Syracuse Basketball: SU is Sweet 16 bound after eliminating MSU

The Syracuse basketball team continues to troll March Madness as a double digit seed. Orange upset Michigan State on way to Sweet 16, ITLH breaks it down.

The Syracuse basketball team has dominated the series winning five of the past six matchups. To get another win Sunday this Orange team had to stick to their fundamentals.

MSU entered this game top-five in field goal percentage. This Spartans team is a beast offensively.

The first points for the Orange came from their Slovakian star from the TCU game in Marek Dolezaj. He has developed his mid-range jumper which is deadly when he gets in a rhythm.

Speaking of development, Dolezaj and his incredible touch. He really has an innate knowledge of the game, if he was a bit more selfish, he could definitely get some more offense going. Something that was palpable within the first 10 minutes of this game was Paschal Chukwu using his size and getting boards.

If Chukwu was as good as his size, SU would dominate games. He just doesn’t have that intensity and toughness consistently, but he had it in this game. Ever possible board it seemed like he said this is mine.

Although a big momentum shift in the game came with about 10 minutes left in the first stanza. The Spartans had four or five second chance opportunities because of good rebounding or poor anticipation from Syracuse.

This is the third straight hot offense that the Orange have faced that averages over 80 points per game. Within the first 13 minutes, the Spartans only had 12 points, that’s less than a point a minute. If you didn’t think the Orange defense was legit before, you may want to check yourself before you wreck yourself as the kids say.

Although a concern as the first stanza was winding down was Chukwu getting into foul trouble. While Chukwu isn’t the best center in college basketball, his ability at 7-foot-two to man the middle of that zone is invaluable.

And of course to end the half, Matthew Moyer who’s been a relative non-factor this season gets a great block, but Matt McQuaid collects the miss and chucks it up. I think it’s safe to say he didn’t call bank.

Second half

SU’s best NBA prospect is supposed to be Tyus Battle, he had only one point in the first half. SU also gave up 12 boards and five three pointers, while only making one. But only being down three has to be a huge positive knowing all those factors.

The Orange continued to struggle offensively in the second half, but thankfully for their defense the game continued to stay close throughout the second stanza.

Finally the foul trouble boogie monster got Syracuse with Frank Howard fouling out with 6:39 remaining. Although it’s fair to note that the referees were terrible in this game.

Who would’ve thought that SU’s season would be in the hands of Braedon Bayer. SU on a 7-0 run led the game 50-48 with under 2:30 to go. Although the Orange had multiple chances to extend that lead with some open looks from beyond the arc, but they just bottled out.

Then we finally got a snap in the scoreless streak, an absolutely clutch mid range jumper from Tyus Battle to increase SU’s lead to three with less than a minute to go in the game. Speaking of Battle, there was no other player who could’ve iced this win than Tyus. Who was fouled and made some clutch free throws to finish this one off.

After playing three games in such a short condensed amount of time, now SU will finally get some time to breathe. SU continue dancing against the Duke Blue Devils in the Sweet 16 on Friday. This isn’t the best Syracuse team we’ve ever seen, but man this team fights until the end of every game. Who knows how far this march can go, but anything is possible in the month of March.