NCAA Tournament Instant Juice: Syracuse 55, Marquette 39

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A quick take on Syracuse’s thrilling, but at times sloppy, 55-39 win over Marquette in the NCAA Elite Eight in front of a capacity crowd of 19,801 including President Obama at the Verizon Center Saturday evening:

WHAT HAPPENED: The Orange (30-9) advanced to the Final Four for the first time in a decade by getting revenge for a regular season loss to the Golden Eagles.  SU extended a six point halftime lead with key baskets inside and tough defense to keep Marquette (26-9) at bay in the second half.  James Sutherland hit a couple of three’s to finish with 13 points, C.J. Fair was all over the place on offense scoring inside and out, and also had 13 points.  Michael Carter-Williams had 11 rebounds, tops in the game.

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Syracuse advanced to their first Final Four since 2003

» What did you think of SU’s performance?

ANALYSIS:In an offensive-challenged game by both teams in which the outside shooting was shoddy, the Orange resorted to driving to the hoop to get baskets or get to the foul line.  The ‘Cuse defense, as its been all post-season, was terrific holding MU to 23% from the field and 12 turnovers, and the lowest point total in a NCAA regional final since 1973.

HERO: For guiding his team back from a dismal end of the regular season to a stellar post-season record of 7-1, Jim Boeheim is back in the Final Four for the fourth time, and first appearance since winning it all in 2003.  Not too bad for his 37th season leading the program.

» More from Brad Bierman: Syracuse tries to keep Final Four streak intact

ZERO: Hey, a trip the Final Four means that this item shall go vacant, there’s no zeros to overcoming the odds of a 1-4 end of the regular season leading to cutting down the nets as East Region champions.

WHAT’S NEXT: The school’s fifth Final Four berth extending a streak of one Final Four appearance per decade since the 1970s.  SU will face  south region fellow 4th seed Michigan in the national semi-finals Saturday evening at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.  Time: 8:50 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.
Syracuse 55, Marquette 39 — What we learned
Orange Watch: Another shot at extending Syracuse basketball’s Final Four streak
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