2013 Sweet 16 Predictions: Syracuse vs. Indiana March Madness

Last Updated: March 27th, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Syraucse MascotThe 2013 NCAA Tournament continues on Thursday night from the East Region, where the top seeded Indiana Hoosiers are going to hope to take care of one of the upstarts of this tournament, the Syracuse Orange in a building that the Big East reps have historically played relatively well in, the Verizon Center in Washington DC.

March Madness: Syracuse Orange vs. Indiana Hoosiers
Syracuse vs. Indiana Location: Verizon Center, Washington DC
Syracuse vs. Indiana Date/Time: Thursday, March 28th, 9:45 p.m. ET
March Madness Television Coverage: CBS

Key #1: The Orange have to continue to attack and get to the foul line
The uglier the Orange can make this game, the better shape that they are going to be in. Their run in the Big East Tournament to the finale of the event and the fact that they are here in the Sweet 16 can be attributed to the fact that they are attacking the basket from all over the court, and they are doing so both in transition and in the half-court game. In the first two rounds of this tourney, Syracuse has taken a total of 72 free throws, more than any team in the dance, and it has forced opponents to take a whopping 23.0 personal fouls per game. The Hoosiers are a solid team, and they don’t often get into foul trouble, but if they do, they, just like any other solid team in America, could really be tested with their depth issues. If Syracuse doesn’t get to the line at least 20 times in this game, we don’t think that it is going to have the horses to be able to keep up with one of the best teams in America.

Syracuse vs. Indiana Odds at Diamond Sportsbook
#4 Syracuse Orange +5.5
#1 Indiana Hoosiers -5.5
Over/Under 136
Click Here to Bet Your Sweet 16 Picks!

Key #2: The Hoosiers have to keep the basketball moving against the 2-3 zone
The key to beating the 2-3 zone is good, crisp passing to keep everyone moving. If the Hoosiers throw it around like they did against the Temple Owls last week in the Round of 32 though, they could ultimately be in a boatload of trouble. Indiana only had nine assists on 19 made field goals in that game, and it turned the ball over 12 times. That ratio has to at least be flipped for this to be a successful offensive effort as well. We know that IU has a ton of players that can pick up a half dozen assists on any given night, as we saw it night in and night out in the Big Ten campaign against some of the best defenses in America. However, we also saw this unit really struggle against Temple over the weekend, and there were just too many sloppy possessions and too much time spent dribbling and holding onto the basketball. If that’s how Thursday night plays out, the top seed in the East is going to be in a lot of trouble, because the Orange are going to be all over the place defensively in the half-court.

Diamond Sportsbook

Key #3: The time is here for James Southerland to come alive
It’s tough to admit if you’re a Syracuse fan, but your Orange aren’t the more talented team on the court. Don’t feel bad though, as the Hoosiers might be the most talented team in America this season. The great equalizer to that talent though, is the ability to shoot the ball from long range. There aren’t many that are truly proficient at this for the Orange, but Southerland is the man that really could be the one to turn the tide. Thus far in this tournament though, the embattled senior only has three triples, and he’s going to need at least that many this time around in all likelihood for Syracuse to live another day. Southerland knocked down 79 threes this year, and he has shot a whopping 40.3 percent from long range. When the ball comes his way, he’s going to have to rip it, grip it, and score it. That’s the best opportunity for Syracuse to get points in bunches, and as we have seen several times before, regardless of the foe, Southerland has the ability to be a real game changer all by himself.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 @ 8:31 pm (EST)
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