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Syracuse students agree: Some Pinstripe Bowl magic would be nice.
After fighting back to get a win over UNC-Asheville on Thursday, Syracuse looks ahead to the Saturday matchup against 8-seed Kansas State. The winner moves on to the Sweet 16 in Boston next Thursday, while the loser goes home to dwell on what could have been. What will determine which team does what will come down to three key areas: rebounding, turnovers, and scoring. Through the course of the season, I feel these are the key stats that have either hurt or helped each of these teams. K-State averages 37.1 rebounds per game, while Syracuse sits at 35.3 per game. Importantly, though, offensive rebounds are at 13.9 vs. 12.8 per game, respectively. Defensive rebounds sit with a Wildcat edge as well, 23.1 vs. 22.5. That may seem inconsequential, but something like that could be the difference in a tight game.
But it's these next two stats that I think will really be the difference makers. Syracuse holds a big lead in having fewer turnovers: 10.5 vs. 14.4. We know what Syracuse can do when it creates turnovers: score on the fastbreak.. Speaking of scoring, that's the other big stat: the Orange's 74.5 points per game vs. K-State's 71.4ppg.
The Wildcats can only win this game if they crash the boards, give themselves a lot of second-chance points, and limit their turnovers. However, I feel that Syracuse won't let any of that happen. The Orange gave a decent rebounding effort on Thursday, and in the absence of Fab Melo, that's key. The zone creates turnovers on defense, and Syracuse does a decent job of protecting the egg on offense. Syracuse is playing with a thousand chips on its shoulders, and won't want to start the game with the same kind of lackluster effort they did on Thursday. Guns-a-blazin' should be the game plan.
Individually, Syracuse needs seniors Kris Joseph and Scoop Jardine to lead the team to victory. As in, play to their potential. James Southerland needs to stay hot, Dion Waiters needs to keep doing his thing, and CJ Fair needs to get out of his funk. On the Wildcats side, Rodney McGruder is their leading scorer, at 15.875 points per game. He was key in K-State's win over Southern Miss on Thursday, and the Wildcats will need him to score above his average to lead the team. The Syracuse zone would be smart to box out Jamar Samuels from grabbing offensive rebounds; he averages 2.733 per game, and limiting him will go a long way in keeping down the second chance points.
With St. Bonaventure's loss Friday to Florida State, Syracuse is now officially the only team from New York State remaining in the NCAA Tournament. That makes them, undoubtedly, New York's College Team, right? Look for Syracuse to win by six points on Saturday, to advance to Brian's new home of Boston next weekend for some hot Regional action. Keep tuned to my tweets from CONSOL Energy Center, and Brian doing whatever he'll be doing during the game. GO ORANGE!

Editor's Note: Traditionally I, Brian Harrison, do the previews for the next game. Because John is in the heart of the Tournament in Pittsburgh, his preview will stand, but I, for one, am taking Kansas State by eight points. I would be thrilled if I were wrong, and will be happy to hang out in Boston with all of you if that were the case, but I do not think Syracuse pulls off the win. And I have had Kansas State over Syracuse in my bracket since Tuesday. Either way, enjoy your NCAA Basketball viewing and Go Orange!

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1 Responses to “Kansas State - Syracuse 2012 NCAA Tournament Second Round Preview”

  1. # Blogger socialsaurusrex

    Great article, I wanted more information on syracuse the school. I ended up having to get some follow up information about the school, but that combined with this article really brought the picture together. If anyone else wants it, Syracuse Makes Waves in Push for March Madness Win  

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