This is the eighth in our series of posts that “preview” notable NCAA Tournament games in Indiana’s storied history. These are companion posts for our live rewatch series that we are doing in place of the cancelled 2020 NCAA Tournament.
Today, we will preview the championship game of the 1987 NCAA Tournament — Indiana, the #1 seed in the Midwest Region, against Syracuse, the #2 seed in the East Region.
The live rewatch and postgame show for the IU-Syracuse game takes place on Sunday, April 12th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Click here to access the YouTube replay of the game.
Breaking down the matchup:
Indiana (29-4) vs. Syracuse (31-6)
- Indiana: Bob Knight (16th season with school)
- Syracuse: Jim Boeheim (11th season with school)
This will be the first matchup between the two programs.
Indiana probable starters:
- G. Steve Alford (Sr.)
- G. Keith Smart (Jr.)
- F. Ricky Calloway (Soph.)
- F. Daryl Thomas (Sr.)
- C. Dean Garrett (Sr.)
Syracuse probable starters:
- G. Sherman Douglas (Soph.)
- G. Greg Monroe (Sr.)
- F. Howard Triche (Sr.)
- F. Derrick Coleman (Fr.)
- F. Rony Seikaly (Jr.)
Indiana game notes:
The Hoosiers settled for a share of the Big Ten title at 15-3 with Purdue after dropping two of their last three games in conference play to Illinois and Purdue.
A 77-76 victory over LSU sent Indiana to the Final Four where they faced UNLV in one of the most exciting games of the tournament, winning 97-93.
Syracuse game notes:
The Orangemen finished 3rd in the Big East standings at 12-4 and claimed the title in the Big East Tournament. A victory over UNC, 79-75, gave Syracuse their second ever Final Four berth.
Facing Providence, led by coach Rick Pitino and guard Billy Donovan, in the national semi-final, Syracuse took care of business 77-63.
What to expect — Indiana:
The newly instituted three-point shot has been the best friend of Indiana’s leading scorer, Steve Alford. The Big Ten Player of the Year has been north of 50% from beyond the arc all season, and the Syracuse 2-3 zone may give Alford plenty of opportunities to demonstrate his shooting prowess.
JUCO transfers Keith Smart and Dean Garrett have been welcome additions to the Hoosier lineup this season and combined for 32 points in the win over UNLV, but watch for senior Daryl Thomas and his ability to score (and pass) around the rim.
What to expect — Syracuse
Scoring can come from a variety of sources for Syracuse, as evident with all five starters scoring in double-figures in the semi-final win against Providence. The Orangemen are a capable shooting team from three, but don’t expect them to live and die by the deep ball.
Speedy guard Sherman Douglas likes to create off the dribble, and the interior options of Rony Seikaly and freshman phenom Derrick Coleman have posed challenges for opponents all season. If Indiana bigs Dean Garrett and Daryl Thomas cannot stay out of foul trouble, it could be a long game for the Hoosiers defensively.
If you want to know the result of the game and see the box score, click here.