NCAA Tournament Instant Juice: Syracuse 61, Indiana 50

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A quick take on Syracuse’s impressive 61-50 win against Indiana in the NCAA Sweet 16 in front of a rabid sell-out crowd of plenty of fans from both teams at the Verizon Center Thursday night:

WHAT HAPPENED: Syracuse (29-9) finished off an evening in which the East’s top two seeds went down to defeat to teams from the Big East by knocking off the number-one Hoosiers (29-7), and now get a shot at Jim Boeheim’s fourth Final Four trip on Saturday.  Up by 12 at halftime, SU got sloppy in the first seven minutes of the second half when IU came within five points twice.  But the defense stiffened down the stretch to weather the Hoosiers storm.

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Jim Boeheim was hoping for a better outcome in the Verizon Center Thursday night than what transpired against Georgetown March 9, and the Orange complied.

» What did you think of SU’s performance?

ANALYSIS: The 2-3 zone has been fabulous the entire post-season, and it had Indiana scampering and scurrying all evening.  IU shot just 33% missing 32 shots and committing 19 turnovers, scoring a season-low 50 points.  SU, despite its own shooting woes at times, has been able to come up with just enough offense to survive and advance.

HERO: No one has yet to stop him this post-season, Michael Carter-Williams took the smaller IU guards to the hoop time and again, and drained three three’s on route to a stellar 24-point performance with six rebounds and four steals for good measure.

» Related: Boeheim says he will return for one more season

ZERO: Sloppy play, especially when IU made a comeback early in the second half, before the defensive effort, suburb most of game, snuffed out one final Hoosier rally.  The Orange finished with 13 turnovers of their own.

WHAT’S NEXT: A second-straight Elite 8 appearance for the program taking on an old nemesis,  #3 seed Marquette, on Saturday.  The Golden Eagles advanced dominating second-seed Miami 71-61 Thursday night, and they defeated SU 74-71 on Feb. 25 in Milwaukee.  Marquette also ended Syracuse’s season in the 2011 NCAA Tournament third-round game in Cleveland.  Game Time: 4:30 ET.  TV: CBS.

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Brad Bierman

About Brad Bierman

Now in his fifth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.
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