ATLANTA — A quick take on Syracuse’s 61-56 loss to the Michigan Wolverines at the Final Four in the Georgia Dome on Saturday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: Down by as many as many as 11 in the second half, as 8 with 3:54 left, Syracuse pulled to within one point at 57-56 with 28 seconds left after James Southerland, who had struggled all game, hit a big 3. Trey Burke was then fouled and hit 1/2 from the line to give SU a final chance with 28 seconds left. But Brandon Triche was called for a (debatable) charge with 19 seconds left, Jon Horford was 1/2 from the line and Michigan got a stop on the final possession to send the Wolverines to the NCAA final.
ANALYSIS: As has been the case throughout the tournament, the defense put SU in a position to make it a close game. Michigan shot just 39 percent from the field and 8-24 from 3. But the Orange didn’t have enough firepower to keep up with the Wolverines. The Orange were particularly bad from distance, shooting 3-14 and was 1-7 from 3 in the second half.
HERO: CJ Fair was the only player who had any kind of offensive rhythm, and led Syracuse with 22 points. Mitch McGary punished the Orange from the high post, finding his teammates for open looks on 6 assists. He also had a double-double with 10 points on 11 rebounds. Glenn Robinson III had 10 points and 6 boards.
ZERO: SU got little to nothing from Southerland until the last five minutes of the game, when he scored on a dunk at that 3. He was 2-9 from the field and 1-5 from 3. Burke hit a couple of big free throws down the stretch, but the National Player of the Year was a non factor with 7 points on 1-8 shooting.
WHAT’S NEXT: Michigan will play Louisville on Monday evening for the national championship. The Cardinals won earlier in the night, 72-68, over Wichita State.