Fort Worth certainly was biting its collective nails during the opening two weeks of TCU's Big 12 season. Syracuse, which advanced to the matchup after winning its play-in game on Wednesday against Arizona State, shot just 37 percent from the field and 21 percent from 3-point range and TCU (21-12) shot 38 percent from the field and 18 percent from 3-point range.
Freshman Oshae Brissett (14.9 points, 8.9 rebounds) overcame a hard fall in the first half to score 15 of the Orange's final 30 points while posting his second straight double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds Wednesday. Arizona State scored a season low in points - only the third time it's been held under 70 all season. The Orange uses only seven players and had concerns about Howard, who had a throat ailment the last few days. They'll make the short trip north to Detroit after limiting the Sun Devils to just 56 points, almost 27 below ASU's season average. The Horned Frogs are averaging 8.5 three-pointers per game on 40.0% shooting from beyond the arc.
Syracuse made the 2016 Final Four as 10th seed in its most recent tournament appearance before losing to North Carolina, with remarkable freshman Malachi Richardson and senior Michael Gbinije providing the spark.
TCU had one real highlight on the night - an alley-oop pass from Alex Robinson to Kenrich Williams near the end of the first half that traveled about three-quarters of the length of the court. Sophomore guard Tyus Battle (19.7 points), who ranks third in the ACC in scoring, has reached double figures in all but one game this season and played more minutes (1,323) than all but one Division I player. Now they move on face No. 1 seed Xavier on Friday. The Tigers then were paired with Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament victor N.C. Central, another historically black school that was making its second straight appearance in Dayton for a play-in game with a new starting lineup.
Both the conferences get an automatic bid every year but rarely have to play each other. The Tigers wouldn't relinquish the lead.