Fri, 29 Mar 2013 08:19:24 GMT — In Syracuse's two previous runs to the Final Four in 2003 and 1996 everyone was in awe of just how good Jim Boeheim's vaunted 2-3 zone was. Don't look now, but the Orange may be sporting it's toughest 2-3 zone yet. Want proof? Syracuse held high-powered Indiana with its two All-Americans to just 50 points, the 4th lowest scored by a 1-seed in the modern era, and beat the Hoosiers 61-50 in the Sweet 16. Syracuse stymied stars Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo. Oladipo may have scored 16 points, but trust me, none of them came easily. But don't take my word for it, check out the stats. The Hoosiers typically shoot 48% from the field, but were just 34% against the Orange. Indiana was also just 20% from three-point range. "Our defense has been good all year and I thought it was really good. Indiana presents a lot of problems offensively and we wanted to get on their 3â??point shooters. We did not want to let them get good looks and we did that. Defensively we got back inside quickly on their big guys when they tried to finish around the basket. We made some really good defensive plays against them" Jim Boeheim said. From press row, it looked like Indiana was just baffled by SU's defense. They didn't know what to do. That was reflected in their numbers, and the team's comments after the game. "We had some turnovers early on and our whole thing was to get our guards off the point so we could play more off the wing and enter the ball more from the wing and that was easier said than done," said Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean. Crean has seen SU's zone while he was head coach at Marquette, but no amount of preparation could have helped the Hoosiers in this one.
"We prepared for it, there is no doubt about it, but it just wasn't meant to be with that. When we got it inside, we got some good looks, we didn't always come out with a reward, whether it be a basket or a foul shot, but you've got to make enough shots against the zone to spread it out a little bit and they didn't have to do that as much, so they did an excellent job," Crean went on to say.
Next up for the Orange is a date with Crean's old team, the Marquette Golden Eagles. The winner of that game will be in the Final Four. For both teams, their last Final Four was in 2003. Marquette lost to Kansas in the national semifinal while Syracuse beat the Jayhawks in the National Championship.