At one time this season, the Orange were ranked No. 7 in the country, but after faltering down the stretch of the regular season, they settled for a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The Orange began to right the ship in the Big East Tournament when they made it to the championship game and they have looked as impressive as any team in the tournament thus far.
The Orange completely dominated Big Sky champion Montana in their first game (a game that some experts had favored the Grizzlies in) and they soundly beat a good California team in their second game.
Syracuse has the talent to matchup with Indiana, the question is, can they execute as well as they did during the first weekend?
Here are three players who will lead Syracuse to an upset of Indiana in the Sweet 16.
Southerland has it timely threes all season for Syracuse. Southerland’s height allow him to get his own shot whenever he wants and his length in passing lanes can disrupt opposing offenses.
Because of his size, Southerland is a matchup nightmare and the Hoosiers’ only player who could effectively guard him is Will Sheehey. If that is the matchup, Sheehey gives up 15-20 pounds and Southerland could easily back him down in the post.
His presence on the back end of the zone will also make it difficult for Christian Watford and Cody Zeller to get points down low.
Will Syracuse upset Indiana?
With 14.5 points per game, Fair leads the Orange in scoring and has a nearly automatic mid-range jump shot.
With Khalif Wyat’s scoring outburst against the Hoosiers, Indiana proved that there defense is susceptible to offensive playmakers.
Fair represents the Orange’s best scoring threat and if the Hoosiers fail to close out on him, he will kill them from the perimeter.
Like Southerland, Fair is also a lanky defender who can use his length to get into passing lanes and disrupt the flow of the Hoosier offense. A 2-3 zone can be beat by hot shooting, but because of Syracuse’s length they are very effective at closing out on shooters and contesting shots.
Triche is averaging 13.8 points per game, 3.4 rebounds per game and 3.5 assists per game. Triche is a big guard who often plays point guard and facilitates the Orange offense.
Like Southerland and Fair, Triche is an excellent defender and is usually at the point of the 2-3 zone. His job is to disrupt the point guard from initiating the offense as well as contest perimeter jump shots. His defensive play will be critical in keeping shooters like Jordan Hulls in check
Triche will likely have Victor Oladipo guarding him on the offensive end. If he can facilitate the offense without Oladipo creating too many turnovers, Syracuse has a great chance of upsetting the Hoosiers.
Syracuse’s 2-3 defense wreaks havoc on opposing offenses and they have plenty of offensive playmakers to give Indiana all they can handle. If Indiana’s offense struggles like they did against Temple, Syracuse will win this game and could do it handily.