There's no doubt that above all individual performances, Syracuse defeated Indiana because of its defensive prowess.
The Syracuse 2-3 zone isn't like the 2-3 zone you see at most schools, it's so different and long and Indiana was absolutely puzzled by it.
However, in Syracuse's Elite 8 contest it will face a team that's pretty familiar with it in Marquette. The Golden Eagles have seen it regularly as a member of the Big East and defeated it back on February 25th.
According to the Orange players and Coach Jim Boeheim, that will provide some advantages for Marquette, but this isn't the same zone of a month ago.
"We know what we need to do, it's always, everybody in this business knows what they need to do. It's a question of if you can execute it in the game. Indiana knew exactly what to do. Tom Crean has coached against me, he's seen our defense, he knows, they knew what to do. It's a question if they can do it," said Boeheim. "
That's what basketball is all about. We all know the answers. You guys know the answers, probably better than we do, in your minds. But it's whether you can get your players (to do it)."
That sentiment is shared by Michael Carter-Williams, who had a career night with 24 points in SU's win over Indiana.
"They may not be puzzled by it, but then again, our zone isn't the same as when we played at Marquette," Carter Williams told me.
"We work a lot harder on the defensive end and take a lot more pride in our defense now than we did then. So we hope we can puzzle them a little bit and force them into a couple turnovers but they have some talented big men so we're going to have to work hard," Carter-Williams added.
There is absolutely no question that the Syracuse team of late March is much better than the Syracuse team we saw in late February. The question is how improved is Marquette, and will it be able to solve the 2-3 by sending its lumbering 295 pound center Devante Parker into the middle of it to wreak havoc.
Syracuse did prove it can handle a talented big man when it made Indiana's All-American Cody Zeller a non-factor. Luckily for Orange fans they don't have to wait too long to find out, as the Orange and Golden Eagles tip off at 4:30 on Saturday on CBS-5.