NCAA Tournament Round Of 16: #1 Indiana Vs. #4 Syracuse
- CoachingTom Crean has done a sensational job restoring the Hoosier program from the gutters of Kelvin Sampson, and he made a Final Four with Dwyane Wade and Marquette. This year looks to be his coming-out party.With three Final Fours and a national championship, Jim Boeheim has been around longer and has more success to show for himself. In terms of in-game tactics, it’s pretty close.
- OffenseThe Hoosiers play fast, and they find the bottom of the hoop often, tallying a fantastic 80 points per game on 48.6 percent shooting. Cody Zeller is a college superstar with a versatile game, and Victor Oladipo is freakishly efficient.C.J. Fair, James Southerland and Brandon Tiche are all capable scorers, but Syracuse is prone to offensive cold spells, such as the 12-minute field goal drought in the second half against Cal.
- DefenseDespite the virtuosity of the Hoosiers offense, the defense also made plenty of noise this year. This is especially impressive considering how much they push the ball forward, and it’s a testament to how well-organized they are.The Orange’s specialty, Boeheim’s crew keeps opponents in check by forcing bad shots through the 2-3 zone. Had it not been for the D, Syracuse would have surely crumbled against Cal in the second half.
- Bench DepthWill Sheehey plays an integral role in the Hoosier rotations, and he definitely made his presence known in the tourney; so far, he’s averaging 12.5 points in 24 minutes per game.In the Cal game, it was backup center Baye Keita who delivered in a big way, tossing in seven huge free throws and pulling down four offensive boards. Cuse is counting on him far more than any other bench player.
Syracuse has a knack for winning games it’s not supposed to win, but this Indiana team is extremely good. The Orange’s best chance is to slow things down the way Temple did and hope to close things out late. -Adam Spunberg, College Basketball Contributor