After being pushed around by the wider bodies of Georgetown and Marquette at the end of the season to fall to No. 19, Syracuse found a solution. When James Southerland walks into the arena he is within shooting range, so Michael Carter-Williams just kept throwing him the ball whereever he was. The combo was so good that neither player ever sat in Syracuse's 75-63 win over Seton Hall that will ensure at least one more Big East when they take on No. 17 Pittsburgh Thursday.
Southerland, who has now hit 63 of 163 three-pointers while rarely ever getting close enough to the action to get fouled, went six of nine on threes and once again attempted no foul shots. For the season he has attempted only 47 free throws and 125 two-point shots while hitting 37 percent of his 163 three-pointers. Carter-Williams showed why NBA scouts love him despite his terrible shooting (28% of three-pointers made and 44% of two-pointers) by setting Southerland and others up with 14 assists.
The match-up with Seton Hall was almost perfect for the long but thin Orangemen, as it gave them a match-up against basically a four-guard offense. Whether or not the bigger Pitt team can push the Orangemen around Thursday will determine who goes to the Big East semifinal.
For all but a couple of minutes, Jim Boeheim stayed with the same four players on the court, with Brandon Triche providing the dominant hustle and defense and CJ Fair grabbing eight rebounds against the smaller Pirates. With those four on the court, he rotated Rakeem Christmas and Baye Keita, who combined for 14 points and eight rebounds.
After being pushed around by Georgetown and Marquette late in the season, No. 19 Syracuse found a solution to open its last Big East Tournament with a 75-63 win over Seton Hall.