Syracuse stepping up sans Melo
The story for the Syracuse Orange this season has been simple ... find a way to win.
Whether it was the first game in the tourney against UNC Asheville, or a game against West Virginia up in Syracuse, or against Connecticut in Storrs, or versus the Huskies in the Big East tournament, or against Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center, Syracuse has been pushed but found ways to get to the winner's circle.
The same was the case on Thursday night in Boston against a tough Wisconsin team. The Badgers did the things needed to be right there at the end of the game. Wisconsin hit 14-of-27 trifectas, but Jordan Taylor came up short on the last three-point try as Syracuse hung on for a 64-63 win.
There were people questioning the Orange when Fab Melo was declared ineligible for the NCAA tournament. Coach Jim Boeheim knew his team has enough talent to win without the big man in the middle.
One player who stepped up after a slow start in the tournament was C.J. Fair. After making just one-of-10 from the floor in the first two games, he hit seven-of-nine against the Badgers, finishing with 15 points. Dion Waiters provided a spark off the bench, as he has so often this season; he had a big 13 points.
Finding a way to win is what it is all about at this time of season. As Jimmy Valvano used to say, "survive and advance."
The last time Syracuse won the national championship, the early rounds went through Boston. The Sweet 16 win on Thursday was also in Beantown. Hmm.
Give Wisconsin credit for a great tournament run. Bo Ryan always gets the most out of his players. Unfortunately, his Badgers fell one point short.