Syracuse is going to the Final Four. Repeat that a few times to savor it (if you’re a Cuse fan that is). This, my friends, is what the tournament is all about. Who would have thought the team that allowed Georgetown to crush them, holding them to 39 points, just a few weeks ago and who bounced back from that in the Big East tournament only to implode in the second half of the championship game against Louisville could come so far. The Louisville loss especially said to me that this team isn’t mentally tough, that they let things rattle them, things they then can’t recover from. Well, one way to avoid having to deal with the mentally tough issue is to not get into situations where mental toughness breaks down.
Some stats may illuminate:
61 field goals allowed
67 forced turnovers
Holding Marquette to the lowest point total in a regional final and a shooting percentage of 22.6%.
Holding all opponents to just 37.2% shooting.
Defense baby. Though it could also be that I attended my very first March Madness game, getting to see the Orange play in the 1st round in San Jose (the ho hum victory over Montana. Hey Montana: passing the ball outside because you can’t figure out how to penetrate the zone for about 33 seconds a possession then throwing up a brick isn’t really a game plan), so perhaps my fandom inspired our Cuse.
In any case, there is now a possibility if Syracuse gets passed Michigan and Louisville passed the Shockers (and wouldn’t it be shocking if they didn’t) for a Syracuse – Louisville championship game. The undercurrents are plentiful: A rematch of the Big East tournament game, a rematch between two coaches who also coached against each other in the 1987 Final Four, a match between coaches where one was once the assistant coach of the other and perhaps most importantly a fond send off for one of hoops greatest basketball leagues. This must happen, don’t you think?
See you next weekend.