Indiana Hoosiers Basketball: Team Can't Rely on Late-Game Heroics vs. Syracuse

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IIMarch 25, 2013

DAYTON, OH - MARCH 24: Christian Watford #2 and Victor Oladipo #4 of the Indiana Hoosiers celebrate late in the game against the Temple Owls during the third round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at UD Arena on March 24, 2013 in Dayton, Ohio.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Indiana Hoosiers narrowly escaped the Round of 32 with a win, but they can’t rely on several big clutch plays to help them pull out a win against the Syracuse Orange.

Khalif Wyatt and the Temple Owls almost pulled off a major upset against the No. 1 seed Hoosiers.  Wyatt went for 31 points, but it was a late push by the Hoosiers that helped Indiana narrowly escape. 

To be honest, if it weren’t for a big block by Christian Watford and a clutch three-pointer by Victor Oladipo, this would have been a much different story. 

When the Hoosiers take on the Orange in the Sweet 16, they are going to need to play well the entire game and not just the final few minutes.

The Orange are one of the most dangerous and talented teams in the nation.  They win by dominating the glass and forcing turnovers.  As a team, they average 14.4 offensive rebounds and force 15.5 turnovers per game. 

These are two big things that the Hoosiers struggle with.  They allow 12 offensive rebounds and commit 12 turnovers on average per game.  Boxing out and not making bad decisions will be key for this Hoosiers team that has struggled to do these things all season.

The talent on Syracuse is even more frightening.  They have four players that average more than 10 points per game, and any one of them can heat up in any game.

C.J. Fair has been the leading scorer for the Orange all year, averaging 14.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.  He’s been an efficient scorer, especially from behind the arc.  He’s making 47.3 percent of his shots from the floor, while shooting an even more impressive 49.2 percent from behind the arc.  Christian Watford and Victor Oladipo will have to play solid defense against the impressive forward in order to keep him contained.

Michael Carter-Williams is the guy that will be the biggest mismatch for the Hoosiers.  He’s a guy that drives to the basket often, and can finish or pass it out for an assist.  He averages 11.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 2.7 steals per game.  At 6’6’’, he will give Yogi Ferrell a serious challenge on both sides of the floor since the freshman for the Hoosiers is only 6’0’’.

There are a lot of things to be worried about when playing the Orange.  Not only do they have a lot of talented players, they also play well together as a team.

Hopefully the close game against the Owls was a wake-up call.  It was an ugly game where nothing really went well for more than half of the game.  If it isn’t, then the Hoosiers are in serious jeopardy of being sent home in the Sweet 16.


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