Syracuse beat Cal (without two starters) and North Carolina, both in impressive fashion, to win the 2K Sports Classic. Wesley Johnson was 10-17 from the field, had 25 pts, and grabbed 8 boards. The best player on the floor though was Andy Rautins. Rautins had 11 points, 7 steals, 7 boards and 7 assists. A 25-3 run in the 2nd half was the key to Syracuse’s win, as was their stifling zone defense.
The question now is: How good are they really? The Syracuse-UNC four factors graph and some analysis after the jump.
As you can see, Carolina was better than the Orange in three of the four factors, but Cuse had a wide margin in the most important one: actually putting the ball into the goal. Their huge edge in EFG was largely due to their three point percentage (41%), and that’s also where their offensive efficiency margin came from (114.5 to 93.4 for UNC). Syracuse held Carolina to 15 points less than their season efficiency numbers.
Why? Well, Carolina shot just 25% from three last night, far less than their 36.1% for the season. Basically it came down to Carolina missing more shots than they normally do. How much of it is due to Syracuse is unsure. The Orange didn’t have an influence turnover-wise, as the Heels turned it over at roughly the same rate.
Carolina outrebounded Syracuse, not a huge surprise given their size advantage and the fact that it’s harder to defensive rebound using a zone. Syracuse getting so much of their offense from 3 point land also influenced their total. In order to win games, Syracuse is going to have to defensive rebound a bit better, and get better rebounding from their bigs (although given how good and deep Carolina’s front line is, I was impressed they rebounded as well as hey did).
Also, tonight’s game is example 1A of why getting to the free-throw line means very little in terms of the ability to win a game.