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Jim Boeheim looks to play the Hammer

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Four-Syracuse vs. Arizona State
Hold....yep...line looks good.
Brian Spurlock -USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse Orange Head Coach Jim Boeheim has long been known as a basketball junkie. We’ve heard countless times stories about how Boeheim’s late-night television viewing benefits him in the postseason including his claim that he had watched Arizona State over a dozen times this year alone.

Yesterday we learned that Boeheim will always look for basketball on television, but when there are no games he turns his attention to another slow-paced winter sport.

Now it was just last month when John Shuster let the USA curling team to a Gold Medal in Pyeongchang. To win the gold, Shuster led his “Team of Rejects” to victory with a dramatic shot at the end of the 8th round.

So what does Boeheim pick up from watching curling. Well like the Orange team, the skipper is constantly planning a strategy to get more of his stones in the house. Many times this strategy is defensive as the teams work to position their rocks to defend the button.....hmm that sounds familiar doesn’t it?

The goal of the match is for the skipper to deliver on their final shot of each end. The team which throws their stone last is said to have The Hammer in that end. On Wednesday evening, Jim Boeheim played the hammer when it mattered most. For most of the game, the Orange collapsed to the ball when Arizona State got it to the foul line. This led to open looks for Kodi Justice, but in the final minutes Syracuse stayed with the Sun Devils perimeter players and forced other guys to try and make plays.

When the Orange had the ball on offense, Boeheim directed his sweepers to get the ball to Oshae Brissett near the button. He knew the Canadian had the advantage on his defender and the plays helped Syracuse erase a seven-point deficit. The Orange skipper also knew that when it was time for the dagger, he should trust his star Tyus Battle to deliver.

Now Boeheim will face a skipper who is familiar with his strategy in TCU Horned Frogs leader Jamie Dixon. Dixon will surely be asking his offensive-minded team to hurry when they have the advantage, but we know Boeheim will direct his team to defend the house. Will the Orange have enough speed when it’s their turn with the Hammer to sweep through to Sunday’s Round of 32?