Michigan vs. Syracuse: Your Initial Thoughts (8:49p tip)

Submitted by Mr. Yost on April 1st, 2013 at 8:47 AM

I know some of us are still coming down from that fact that we're even IN the Final Four. But hey, we're not done yet. Survive and advance, we've got business to take care of on Saturday.

That said, what are your early thoughts about the matchup?

EDIT: We're an 8:49p tip and Duke/Wichita St. will tip at 6:09p

Note - we'll likely be closer to 9p...games are normally a little over 2 hours and tournament games are much longer. Add in the 30:00 between games and I'd say we tip right around 9p.


Drunk Uncle

April 1st, 2013 at 10:01 AM ^

Watching the Ind/Syr showed how good guard play really makes a difference. Carter-Williams is big guard who ate up Yogi Ferrell, Burke is a smaller guy too, but more skilled (obviously) than Ferrell. CJ Fair is a skilled player but he seems to make a lot of bone headed plays and will opt for a bad shot instead of passing to an open shooter. 

The Syracuse zone is a tough nut to crack but so was VCUs press. 

We have too many good shooters, too much speed and have several players that cut to the basket for this zone. I like THJ to have a big game in this one. 

We win by 8.


Mr. Yost

April 1st, 2013 at 10:13 AM ^

...was that he struggled this weekend and Stauskas went off. They're going to cheat their zone to Stauskas and when they do, THJ is going to get great looks.

He's also likely to be more focused this week trying to get back "into it" and contribute like he has much of this year.

I think THJ is going to go OFF, and I don't just mean shooting. I talking rebounds and assist. Triple double maybe? One can dream.


April 1st, 2013 at 10:06 AM ^

The Syracuse zone works very well against little guards (see Indiana and Louisville) and will give Michigan some trouble IMHO. John Beilein is 0-9 against the Syracuse zone in his career...defense vs. offense type game here...my key to the game is Tim Hardaway Jr, I do not believe Michigan wins without him playing well. 



April 1st, 2013 at 10:43 AM ^

That is talented as Michigan this year. WVU were a bunch of scrubs who succeed in JB's system, and developed them into a solid team. Can't use Cuse record against JB because Michigan is arguably the most talented team in the country and have the best player in the country in Burke.

JB will figure out a way to beat their zone and exploit them.


April 1st, 2013 at 11:43 AM ^

Are not all players a product of their coaches system? Seems like "scrubs" like Stu and Novak dont have your respect.  

Is this team more talented than those that came before it? Yes, but please dont knock Coach B's previous teams, especially when he laid the foundation of this team with low ranked players who fit his system, thus maximixing their contributions.    


April 1st, 2013 at 10:08 AM ^

I think, as always, our defense will be the key, more than any machinations to beat the 2-3. Syracuse will play good half-court defense, they always do. If we can run off misses and TO's, it doesn't matter what their base defense is.


April 1st, 2013 at 10:11 AM ^

Valenti said it best on twitter yesterday. Michigan and Louisville are just playing on another level than everyone else. It isn't if we do this, we win, if we don't do that, we lose. This team is on a special kind of run. I don't see the 'Cuse being able to stop it.

No one thought we would crush VCU, no one thought we would come back and beat Kansas, no one thought we would get a 25 point lead over Florida in the first half, and sustain it for the entirety of the game. This team is amazing. I just don't see it ending before Trey Burke says so at this point.

Indiana Blue

April 1st, 2013 at 10:17 AM ^

who cares about the X's and O's?   When THIS team plays at the highest level they can beat ANYBODY in the Final Four .... INCLUDING the Cuse and L'ville.   Yes, when Michigan plays at this level they hit 3's and FTs and they rebound.  We have 5 guys of which ANY of them can go for 20 or more any game.   So ENJOY and ...



April 1st, 2013 at 10:21 AM ^

and i think is a subtle but favorable advantage for us.  not only is belein's quite high, but on average, i think the team has a very high hoops IQ and that will be a difference for us.    contrast that with, say, IU's team which has some great athletes but just don't/didn't strike me as able to adapt like our kids can and thats why they lost. 

i have enjoyed the above commentary by the rest of you, should be a great game and am looking forward to it.

go blue. 


April 1st, 2013 at 10:23 AM ^

I hope everyone works on their jumper from the FT line.  I think that can open up the corner threes from Stauskus and cuts to the basket from GRIII.  

