0 Comments Published on 3.24.2012 by Brian Harrison
Syracuse students agree: Making the Final Four is fantastic.
Syracuse narrowly escaped against Wisconsin in the Sweet 16 on Thursday to advance to take on Ohio State with a trip to the Final Four on the line. In an all chalk regional final, this will be an exciting basketball game. The question is, does Syracuse have what it takes to survive and advance?
Obviously when looking at Ohio State you have to talk about Jared Sullinger. He averages 17.6ppg and had 23 points and 11 rebounds against Cincy in the Sweet 16. He is a beast in the post and not only will Rakeem Christmas and Baye Keita have their hands full, but the forwards have to help out whenever they can. Syracuse probably played their best offensive game all season against Wisconsin. While they needed to due to the barrage of 3s they can probably win this one with just a solid offensive effort. Ohio State got a false confidence boost in practice playing against their own team running zone very poorly. They will be facing a team that expertly plays the 2-3 in Syracuse. It will be Syracuse's defense that leads them in this game, as it has all season. Sullinger will get opportunities to score. But stopping Aaron Craft from penetrating and dishing to open shooters will be an absolute must for the Orange. Syracuse has proved that they can survive the long ball well in their last game so just focusing on good defense and getting hands in people's faces will help. Ohio State is full of scorers, but they are obviously used to playing against MANTOMAN defenses. Syracuse will not be running that. Scoop Jardine not turning the ball over will be key. Craft is a very good on-ball defender and racks up the steals. Not turning the ball over against Ohio State for easy runouts will be crucial. If you are always allowing essentially four point swings, you probably will be in trouble. The TD Garden will be absolutely full of Syracuse fans and should give a pretty decent home court advantage to the Orange. Because of that, and the fact that Ohio State doesn't play against zone defenses as good as Syracuse ever, I like the Orange to take down this one. I'm picking Syracuse to head to the Final Four by 3. After that, it's anyone's guess.
This game will be on CBS tonight at 7:05 after the conclusion of the West Regional Final. We'll be in the Garden tonight so if anything ridiculous happens we'll be on the Tweets to let you know. Should be a fun one and really, getting to the Elite 8 is a great accomplishment. But I guarantee Kris and Scoop do not want their last game to be played yet.