That may be the best college basketball game many of us will see. There was an epic 6-overtime game monumental because of its length and stage, but from a sheer basketball standpoint this contest was as good as it gets. What makes March is the magic, the moments, the memories. This game had all of those dynamics and was played as well as either coach could reasonably ask. Simply put, it was one hell of a basketball game. At the very least it deserves a Fizz 5.
1. Brandon Triche sets the tone.
Brandon came out firing and made his mark early. He came out and answered Wisconsin’s attempt to slow it down. Defensively he was active and forced the issue. On offense he was fully engaged. Triche finished the first half with 9 points and SU’s big 11-0 run happened with him and Dion on the floor. That lineup surprisingly never returned in the second half. Jim Boeheim admitted after the game he wanted to play Triche more but just didn‚Äôt know when to sit Scoop. Look for more Triche/Waiters Saturday.
2. Dion is the best offensive weapon Boeheim has had since Carmelo.
Kenny Smith called Waiters the best shooting guard in the country. The Fizz has already made this case. He‚Äôs a great decision maker. His defense continues to impress. His offensive repertoire is absurd. If he‚Äôs hitting his jumper he‚Äôs close to unguardable. He‚Äôs quick with the ball. The only question when he gets to the rim is whether he will yam in your face or drive around you. He‚Äôs that good.
3. Jordan Taylor can play too.
Some of the shots Taylor hit were insane. JT finishes his career with the best assist-to-turnover ratio in NCAA history. Swallow that. He had 6 assists vs. 1 turnover last night. Taylor hit circus shots and helped keep the Badgers afloat when they lost their second best player, Jared Berggren, for much of the game because of foul trouble. Tip of the cap to #11 in red. Thanks for a tremendous show and good luck in the league. He‚Äôs big enough, talented enough and strong enough to make a rotation.
4. Hello there Mr. Fair.
C.J. Fair has been horrid the past few weeks. Fans knew it. He knew it. His teammates knew it. Offensively he was a level of inept usually reserved for Baye Keita. He couldn‚Äôt buy a bucket with Bill Gates’ money. But Dion’s one assist on the night was the dunk that got C.J. going. Fair was tremendous on both ends with 15 points and a stuffed box score. He had all of Syracuse‚Äôs 4 steals, and also led the Orange with 7 rebounds.
5. If Kris Joseph gets going, watch out.
For the second straight game, Syracuse had 4 players in double figures. It should’ve had 5. For as well as Wisconsin shot (the Badgers knocked down an incredible 14 bleeping 3‚Äôs), if Kris makes a few relatively easy layups, the Orange win without the drama. Kris was passive at times, and when he was aggressive¬†he was incapable of finishing. Joseph‚Äôs at his best in the mid-range, but he‚Äôs just not a great finisher at the rim. He misses layups consistently. K-Jo also missed a crucial front end of a 1-and-1 on SU’s final possession, which could’ve put the Orange up by 3.¬†He‚Äôs the last cog missing of the SU offense.¬†James Southerland didn‚Äôt get minutes because Fair was on fire, but he’s played well recently. Waiters and Scoop Jardine are on a roll. Triche is making the most of his minutes. If K-Jo gets going, the Orange will be in New Orleans and might return with some hardware.
Posted: Craig Hoffman