It has been several days but it still hasn’t entirely sunk in that the Orange are in the Sweet Sixteen. The Orange will have to deal with an elite offense for the fourth straight game, having handled Arizona State, TCU and Michigan State, holding all three to under sixty points. However, the next opponent is the most daunting of all and the Orange will surely have to hit some shots to beat Duke. Just ask Jay Bilas. Here is everything you need to know before the Orange and Blue Devils renew their rivalry in the Big Dance.
Another Late Start
Tip-off is tentatively scheduled for 9:37, airing on CBS. However, the game is the second of the Mid-West Regional double-header. The other Sweet 16 matchup in this bracket, between Kansas and Clemson is set to start just after seven on the same court in Omaha. While the start time is listed as 9:37 it is actually 25 minutes after whenever the first game ends. It will not start before 9:37.
Orange Looking to Even the Series
Syracuse and Duke have met 11 times in their histories, seven times since the Orange joined the ACC in 2013. The Blue Devils hold a slight edge in the all-time series, winning seven of the 11 matches. The teams have also met twice in the NCAA Tournament. The first meeting came way back in 1966 in the Elite Eight, with the Blue Devils winning 91-81. They would meet again in 1988, but again Duke was victorious. The Orange have won two of the last three meetings overall, but lost the most recent one, an ugly 60-44 result at Cameron Indoor about a month ago. Jim Boeheim is also looking to bring his record against Coach K to an even 5-5.
Zone on Zone
If Jim Boeheim patented the zone, he may way to sue Coach K for infringing the patent. After working together with Team USA, Coach K has adopted his good friend’s defensive scheme and has used it with tremendous effectiveness in recent years, particularly this year. After losing to St. John’s at the Garden earlier this year, K has flipped the switch, employing the zone on more than 81% of opponent’s possessions. Before committing to the zone, Duke’s defense was outside the top 50 nationally. Now it is in the top 10. The Orange have held three elite offenses to uncharacteristically disasterous totals. It may come down to who can do a better job shooting over the zone. I think we all know who that favors. Hint: it is not the Orange.