. Nothing went right for the Grizzlies, as they were dunked on, shot over and dribbled around by the Orange all game long and never came close to giving the Orange a scare and were kept at a sizable distance the entire way through. The win propels the Orange to a Round of 32 showdown with No. 12 California, a game the Orange are favored to win — just not by the margin they just posted.
But the win over Montana was more than just something for video game junkies, it was a statement by the Orange about their standing in the tournament. Sure, it was just a 13-seed they beat, but a bracket below them in the East, the Marquette Eagles were taken to the final second against 14-seeded Davidson which goes to show that playing a lower doesn’t ensure s blowout.
The Orange were a team taking water at the end of the season after getting blown away by Louisville in the Big East title game. But they’ve arrived in familiar territory and they’ve marked it accordingly. The 47 point victory over Montana doesn’t mean they’re a lock for the Final Four, but it shows that this team may be a lot better than we thought they were and all future opponents will be taking notice.