Instant analysis: No. 4 Syracuse 61, No. 1 Indiana 50
How it happened: Syracuse came into this game with a formula, and they followed it perfectly. Everyone that watched Indiana struggle in a win against Temple last week saw that to beat the Hoosiers the game plan needed to be a slow, deliberate offense and strong rebounding. Add in the famed Orange 2-3 matchup zone, and Syracuse marched to victory.
The Hoosiers struggled for most of the night against Syracuse playing in the half court. In transition Indiana could score, but the Hoosier offense never figured out the Syracuse zone.
Many will question Hoosiers coach Tom Crean on the team’s preparedness to face the zone, but credit Syracuse. The Orange defense suffocated Indiana.
Syracuse forced 17 turnovers and played with active hands the whole night. The Orange hauled in 11 steals and 11 blocks. The defensive performance of the entire team was astounding.
Michael Carter-Williams was also dynamite for the Orange tonight, scoring 24 points to go with six rebounds and four steals.
Where are the Hoosiers: Indiana’s two best players, Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller, both struggled tonight. While Oladipo still scored 16 points, he never was able to assert control over the game.
Zeller showed much less tonight, only scoring 10 points and looking mostly ineffective against he big bodies Syracuse threw his way.
What happens next: It’s a big night for the Big East, as Syracuse will face Marquette on Saturday night. The winner heads to the Final Four.
In their only matchup this season, Marquette beat Syracuse 74-71, but that game was played in Milwaukee. Saturday night should be a doozy.