NCAA Final Four, why is Syracuse the team to beat

Are the Orange the team to beat in this Final Four? This is no madness, considering the great performances which they have made to reach, deserving and without too much difficulties, the Final Four.

THE ROAD

Among the four teams that are going to fight for the national championship, the one which had the most convincing road was the same Syracuse. #4 seed in the tournament, they made their first apperance in the 81-34 victory versus Montana, going on with the W 66-60 over California. In the Sweet Sixteen, insiders expected that Syracuse’s road would end against Indiana, but the latter had to surrender to the amazing team performance by the Orange, which won the game 61-50. Eventually, in the Elite Eight Coach Boeheim’s team blew away Marquette, which scored only 39 points and had to leave 55 points to the Orange.

THE 2-3 ZONE

The 2-3 zone defense is used by nearly all the teams in the nation, so it’s nothing special in theory. But the Orange’s 2-3 zone is something else, because it can adapt to whichever opponent it faces. For example, in the last match Marquette put a player around the free-throw line with the task to pass the ball down low. The Orange answered by putting their zone inside the arch and preventing all the cuts to the basket. The result? 39 points scored by the Golden Eagles. In the Sweet Sixteen against Indiana, on the contrary, they could not stay inside the arch, because Victor Oladipo was there to bury down three pointers. At the same time, though, they had to prevent Cody Zeller from receiving the ball in the low post. So, they solved the problem putting Baye Keita defending on him. The 2-3 Syracuse zone could be lethal also for Michigan. It is possible that Coach Boeheim will choose to defend tight on Trey Burke, who is an outstanding shooter and who is able to drive to the basket in every second of the possession. At the same time, they will try to outplay Mitch McGary, a center who moves a lot around the paint.

THE KEY PLAYER

He started as a player considered to be “a good player for the Division III” and ended to be the star of Syracuse. It is the story of Michael Carter-Williams, a player who can do everything on the floor. If Trey Burke was elected best player of the nation, the sophomore guard can play at his level. Apart from being a key player in the Coach Boeheim’s 2-3 zone, Carter-Williams is averaging 12.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 2.8 steals per game. These are number of an all-around player and of a leader.

 

FOTO: Syracuse Orange // www.bayoubuzz.com