No Onuaku, No Problem: Syracuse Cruises To Sweet 16

Garrett TuckerCorrespondent IMarch 21, 2010

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 21:  Wes Johnson #4 of the Syracuse Orange goes up for the dunk against the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the second round of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at HSBC Arena at HSBC Arena on March 21, 2010 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
Michael Heiman/Getty Images

After Syracuse's tragic loss to Georgetown in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament, along with losing center Arinze Onuaku to a quad injury, many questioned how the Orange would respond in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament.

Well, needless to say, those questions were wrong, as Syracuse has cruised into yet another Sweet 16 appearance.

Led by Wes Johnson and Andy Rautins, Syracuse has easily defeated a scrappy Vermont team, and West Coast Conference powerhouse Gonzaga over the past three days.

So, with that being said, what does the future hold for Jim Boeheim's squad?

With Arinze Onuaku expected to return to the lineup, the Orange will once again have their complete, dangerous lineup. However, with other players getting more minutes due to Onuaku's injury, this team will become even more dangerous.

And unfortunately for Butler, they stand in the path of Syracuse and an Elite Eight.

Butler was already at a huge disadvantage, but now, it gets even deeper. Matt Howard is just about the only post presencethat Butler has to offer, while now Jim Boeheim has the ability to throw Onuaku, Rick Jackson, and now a seven-foot freshman in DaShonte Riley. It seems that these combinations will be unstoppable against the Bulldogs.

Not only that, but with a stellar game against Gonzaga, it looks as if Wes Johnson is on the verge of playing his best basketball of the season, as he had a career-high 31 points and 14 rebounds.

Just another asset Brad Stevens will have to cope against come Thursday in Salt Lake City.

I have to say Butler's streak of consecutive games won may come to a shattering end. It just doesn't look like Gordon Hayward and company will be able to slow down this team, let alone beat them.

Wes Johnson and company just look like they are on a mission right now, and it doesn't seem like anything can stop them; not even a very successful mid-major in Butler.

Is there an Elite Eight in the future for 'Cuse?

I would say so. Don't count out a Final Four or an NCAA Championship Game appearance.


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