NO. 8 SYRACUSE VS. NO. 9 BAYLOR
At Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Tipoff: Thursday, approximately 8 p.m.
Records: Syracuse 20-13 (10-8 ACC); Baylor 19-13 (10-8 Big 12).
Series history: Syracuse leads, 2-0.
Last meeting: Syracuse 74, Baylor 67 (2013).
About the Orange: They will be playing without PG Frank Howard, who has been suspended indefinitely for “a violation of athletic department policy.” ... Leading scorer Tyus Battle (17.2) is healthy after missing the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament due to a back injury. … Like Baylor, Syracuse is 4-6 in its last 10 games. Two losses were to Duke. … The Orange reached the Sweet 16 last March before losing to Duke. … Syracuse tied for sixth in the ACC, which sent seven teams to the NCAA Tournament, with three No. 1 seeds.
About the Bears: This is Baylor’s eighth NCAA Tournament appearance in coach Scott Drew’s 16 seasons, with four trips to the Sweet 16 since 2010. The Bears missed last year’s event. … Counting the season-long absence of Olympus High School alumnus Jake Lindsey, four projected starters missed 42 total games in Big 12 play. … Senior guard Makai Mason averages 14.6 points. … The winner will meet Gonzaga or Fairleigh Dickinson in Saturday’s second round in the West Region.