26 years later, SU and Indiana meet again in NCAA Tournament
Mon, 25 Mar 2013 04:28:52 GMT —
It was a shot SU fans will never forget, especially because it came from the opposing team. When Keith Smart hit a baseline jump shot with less than five seconds to go in the 1987 National Championship game, as the ball dropped through the net, the hearts of SU fans everywhere dropped as well.
It was an SU team with legendary faces like Derrick Coleman (19 rebounds in the title game), Rony Seikaly (18 points in the title game), Sherman Douglas (20 points in the title game) and Howard Triche (Brandon Triche's uncle). Indiana also had some legends of their own in Steve Alford, who scored 23 points in the championship and Keith Smart, who scored 21 points, but really it was the last basket that made all the difference.
Now, 26 years later, Bobby Knight is no longer the Indiana head coach, Tom Crean now stands in his place, while Syracuse's head coach Jim Boeheim still graces the sidelines, as recently as this season passing Knight on the All-Time wins list at 903. Along with Boeheim, one more name, Brandon Triche, is the same, as mentioned, his father Howard played on that '87 team.
While this is a Sweet 16 game, and not the National Championship, the game has a title-game feel, as both teams have been in the Top 10 for the majority of the 2013 season.
The Hoosiers defeated James Madison in the first round 83-62, and then won a tight game with Temple(who was Syracuse's first loss this season) 58-52 to make it to the Sweet 16.
Indiana (29-6) poses multiple threats to the Orange's (28-9) 2-3 zone, as the Hoosiers boast some of the best shooters, and one of the (if not the) best big man in college basketball.
Cody Zeller is the Hoosiers go-to guy in the middle, leading the team at 16.7 points per game this season. On the outside, the Hoosiers have a few options, Victor Oladipo (43% 3pt), Christian Watford (48% 3pt) and Jordan Hulls (46% 3pt) are all shooting better than 40 percent from three-point range this season.
The Orange are looking forward to the fact they will be back on the East Coast, in Washington D.C. for the Indiana matchup, as opposed to 3,000 miles away from home out west in San Jose, California.
A win will get the Orange or the Hoosiers to the Elite 8, and possibly more fuel to the rivalry sparked more than two decades ago by one baseline jumper.