With the Orange heading to Omaha, here's five takeaways for a win, all starting with the letter O:
Oh, you again
The 11-seed Orange face the No. 2 seeded Duke Blue Devils, but familiarity could help. Syracuse lost 60-44 in the Feb. 24 meeting of the teams, tying a season low in points, but that 60 points was also Duke's season low.
Syracuse was badly outrebounded by Michigan State's frontcourt, especially while on the defensive end. Duke has two of the best big men in the country in freshmen Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr., but in the earlier meeting, Syracuse kept the rebounds close. Marek Dolezaj has to leap and tip the ball without drawing fouls, and Paschal Chukwu has to secure it with his hands.
On the line
An easy and knee-jerk critique of Syracuse over the years is, poor free throw shooting. While that was the story versus Arizona State, Syracuse shot 77 and 80 percent versus TCU and Michigan State, with Chukwu sinking key foul shots at the end. Also key was getting to the line. The entire team was in foul trouble but Syracuse still went to the line twice as often as the Spartans.
Brissett remains efficient muscling his way to the basket but as the competition gets bigger, and with Duke expected to throw some zone looks back at Syracuse, now's when his three point shooting touch has to return.
The Orange held three capable tournament opponents to 56, 52 and 53 points and again, held Duke to a season low. Duke may have began with the most firepower in the field and just scored 89 and 87. Deliberate possessions and swarming zone defense can keep it close. Never mind everyone on Twitter complaining about how it's setting basketball back 50 years.