1. The Broncos big two of David Brown and Shayne Whittington – I feel like a broken record for the amount of times I’ve talked about these two, but for the Broncos to have any chance to pull the upset these two must be on from the opening tip until the final whistle. Brown and Whittington were key in the Broncos coming from 18 points down to beat Akron in the MAC Tournament semifinals. If the Broncos fall behind by more than 10 at any point, you might as well stick a folk in them. With Brown and Whittington in the lineup, I doubt the game ever gets to that point.
2. The Broncos supporting cast – Connar Tava, Tucker Haymond and Austin Richie are just as valuable to the Broncos as Brown and Whittington. The “Other Guys” will have to play exceptional for WMU to pull the upset but it doesn’t hurt that they playing some of their best ball of the season. Tava had a double-double in the semifinals against Akron, while Haymond scored a career high (21) and hauled in a career high nine rebounds in the MAC Finals against Toledo. For Richie, when he scores the Broncos win. WMU is 11-0 in games in which Richie scores 10 or more.
3. What 2-3 zone? -- There might not be another team in the NCAA Tournament that is more prepared to play against Syracuse’s 2-3 zone than the Broncos. Coach Steve Hawkins said during the regular season that when preparing for EMU, he spends 75% of his time watching Syracuse tape and 25% watching EMU tape. The Broncos will be ready to handle whatever the 2-3 zone can throw at them.
4. WMU is hot, Syracuse is not – This is the time of the year to be hot. WMU has won 12 of 13, with the only loss coming in overtime, while Syracuse has lost five of its last seven including an early exit in the ACC Tournament. How much motivation will the Orangemen have going into the game against WMU?
5. Why not us? – It’s March and upsets are bound to happen so why not the Broncos? They have the talent, the coaching, and the drive to want it more than Syracuse. Numerous “experts” have picked WMU as a team to keep an eye on and this team strives in the underdog role. I give WMU about a 25% of pulling the upset which is more than I can say for the other three #14 seeds. Hopefully in 24 hours we will all be celebrating a Bronco victory.