Do they get their props after making it to the Final Four?
I watched ESPN and listened to ESPN radio Friday and all I heard is how Indiana played a bad game. Question was posed on Around the Horn asking if Indiana or Syracuse is to blame for the Indiana loss, and to my surprise all 4 of the "experts" said Indiana and hardly even wanted to acknowledge Syracuse's suffocating defense. Then coming into yesterday's game all I heard was how the zone wouldn't work on Marquette because they're used to and then the ball tipped and Marquette had like 5 turnovers in a blink of an eye.
Also, how well will this zone work against Florida/Michigan? I honestly see Syracuse only losing from here on out if they do not play hard and aggressive in that zone.
indiana did play pretty bad but at the same time syracuse played a really good game. i think overall syracuse won the game more than indy lost it. i absolutely think that cuse should get props for making it to the final 4. they have really come on throughout the tournament
Syracuse's scouting report for that Indiana game was incredible. It didn't show up on the stat sheet, but there were a lot of times throughout the game where it looked like Indiana had an easy fast break opportunity, and then MCW would sprint back, bump Zeller until his teammates got back and then jump out and pick up the ball handler. Usually Syracuse leaves their feet to try to block shots whenever somebody pump fakes. Against Indiana, they knew they were more athletic, so they stayed on their feet and waited for the Hoosiers to actually go up with the ball before they jumped. That's a big reason why Zeller struggled so much.
And in both games, they did as good a job as I've ever seen of closing out on shooters in the corner while still cutting off the baseline.
And yeah, I think ESPN tries to overcompensate for the fact that a lot of their employees are Syracuse grads, so therefore, they basically pretend that Syracuse doesn't exist so that people can't call them out for being biased. It's actually a joke. Any time Syracuse has a big win, you tune in to ESPN to watch the highlights, and there's almost never highlights of Syracuse making good plays; it's just showing the other team's mistakes and talking about how they played a poor game. Hell, on Around The Horn, one of their debates was "Out of the THREE teams that won on Thursday (Wichita, Marquette, and Ohio State), who deserves the most love?"
It's a complete joke.
Indiana averaged 80 points per game this season.
Marquette averaged 69 points per game this season.
Both scored exactly 30 points less than their season averages against the Syracuse zone in the tournament. Think about that. 30 POINTS. That doesn't happen by accident. I've never seen the zone played so well in my life ever since the start of the Big East tournament. The emergence of Baye Moussa Keita on the defensive end has led to a new energy in the zone. MCW is 6'6 with a long wingpsan and Triche is 6'4 and is one of the strongest guards in the country. Throw in CJ Fair, James Southerland, and Jerami Grant, and the wings are also long and wiry. This zone has been dominant this tournament and there's no denying that. Against Montana, California, Indiana, and Marquette the zone has given up an average of 45.8 ppg. Maybe those teams weren't on the top of their games, but the zone is the reason for that. Keita shut down Zeller and MCW/Triche have shut down Oladipo, Crabbe, Cherry, Blue, and Cadougan.
While every one is talking about this zone it's nothing new. The Zone last year was arguably just as good, especially with Fab Melo in the middle of it. Without Melo, Joseph, Waiters and Jardine they are Bigger, but they do miss those guys offensively.
The fact is this defense has superior defensive players at all 5 spots. All 9 players in the rotation have NBA size for their position. James Southerland is not just a great shooter, he is a superior defender with a lot of big game experience. As is Keite, Fair and Triche. MCW, Xmas, Coleman, Grant and Cooney are coming along behind the first four.
What makes this program so good right now is the continuity and chemistry that they have (especially on defense). But don't be fooled, they can be shut down, which is why the lost so much at the end of the regular season. The last few weeks for them of the BE season was a gauntlet. But their defense never waivered.
Well, this years final four is going to feature about 3 teams that no one thought was going to be there. Syracuse had a good combination of being in a fairly easy region other than Indiana, and having their players peak at the right time. Good for them, and I would assume against either Florida or Michigan it would be pretty evenly matched.
Ironic because I can realistically have 3 of the final four correct. I picked Syracuse, duke, and Florida. M
Cuse benefited from an easy region?? Nah bro a region with Indiana, Marquette, Temple, Butler, Miami was not easy at all. If it was so easy then everyone would've had Cuse in the final four from the jump.
The Cuse is 3rd in the nation against the 3 and they're going to bring a combination of smothering defense, size, and athleticism on the perimeter that I don't believe Michigan has seen anything close to all year.
Louisville/Syracuse National Championship