Originally posted on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 3/14/12

9) Depth- If there was one team in the tournament who could afford to lose a player of Melo’s stature it’s Syracuse. This team has 7-8 guys that can arguably start on any Big East team. While the combination of Baye Moussa-Keita and Rakeem Christmas is a downgrade from Melo, they still have the talent to step in and get the job done.

8) The effect of the 2-3 zone- Preparing against Boeheim’s zone can be a headache for head coaches. Moreover, preparing against the zone when a coach only has one or two days to do so is even worse. Teams outside the Big East aren’t used to seeing this long and aggressive zone, which can throw teams out of rhythm from what they are accustom to.

7) Senior Leadership- Guys like Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph have been here before. They’ve played on the big stage; they know what it’s like and what it takes to succeed in this tournament. While neither of these players has gotten pass the Sweet 16 in their career, they still have the experience of playing in 4 tournaments, and experience is one of the most if not the most, underrated factors of the tournament.

6) Ability to Press- Now that Melo is ineligible, this will give Boeheim the opportunity to press for most of the game and wear the other team down. Because of the depth this team has, Boeheim can actively sub players in and out and always make sure he’s got a fresh roster out on the court.

5) Dion Waiters- Whoever said this guy isn’t a superstar or isn’t Syracuse’s go to guy, has not watched many games this year. Waiters can create, get to the hoop at will, and force turnovers at the top of the zone better than almost every player in the nation. He has more confidence than anybody on the floor, and he will take it upon himself to lead Syracuse to the promise land.

4) Potential Matchups- In the round of 32, Syracuse can be matched up with Kansas State. While they pose a threat with their offensive rebounding (16th in the nation), and Syracuse has been notorious this year for giving up offensive rebounds, Syracuse still has more talent. Freshman point guard, Angel Rodriguez, is averaging 2.6 turnovers per game, which would be a big question mark going against Syracuse’s zone and full court pressure. The only team in the East Region that brings a superstar big man that could trouble the Orange and change the whole game is Ohio State’s Jarred Sullinger.

3) Staying close to home- Being put in the East region is a huge advantage for Syracuse. They only have to travel to Pittsburgh and then Boston if they make it that far. Virtually, every game up until the Final 4 will be a home game for the Orange.

2) Already played without Melo- This isn’t going to be the first time Syracuse has had to play without their big man. They played 3 games (2-1) all against Big East teams who are now in the tournament. While they were not as sharp, they can look back at those games and see what they need to improve on and how they can use those improvements to take down the teams that lie ahead.

1)   Resiliency- This team has battled adversity all year long. First with the Bernie Fine scandal, then with Fab Melo’s first ineligibility, then the drug testing issue came up, and now Fab Melo is gone again. Through all this, they have still managed to go 31-2. People shouldn’t forget that, and shouldn’t be surprised if this team is flying to New Orleans to play in the Final 4.





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