All New York Final Four Is Possible … But Not Likely

The Syracuse Orange are a slightly stylish pick to ruin your bracket this year, not necessarily a threat to win the NCAA Championship, but perhaps to pull off an upset or two on the way to Detroit.

But what about other New York teams? While Syracuse would have to upset Oklahoma and North Carolina in the South, Siena (Midwest), Binghamton (East) and Cornell (West) could all plot their own paths to the holy grail of the most exciting fortnight in all of sports.

Siena, located in Loudonville, N.Y., makes its second straight NCAA appearance. The selection committee showed some nice respect by awarding the 26-7 Saints a No. 9 seed. They'll open in the Midwest with a game against inconsistent No. 8-seed Ohio State. If Kenny Hasbrouck and company can beat the Buckeyes in Dayton, Ohio, on Friday, a date with the tournament's top overall seed, Louisville, awaits on Sunday, just a two-and-a-half-hour car ride for thousands of red-sweatered Cardinal fans. The first scenario certainly is possible, but beating Big East champ Louisville will not happen.

Binghamton takes its No. 15 status to Greensboro, N.C., where the Bearcats will meet a Duke team that's playing pretty good basketball right now. The No. 2 Blue Devils probably will avoid the upset on Thursday in what will basically be a home game.

Cornell will be a long way away from Newman Arena when it takes on the very hot No. 3-seed Missouri Tigers in Boise, Idaho, on Friday. The Big Red make their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance and are the first team not named Penn or Princeton to represent the Ivy League in consecutive seasons. That sounds nice and all, but that won't get you past the Big XII tournament champion Tigers, who, like fellow No. 3 Syracuse, are on a few Final Four surprise lists.

Speaking of the Orange, Jim Boehim's bunch made another impressive run at the Big East Conference Tournament, and although they came up short, they're playing well and they boast a nice mix of perimeter and interior players. And by the time Friday rolls around for their first-round matchup with Stephen F. Austin, they'll be well rested.

Even though Syracuse could face the tournament's best player in Blake Griffin, Oklahoma is beatable in the third round. And an Elite Eight meeting with North Carolina is anybody's guess. The Heels are so often loaded but don't finish favorably. Syracuse could very well beat UNC and punch a ticket to the Motor City.

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