Arizona vs. Syracuse NCAA Tournament Round 1: How to watch, odds and predictions for March Madness

NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament - First Four - Storrs - Auburn v Arizona
NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament - First Four - Storrs - Auburn v Arizona / Joe Buglewicz/GettyImages

No. 11 Arizona Women's Basketball thwarted Auburn and first-team All-SEC star Honesty Scott-Grayson in a 69-59 decision. Adia Barnes' late-season coaching masterclass will play on as she rallies the (admittedly thin group of) troops to take on No. 6 Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament Round of 64. Syracuse (23-7, 13-5 in ACC) hasn't played since Friday, March 8, and is entering this game riding a two-game losing streak.

Arizona: Arizona was the last team selected to be a part of the Field of 68, but proved that it deserves to be a part of the main event. They have a favorable draw in that it's not the No. 1 seed in the Portland 3 Region, and rather the No. 6 seed. Arizona played admirably against Auburn, staving off multiple comeback pushes by the Tigers and never letting them get closer than 5 points over the final five minutes to ultimately seal the 69-59 win.

Syracuse: The Orange and Dyaisha Fair are entering this matchup cold and frustrated. Their season ended on an extremely sour note, dropping both the regular-season finale to NC State and the first game of the ACC Tournament against Florida State. Their last game was two full weeks ago, and any bad momentum they built up has had time to cool off, and they could prove Vegas oddsmakers wrong win a crushing win over the 'Cats. Fair averages 22 points per game and is one of three Orange players averaging in double digits.

How to watch Arizona vs. Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament First Round

  • Date: Saturday, March 23, 2024
  • Time: 12:30 p.m. MST
  • Venue: Harry A. Gampel Pavilion, Storrs, CT

Arizona vs. Syracuse NCAA Tournament First Round odds

Line: Arizona -1.5
O/U: 138.5

DraftKings odds have Arizona as the 1.5-point favorite to pull off the upset in completely foreign territory. Considering how little depth Arizona has and how much more game time the Wildcats have seen compared to the Orange over the last two weeks, don't be surprised if Arizona falls short against the spread.

Arizona vs. Syracuse NCAA Tournament First Round prediction

Arizona played an Auburn team that is just as unfamiliar with the New England region as they are, so playing a team from the Northeast could create more of a road game in enemy territory atmosphere. Only one day of rest means one of two things: either Arizona will play tired and out of sorts, or they'll keep the roll going and play extremely cohesively. Jada Williams and Helena Pueyo have been the safety valves, and it's a matter of the other five available players stepping up and doing their jobs at a similarly high level.

Syracuse is only venturing a handful of hours from home, so the fan turnout in Orange gear will be much higher than Arizona's. The true road game atmosphere for Arizona could pose an advantage to the Orange. Fair will love the opportunity to prove that she makes Syracuse a threat not just to Arizona, but to the entire postseason field. The third-team All-American will lead the Orange to a win, Arizona's Cinderella story will come to an end, and the injury rehab can begin.

Prediction: Syracuse wins 74-65

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