Here comes the flurry of rematches in the 2011 NCAA Tournament Bracket: Syracuse vs. Marquette would have been a mid-tier Big East clash during the season, but now it's a Sweet Sixteen play-in game. It's the second part of the Third Round in the East Region's portion of the 2011 NCAA Tournament schedule on Sunday, tips off at 7:45 p.m. Eastern from Cleveland, and will be broadcast on truTV with Gus Johnson and Len Elmore on the call.
Syracuse withstood a game effort from the Indiana State Sycamores in their Second Round win, getting a back-breaking three to stretch a lead to double-digits as the first half ended and fending off runs in the second period. Rick Jackson and C.J. Fair were difference-makers inside against the undersized Missouri Valley champions, racking up a combined 37 points and 14 rebounds. That helped cover for a quiet showing from Scoop Jardine and Brandon Triche, who will need to be more dynamic against Marquette's array of perimeter players.
The Eagles' stars — Darius Johnson-Odom, Jae Crowder, and Jimmy Butler — helped Marquette get past Xavier in the second round. The trio combined for 44 of Marquette's 66 points in that win, and Johnson-Odom led all scorers in the game with 19. If Marquette wants to beat Syracuse — like it did by a 76-70 count on Jan. 29 in the two teams' only regular season meeting — it will probably need that sort of production again; that triumvirate had 61 of the Eagles' points in that game.
Star Watch: Syracuse's Jackson is also the anchor of the Orange's 2-3 zone and rotates well for blocks underneath. If he can dominate there against Marquette, Syracuse is heading to Newark.
Prediction: Syracuse continues its recovery from a mid-season swoon with a decisive 72-60 win over a Marquette team that likely realized its potential in the Second Round.
Need help picking your bracket? Check out SB Nation's full 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket predictions, picking every game of March Madness, or our region by region breakdowns for the East Region, West Region, Southeast Region, and Southwest Region.
Did your team miss the 2011 NCAA Tournament? We have you covered: check out the 2011 NIT bracket.