NCAA Tournament 2012: Syracuse's Win over Wisconsin Shows Coach Boeheim's Impact

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NCAA Tournament 2012: Syracuse's Win over Wisconsin Shows Coach Boeheim's Impact
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The shot went up with just over two seconds left. The follow-up went up just before the buzzer. After both shots hit the floor, Syracuse fans and players erupted as the Orange capped off a 64-63 thriller over Wisconsin and earned an Elite Eight bid. 

The normally clutch Kris Joseph bricked his first foul shot of a one-and-one to give the Badgers their shot, and Wisconsin outhustled Syracuse on the ensuing scuffle to earn the ball back for this last-second chance. 

Jim Boeheim summed it up perfectly when he proclaimed afterward to CBS' Bill Rafferty that the game was "one of the best [Syracuse] has ever played."

The game featured a classic yin versus yang approach to basketball, as the zone-defense-, transition-oriented Orange battled with the slow, long-shooting Badgers. But for many, including Boeheim, the game should have been over at the half. 

The Orange gave up a lazy turnover to end the half that cut the Syracuse lead to eight, and this set the tone for the second half. The Badgers came out sharp and made major adjustments. 

The Syracuse zone had been collapsing on Badger players if the ball made it inside, forcing bad passes and shots that frustrated Wisconsin.

After the half, Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan decided to continuously swing the ball around until a hole in the zone on the edges opened up, and the Badgers used this strategy to their advantage. This then allowed Wisconsin to knock down threes at will, quickly closing the scoring gap. 

However, Jim Boeheim played the chess match against Ryan and won, shifting the Badgers' man defense around to open driving lanes for Dion Waiters and Scoop Jardine. C.J. Fair used whatever space was available to knock down jumpers that ensured 'Cuse held on until the end. 

With this close victory, the Orange return to the Elite Eight. The last time Syracuse won a game by one point? The Sweet 16 in 2003 against the Auburn Tigers. That was the team Boeheim took all the way to a national-championship win in New Orleans. 

Who says history doesn't repeat itself?

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