Tall order: Indiana plays Syracuse in Sweet 16

  • Article by: PETE DIPRIMIO , The News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Ind.)
  • Updated: March 27, 2013 - 10:01 PM

The Hoosiers’ opponent in the Sweet 16 is Syracuse, a team with 10 players at least 6-6.

hide

Syracuse forward DaJuan Coleman dunked during a practice for a region semifinal against Indiana.

Photo: PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS • Associated Press ,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– Do you believe Indiana’s No. 1 seed means a drama-free path to Atlanta and the Final Four?

Get real. Indiana’s struggle in its 58-52 win over ninth-seed Temple — which generated a lot of Cream and Crimson fan grumbling — reflected the fierceness of the competition in a season of national parity.

So what does that mean for Thursday’s East Region Sweet 16 game with fourth seed Syracuse in Washington, D. C.?

“I was hoping it got easier the further along you got in the tournament,” Indiana associate head coach Tim Buckley said with a laugh. “I don’t think that’s the case.”

Indiana (29-6) is seeking its first Elite Eight appearance since 2002, when it reached the national championship game. It will be challenged by a Syracuse team (28-9) that started the season 10-0 with a No. 3 national ranking.

“Preparation is a key to what we do, how we execute and what our focus is,” Buckley said.

The Hoosiers’ focus was fierce in the final few minutes against Temple, when they ended the game on a 10-0 run.

“To finish it out the way we did shows all that hard work you put into an entire season — and for some of these guys the four years they’ve been here to get to this point,” Buckley said.

“We would prefer to play that way for 40 minutes, but we’re thankful we’ve been able to do it in clutch situations. It starts with our defense. When our defense is focused, we feel like we’ll execute offensively.

“Coach [Tom Crean] is going to call the right plays, to call the right guy’s number to either get the shot or get everybody else in position to make the shot.”

Syracuse comes in having won five of its past six games, with the only loss coming to overall No. 1 seed Louisville in the Big East championship game when the Cardinals trailed by 16.

The Orangemen are led by 6-8 forward C.J. Fair, who averages 14.5 points and 6.9 rebounds. Brandon Triche, a 6-4 guard, averages 13.8 points and 3.5 assists.

Syracuse has four players with at least 25 blocks, led by 6-9 forward Rakeem Christmas’s 70. Six players also average at least 3.8 rebounds. By comparison, Cody Zeller leads Indiana with 44 blocks.

The Orangemen are perhaps the biggest team Indiana has played this season. They have 10 players on the roster at least 6-6.

But the Hoosiers are ready. “You’re looking at a team that is not going to give up.” forward Derek Elston said. “We’ll fight as far as we get to go. We’ll always be in the fight, always be in the battle. That’s all anybody can ask.

“We’re happy we get to move on. We’re happy to dive into the film [of Syracuse]. We’re happy to survive.”

Survival wasn’t assured until the closing seconds against Temple. “It was absolutely nerve wracking,” Elston said, “but we have confidence in this team.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Minnesota 94 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Houston 93 FINAL
Boston 87
Portland 99 FINAL
Atlanta 105
Sacramento 90 FINAL
Cleveland 101
Toronto 127 FINAL
Brooklyn 122
Dallas 93 FINAL
Miami 72
LA Clippers 103 FINAL
New Orleans 108
Golden State 100 FINAL
Utah 110
Chicago 93 FINAL
Phoenix 99
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Nashville 0 FINAL
Colorado 3
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Vancouver 5
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
Harvard 75 FINAL
Princeton 72
Quinnipiac 57 FINAL
Canisius 63
Brown 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Siena 79 FINAL
Manhattan 87
Marist 65 FINAL
Niagara 61
Dartmouth 51 FINAL
Penn 58
Oregon 68 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Yale 63 FINAL
Columbia 59
Monmouth 60 FINAL
Fairfield 59
IUPUI 59 FINAL
Western Ill 63
Oregon State 34 FINAL
Arizona 57
Kent State 55 FINAL
Buffalo 80
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 67 FINAL
Providence 59
Cornell 65 FINAL
Brown 52
Columbia 47 FINAL
Yale 55
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
Drexel 64
Penn 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 39
Elon 60 FINAL
James Madison 89
(19) Princeton 96 FINAL
Harvard 46
(9) Florida State 82 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Siena 62
Richmond 54 FINAL
Rhode Island 50
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Southern Ill 64
Georgetown 52 FINAL
DePaul 93
Villanova 75 FINAL
Marquette 59
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
Xavier 65 FINAL
Creighton 74
Bradley 58 FINAL
Illinois State 55
Missouri State 89 FINAL
Drake 94
Arizona 48 FINAL
Utah 62
(11) Arizona State 68 FINAL
Colorado 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How should Timberwolves fans greet Kevin Love on Saturday?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close