The Final Four begins on April 6 in Atlanta and one of the most intriguing match up will be the battle between storied schools Syracuse and Michigan.
With anticipation building for the conclusion of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, we reached out to Kevin Weinheimer of Inside the Loud House to answer a few questions about the Syracuse road to the Final Four. What did it take for the team to get this far and how can they finish their run with a title? Kevin gives us those answers.
How would you assess Louisville’s play going into the Final Four? What got them here?
Syracuse is playing their best basketball of the season at the right time. Everyone in Central New York knew this team had infinite potential, and it is being realized this postseason. As for what has gotten them to the Final Four, it is the worst kept secret in college basketball lately: Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone.
Now don’t get me wrong, that isn’t the only factor. Michael Carter-Williams has been playing out of his mind in the Big East Tournament and the NCAAs, and that absolutely is a key reason why this team has gone so far. But there is a lot less pressure to make plays offensively when your defense sets and NCAA record for the lowest number of points allowed by a defense through a team’s first four games of the tournament.
Everyone in Syracuse already knew this, but the country is getting a reminder why Jim Boeheim is in the hall of fame.
How does Jim Boeheim’s experience in the Final Four play in Syracuse’s performance?
This kind of plays in to my answer for question number one. Jim Boeheim was the head coach at Syracuse when John Beilein was the head coach at division II LeMoyne College in Syracuse in the 80s and part of the 90s, and Boeheim’s first hire as a head coach was to hire Rick Pitino as an assistant on his staff at Syracuse in 1976 (he crashed Pitino’s honeymoon in New York City actually).
There are few coaches in the country with the experience Boeheim has, and it goes without saying he has the most coaching experience out of any of the remaining teams.
What does Syracuse have to do to get past Michigan?
It sounds simple. but Syracuse needs to continue what it has been doing to win a national championship. Their defense needs to stay at the elite level they have been playing at, and the team needs to continue to protect the ball.
If the defense can find a way to shut down Michigan, the Orange could be staring at a National Championship game either against the Shockers (which would be a shock), or against a Louisville team that the Orange split the regular season with in two close games and lost a Big East Championship in the second half to a team that was on fire defensively.
What’s your prediction, does Syracuse win it all?
I’m going to fall back on Jim Boeheim’s record of never losing in a national semifinals game in his career (3-0), as well as his record against John Beilein (9-0) and say the Orange find a way to get it done in the semi’s.
As for the title game, I think this team is the hottest team in the country, and having seen the Louisville press just 2 and a half weeks ago, I think Syracuse gets it done and wins Boeheim his second ring to go along with all his other accolades.