NEW YORK — A quick take on Syracuse’s 78-61 loss against Louisville in the Big East Tournament championship game Saturday night at a sold-out Madison Square Garden, SU’s final game in the Big East Conference after 34 memorable years.
WHAT HAPPENED: After an emotional week in which he and the team were asked after each victory about playing for the last time in the Big East, Jim Boeheim watched in frustration in the second half as Louisville’s vaunted press turned a 16-point Orange lead into a five-point deficit over a seven minute stretch (it seemed faster than that), a 44-10 run at one point, to help propel the Cardinals to a second consecutive Big East title, and a likely number-one seed in the NCAA Tournament.
ANALYSIS: ‘Cuse guards Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams knew what was coming as the Cards fell behind by double-digits four minutes into the second half, but it’s another matter to solve the ‘Ville’s vaunted press and double-teams, and it was so effective in disrupting even in-bounds Orange passes after made Louisville baskets to spur the Cards impressive comeback.
HERO: A day after being hounded into shooting woes by Big East player of the year Otto Porter, C.J. Fair found the most of his scoring opportunities on this night finishing with a game-high 21-points and seven rebounds.
ZERO:Syracuse failing to adjust to the Cardinals full court pressure in the second half that completely turned the game around. Sure, it’s easier said than done, but SU really looked flummoxed against the pressure and the offense quickly went out of sync finishing with 18 turnovers.
WHAT’S NEXT: “Selection Sunday” tomorrow, March 17, as the NCAA field is announced with seeds and locales unveiled in the live TV broadcast. The team will gather at the Melo Center to watch the proceedings and learn a first-game opponent and the path necessary to reach the Final Four in Atlanta April 6-8. Time 6:00 ET. TV: CBS.Brad Bierman