Men's NCAA Tournament East Region Elite 8 Game Breakdowns

Syracuse Men's College Basketball

Men's NCAA Tournament East Region Elite 8 Game Breakdowns


#3 Marquette vs. #4 Syracuse (Washington, D.C.)

The Marquette Golden Eagles beat Miami by ten points; the Syracuse Orange topped Indiana by 11 points. Neither game was even that close.

Despite mini-comebacks near the finish and better second halves by the losing squads, both East Regional Sweet Sixteen matchups were blowouts. In the first, Marquette dominated and Miami struggled to hit anything on the offensive end. They finished half number one with a total of 16 points. They did manage eight successful three pointers (more than Marquette even attempted). But those came on 26 attempts and they didn’t shoot much better from inside the arc either. Durand Scott, Miami’s second banana, threw up 13 shots from the floor and hit just three of them. Combined with Shane Larkin’s first half foul trouble and the Miami guard duo was mostly held in check. Marquette, on the other hand, succeeded in spreading out their scoring and finally got big man Davante Gardner involved a bit more. It is impossible to know if Gardner would have fared worse if Reggie Johnson was able to go for Miami but it sure didn’t seem like Johnson would have made that much of a difference in the overall scheme of things.

In the other regional semifinal, Syracuse forced so many turnovers that the powerful Indiana offense was relegated to near inactivity. The Orange finished the contest with 18 forced turnovers, 12 steals and 10 blocked shots; also known as the ultimate defensive triple double. A number of the regularly reliable Indiana traits were out of whack in this game. Cody Zeller could do nothing. It seemed reasonable to assume an inside threat like Zeller could cause havoc in the middle of the 2-3 zone. Instead, Syracuse may have personally destroyed Cody’s NBA draft stock. And while the entire Cuse team did that to Zeller, Michael Carter-Williams may have hurt the future of Victor Oladipo all by himself. Oladipo is known as one of the best defensive players in the country. Carter-Williams is not known for his offense. Neither statement seemed to matter in this game as MCW put up a monstrous 24 points, most of which came with Oladipo attempting to guard him. Indiana missed a ton of free throws but with Carter-Williams scoring like he did and the Hoosiers’ offense struggling so much against the active zone, it wasn’t really a deciding factor in the outcome.

Saturday’s Elite Eight competition will see two classic Big East schools both moving on from the fabled conference in coming years. Marquette, the favorite according to seeding, should be the underdog based on scheme and experience. Syracuse has the Hall of Fame head coach with tourney titles under his belt and the atypical defense that has caused trouble for some of the best teams in the country. Marquette has a well-balanced team with a number of game-tested veterans and just played one of their best basketball games of the season. When the two teams met during the regular season, the three seeded Golden Eagles came out victorious, not that either team’s play is reminiscent of how they were even just one month ago. The reason the four seeded Orange should be favored here though is because of how the tournament has gone for these two. Marquette could have (probably should have) lost to Davidson in their first game. They then barely edged Butler in their next. The Miami game was the first of March Madness where Marquette displayed anything approaching dominance. Syracuse, on the other hand, destroyed Montana in round two, had a comfortable lead against California before letting them back in the game a bit, and did the same this past round against Indiana. There has yet to be an opponent who has come out swinging against the zone; Marquette knows it well but does not shoot threes. They may be the fourth straight foe to fall victim to the 2-3.


East Regional Overview


West Regional Overview

West Region Elite 8 Game Breakdowns


South Regional Overview

South Region Elite 8 Game Breakdowns


Midwest Regional Overview

Midwest Region Elite 8 Game Breakdowns


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