Indiana looked vulnerable in barely surviving No. 9 Temple in the Round of 32 on Sunday, and the East Region No. 1 was further exposed by No. 4 Syracuse on Thursday night, with the Orange absolutely shutting them down in a 61-50 result.
Syracuse jumped out to a 14-5 lead and really never looked back, with their 2-3 zone proving nearly impenetrable for the Indiana offence, which averaged 79.5 points per game this season and finished second in the nation in terms of efficiency.
While Hoosiers prospects Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller came in ranked higher by NBA draft experts, it was Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams who stood out from the crowd and continued to add to his own draft stock, dropping 24 points, six rebounds, four steals, one assist and one block for the Elite Eight bound Orange.
Zeller, especially, added fuel to the fire of doubters who see him as a vastly overrated prospect (this guy), as his 3-of-10 performance against Syracuse sees him finish the tournament with averages of 12 points, 6.3 rebounds and an inefficient 44 per cent conversion rate from the field.
This is the flaw of Cody Zeller. Struggles against longer or athletic defenders. Can see him struggle in the post in the NBA.
— Probasketballdraft (@Probballdraft) March 29, 2013
Struggles against longer defenders and athletic defenders? That bodes really well for his chances in the best professional league in the world.
Fittingly enough, the East Regional Final will be an all Big East affair, as Syracuse’s big win over Indiana sets up an Elite Eight matchup with No. 3 Marquette, who easily took down a very good Miami team earlier on Thursday night. So much for all of that talk about the Big Ten, huh?
For at least one more game in this tournament, Jim Boeheim faces will live on in the crowd…