NCAA’s best title games

Rich Fyle column

From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:

There’s something about the Syracuse University men’s basketball team as a double-digit seed because the Orange keeps rolling along in the NCAA Tournament.

In its past three tourneys, SU was a 10th seed in 2016, an 11th in 2018 and now an 11th again this time. The Orange has made at least the Sweet 16 on each occasion, going a combined 7-0.

Something can be said for head coach Jim Boeheim’s sideline magic in the postseason, and his players, specifically his son, Buddy, are delivering.

In its first two NCAA wins over sixth-seed San Diego State and No. 3 West Virginia, the Orange is shooting a sizzling 53.5% overall from the field and an even more dazzling 50% from 3-point land. SU’s foes, meanwhile, were a combined 36.5% from the field and 33.3% from downtown.

Buddy Boeheim’s shooting display has been mind-boggling. He’s 19-for-32 (59.4%) overall and 13-for-23 (56.5%) from 3-point land in two outings, averaging 27.5 points per game. Throw in guard Joe Girard III’s 43.8%-shooting beyond the arc, it’s no mystery why the Orange toppled the Aztecs and the Mountaineers.

n With March Madness fully underway, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its March Madness Stats & Facts infographic, as well as its report on 2021’s Best Cities for College Basketball Fans. WalletHub crunched the numbers on more than 290 cities using nine metrics — ranging from the number of teams per city and the winning percentage of each to stadium capacity and social-media engagement. Some findings are what you expect and others are surprising.

Best Cities for College Hoops Fans: 1. Durham, N.C.; 2. Lexington, Ky.; 3. East Lansing, Mich.; 4. Lawrence, Kan.; 5. Storrs, Conn.; 6. Los Angeles; 7. Chapel Hill, N.C.; 8. Philadelphia; 9. Fayette, Miss.; 10. Kingston, R.I.

Worst Cities for College Hoops Fans (from worst to better): 291. Stephenville, Texas; 290. St. George, Utah; 289. Pocatello, Idaho; 288. Montgomery, Ala.; 287. New Britain, Conn.; 286. Berkeley, Calif.; 285. Wilmington, N.C.; 284. Evansville, Ind.; 283. Santa Clara, Calif.; 282. Daytona Beach, Fla.

n From Dwight Perry, columnist for The Seattle Times: The Mariners recently produced four straight ties in spring training games — 8-8 against the Cubs, 9-9 against the Rockies, 2-2 against the White Sox and 1-1 against the A’s. Just in case baseball’s rules makers go getting any more bright ideas, Seattle players are suddenly practicing penalty kicks, a la in soccer.

Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at rfyle@wdt.net

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