Any team team wanting to beat the Shockers is also going to have to get on the boards. They’re 27th in the NCAA at 38.4 rebounds per game, and have a balanced offensive attack, with five players averaging more than seven points a game.
Peyton Siva and Russ Smith have been playing at another level at the guard position, and Gorgui Dieg has been there at the rim to knock opponents shots into the 3rd row of seats every time they dare to drive to the basket.
The depth of the Big-Ten conference and the team’s inexperience (they were the youngest team invited to the tournament this year) were major culprits in the late-season swoon that led to Michigan’s respectable-but-inauspicious 4-seed in the Big Dance.
The reality is that Syracuse doesn’t have the same talent separating them from the rest of the competition compared to the past few years. There is more parrity in the Big East, especially at the top of it, this season.