Top teams prepare for March Madness

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Zach Testa - Staff Writer

Syracuse University

The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team is off to one of the best starts in college basketball history with a 25 game win streak.  The team has held onto its number one spot, ranking for the third consecutive week in the Associated Press Poll.  With a top-ten zone defense that coach Jim Boeheim has installed in all of his Syracuse teams over the last 38 years, the team is a force to be reckoned with.

Led by senior C.J. Fair, star freshman Tyler Ennis and sharp-shooting sophomore Trevor Cooney, the Orange have taken college basketball by storm.  Fair has made huge strides over the last four years and has proved to be elite during his senior season.  He has increased his points per game from 14.5 to 16.5 and has doubled his average assists per game.  Ennis is a 6-2 point guard that has made the biggest impact during his first year with the Orange.  He is scoring nearly 12 points per game while racking up 6 assists per game and a little bit more than two steals each game.  Cooney is a sophomore who is one of the most improved players in all of college basketball.  His minutes have almost tripled since his freshman year and he has quadrupled his points per game while leading the team with three pointers made.

 

 

University of Arizona

After a variety of hot and cold performances over the past few years, the University of Arizona men’s basketball team has been able to string together back-to-back great seasons.  The Wildcats have the fourth best defense in the country and use their athleticism to overpower opponents.  Led by fifth-year head coach Sean Miller, the team started this season by winning the first 21 games before losing two close games to the University of California, Berkley and Arizona State University.  Star players Nick Johnson, Aaron Gordon and Kaleb Tarczewski are largely responsible for the team’s resurgence to the top.

Junior guard Nick Johnson has done a great job emerging as the Wildcat’s leading scorer.  He is averaging 15.8 points per game, which is more than four points better than his sophomore year.   Gordon, a freshman forward, leads the team with eight rebounds a game and 11.8 points per game.  Tarczewski is a 7-foot-tall imposing center who protects the rim and is efficient on the offensive end.  He leads the team in blocks and has a knack for finishing baskets down in the post.  These players are hoping to get farther than their sweet sixteen finish last year.