Three Man Weave is a regular feature on Aggro Swag. Here, Haggleman, Jeezy, and LCP will discuss, well, anything. You’ll probably see a lot of sports, specifically Syracuse basketball, but nothing is off limits here. Except dancing to Pitbull. And Flo-rida too. Today, we look at Syracuse’s performance in the tournament so far, as well as what the Sweet 16 has in store.
Did we not tell you that college basketball was AWESOME?! The first four days of the NCAA Tournament were bonkers, thanks in part to a school no one knew existed until three days ago. Most of the favorites are still alive and the West Region looks like an atomic bomb was dropped on it. Aggro Swag’s Syracuse Orange survived their trip to the West Coast, and now find themselves up against Indiana and Tom Crean in Washington, DC. It’s about to get mad real, son. Best of all, Jemele Hill looks stupid.
Syracuse’s games against Montana and California could not have looked any more different. What are your takeaways from the first two rounds for the Orange?
Haggleman Mondays: It’s difficult to take anything away from a game where you play the absolute worst team in the history of Earth. I would believe if you told me the Big Sky Conference was really just a fancy name for an intramural tournament at a Division III school. At no point on Thursday did Montana come close to comprehending anything about the game of basketball. Then there was Cal. They were okay I guess, but it was disappointing to see Syracuse not grab that game by the throat in the 1,000 chances they had. If there’s anything to take away from this weekend it’s that Syracuse has the defensive talent to win a championship, but as usual it’s the offense that may be their downfall.
Jeezy Sanchez: I should probably send the Selection Committee a fruit basket. Whether it was repaying us for having to play Marquette in the 2nd round in 2011 or just general negligence, Syracuse got the worst 13-seed, and frankly the worst team in the entire tournament with Montana. I wouldn’t want any part of Southern, Liberty, NC A&T, Florida Gulf Coast, Western Kentucky, Davidson…pretty much anyone else. Montana sucked. It was nice to see Syracuse completely dominate a team from the tip. Cal sucked too, but the Orange tried to match their terribleness. Once again, thank god for Baye Keita and his magical shoes that have given him basketball talent this March. Oh, and Trevor Cooney dunked. That was awesome.
LCP: I don’t think I learned all that much this weekend other than how on god’s green earth did Montana win 25 games?!? That team couldn’t win five games in the America East conference (and that’s saying something). On Saturday, we completely shut down Cal and their star Allen Crabbe Pattie, but as usual we made things interesting down the stretch. If there’s one thing I can take away from this weekend it’s that this may be one of the best defensive teams Boeheim’s ever had– wish I could say the same about our offense :(.
The 2nd half against Cal was a train wreck. What happened?
HM: I don’t know what happened and I watched the whole damn thing. I think some of it had to do with Cal’s Hack-a-Rak-and-everyone-else gameplan where they committed over 15 fouls in the second half alone. It broke up any rhythm the Orange had in the first place and put Syracuse on the line where, holy smokes man alive, this team is bad. If there were an option to just take 1 point to save yourself from the embarrassment of attempting to make 2, I’d think everyone except Baye and Southerland would choose that option right about now.
JS: The Syracuse team from February showed up. They were careless with the ball, couldn’t throw it in the ocean and completely forgot how to play the sport. It was so bad, yet so fascinating. The next jumper from the free throw line that Brandon Triche makes will be his first. I haven’t seen guard play at the end of a game as poor as MCW and Triche. It looks like CJ Fair is playing Hotshot Basketball at the free throw line. I hope that was a blip on the radar, not a sign of things to come against Indiana.
LCP: Syracuse forgot how to play basketball. Missed free throws, dumb turnovers and sad triche face all happened in the final 20 minutes of play. Nobody could do anything right it seemed (except Baye). I don’t necessarily think it was a case of stalling on offense, just poor decision-making. From now on, just throw it to Baye and get the f*** out the way!
Finish this sentence: If Baye Moussa Keita made that dunk from the free throw line, I would have ______.
