The Syracuse Orange have made it to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen 24 times in program history. We mentioned the first two wins in the Regional semifinal last week as part of our look at first and second round games so let’s look at some of the other Sweet Sixteen memories.
Four times between 1977 and 1984, the Orange made the Sweet Sixteen but failed to advance but things got better after that
1987: Syracuse got 33 points from Rony Seikaly as they pushed past Florida 87-81. All of the Orange starters scored in double-figures as they got 87 without a single point off the bench.
1989: The underdog Orange rallied to beat Missouri 83-80 behind a combined 52 points from Sherman Douglas and Billy Owens. This squad might have been the most talented Syracuse team ever.
1996: This game had it all. First you had the incredible shot to send the game to overtime.
Then you had this final 20 seconds of overtime with three lead changes (and no timeouts) as John Wallace got five of his 30 points in this sequence. Pretty good time to hit his only 3 of the night and make up for not closing out in the corner on defense.
2003: If you weren’t watching Syracuse at this point in your life you are probably confused when you see the final score and wonder why it’s not talked about more often. It’s a game the Orange controlled from the start but Marquis Daniels kept scoring in the lane on his way to a game-high 27 points. Syracuse held on for a 79-78 win. Josh Pace scored 14 points off the bench which was another example of the contributions that team received from the bench during this run.
2012: Oddly the next time the Orange got a win in the Sweet 16 it was also a nail-biter. Syracuse held on to defeat Wisconsin 64-63 despite the Badgers shooting 14-27 from 3 in the game. The Orange shot 55% from the field as they grinded out the win with a balanced attack.
2013: When people talk about the 2-3 zone giving opponents fits in the NCAA Tournament, this game is Exhibit A. Syracuse had 11 steals and 11 blocks as they completely shut down the Indiana offense to win 61-50. What more people should talk about is the wrinkle Jim Boeheim used on offense which put Michael Carter-Williams in the post against Yogi Ferrell. Carter-Williams scored 24 points in the win.
2016: Interior defense and free-throw shooting saved Syracuse against Gonzaga. Tyler Lydon came off the bench to record 6 of the team’s 10 blocks and the Orange made 14-16 from the line in the 63-60 win. Mike Gbinije led the way with 20 points.
It’s interesting to look back at these games and see the different players who made major contributions. Sometimes it was the starts but often the role players came up big and helped Syracuse advance. What are some of your favorite Syracuse Sweet 16 memories?