Published on 3.16.2013 by John Brennan
|Syracuse students agree: we need to leave the Big East Conference with a championship!|
When I was pouting at Clyde's last week after seeing Syracuse only put up 39 points against Georgetown, if you had told me Syracuse would be playing in the Big East Tournament championship game tonight, I would have told you you were crazy. But the Orange team we've seen this week is a lot different than that mess we saw in DC. So the stage is set for tonight: Louisville won its semifinal game against the Notre Dame
Fighting Irish, so we essentially get an ACC title game. As you'll recall, Syracuse went to Louisville earlier this season when the Cardinals were the country's #1 squad, and beat them. But two weeks ago, Louisville visited the Carrier Dome and kicked us while we were down. So this is the rubber match, fittingly on a neutral court. Or, as neutral as Madison Square Garden can be. It'll be a very pro-Syracuse crowd, but I imagine fans of other Big East schools who weren't smart enough to sell their tickets on the street for hundreds of dollars will probably cheer against Syracuse, just because. As for what to expect, the answer is a lot of zone. Rick Pitino learned from the best, but he's playing against the best tonight. The Cardinals zone is long, it's active, and it's physical. If Syracuse can find a good balance between shooting well and penetrating, Syracuse wins. If Syracuse can't shoot, Syracuse loses. For as good as the Syracuse defense can be, you know Louisville is going to put up points. They'll have to limit their mistakes, especially the costly turnovers like the one in the Yum Center than cost them a victory against the Orange. I got Brian's pick last night: he likes Syracuse in this one. I do too, and bear in mind I'm stone cold sober as I type this: Syracuse wins the final Big East game ever by 15 points. 15! You can watch all the action live at 8:30pm EDT on ESPN, ESPN3, or the WatchESPN app with the lovely banter of Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas, and Bill Raftery.
Labels: Basketball, Big East Tournament, Last Big East Game Ever, Madison Square Garden, Preview