The No. 1 seed Indiana will face off against No. 4 seed Syracuse in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in the East region. I think the majority of people have Indiana beating the Syracuse Orange on Thursday night. Heck, even the most powerful man in the country has Indiana advancing to the Elite Eight (I’m looking at you, Obama). But one thing about this Syracuse team is that they’re legit. Well, at least I’d like to think so—my disaster of a bracket says so, so it must be true, right?
Ever since Syracuse’s disappointing performance against Georgetown, losing 61-39 in their Big East regular-season finale a few weeks ago, they have turned things around. Syracuse has been riding a hot streak, winning five of its last six games. Question is, though, how long can they keep that up?
The team sure thinks they can knock off Indiana. Syracuse will confront Indiana with their aggressive 2-3 zone defense, and that’s what makes them so confident they can win. “It’s something we can do and we’re confident we can do it. I think almost everyone has Indiana winning. I think we are an underdog, but we can play with the best,” said Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams. “We beat Louisvile. We beat Georgetown. We’ve beaten some really good teams. We’re right up there with them. We’re ready to prove everybody wrong once again.”
(Whatever is left of my bracket sure hopes so.)
Can Indiana handle Syracuse’s tough defense? With Syracuse’s 2-3 zone, they create turnovers by trapping in the corners and on the wings. They also never allow easy shots; the team ranks third nationally in field goal percentage defense and sixth in defending the three-point shot.
Although Indiana has one of the top offenses, they have to deal with Syracuse’s bigger guards on the perimeter. With their size and ability they are able to cover a lot of ground and make every shot Indiana takes very difficult.
Will Syracuse slow down Indiana’s high-powered offense and pull off the “upset”?