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Just when you thought the Syracuse Orange were dead on arrival, they rise from the dead and put everyone on notice.
Coming into the tournament, questions were already surrounding the Orange.
Could they rebound effectively? How would their 2-3 zone shape up in their region?
Then the ineligibility of leading rebounder, "Mr. Block Party" Fab Melo, matched with an underwhelming performance against No. 16 seed UNC-Asheville had everyone jumping off the Syracuse bandwagon.
Whether or not you believe coach Jim Boeheim's claim that the Orange did not get lucky against the Bulldogs on Thursday (as reported by the Associated Press, per Sports Illustrated), they certainly did not need luck against the Kansas State Wildcats.
Syracuse used its bench to wear out the Wildcats, scoring 33 points off the bench with the combined efforts of James Southerland and Dion Waiters.
Kansas State's bench had zero points in 34 combined minutes of playing time.
Now, the Wildcats will make the argument that they too were without their leading rebounder, Jamar Samuels, over concerns over ineligibility. Yet they still out-rebounded Syracuse 37-31.
When you shoot 6-of-9 from behind the arc and 23-of-29 from the free-throw line, though, rebounds become less crucial.
Syracuse clearly wanted to make a statement to its critics, and its strong second half did just that. It took on the physically imposing bruisers of the Big 12 and left with an impressive win.
The Orange may be flawed, but their strengths make them one of the most dangerous teams left in the tournament.