1 Comments Published on 3.25.2016 by Brian Harrison
Syracuse students agree: Making the Elite 8 would be amazing.
After taking out Dayton (a really good 7 seed turned horrible as soon as Syracuse won), and unexpectedly facing Middle Tennessee State (the best Cinderella ever turned horrible team as soon as Syracuse won), Syracuse finds themselves in the Sweet 16. And after a lot of thought about this game and the matchup and the Xs and Os of it all, there is really only 1 factor that will decide if Syracuse advances to the Elite 8. That would be defense. A lot has been talked about from a lot of areas about the 2-3 Zone, if Gonzaga can be zoned, if they can break the zone, and so on and so on. But as they say, the game isn't played on paper. If Syracuse can defend the 3 point line, without making it so easy for Gonzaga inside, Syracuse has a shot at winning this game. I don't think Gonzaga will be shell shocked when they play Syracuse, but let's be honest, Seton Hall and Utah aren't exactly top tier teams, and we know the WCC isn't exactly a hotbed of hoops. All that said however, it doesn't matter where you come from in the Tournament. My only point with that is, Syracuse is a talented team, and despite having a down year, is a better team than the majority of what Gonzaga faces on a regular basis in their conference. Despite being an ideal matchup against a zone defense with Domantas Sabonis, Gonzaga will not have faced a team that only practices Zone, is long, and can also block shots and force turnovers. If Syracuse can contain Kyle Wiltjer, like they did against MTSU's shooters, Syracuse should keep the game close, or take a nice lead. Since Michael Gbinije will be covered by the WCC's best defense, Malachi Richardson will again have to step up and make shots, like he did against Dayton. Cooney continuing his good shooting in the playoffs will also be necessary. Finally, making good use of fouls and staying out of foul trouble will be necessary for Syracuse. Look for the back line of the zone to stay extra active and watch for passes from Sabonis from the foul line area to cutting players. If Syracuse can create turnovers, this will be a very pleasant game for Orange fans. If Syracuse loses, well... we weren't even suppose to be here were we? But I actually think Syracuse's defense will show up, just like it did all last weekend. Syracuse is playing their best defense right now, and even if they don't play their best offense, playing better defense can make up for that. I'll take Syracuse by 6 to make the Elite 8. This game is available nationally on CBS at the conclusion of the Iowa St.-Virginia, around 9:40pm. John and I will be in the home offices. GO ORANGE!