10 stats to know before Syracuse’s Sweet 16 matchup
10 stats to know before SU's Sweet 16 matchup
Syracuse enters Saturday night’s Sweet 16 matchup with Houston as one of the hottest teams in the nation. It’s won five of its last six games, all do-or-die contests in March.
But the No. 2-seeded Cougars (26-3, 14-3 American Athletic) present a bigger problem than any team SU’s faced all year. The Orange (18-9, 9-7 Atlantic Coast) would advance to its first Elite Eight since 2016 with a win at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
Here are 10 stats you need to know before Saturday night’s game:
This is Jim Boeheim’s 20th Sweet 16 in 45 years as SU’s head coach. It’s his son Buddy’s first and Syracuse’s third in the last five Tournaments.
Analytics site FiveThirtyEight gave SU a 6% chance at reaching the Sweet 16 before the Tournament began. Only 4.3% of people who filled out brackets on ESPN took the Orange to make it this far.
The Cougars rebound nearly 40% of their missed shots, second in the nation behind only North Carolina. Syracuse’s lack of size inside could be an issue.
Buddy Boeheim is averaging 28.3 points per game in four postseason games — two NCAA Tournament and two ACC Tournament contests. He’s shooting 55.8% from behind the arc in that span.
If there’s a player hotter than Buddy Boeheim right now, it’s Quentin Grimes. The Kansas transfer has hit 53 of his last 93 3-point shots (56.9%) over the last 10 games. He’s Houston’s best scorer, and its most dangerous zone-buster.
Houston’s defense is elite, with high block and steal rates. But that leads to fouling too much — the Cougars are 332nd in the nation in foul rate. Syracuse has great free throw shooters, so the Orange could take advantage of that deficiency.
DeJon Jarreau, arguably Houston’s most important player, is dealing with a nagging hip injury that started in the opening minutes of HOU’s first-round matchup with Cleveland State;. Jarreau hasn’t practiced all week, and head coach Kelvin Sampson said he hopes his point guard can be 70-75% healthy for Saturday.
Just spoke to UH coach Kelvin Sampson, who said that DeJon Jarreau hasn't practiced the past three days. He's hoping he'll be at 70 or 75-percent for the Syracuse game. "I expect him to play," Sampson said. "It’s just a matter of how close to being adequate he is going to be."
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) March 24, 2021
There are only five teams in the nation in the top-15 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, per advanced stats site KenPom. Houston is one of them, and Illinois is the only one eliminated from the Tournament.
Syracuse wants to run. Its average length of possession is one second shorter than the national average. Getting out in transition has led to easy buckets and open 3s for the Orange.
How many Cinderella teams are left in SU’s region. That is if you count No. 8 Loyola Chicago, which reached the Final Four in 2018. The Ramblers upset No. 1 Illinois to advance to the Sweet 16, while Oregon State shocked expected first overall NBA Draft pick Cade Cunningham’s Oklahoma State Cowboys.