Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim is consistent in the defense that he plays. The Orange will play a long and aggressive 2-3 zone that will extend at times and cause a number of problems due to the athleticism of the Syracuse players.
Indiana head coach Tom Crean knows this and now must prepare for it, but his Hooisers have the advantage on paper. No, we are not just talking about seeding, we are just simply talking about match-ups.
It will be interesting to see how early Indiana looks to get Cody Zeller involved and if they can utilize his inside presence. If Zeller gets going offensively early in this contest, that is sure to collapse the zone and open things up on the perimeter for Indiana’s guards. That’s exactly what the Orange cannot afford.
The Hoosiers are one of the nation’s top scoring offenses, averaging 80.1 points per game, a statistic which currently ranks third in the country. Yet the biggest key is the Hoosiers’ play on the perimeter. Indiana shoots the ball at a 40.8% clip from the outside. The combination of Jordan Hulls, Victor Oladipo, and Yogi Ferrell can light it up at times, but don’t forget about stretch forward Christian Watford, who could be a match-up nightmare if Syracuse is not active in their zone.
Defense very likely will give the Orange their best shot at upsetting Indiana and if they cannot defend the perimeter and limit Zeller’s touches inside, it could be a long night.
No. 4 Syracuse and No. 1 Indiana will tip-off at 9:45pm (EST) on Thursday night.
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