With the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball tournament underway, fans across the country are gearing up for what they hope grows into another thrilling postseason event. 68 of the top teams in the nation earned their respective spots in the tournament by either winning their conference championships or landing a place on Selection Sunday and with loads of enticing match-ups, this years event will not disappoint. While schools in Albany and North Carolina State have already earned entry into the second round by advancing out of the 'First Four' other notable squads including Michigan, Michigan State, Wichita State and defending National Champion Louisville have yet to begin their title runs.

The Syracuse Orange are another squad hoping to make a deep tournament run but a tough opening test lies ahead in the form of Western Michigan. Struggling down the stretch with losses in five of their final seven games, the Orange – seeded third in the South Region – will look to move past the South's No. 14 team in order to earn a third round showdown with either No. 6 Ohio State or No. 11 Dayton. Not worried about his teams' capability despite the recent struggles, long-time Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said he trusts his players' ability to bounce back and earn W's, especially in close games throughout the NCAA Tournament.

“I'm not concerned about our team,'' Boeheim said. "I think we played well all year. I think we struggle shooting it. I think that's pretty well documented. But in spite of that, we won 27 games. So I'm pretty pleased with what these guys have done. And I believe that we'll be a very good tournament team. Even the close games that we've lost, we made good plays. We make good plays down the stretch. We missed the layup in the Duke game. We made really good plays down the stretch. But tonight, when we did get back in, you're going to make a bad play, we made two really bad offensive plays. We haven't been making those plays in the close games.”

NCAAP1 The 2014 NCAA Tournament is set up once again with enticing early match-ups. Screenshot: NCAA

The task of moving into Round No. 3 won't be easy however, since the Orange are set to face a Broncos team that's won 14 of its last 16, including a 98-77 victory over Toledo in the MAC Championship game. While the overall stat lines for Western Michigan won't jump off the page, leading scorers David Brown (19.4ppg, 41.8% FG) and Shayne Whittington (16.3ppg, 52.6% FG) hold the ability to create problems for the opposition. Add in the fact that Whittington and Connor Tava are consistent in the rebounding department and Western Michigan undoubtedly becomes a team to keep an eye on.



MATCH-UP: No. 3 Syracuse Orange vs. No. 14 Western Michigan Broncos

LOCATION: Buffalo, New York

DATE: Thursday, March 20

TIME: 2:45pm, ET