Not many teams stumbled into the postseason worse than Syracuse, which lost four of its last five regular-season games.
Sophomore point guard Michael Carter-Williams, feeding off the energy of so many former Syracuse greats in the stands, helped turn the tide at Madison Square Garden in the Big East tournament.
The Orange, on their way to the Atlantic Coast Conference in July, reeled off three straight wins before losing to Louisville in the title game and have to feel good about their chances in the NCAA tournament.
Syracuse (26-9), which earned the fourth seed in the East, begins play Thursday against Big Sky-champion Montana (25-6) in San Jose, Calif.
The Orange will depend heavily on Carter-Williams. When he plays well, they excel. When he doesn't, they tend to struggle.