The Syracuse Orange have reached the school’s sixth Final Four… all but the first one have been under coach Jim Boeheim. Riding on the shoulders of Michael Gbinije to an improbable run to the Final Four, here’s how the team will win their second title in school history.
1. The Element of Surprise
The Syracuse Orange were not supposed to be here. I don’t mean here in the Final Four, I mean here in the NCAA tournament. Many were shocked that ‘Cuse got in, but they have made the most of their opportunity. The thing about this team is that it is not the same team we saw all season. The Orange struggled with mediocrity at the beginning, in the middle and even at the end of the regular season, but are rolling now. It makes it hard to prepare for them — even for a conference rival like North Carolina — because this is just not the same team.
2. Jim Boeheim
They don’t get much more legendary than Jim Boeheim. Although I am still unsure if he has just under 1,000 wins or over 1,100 — due to NCAA discipline — I am certain that he knows how to get the job done. Boeheim has reached five Final Fours and won a title in 2003. Very rarely does Syracuse take the floor and isn’t the most prepared and the harder working team on the court.
3. Michael Gbinije
The 6’7 Gbinije has left his footprint all over this NCAA tournament, and may have raised his NBA draft stock dramatically in the process. He is just as
well rounded offensively as Buddy Hield, but may have an upper hand on Hield when it comes to athleticism. Gbinije is a headache off the dribble and has range to knock down threes at a 40 percent clip. He can take over a game, but his free throw shooting is very weak and might be a problem late in close games. Still, Gbinije is a strong leader and has plenty of teammates that can help carry the load on offense.
4. The 2-3 Zone
Fifty-five point eight. 55.8. That is the amount of points per game the Orange have allowed in the tournament. The ‘Cuse 2-3 zone is legendary in the college hoops world and has gotten Jim Boeheim many wins. It frustrates. It makes you forget how to play. It causes turnovers. It works. It is said that you beat a zone with the three ball; North Carolina shoots 32 percent from deep as a team. This may be the Cuse’s ticket to another championship.
What do you think? Did I miss anything? Let us know below.