Can the Orange keep it going?

Syracuse's amazing D, Marquette's advantage and Wichita's chances vs. OSU

Updated: March 29, 2013, 12:28 PM ET
By John Gasaway | ESPN Insider
Jordan HullsWin McNamee/Getty ImagesSyracuse's defense has been excellent during the Orange's three NCAA tournament games.

The Syracuse Orange are now just 120 minutes away from a national title, a position that few observers could have envisioned Jim Boeheim's team occupying just three weeks ago.

Back then people were still talking about the "dying" Big East and waxing nostalgic about the last regular-season conference meeting between the Orange and Georgetown, a game that was played in the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Syracuse lost to the Hoyas that day 61-39. The defeat marked the team's fifth loss in eight games, a stretch where its only victories were against Seton Hall, Providence and DePaul.

Now look. Syracuse has returned to our nation's capital, and if the 61-50 drubbing the Orange visited upon No. 1 seed Indiana at that very same Verizon Center is any indication, Boeheim's team has forgotten all about the group that finished the Big East season with a 5-7 "run."

Can the Orange keep up this high level of play all the way to a berth in the national championship game? The answer has an "if" attached. Let me explain.