Before Orange Nation begins worrying about the Hoosiers in a couple days or the possibility of falling short once again in the NCAA Tournament, let‚Äôs take a moment to appreciate SU‚Äôs run to Washington DC. A dominating 81-44 victory over a Montana team that looked like it was better suited for the CBI. Couple that with a gritty win over an upstart Cal squad, and the Orange has some momentum heading into the Sweet 16. Alright, that‚Äôs enough.
Syracuse is two wins away from making its first Final Four appearance since its National Championship in 2003. The Fizz takes a look at the remaining teams that are still alive in the East region, and their odds of surviving through to Atlanta.
Odds of winning the East: 15%
The Eagles are a missed shot or two away from watching the regional semifinals back in Wisconsin. They‚Äôve pulled out two games late against Davidson and Butler, but don‚Äôt expect another clutch comeback against the Hurricanes if Marquette falls behind early. Shane Larkin and company took care of business in the round of 32 against Illinois and proved they could win a physical game. It will be interesting to see how Marquette responds to bruising battle against Miami. The Fizz bets that the road ends on Thursday for the Eagles.
Odds of winning the East: 40%
Right now, Miami and Syracuse had the two most dominating wins in the East since Indiana struggled to beat Temple. But it‚Äôs a brand new weekend. Matchup wise, the Hurricanes would probably like to see the Hoosiers in the Elite 8 when they get past Marquette. Syracuse is playing incredibly fast basketball right now. Michael Carter-Williams court vision looks sharp and that could burn Miami in a transition game. If Syracuse does advance past Indiana, they‚Äôll send the Hurricanes packing for South Beach.
Odds of winning the East: 50%
The most crucial matchup Thursday will be SU‚Äôs bigs against Cody Zeller. The center was a non-factor in IU‚Äôs near collapse to Temple in the second round. If the Owls got some consistent shooting from a second scorer, Cuse fans would be talking about a grudge match with Fran Dunphy‚Äôs bunch. Baye Keita and Rakeem Christmas need to continue their physical play and shut down Zeller once again. Indiana becomes a one-dimensional outside scoring team if so. The Hoosiers are weak right now, and if SU can get by IU, they‚Äôre headed for Atlanta.
Odds of winning the East: 60%
This is still the best team in the entire tournament in my book. But they are wounded. The best medicine for the Hoosiers was four days off. Victor Olidipo is still the best player in the tournament, and the draw for Indiana is interesting. If I am a IU fan, I‚Äôd be more nervous if this team was about to face Florida Gulf Coast. No disrespect to the Orange, but no team is hotter than the Eagles. Syracuse can put up a fight if it gets rebounding and solid scoring from its primary players, but the East is still for the Hoosiers taking.
Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald