During the season, The Juice Online will tackle a burning question about the Syracuse basketball team in “Tipoff Countdown.”
Today’s topic: In the third part of a four-part series, The Juice Online will take a look at each team in the Final Four, and make the case for that team winning the national championship. Today’s team our team, the Syracuse Orange.
It has probably been said a thousand times over the past week, but the 2-3 zone is the key to the Syracuse Orange’s National Championship hopes. It has been good all year but in the NCAA tournament, it’s been great. The length has frustrated the opposition and confused the teams who have never seen it before. The length of guys like James Southerland and Michael Carter-Williams shut down passing lanes and make it hard for three-point shooters to get open looks as they close out on you.
But what about the offense?
The offense is what needs to really come together for the team to win the title. And it has the potential to, as we saw in the Big East Tournament. When Southerland is hitting threes at will and Brandon Triche is driving to the basket and scoring, this team is unstoppable. When CJ Fair is hitting those midrange jumpers and getting to the rim while Carter-Williams dishes the ball and threatens to drive, the offense can’t get much better.
Carter-Williams is the key to this team. Southerland’s three-pointers and Triche’s confidence are extremely important, but are nothing if Carter-Williams isn’t making smart plays and getting them the ball. The NBA-prospect has shined in the NCAA tournament thus far, averaging 13 points and almost five assists per game while contributing in the steals and rebounding departments, too.
It’ all about composure for Syracuse. The teams standing between the Orange and the National Championship will turn up the pressure and try to force a lot of turnovers. If the guards make good passes and SU handles the pressure well, Boeheim will be cutting down the nets.Ben Glidden