NCAA bracket predictions 2013: Mixed expectations for the Orange

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Some think Syracuse will lose in the first round to Montana, while others expect the Orange to go to the Final Four. The wild card is, of course, whether Wednesday's report of an NCAA investigation will distract the team.

Once again under the close watch of the NCAA, the Syracuse Orange enter the 2013 NCAA Tournament with enough off-the-court trouble to distract any team. The question is whether or not that will impact their play on the court. No. 4-seeded Syracuse faces No. 13-seeded Montana Thursday night at 9:57 p.m. ET in San Jose, Calif.

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While SB Nation's bracketologist Chris Dobbertean seems to think the Orange will ultimately beat the Grizzlies, he does acknowledge that Montana has what it takes to pull off the upset. If guard Will Cherry has a strong game, Dobbertean thinks that could be enough for Montana to move on.

Jay Bilas at ESPN also expects Syracuse to beat Montana. He then has the Orange getting past UNLV on their way to an eventual Sweet 16 loss to Indiana. Bilas believes Syracuse has recovered from several losses down the stretch this season by winning three games in the Big East Tournament. That renewed confidence could carry the Orange to victory.

The 13 experts at CBS could not come close to agreeing on the fate of the Orange. Jerry Palm has Syracuse advancing all the way to the Final Four, with several others having the Orange make the Elite Eight. But Dennis Dodd says the Orange will lose to Montana, and more think they lose to UNLV or California in the next round.

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