HM: Called a heart inspector because I may have died right there on the living room floor.
JS: Quit my job, moved to Senegal, and started the construction of a 500 foot statue commemorating that very play.
LCP: Had to change my pants.
Temple couldn’t finish the job against Indiana, and now Syracuse will see the Hoosiers in the Sweet 16, a rematch of the 1987 title game. What will the Orange need to do to win?
HM: They have to find the brilliance that got them a 16 point 2nd half lead vs. Louisville. If it wasn’t true before, every pundit in America now has Louisville as the overwhelming favorite to win this Tournament and Syracuse had that team beat just over a week ago before the magic ran out. I would say Syracuse needs about 30 to 35 minutes of that type of play with 5 to 10 minutes of average basketball sprinkled in to beat a good but not dominant Indiana team. What’s clear is we cannot have any minutes of “oh my god fumblerooski oh no can’t we just get across halfcourt?” basketball that we saw vs. Louisville and Cal. That sh*t will get you got.
JS: Make shots. It sounds simple, but it’s not simple for Syracuse. If they play up to Indiana’s intensity and aren’t caught up in the moment, the Hoosiers can be beat. The 2-3 zone must be as active as it has been the last two games, and the bigs MUST keep Cody Zeller under control in the paint. Whoever Victor Oladipo covers will likely be a non-factor, so the other 4 guys need to step up in a big way. I hope he covers Triche. For all that is holy, please cover Triche.
LCP: Play smart. This seems like a tall task for one of the Derpiest teams in college basketball, but it’s the truth. We can’t have 15 turnovers against Indiana like we did against Cal and expect to win. Take good shots, limit Indiana to one shot on offense and stay out of foul trouble [looking at you James Southerland]. Syracuse doesn’t have a ‘Wiz’ Khalifa Wyatt on their roster, but if they play an almost perfect team game they can pull this one out their butts.
Now for a prediction. Is Indiana on Upset Alert?
HM: That’s a definite yes for me. Indiana almost got beat defensively playing 5 on 1 against Khalif Wyatt Earp, and they struggled to score against a Temple defense ranked outside of the top 100 in efficiency. Syracuse poses a much tougher challenge for the Hoosier offense, so I think it’s fair to assume Syracuse will be in this game until the end. And if history serves as a lesson, in the last few minutes this Syracuse team can either steal ’em (at Louisville), or hand ’em over on a silver platter (home Louisville). It should be fun.
JS: No. Syracuse just can’t decide if they are a great team or not. I can see a game similar to the Big East Championship against Louisville where the Orange come out firing on all cylinders, dunking on fools and hitting threes from the parking lot. They take a double-digit lead into halftime and follow it up with the most Syracuse collapse ever. Someone will get in foul trouble, the ball turns into a greased watermelon and Michael Carter-Williams literally craps himself. Something like that.
LCP: YES. Looking at this matchup up and down, I don’t see that big of a talent gap. Indiana doesn’t exactly shoot the lights out, with the exception of Hulls and Watford their three-point shooting is inconsistent. Oladipo and Zeller will cause problems, but if we limit their touches it can be done. I’m usually the kiss of death when it comes to predictions, but I just don’t care- Syracuse wins by 4!
OK, on to the most important story of the tournament: Dunk City. How awesome is Florida Gulf Coast University and why didn’t we go there for college?
HM: Oh man, there was such a range of emotion on that first crazy lob that put Georgetown away. It was like “oh nooo what are you think- OHHHHHHHHHHH”. I think my reaction was basically Phil Mickelson fan falling down a hill.
Also, please note that virtually every dunk attempted by Dunk City was infinitely harder than the one Baye tried. Love you forever, Baye.
JS: Do you want to know the terrifying truth? Or do you want to see a few dunks? DUNKS! DUNKS!
LCP: If this team wasn’t a 15 seed I would hate them. But since they are, hell I think they are great! By far the most entertaining team to watch in the tournament. This dance will be a new phenomenon.