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No. 4 Syracuse upsets No. 1 Indiana behind Michael Carter-Williams’ redemption

Mar 29, 2013, 12:11 AM EDT

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Michael Carter-Williams scored 24 points and added five boards and four steals while Cody Zeller finished with just 10 points on 3-10 shooting from the floor as No. 4 Syracuse pulled off the upset 61-50, taking down No. 1 seed Indiana and setting up an all-Big East Regional Final on Saturday.

And in the end, it was the Orange’s defense that did it.

The Orange held the nation’s No. 1 offense to just 50 points and 0.781 points-per-possession. The Hoosiers shot 33.3% from the field and just 3-15 from three. You want some telling statistics? Syracuse had 12 steals, forced 19 turnovers and blocked 10 shots; the Hoosiers made just 13 two-point field goals on the night. The Hoosiers simply had no answer for Syracuse’s length, and it showed all night long.

Perhaps the most impressive part of the victory for Syracuse was the play of Michael Carter-Williams. The most maligned member of the Syracuse roster, MCW has been criticized for a lack of leadership, poor decision-making and an inability to hit perimeter jumpers. If you listen to the critics, that’s part of what contributed to the Syracuse collapse in February, when they fell from a top five ranking after winning at Louisville to the No. 5 seed in the Big East tournament; it’s why they blew a 16 point second half lead to Louisville in the Big East title game.

But Carter-Williams played as well as he has all season on Thursday night, hitting 3-5 from beyond the arc and committing just two turnovers despite going up against pressure from Victor Oladipo all night long.

“Mike’s had a great year. He’s really played tremendously well all year long,” Jim Boeheim said. “He hasn’t made the three, they were going under on the screens, and my only coaching move of the night was in the huddle, I said stop and take the three. I didn’t think he’d make it, I just wanted them to think he’d shoot it. But he made it, and that was a big lift for us.”

Carter-Williams’ issues go well beyond on the court struggles, as he’s still dealing with the fact that his family’s house back in Hamilton, MA, burned down over the weekend. “I think he’s obviously happy that no one got hurt,” Boeheim said,
“and that his mom and dad and his siblings have got a place to live.”

It’s quite a redemption for Carter-Williams, one that will have him playing in the Elite 8 on Saturday.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

  1. oruacat2 - Mar 29, 2013 at 12:21 AM

    Did Indiana cut down the nets, and will they hang a banner for this, too?

  2. bordner - Mar 29, 2013 at 12:26 AM

    Embarrassing performance by IU. A lot of people felt they were over-rated as a number 1 seed, and tonight’s play proved them right. Indiana was lucky to get by Temple and make it this far, so I guess IU fans can consider it a successful season.

  3. barnesaintnoble - Mar 29, 2013 at 12:55 AM

    @oruacat2

    LOL – that was awesome. Did you see that post-game handshake (or lack thereof) between Crean and Boeheim? Crean is loser. I bet we get some interesting sound bites from his post-game presser.

  4. thebadguyswon - Mar 29, 2013 at 1:05 AM

    Another year, another overrated Indiana squad.

  5. 1historian - Mar 29, 2013 at 7:30 AM

    IU never had a chance – they were in totally over their heads.

  6. ukcatsfan - Mar 29, 2013 at 8:19 AM

    So when UK went out of the tourney in the elite eight in Calipari’s first year all I heard from IU fans was “Cal can recruit but he can’t coach…..couldn’t even get out of the elite eight!” So what do the IU fans think about Crean’s coaching? Preseason number one……….number one in the tournament, and gets man handled by Syracue! Who….. Who……Who can’t coach?

  7. indyshepherd - Mar 29, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    I guess Charles Barkley was right.

  8. gopherz - Mar 29, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    IU was BAD ; and miami and la-sal was even WORSE ??

  9. reignjc - Mar 29, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    I dont think Indiana was that bad.. I just think Syracuse was just that good!

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