SWEET 16 GAME PREVIEW (GONZAGA V.S. SYRACUSE) GAME IS FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 2016

SWWE 16 GAME PREV LOGO

MIDWEST REGION

 #10 SYRACUSE V.S. #10 GONZAGA

FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 2016

9:40PM  CBS

 

HOW THEY GOT HERE

SYRACUSE: BEAT #7 DAYTON 70-51, BEAT #15 MTSU 75-50

GONZAGA: BEAT SETON HALL 68-52, BEAT UTAH 82-59

 

 

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS

SYRACUSE: (21-13)                       GONZAGA: (28-7)

M. GBINIJE  F                                       K. WILTJER  F

T. ROBERSON  F                                  D. SABONIS  F

D. COLEMAN  G                                   J. PERKINS  G

T. COONEY  G                                       K. DRANGINIS  G

M. RICHARDSON  G                           E. McCLELLAN  G

 

 

KEYS TO VICTORY:

Both teams can be described as surprises heading into their Sweet 16 match-up. Syracuse was supposedly on the outside looking in when Selection Sunday came but got a break. Gonzaga was also considered on the bubble before they won their conference tournament championship. Both teams were excellent in their first 2 games of the NCAA tournament.

Jim Boeheim’s squad is not deep, however they have a talented starting 5 as well as the vaunted 2-3 zone. F Michael Gbinije is the teams go to guy. He has a very good chance of being selected in this June’s NBA Draft. F Tyler Roberson provides length and athleticism in the back of the Orange patented 2-3 zone. Guards Trevor Cooney (12.8pts, 2.4reb) and Freshmen Malachi Richardson (13.1pts, 4.3reb) will have to make shots in order for the Orange to stay with Gonzaga. Cooney can be the X-factor in this game. He has shown the ability to get hot from 3-point range and it is imperative that he plays well.

Gonzaga is the original mid-major program. The job Head Coach Mark Few has done at the school is second to none. He has spurned offers to leave Gonzaga many times and has built a national power where few people thought he could. One of his best attributes is the ability to recruit foreign players. F Domantas Sabonis is a potential NBA lottery pick and will be a handful for Syracuse to handle.

F Kyle Wiltjer (20.4pts, 6.4reb), a former Duke transfer, is a 6’10” match-up nightmare who can play both inside and out. Freshmen G Josh Perkins will have to be able to get the Zags offense running smoothly against the 2-3 zone they will be going up against. Fellow G Eric McClellan (10.9pts, 3.3reb, 1.9ast) will need to hit outside shots.

Both coaches are phenomenal. Jim Boeheim is a Hall of Fame coach and his 2-3 zone causes serious problems in the NCAA tournament when teams do not have a lot of time to prepare for it. Mark Few will have the court named after him in due time and is on his way to being a Hall of Fame coach himself. The fact that Gonzaga was a lower seed seems to have taken pressure of both the team and coach.

 

THE PICK:

Both teams are on a hot streak. That is what makes March Madness so exciting. You throw out the regular season and it is all about what you do in the tournament. While Syracuse has seemingly reinvented themselves in the first 2 rounds we feel Mark Few and his team will out-duel the Orange. The duo of Domantas Sabonis and Kyle Wiltjer will be too much for Jim Boeheim’s team to overcome. Mark Few will be one win away from his first Final 4 appearance.

GONZAGA BY 5

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