Thanks to Syracuse and especially Michael Carter-Williams, we’re down to only two number one seeds left in the 2013 NCAA tournament, as the famous Orange zone defense was a bit too much for an Indiana team that lost steam as the season reached its critical point, figuring out how to start scoring a bit too late to be competitive in their Sweet Sixteen matchup.
Not a lot of people think Carter-Williams, a Sophomore, is going to stay for a third year with Syracuse. Unlike most things under Jim Boeheim’s command, there’s very little reason to doubt this kid’s talent and seriousness in entering the NBA, scoring 24 points, adding four steals and some excellent defense as Syracuse won the game 61-50.
That’s always been the key – Syracuse can’t score more than 65 points a night against good opponents. It’s only when they can stop their rivals good things happen, which didn’t go too well in their “big” games this season, especially being beaten by Louisville by 17 points in the Big East tournament. This time, the Hoosiers, who haven’t seen this type of defense all season, didn’t have an answer until it was a little too late. Victor Oladipo did a good job with 16 points, but Cody Zeller and the rest of the team shot 26.1% from the field.
Indiana turned the ball over 10 times in the opening 10 minutes; they were down by as many as 18 in the first half, eventually finishing “only” 12 behind. Nothing went well for Indiana as they went inside to Zeller or tried to mix it up, as Syracuse got 11 blocks (forcing Zeller to 3-11 from the field) and forced the Hoosiers to commit 11 turnovers. Indiana had only 24 points in the paint; Carter-Williams and his backcourt teammate Brandon Triche combined for 22 in the paint on their own. Bottom line? Indiana averaged 78.1 points per 100 possessions in its loss to Syracuse Thursday, its worst offensive efficiency in the last two seasons. They had the second most efficient-offense in the nation going into the game.
Now, Syracuse and Marquette will play for a spot in the Final Four on Saturday. They are the 1st schools from the same conference to meet in the Elite 8 since another pair of Big East schools in 2009. That year, Villanova beat Pittsburgh in the East Region final.