I can't tell a lie, so I can't tell you I wasn't a little bit concerned because I was. But there were two factors that made me feel pretty good about the Orange's chances.
- Cornell entered off the loss to Seton Hall - and it was going to need to play above its regular level to beat the Orange. No doubt it could occur. But having wins over Alabama and Massachusetts previously led me to believe that the Big Red might not be able to reach a peak high enough to beat the Orange. Because mid-major teams, even though they can raise their level of play, have a difficult time sustaining it. Mainly because of depth issues and that at some point their elite players will cool off.
- The second reason was defense. The Syracuse defense is very good. And defense doesn't usually take nights off. Especially when the defense is predicated by the athleticism and the size that the Orange has. This team guards teams. And often times in a way teams are not used to being guarded. When that defense is played so consistently, it makes it extremely difficult to have an off night. Because even if your scorers have an off night, or you don't shoot the ball well, you have the defense to rely on and win games for you. That hasn't always been the case for the Orange. Coupled with the fact that this team has multiple offensive options and it was freshman Brandon Triche's night to shine, I felt pretty comfortable heading into the game. The Orange didn't disappoint.
Wrapping Up the rest of the NCAAB night from Tuesday