I am on the record as saying I was worried about having Syracuse as the fourth-seed in Indiana's region in the East. I knew it was the kind of team that could give Indiana fits-- and I was correct. Zone defense, length, shot blocking ability, and half court, slow-down basketball... all Indiana's Achilles heel issues came to the fore last night. Syracuse won the game-- enough said.
But this column is not about Indiana's inability to shoot from outside, or get good looks from inside-- you can hear boatloads about that from many other sources, including our own ESPN Radio. This column is about revenge-- pure and simple. Not one-- but two-- people from Syracuse had it on their minds last night.
1. Jim Boeheim. The legendary coach is nearing the end of his legendary career. He got his national championship-- but you had to know that loss to Indiana in 1987 had to gall him to no end. I don't think he got full closure from 1987 until last night's victory. It had to be especially sweet for him to win an NCAA Tourhament game against Indiana-- and in Washington no less... Big East territory.
2. Brandon Triche. Syracuse's starting guard had his own family's 1987 memories to put to bed. Remember Howard Triche? He is Brandon Triche's uncle-- and he was the defender that was nearest Keith Smart when Smart hit the shot to put the Hoosiers up for good in 1987. Do you think there was a bit of vindication for his uncle when Syracuse won last night?
Indiana had a good year-- but officially, not a great year. Cody Zeller could not take his Washington, Indiana mojo to Washington, DC last night. Indiana got in a massive early hole due to turnovers. Jordy Hulls disappeared in both tournaments-- the Big Ten tournament, and the NCAA tournament. The Hoosiers this year took another major step toward respectability. Indiana is getting there-- but as Syracuse showed last night, revenge is a lot larger motivator than respectability. Boeheim and Triche may now consider 1987 officially avenged.
That's my take... I'm Tom Lee.