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No. 6 San Diego State vs. No. 11 Syracuse preview for NCAA Tournament first-round matchup

The No. 6 San Diego State and No. 11 Syracuse face off in the first round of the 2021 NCAA tournament. We’ve got an initial preview of what and how to watch following Selection Sunday.

San Diego State Aztecs forward Matt Mitchell gestures during the second half against the Utah State Aggies at the Thomas & Mack Center. Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA Tournament begins on Thursday, March 18th with the First Four, and then moves on to the first round on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16. No. 6 seed San Diego State will face No. 11 seed Syracuse in the first round. Game time has yet to be announced but we will update this article with that and game odds as soon as it comes available. For now, we’ve got a preliminary preview of the two teams to get you ready for March Madness!

Once the odds from DraftKings Sportsbook are made available for this game, we’ll add that information below. We’ll also add the game time and TV channel once it’s settled.

Game date: Friday, March 19
Game time: 9:40 p.m.
TV channel: CBS
Location: Hinkle Fieldhouse, Butler University

Odds: SDST -1
Over/Under: 137.5

No. 6 San Diego State

The San Diego State Aztecs will enter the NCAA Tournament coming out of a highly competitive Mountain West Conference, especially at the top. The increase in quality among the conference’s best teams should help the Aztecs heading into March Madness. San Diego State is led by their performance on the defensive end of the floor where they rank No. 12 in adjusted defensive efficiency. The Aztecs and get stops and take care of the ball, making them a quality NCAA Tournament team.

Offensively, San Diego State has to be better. The Aztecs rank No. 42 in adjusted offensive efficiency, though their eFG of 52.7% field goal percentage is the second highest among Mountain West teams. San Diego has a deep rotation of players who can be used, but the Aztecs are led by senior forward Matt Mitchell, who is averaging 15.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game to go along with 1.5 steals.

Record: 23-4, 14-3 MWC
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 44
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 11
ATS: 14-12
Over Total: 13-12-1
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +3000

No. 11 Syracuse

The Syracuse Orange are back in the NCAA Tournament after an up and down regular season. The Jim Boeheim-led Orange ended the season on a two-game winning streak before taking on North Carolina State in the second round of the ACC Tournament. Syracuse made quick work of the Wolfpack, winning 89-68 and then losing to the Virginia Cavaliers 72-69 in the next round. Cuse finished the season with a record of 16-8 and was firmly holding on the bubble. But based on how they performed and a couple of other things falling in their favor, the Orange will be dancing once again.

One player to watch out for on Syracuse is junior guard Buddy Boeheim. The 6-foot-6 guard leads the team in scoring with 17.1 points per game, while shooting 42.5 percent from the field and 37.3 percent from three-point range. Boeheim had 31 points in the team’s 72-69 loss to Virginia in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament.

Record: 16-9, 9-7 ACC
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 22
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 88
ATS: 12-13
Over Total: 13-12
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +8000