Syracuse overcomes adversity for No. 1 seed

Name another program whose road to the NCAA Tournament has been as bumpy as Syracuse's.

And it has nothing to do with the team's on-court performance.

First, the Orange dealt with the Bernie Fine scandal beginning in November. Then, a recent report said that at least 10 players since 2001 tested positive for banned recreational substances but were allowed to play or practice when a suspension should have been the proper course of action.

Through it all, Syracuse (31-2) continued to pile up wins and was rewarded Sunday with the No. 1 seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament. It marked the second time in three seasons the Orange got a No. 1 seed.

"We're excited to be a No. 1 seed," said Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim. "It's a great accomplishment for these guys. To be able to play in the East is great. Looking at the bracket, it's a very difficult tournament. It's filled with a lot of good teams. There are no easy games, and that's the way it should be."

Syracuse's first test? Big South champion UNC-Asheville on Thursday in Pittsburgh.

Boeheim was asked if he had seen the Bulldogs play.

"No, maybe just a glimpse, but hopefully we'll have some tape pretty soon," he said. "From what I've looked at their schedule and who they've played and how close they played some of the teams, they're a pretty good team. You can tell that by the scores and how they've played people. It's a tough first game, they're pretty good."

The Orange will be looking to rebound from Friday's loss to Cincinnati in the Big East semifinals.

Ohio State received the No. 2 seed after falling to Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament championship game on Sunday. A week earlier, the Buckeyes beat the Spartans in East Lansing to earn a share of the regular-season title.

The Buckeyes open against Loyola-Maryland, which reached the tourney for just the second time and first since 1994 after capturing the MAAC title.

No. 3 seed Florida State enters the NCAA Tournament on a roll after taking home its first ACC. The Seminoles posted back-to-back wins in the semifinals and final over conference powerhouses Duke and North Carolina.

They will take on newly-crowned Atlantic 10 champion St. Bonaventure Friday in Nashville. The winner will play either No. 6 seed and Big East runner-up Cincinnati or 11th-seeded Texas.

For the first time since 1946, Harvard made the NCAAs. The Ivy League champs drew a matchup with No. 5 seed Vanderbilt, which stunned top-ranked Kentucky in the SEC final earlier Sunday.

The other East Region games pit fourth-seeded Wisconsin against Big Sky champion Montana; seventh-seeded Gonzaga versus 10th-seeded West Virginia; and eighth-seeded Kansas State against ninth-seeded Southern Miss.