And then there was one.
With 9 minutes, 32 seconds left in Sunday’s Midwest Regional final, Syracuse was down by 15 points, and its chances of beating Virginia had sunk to just 1.4 percent.
But the Orange roared back and closed out the Cavaliers by putting on a high-risk, high-reward clinic, demonstrating the full range of munitions that underdogs need to take down Giants. Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim turned on the press to disrupt Virginia’s flow -- and, just as important, turned it off when Virginia started getting easy looks. Trevor Cooney forced steals, Malachi Richardson sank 3-pointers, Tyler Roberson hit the offensive boards and Tyler Lydon blocked shots.
Syracuse went through a long stretch of unconscious shooting that was both amazing and necessary -- Virginia had strangled the Orange for the first three quarters of the game. Here’s what’s really telling: The Cavaliers still outshot Syracuse on 2-point attempts, on 3-point attempts and from the foul line. But the Orange outrebounded Virginia at both ends and won the turnover battle.
That’s how David knocks off Goliath.
So Syracuse is the one Giant Killer left standing in the tournament, and joins the small pantheon of double-digit seeds to make the Final Four.