Syracuse Basketball: What We Learned From Saturday's Thrilling Victory Over Louisville

Joe Robbins

We should all be focusing on the Cincinnati Bearcats, who visit the Carrier Dome Monday afternoon for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day special, but lets backtrack and bit and breakdown what we learned during Saturday's big victory at Louisville.

The Syracuse Orange have a quick turnaround Monday when the Cincinnati Bearcats visit the Carrier Dome (3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN) for a Martin Luther King Jr. Day special.

And though we should all be focusing on the Bearcats, who're coming off an overtime victory over Marquette and are on a three-game winning streak, I wanted to backtrack a bit and discuss what we all learned after Saturday's victory over the former No. 1-ranked team in the nation, the Louisville Cardinals, because there was a lot.

So, quickly, here we go.

"I am the man" Brandon Triche is the greatest Syracuse basketball player of all-time.

I don't know if this new label will stick (I will continue to use it), but IATM Brandon Triche is one of my favorite college basketball players ever.

This guy has the strength and near-the-rim finishing ability of Dwyane Wade, a 3-point shooting stroke like Jimmer Fredette and the leadership skills of Juan Dixon.

Basically, all of my favorite former college basketball stars are wrapped into one IATM Triche and if he's going to continue to play like he did Saturday we should all start getting excited.

Jerami Grant AIN'T SCARED!

This may be stating the obvious, but the more Grant plays the more I really like him. What I like most about the freshman is he isn't scared, a quality most first-year players that play for Jim Boeheim do not have.

Even with his increased minutes on Saturday, Grant wasn't afraid to make a mistake which leads to NOT making a mistake.

His tough bank-shot bucket with 10 minutes to go helped tie the contest at 52 after trailing by eight in the second half.

Then, his block of a Wayne Blacksheer layup, with 15 seconds remaining and 'Cuse leading 69-68, nearly helped cement the victory when it was scooped up by MCW.

His ability to just play helped him stay in the game for a collegiate-best 35 minutes, score 10 points and collect five rebounds.

Michael Carter-Williams' highs and lows makes Scoop Jardine's former highs and lows look tame.

Like a lot of Syracuse fans Saturday, I swore a lot at MCW. Like a lot of Syracuse fans Saturday, I fist pumped a lot at MCW.

Seriously though, what the heck was that?

MCW played maybe the worst 19:50 of basketball any Syracuse point guard has ever played, as he turned the ball over six times and took just one shot, missing it, in the first half.

After hitting his end-of-the-first-half 3-pointer, MCW started the second half missing his next three attempts and committing a turnover in the first five minutes.

But the next 15 minutes of play featured MCW compiling a stat line of: 11 points, three rebounds, two steals (big ones), two blocks, two assists and a turnover.

At this point in the season, this is what we know about MCW: He's probably the best passer in the nation - he just has a knack for making the right pass in the perfect spot. He's an outstanding defender - he has the quickest hands in the nation. However, his ability as a scorer is borderline horrendous.

MCW can hit an open 3-pointer, but only if he's in solid rhythm; he can finish around the rim, but only in transition. However, if you ask him to make a mid-range jumper, runner in the lane or finish strong around the rim forget about it.

Since Big East play began, MCW is shooting 31-percent from the field, including 30-percent from behind the 3-point line.

Luckily, MCW makes up for his poor shooting with outstanding play-making ability which was one of the biggest reasons why Syracuse was able to upset Louisville.

This Syracuse teams has some brass balls.

Last year's squad, led by seniors Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph, made a living of coming out of tough situations without a scratch. For some weird reason, a Syracuse fan just felt that team was going to pullout a victory no matter what adversity they faced.

Because of the youth of this current team, it was tough to feel that way, well, that was until Saturday.

After leading by as much as eight points in the first few minutes of the first half, SU veered off the tracks and trailed by nine points with 5:56 remaining. Yet, somehow, the Orange were able to claw their way back and tied the game at 38 heading into the locker room.

Not even four minutes into the second half, Syracuse trailed by eight points, 48-40, and again, somehow, found on a sack and tied the game with 10 minutes to go in the game.

From there, this young Orange squad didn't let the environment get to their heads and just hung in there. And, as we all know, if an underdog is allowed to hang in there until the very end anything can happen, and luckily it did.

Now, lets hope SU can use its newly found brass balls to not have an emotional let down at the Dome today.

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