WASHINGTON – The Big East will have at least one team in the Final Four after fans in Washington watched Syracuse dominate Indiana by double digits after Marquette did the same thing in the first game. The two teams will give Washington fans one more chance to watch Syracuse in a Big East contest. Brandon Triche hit a jumper with just under eight minutes to play in the first half to make it 18-7, and Indiana never could get within singled digits except for a brief run to pull with seven points a couple of minutes.
Michael Carter-Williams slashed to the basket and pulled up for three three pointers to score 24 points, and the Orangemen’s famous 2-3 zone frustrated the normally dominant Cody Zeller and Victor Oladipo. Momentum built in the arena as fans appeared to want to cheer one more Big East win before Syracuse goes to the ACC, and Marquette fans also enjoyed the opportunity to cheer against Indiana coach Tom Crean, who left Marquette for Indiana.
Keith Smart did not play when one seed Indiana faced four seed Syracuse in the East Regional Semi-Final. Indiana could have used Keith Smart’s magic in the first NCAA tournament meeting between the two storied programs since the famed 1987 NCAA title game featuring a last second Keith Smart shot to give Indiana its fifth NCAA title.
From the opening tip, Syracuse dominated the game. Indiana had 12 first half turnovers and missed free throw after free throw to give Syracuse a twelve point halftime lead. Syracuse played the same two-three zone it has played for the past three decades. And Indiana looked lost.
Syracuse, the country’s second best defensive field goal percentage team this year, completely dominated Indiana from tip to finish. Pre-season player of the year nominee Cody Zeller looked lost, finishing 3-10 from the floor with 10 points. Sporting News Player of the Year Victor Oladipo finished 5-6 from the floor with 16 points, but had four turnovers, four fouls, and was largely a non-factor in the lopsided Syracuse victory.
Syracuse held the Hoosiers, who had consistently been one of the nation’s best offensive teams, to 50 points on 34% shooting.
The Orange finished with three players in double figures, led by Michael Carter-Williams, who finished 9-19 from the floor with 24 points.
The Orange earned the right to face the Marquette Golden Eagles in the East Regional Final, on Saturday. Marquette defeated Syracuse 74-71 behind 26 points by Davante Gardner, but that game was in Milwaukee where Marquette has won 25 straight games.
John Pudner contributed to this report.