This will be the third-ever meeting between the Broncos and the Orange, with Syracuse holding a 2-0 edge in the series
This will be the fourth-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament for the Broncos, as well as their sixth game; they hold a 2-3 record in the Big Dance, with wins over Virginia Tech (1976) and Clemson (1998)
WMU won just its second MAC Tournament title in program history last week, defeating Toledo 98-77 in the finals
The 98-point effort against Toledo is a MAC Tournament record for points in a game
David Brown was named the MAC Tournament MVP after averaging 24.0 points per game, including a 32-point effort in the finals against Toledo on Saturday
Shayne Whittington was named to the MAC All-Tournament team after averaging 19.0 points and 13.0 rebounds per game
Freshman Tucker Haymond notched career-highs in points (21) and rebounds (nine) in the MAC Championship game
The Broncos are 11-0 when Austin Richie scores 10 or more points in a game this season
Shayne Whittington and Connar Tava recorded double-doubles in the same game (3/14 vs. Akron) for the second time this year
The Orange will be the second nationally-ranked team the Broncos’ have faced this year; they fell 66-60 on the road at then-24th Missouri on Dec. 15, 2013
WMU has won 14 of its last 16 games, including just one loss since the start of February (March 1 at Toledo)
David Brown ranks 20th and 17th in the nation in free throws attempted and made, respectively
The Broncos are one of the stingiest defenses from beyond the arc in the nation, allowing opponents to shoot just 30.9 percent
Shayne Whittington is tied for 16th in the nation with 14 double-doubles this year
The Western Michigan Broncos will play in their fourth NCAA Tournament in program history when they face the third-seeded Syracuse Orange on Thursday, March 20. Tip-off time is scheduled for 2:45 p.m. at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, N.Y. The game will be aired live on CBS.
BRONCOS AT THE MAC TOURNAMENT
Western Michigan punched their NCAA Tournament ticket with a pair of wins at the 2014 Mid-American Conference Tournament, played at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. WMU entered the tournament as the No. 1 overall seed and regular season champion by virtue of holding the tiebreaker with Toledo and advanced directly to the semifinals, where they erased a 17-point halftime deficit to dispatch MAC East rival Akron 64-60 in overtime. The Broncos went on to rout the Rockets in the Tournament final, scoring a MAC Tournament record 98 points in a 98-77 win on Saturday. David Brown and Shayne Whittington were both named to the All-Tournament Team, with Brown also garnering Tournament MVP honors.
This will be Western Michigan fourth foray into the NCAA Tournament in program history, with WMU holding a 2-3 all-time record in the Big Dance.
March 13, 1976 WMU 77, Virginia Tech 67 (OT)
March 18, 1976 #2 Marquette 62, WMU 57
March 13, 1998 WMU 75, Clemson 72
March 15, 1998 #10 Stanford 83, WMU 65
March 19, 2004 Vanderbilt 71, WMU 58
This will be the second NCAA Tournament appearance for the Broncos under head coach Steve Hawkins, making him the only coach in WMU history to go to the Dance twice. Hawkins often has the Broncos playing in March, though; this will be their fifth postseason appearance under “Hawk,” including an NIT bid in 2005, a CIT bid in 2011, and a CBI berth in 2013.
BRONCOS VS. THE ORANGE
This will be the third all-time meeting between the two teams, with Syracuse holding a 2-0 edge over the Broncos in the all-time series. The first meeting came on Dec. 1, 1978, when ninth-ranked Syracuse defeated the Broncos 93-71 at home; then- third year head coach Jim Boeheim would take the then-Orangemen to the Sweet Sixteen that year. The teams next played on Dec. 21, 1988, with Syracuse winning 94-71 at home.
DEAN OF THE MAC WEST
Western Michigan is under the direction of Steve Hawkins, who is in his 11th season as the head coach of the Broncos. Hawkins ranks as the longest tenured coach in the Mid-American Conference, and continue to rank as one of the best all-time in terms of winning percentage. Hawkins boasts a career record of 204 - 154 (.570) since taking over the Broncos at the beginning of the 2003-04 season, including a 113-70 (.617) conference winning percentage. Those wins totals rank eighth and ninth, respectively, among all coaches in MAC history.