The common thread in the two Elite Eight games Saturday was the poor shooting efforts of the losing teams. Syracuse's zone and Wichita State's shot-blocking proved to be significant difference-makers.
Here's a statistical recap of each contest.
Syracuse’s zone wins out again
Marquette ran into the same issues others have in this NCAA tournament. Add the Golden Eagles to the list of those who couldn’t handle Syracuse’s zone defense.
The win over Marquette represented a statistical turnabout for Syracuse, which had been held to 39 points in the same arena against Georgetown a few weeks ago, and put the Orange in the Final Four for the first time since their championship season in 2003.
10 Pts, 5 Asts, 5 Steals In Elite Eight
The 39 points were the fewest by a No. 3 seed or higher in any game (the previous record was 44 by Michigan State last year versus Louisville).
The biggest issue for Marquette: It made four of 36 shots outside the paint.
It was the fourth-worst shooting performance outside the paint in this year's tournament. The Golden Eagles were the fourth straight team to shoot less than 28 percent on such attempts against the Orange.
Marquette had 14 turnovers and 12 field goals. The Golden Eagles were the third team that had more turnovers than field goals against Syracuse.
Syracuse also had 19 points off turnovers compared to none for Marquette.
That was fueled by the five steals of Michael Carter-Williams, who became the fourth player to have 10 points, five assists and five steals in an Elite Eight game. (Tyshawn Taylor was the most recent, for Kansas last season.)
For the tournament, the Orange have forced 67 turnovers and allowed 61 field goals.
The win made Jim Boeheim the fourth coach to make the Final Four in four different decades, joining Rick Pitino, Mike Krzyzewski and Dean Smith. One of the former two will join Boeheim on Sunday.
Boeheim is one of six coaches who are 3-0 all-time in national semifinals, along with Phog Allen, Billy Donovan, Steve Fisher, Ed Jucker and John Thompson.
Wichita State with an unlikely performance
Wichita State becomes the fifth team seeded ninth or lower to make the Final Four with its upset of Ohio State. The other four teams to match what the Shockers have done all lost in the national semifinals.
Lowest Seeds in Final Four
Ohio State shot 31.1 percent from the field, the second-lowest percentage it shot in any game this season. The Buckeyes had their three-game Elite Eight winning streak snapped. Their last loss in the Elite Eight had been in 1992 against Michigan.
Wichita State's nine shot blocks were its second-most in any game this season.
The Buckeyes were 7-for-35 from outside the paint, their worst shooting day outside the paint in any of the past four NCAA tournaments.
Ohio State also failed to take advantage of Wichita State's 12 turnovers, turning them into only six points. That matched the fewest points off turnovers for the Buckeyes in any game this season.