Syracuse Basketball has made it to the Final Four six times in program history. Each one is special in its own way. Amazing games, amazing players, amazing memories. Fizz Four: Final Four Runs is a series where we rank the top March Madness runs Syracuse Basketball has had.
No. 3: 2013 Final Four
Let me set the scene– before the 2012-2013 season even begins Syracuse is ranked 9th in the entire country. The Orange start the season 18-1, dropping one forgetful game to Temple. They falter a little bit in conference play, but make it all the way to the Big East Championship Game. Then, the bracketologists give SU a four-seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Got it? Perfect. Scene is set. Let’s get to some madness.
Well, the first two rounds aren’t too much madness. #4 Syracuse trounces #13 Montana in its first game 81-34. There’s not much else to say about that game except the entire Syracuse team saw the court and no Montana player scored more than five points. It was impressive, but it was also expected.
The next round was a little closer, but still an expected outcome as #4 Syracuse took down #12 California 66-60. It was a combined effort for the Orange and the win was Jim Boeheim’s 50th tournament victory. But let’s keep moving because the impressive stuff is what happened next.
Syracuse is now in the Sweet Sixteen and runs into one of the best teams in the country– #1 Indiana. This was the Victor Oladipo/Cody Zeller/Yogi Ferrell Indiana team. It was a team that had seven wins over ranked opponents and was ranked number one in the country for ten weeks. Indiana was stacked, but sophomore Michael Carter Williams, who was averaging just eight points per game in the tournament before that point, went OFF for a career-high 24 points, while also adding six rebounds and four steals. The Orange held the Hoosiers to their lowest scoring total of the season and pulled off a pretty comfortable 61-50 win. The win moved Syracuse on to the Elite Eight for the ninth time in school history.
The Elite Eight wasn’t too easy either. There were no Cindarellas that Syracuse ran into and could have an easy game against. Instead, after #1 Indiana, Syracuse had to face #3 Marquette. Earlier that year, the Golden Eagles beat the Orange 74-71, but this time around it was a defensive battle and Syracuse put on a clinic. The Orange held the Golden Eagles to just 23% from the floor and 39 points, in a 55-39 win. MCW turned in a double-double as Syracuse made its first Final Four since winning the National Championship ten years before.
The tough opponents kept on coming in Atlanta as #4 Michigan lined up against Syracuse. The Wolverines had six future-NBA players on that team and were ranked in the top five for pretty much the entire season. The Orange came out of the gates sluggish and went into halftime down by 11, which was their largest halftime deficit of the season. Syracuse fought back in the second frame, pulling the game to within one with 41 seconds left. But a questionable offensive foul call against Brandon Triche and a pair of free throws by Michigan finalized a 61-56 loss and halted Syracuse’s run.
Syracuse Basketball’s 2013 Final Four run had it all. Defense. Offense. Blowouts. Close games. It seemed like the Orange had the momentum that year and could have won it all, but they came up just short.