March Madness ends in heartbreak for Syracuse. A 62-46 loss to Houston sends the Orange back to the Salt City. The offense wasn‚Äôt there, defense wasn‚Äôt there either. It seemed like Houston just overmatched Syracuse in every sense. The Orange had a great year, but the Cougars were just too much.
Houston‚Äôs rebounding ability and tactics were heavily hyped up this entire week. We heard all bout Kelvin Sampson‚Äôs ‚Äòbubble drill,‚Äô in which the coach puts a literal lid on the rim and has his team fight for rebounds in practice. Their numbers elude to great rebounding so that‚Äôs what was expected and they didn‚Äôt disappoint. It was really an incredible sight. Every time a shot went up on either side of the floor the Houston basketball team turned into a bunch of real Cougars and fought for the ball as if their lives depend on it.
Houston‚Äôs hustle and veracity were ridiculous, it‚Äôs difficult to think of a basketball team that plays with more heart and hustle than this one.
It was bound to happen eventually. At some point, we knew the Orange would fail to shoot and it would be their downfall. Coach Boeheim‚Äôs squad couldn‚Äôt find a shot today, shooting 5-23 from behind the arc. The coach‚Äôs son didn‚Äôt have it. Everyone has an off day, that happens, but if you‚Äôre going to have an off day someone better pick up the slack. No one did for the Orange. It seemed as if Syracuse had no gameplan, just wasted trips one after the other.
Joe Girard didn‚Äôt have it, Quincy Guerrier didn‚Äôt have it, Marek Dolezaj didn‚Äôt have it, and Alan Griffin certainly didn‚Äôt either. Houston is a great team, but this was a game Syracuse absolutely could‚Äôve won. If it wasn‚Äôt for horrible offense, they would‚Äôve. SU looked lost every time down the floor, regardless of who had the ball.
Jesse Edwards was superb in this game. His stats might not have been the most glamorous we‚Äôve ever seen, 6 rebounds, 5 points, 2 blocks, but he was great on both ends. On offense, he rebounded well and provided a reliable shot in the post at times, and on defense, he was long, batted the ball out of the paint, and stayed out of foul trouble, what more can you ask?
Edwards has a bright future on the hill and so does the Syracuse basketball team. With Benny Williams coming in next season, Orange fans should be excited about what the future holds.
This was a great season of SU basketball, one that should instill hope in the hearts of Syracuse fans. A Sweet 16 appearance in a year people had written them off by January? Are you kidding? One of the most time-capsule type years for this program for sure. I‚Äôll have a reaction FizzCast with Gill Gross up tonight so make sure to look out for that.