Syracuse dominated Indiana and Cody Zeller to advance to the East Regional final
Video: No sugar coating it; Hoosiers say they fell short of expectations - click here
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDRB) -- This was the kind of start that the Indiana basketball team had to overcome Thursday night against Syracuse:
No field goals for the six minutes. A turnover every other time they bounced or passed the basketball. Considerable confusion against the Syracuse 2-3 zone. Nobody able to make a three-point shot. Small guards getting overpowered by the larger, stronger Syracuse guards.
The Hoosiers found themselves down by 18 with less than four minutes to play in the first half – and 34-22 at halftime.
Could they rally?
A little. But not enough. Not nearly enough.
Syracuse 61, Indiana 50. A season that began with Indiana ranked Number One, ended with the Hoosiers exiting as the top seed in the East Regional well short of their goal of making the Final Four, despite a 29-7 record.
The Hoosiers scored the first five points of the second half. They cut the lead to six. They never got any closer. They never solved the Syracuse zone. They never found a way to hide their smaller guards on defense.
They never got a single field goal from their starting guards, who missed all seven of their shots. Meanwhile, they were unable to control Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams, who punished Indiana with 24 points. Even Cody Zeller was ineffective, missing seven of 10 shots, finishing with 10 points.
"Too many turnovers and too many easy shots at the rim," IU coach Tom Crean said.
You can't argue with that analysis. Indiana turned the ball over a dozen times in the first half. The turnover festival was so unrelenting that Crean benched point guard Yogi Ferrell to start the second half. It looked as if the Hoosiers were playing five against eight.
Ferrell and Jordan Hulls are four and six inches shorter than the starting guards for Syracuse. There were times when it seemed as if the height difference was four and six feet.
The loss guaranteed at least one Big East team will advance to the Final Four because Marquette toppled Miami in the first game. The Golden Eagles and Orange played once during the regular season – and Marquette won, 74-71, on Feb. 25 in Milwaukee.