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2012 ncaa tournament

Syracuse Fans Can Exhale Now

SYRACUSE, NY - NOVEMBER 14:  Head coach of the Syracuse Orange, Jim Boeheim looks on from the sideline during the game against the Manhattan College Jaspers during the NIT Season Tip-off at the Carrier Dome on November 14, 2011 in Syracuse, New York.  (Photo by Nate Shron/Getty Images)

Fans and alums of the Syracuse Orange -- and this includes we'd say 52 percent of the non-Ivy staffers at this magazine -- need no longer fret: Syracuse has survived the first (or second, whatever) round of the NCAA Tournament. UNC Asheville gave it their all against a Fab Melo-less Syracuse team but fell just short, 72-65. The Orange avoid becoming the first ever No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed. Asheville was the victim of some truly baffling late-game calls, from an inexplicable lane violation to a phantom out-of-bounds call. The intense boos from the crowd in Pittsburgh made it clear that the Orange were not the crowd favorite and that they'll be talking about those bad calls for a long, long time. Regardless: Syracuse will advance to play Kansas State on Saturday. We hope you picked chalk in all your first six Thursday afternoon games, because there wasn't a single upset. Though 'Cuse was close.

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Photo: Nate Shron/Getty Images