Syracuse Men's Basketball 2013 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Syracuse Orange
Big East (26-9, 11-7)

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Syracuse was once again a power player in the Big East for their last year in the conference.  They would not go out like a lamb and they dominated the conference at the start of the year, rattling off 11 straight victories.  Unfortunately for the Orange, the Big East is still a very strong conference and they had a few bad losses and a couple of mid-season lulls that left them out of the top spot in the conference standings.  Jim Boeheim has one of his strongest teams in some time.  Senior Brandon Triche is the man, and he will be the one to take them deep into the tournament.

Big Wins: 11/11 vs San Diego State (62-49), 1/19 at Louisville (70-68), 2/4 Notre Dame (63-47)
Bad Losses: 12/22 vs Temple (79-83), 1/26 at Villanova (71-75), 2/13 at Connecticut (58-66)
Coach: Jim Boeheim (37 seasons at Syracuse)

Why They Can Surprise:
Though Syracuse is not necessarily considered a Final Four favorite (at least until the brackets are released), not many people would be surprised if the Orange made it that far.  They are a storied program with recent trips to the big time.  This is one of the most talented starting five in the country.  What would get them there is their defense.  Boeheim’s famous zone defense has done wonders for the Orange this year.  They are fourth in the nation in field goal percentage defense.  Opponents shoot less than 30 percent beyond the arc.  Their defense has kept them in games.  Some wins were by 20 points and some by a single basket.  In all of them, their defense was the key.  They have had to gut out some wins against strong competition, which can only help them in the postseason.  They clog passing lanes and block a ton of shots.  They are top 15 nationally in both categories.  Skilled guard Michael Carter-Williams helps lead the way with nearly three steals per game on his own.  The Orange can score as well.  They are a complete squad.  Boeheim has a prototypical tournament team.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Syracuse is a high-scoring team, but they actually do not shoot very well overall.  They take a high volume of shots to reach their point totals.  They tend to get extra possessions because of turning the other team over.  In a regular half-court offense, they are not as adept at draining shots.  They are notably worse from behind the three-point line as well.  At just 31.3 percent from outside, they need to make sure they do not fall behind by too much.  Under pressure, this team tends to make a few more mistakes.  When they played Georgetown at the Carrier Dome in February, they started to throw the ball away forcing things that were not there.  Composure will be important for them if they intend to go into the second weekend of the tournament.  Improved free-throw shooting would benefit them as well.  They only hit 68.6 percent from the stripe.  Boeheim would probably like a little more production from his bench.  Center Rakeem Christmas, who has been in and out of the starting rotation, has a load of talent, but he does not always perform at the highest level.  The bench needs to be consistent every night.

Probable Starters:
Michael Carter-Williams, Sophomore, Guard, 12.0 ppg, 7.7 apg, 4.8 rpg, 2.7 spg
Brandon Triche, Senior, Guard, 13.8 ppg, 3.6 apg
James Southerland, Senior, Forward, 13.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg
C.J. Fair, Junior, Forward, 14.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg
Rakeem Christmas, Sophomore, Center, 5.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.9 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Trevor Cooney, Freshman, Guard, 3.6 ppg
Jerami Grant, Freshman, Forward, 4.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg
Baye Keita, Junior, Center, 3.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.3 (64th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 59.6 (29, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.9 (138, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 37.3 (3, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.6 (222, 9)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.3 (263, 11)
Free-Throw Percentage: 68.6 (199, 10)
Rebound Margin: 4.6 (46, 3)
Assists Per Game: 14.6 (65, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.6 (112, 7)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
2012    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Kansas State
2012    NCAA    Regional Semifinal win over Wisconsin
2012    NCAA    Regional Final loss to Ohio State
2011    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Indiana State
2011    NCAA    Round of 32 loss to Marquette
2010    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Vermont
2010    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Gonzaga
2010    NCAA    Regional Semifinal loss to Butler
2009    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Stephen F Austin
2009    NCAA    Round of 32 win over Arizona State
2009    NCAA    Regional Semifinal loss to Oklahoma
2008    NIT        First Round win over Robert Morris
2008    NIT        Second Round win over Maryland
2008    NIT        Quarterfinal loss to Massachusetts

*all team stats through 3/10


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