first_img Published on March 19, 2014 at 4:48 pm Contact Trevor: [email protected] | @TrevorHass Facebook Twitter Google+ BUFFALO, N.Y. — Baye Moussa Keita often says that he tries to play every game like it’s his last.It’s a figure of speech, but a mentality the senior center tries to embody.But on Thursday, that figure of speech could become reality. Keita and fellow senior C.J. Fair may end up playing their last game in a Syracuse uniform.The No. 3-seed Orange (27-5, 14-4 Atlantic Coast) will try to ensure that’s not the case when it takes on No. 14-seed Western Michigan (23-9, 14-4 Mid-Atlantic Conference) in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at First Niagara Center in Buffalo.“We went down to Greensboro, and it didn’t end up the way we wanted,” Keita said. “Now we’re going to play this tough because it could be our last basketball game in college.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFair, a player who could have bolted for the NBA last summer, has evolved from a timid freshman who averaged 6.4 points per game to a more vocal — though still reserved — senior who is a Second-Team All-American.As a freshman, Fair sat in the wings as Rick Jackson, Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine led Syracuse. The next year his minutes saw a spike, but he was still only SU’s fifth leading scorer. He was just waiting his turn.Last year, Fair led the team in scoring and minutes. He had the resume to go pro, but he came back for another year. Now he’s starring for a team looking to make the Final Four for the second consecutive season.“Coming in as a freshman, you don’t really know what to expect in college,” Fair said, “and then sometimes it can be a rude awakening for some players. For me, I wasn’t playing that much, and then as time went on, I had to grow up and adjust, and I think it made me mature in a fast way.”The rarely brash, headband-wearing forward sported a GoPro during practice Wednesday afternoon to record footage. It was his decision, not the NCAA’s. Fair wanted to document his last push for a championship.Though the GoPro looked uncomfortable to those watching, it served as a sense of comfort for Fair, who is trying to cherish his last moments as a college superstar.“It could be my last game,” Fair said. “But, you know, as a team, we want to prolong this season and not get it cut short.”Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim has said that this year’s Tournament is particularly wide open. Like many pundits, he thinks Michigan State and Louisville have a legitimate chance to win it all.But he also said the field is deep. There’s no such thing as an easy win in March Madness anymore. And he knows Western Michigan won’t be a cinch.Especially considering Broncos seniors David Brown and Shayne Whittington — who are also playing to extend their careers — are players Boeheim said could play anywhere in the country.“You get guys that develop as players at schools like Western Michigan,” Boeheim said, “and they’re as good as anybody we have and anybody that we’ve played against. Our players understand that, we understand that.”Fair and Keita said it doesn’t matter that many media members are saying Syracuse is overrated. It doesn’t matter that SU is heavily favored over Western Michigan, either.The past is irrelevant for Fair and Keita. Senior Day was a time to look back. Now it’s time to look forward.Said Keita: “Just like I said before, every game, we can play from one game to six games, and our goal is to play all six.” Commentslast_img

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