Keep playing Defense like they did against Florida.  It is no coincidence that we blew out Florida with that defensive performance.  









April 1st, 2013 at 10:37 AM ^

I remember the last time we played Syracuse back in 2010 and we played very well with a way less talented and athletic team. Coach B had a very good system to beat that 2-3. We lost by two but the only real difference was talent.

Mr. Yost

April 1st, 2013 at 10:43 AM ^

...the best way to beat it. Don't allow them to set up.

GET STOPS and run!

We didn't kill UF's zone just with Stauskas, it was just as much all of the steals and layups that we got.


April 1st, 2013 at 10:52 AM ^

Anyone know of any Pittsburgh PA Michigan friendly bars? Ill be in downtown pittsburgh next weekend and will need to watch this somewhere. We have dinner reservations at meat and potatoes at 8pm so we should be getting done right around tip.


April 1st, 2013 at 11:27 AM ^

Very superstitious during this run. I stupidly said that if we dont shoot well, and aren't playing aggressive d, that Vcu would cause all kinds if problems for us. Then I said that Kansas was just a bad match up for us. I had to keep this going by saying I had a bad feeling because nobody has given Florida credit and it gives me a bad feeling :). So, I think this zone with such athletic guards will give us fits.


April 1st, 2013 at 11:33 AM ^

We'll have a tough first game (I know SDSU but it was closer than VCU) but  win an epic gritty game. Then we win the next game in a blowout because of the grittiness residue! 

Boom! Analyze'd!


April 1st, 2013 at 11:48 AM ^

It seems to me we are going to want to try and push the tempo and get some looks before 'Cuse has time to set up their zone.  A fast-paced ballgame will move things into our favor.

Bill the Butcher

April 1st, 2013 at 12:25 PM ^

The real key to victory is wearing our Blue uniforms.  First weekend was 2 in white.  Second weekend was 2 in maize.  Third weekend 2 in blue.  Its quite simple really


April 1st, 2013 at 12:32 PM ^

There are two things zone defenses have problems with:

1) Tall guys who shoot the 3 (Stauskas, Hardaway, and Robinson if he is on)

2) Creative, decisive passers (Pretty much our entire starting 5, though Hardaway and Stauskas have tendencies to force things at times.)

I'd be more worried if all our 3-point shooter were short.  But Stauskas and Hardaway can get their shot off with very little space, especially Stauskas.  There isn't a zone in the country that can cover Burke, Stauskas, Hardaway & Robinson all at the same time.  Now, we need EVERYONE to show up and be a weapon, but if least a few of those guys are hitting, I don't see how Syracuse is going to be able to close them all out at the same time.  And if you close out too hard on our guys, they can all go by you.  ALL of them can take the ball to the rim.  That is WAY different than most teams.   Syracuse may have to choose between giving up shots or scrambling and giving up position to McGary for easy bunnies inside.

As someone else said, besides shooting, the next biggest key will be McGary going loco on the boards.  We'll need double digit rebounds from him for sure and probably at least 15 points on a lot of putbacks. 

The thing the team has to avoid is having everyone go cold at the same time.  As long as a few guys stay hot they are very hard to stop.  But we need at least 2 guys hitting from 3 to take Syracuse down IMO. 


April 1st, 2013 at 12:35 PM ^

I feel pretty good about this game.  My concern in any game is not about how we'll score points - we'll find a way to score some - but how our D can stop the opposition.  Syracuse ranks 57th in offensive efficiency, compared to 27th for Kansas and 7th (!) for Florida - 57th is not bad, but closer to the national mean.  Also, they're not all that great at taking care of the ball - they commit 12.5 turnovers per game, 108th in the country.  Our D thrives when it can jump in the passing lanes and get deflections and steals.  We may get a few.  I am cautiously optimistic about this one.



April 1st, 2013 at 1:40 PM ^

Does anyone have MCW's numbers being guarded by a small guards vs. bigger ones?  He seemed to dominate early when they were playing teams with small guards and his numbers dipped when he got into conference play. Syracuse's most impressive win was the one against Indiana and the Orange were a matchup nightmare for Ind for obvious small guard reasons.  


April 1st, 2013 at 4:22 PM ^

This discussion about Syracuse's zone reminds me a bit of the football saying -- "We'll defend against the run and you have to prove you can beat me with the pass."  Run = penetration in the paint; Pass = shots from outside.