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Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Syracuse, Ohio State headline East Region


The ESPN College Basketball Power Index rates three of the four teams remaining in the East Region in the top 15 -- Syracuse at 2, Ohio State at 3 and Wisconsin at 13. Cincinnati, at 36, is the only team outside the top 15 nationally in BPI.

Here are some stats to get you ready for the East Regional Semifinals, which take place Thursday night.

(4) Wisconsin Badgers vs. (1) Syracuse Orange (Thursday, 7:15 ET)

Orange score off turnovers
Syracuse’s opponents have turned the ball over on 24.9 percent of their possessions this season, the highest for any major conference school and the eighth-highest in the nation.


The Orange score 20.3 points per game off turnovers, which also leads all schools in Power 6 conferences.

Turnovers may be harder to come by in the Sweet 16. Syracuse’s opponent, Wisconsin, turns the ball over on just 15.1 percent of its possessions, the second-lowest percentage in the nation.

Easy baskets fuel the Orange
Syracuse is averaging 34.6 points per game in the paint and is 32-0 when it scores at least 20 paint points. In both of Syracuse's losses this season, it was held below 20 points in the paint, 20 transition points and 20 points off turnovers.

The Orange have had only one other game this season, March 3 against Louisville, in which they failed to reach 20 points in at least one of the three categories.

Orange rotten outside the paint
Syracuse is in the Sweet 16 for the third time in the past four seasons. In their previous two trips, the Orange lost both games, shooting a combine 26.8 percent outside the paint.

In the Round of 32, Wisconsin held Vanderbilt to 29.6 percent shooting outside the paint in its win over the Commodores.

Syracuse was at its best in the Round of 32 with Dion Waiters on the court. The Orange outscored Kansas State 47-30 in the 24 minutes with Waiters on the floor, and scored all 12 of its transition points with Waiters in the game.

Badgers slow it down
Wisconsin averages 59.2 possessions per game this season, the fewest in the nation. In its first two games in the tournament, the Badgers averaged 57.0 possessions per game. Despite its slow pace Wisconsin is averaging 66.5 points per game, scoring 1.17 points per possession, the seventh-most among tournament teams.

Wisconsin is shooting 46.2 percent against zone defenses in its first two games, the fifth-best among tournament teams that have faced at least 10 possessions of zone defense; however, the Badgers were just 2-of-9 against Vanderbilt’s zone in the final six minutes of their third-round game.

(6) Cincinnati Bearcats vs. (2) Ohio State Buckeyes (Thursday 9:45 ET)

Ohio State has allowed 88.9 points per 100 possessions, the third-lowest in the nation.

Deshaun Thomas has scored 30 paint points during the tournament, tied for the most in the field. Thomas has scored 12 of the 30 after an offensive rebound, the most second-chance paint points by any player. Jared Sullinger is a different story. He’s shooting just 27.8 percent (5-18) in the paint.

Aaron Craft scored or assisted on 44 of the Buckeyes' 73 points (60.3 percent) in Ohio State's win against Gonzaga; that’s tied with Kendall Marshall for the most points from assists in a tournament game this season.

Cincinnati can close
The Bearcats have been tied or up by one point with four minutes remaining in its first two games of the 2012 Men’s Basketball Championship. From the four minute mark on, the Bearcats outscored Florida State by six points and Texas by five.

Cincinnati has held 19 straight opponents below 45 percent 3-point shooting and the Buckeyes have shot below 40 percent on 3-pointers in eight straight games.