Wednesday, March 27, 2013
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
Preview: Syracuse vs. Indiana
It has been more than a quarter-century since Indiana and Syracuse created one of the most memorable finishes in national championship history. The two basketball powers will meet again in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since - this time in the East Regional semifinals - on Thursday in Washington D.C. In 1987, the Hoosiers' Keith Smart drained a 16-foot jumper from the left baseline in the final seconds against the Orange, giving Indiana its last NCAA title. The Hoosiers reached their second consecutive Sweet 16 for the first time in school history Sunday after rallying in the final minutes to defeat Temple 58-52.
Like Indiana, the Orange survived their own third-round scare, pulling out a 66-60 victory over California despite 15 missed free throws and a second-half field-goal drought that lasted 12:09. "It was not pretty. Honestly, I don't think I can describe it. It was about as ugly as I think it can get," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said following the game. The winner will face either Miami (Fla.) or Marquette in the Elite Eight on Saturday.
TV: 9:45 p.m. ET, CBS
ABOUT SYRACUSE (28-9): Although he did not find out about it until after the game, Michael Carter-Williams' home in Massachusetts was destroyed by fire Saturday, approximately at the same time the Orange were on the court with the Golden Bears in San Jose, Calif. Syracuse held Pac-12 Player of the Year Allen Crabbe to eight points and nine field-goal attempts - each mark two shy of his season low. The Bears also shot 4-for-21 beyond the arc. Defending the 3-point shot will be pivotal against the Hoosiers, who rank third in the country beyond the arc (40.8 percent) and feature three starters who knock down at least 43 percent of their 3-point attempts.
ABOUT INDIANA (29-6): Victor Oladipo was named one of four finalists for the Naismith Award on Sunday and promptly closed out the Hoosiers' victory over Temple by converting the tiebreaking free throw and a critical insurance 3-pointer with 14 seconds remaining. The Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year will enjoy a homecoming of sorts this week in the nation's capital, which is a short drive from Oladipo's hometown of Upper Marlboro, Md. The 58 points against the Owls matched the Hoosiers' second-lowest output of the season and marked the first time the third-highest scoring team in the country won a game in which they scored fewer than 66 points.
1. Indiana is 11-1 all-time as a No. 1 seed, with the resulting .916 winning percentage the best such mark for a top seed in NCAA Tournament history.
2. Boeheim's 50 NCAA Tournament victories rank fourth all-time.
3. The Hoosiers are the sixth-best shooting team in the country (48.6 percent) while the Orange own the third-best field-goal defense (37.3).
PREDICTION: Indiana 74, Syracuse 65