0 Comments Published on 12.02.2016 by John Brennan
|Obviously Lydon can dance; but can he ball?|
If you're looking for the worse puns in blog headlines, you've come to the right place! But seriously, the best cheese curds I've had were in Madison, which is a nice college town. Home of the Kohl Center, it played host to Syracuse at Wisconsin Tuesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.. A rematch of last year's Challenge matchup, which the Badgers won in the Carrier Dome. Syracuse looked to get back in the win column after a neutral-site loss (at Barclay's) to South Carolina. Unfortunately, from the get-go, it seemed like the Orange were outmatched, on both offense and defense. Building a 14-point lead by the 10:00 minute mark in the first half, Wisconsin looked like it was destined to blow out Syracuse. However, some stronger defense and a better offensive effort lead the Orange to erase much of that deficit, trailing 43-39 at halftime. Unfortunately, that momentum couldn't carry over to the second half, and Syracuse basically sleepwalked through the rest of the game, losing 77-60. A win for B1G.
- For what it's worth, Andrew White III was the leading scorer for Syracuse: 14 points on 5-15 shooting (4-9 from three), five rebounds, and a team high 38 minutes. He had a stretch where he was shooting great, but he could neither keep it going, nor make it contagious to other teammates.
- DaJuan Coleman was the 2nd leading scorer for the Orange with a dozen points. This may have been one of the best offensive efforts in his career. He was active and strong down low, and really asserted himself for position. Coach Boeheim rewarded that effort with 30 minutes for Coleman. If there's one positive we can take from this game, it's Coleman's performance, which Syracuse will need if it's going to compete in the ACC. The Orange has depth at center like it hasn't in a while, but it needs Coleman to lead the way, continue to assert position around the basket so that even if he's substituted out, Chukwu or Lydon can reap the benefit of the opposing defense's adjustments.
- Another bright spot was the free throw shooting: 92.3% for the game; a perfect 10 for 10 in the first half, but only 2 of 3 in the second half. Wisconsin just wasn't fouling. But, given the history we're all too much familiar with, it was promising to see the shots fall.
- No one doubts the amount of talent up an down this Syracuse roster -- obviously at various levels of experience -- but the one disadvantage is that the team has only had a couple months together. They're still feeling each other out, and more specifically, the new players are still learning the 2-3 zone. Tuesday's game showed us why all that matters: lots of missed rotations and assignments on defense. The Badgers exploited it, at times perfecting the inside cuts, while at others kicking the ball out for open threes.
- Speaking of threes, Wisconsin shot 11-23 (47.8%) from three. A team shooting at that clip is gonna be hard to beat, even if your own offense is playing well. And here, Syracuse wasn't. Thus, the end result.
- As if that wasn't bad enough, the Badgers shot 49.2% overall.
- I don't want to say any more about this game.
There was some crazy stat floating around twitter the other night about the last time Syracuse beat a ranked non-conference foe on the road. I don't remember what it was, but it was a long time ago. And it'll have to wait longer. But that's OK. Because up next is a Saturday tilt against the University of North Florida (honestly, I didn't know that was a thing) in the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome on Saturday afternoon. Just what the doctor ordered. And then UConn on Monday down in Carrier Dome South, more commonly known as Madison Square Garden. Obviously we're all looking ahead to that, and reminiscing about 6OT (which some assholes at the NCAA home office want us to believe never happened), but it's not like this game against the Ospreys in a trap game... RIGHT?!?
Syracuse students agree: Winning a big game after a loss would be gratifying.
Syracuse is coming off a somewhat surprising loss to South Carolina. Not the fact that they lost. Chances are that was going to happen at some point this year. But the way they lost. Syracuse only managed to score 50 points. For the first time in my life, maybe ever, the football team outscored the basketball team. Ridiculous. But it's a new game and a big game. Syracuse plays away from the Carrier Dome and New York State, as they travel to Madison to take on Wisconsin. There's only one thing that really scares me about Wisconsin and that is they are a very good rebounding team. One thing the Zone does not do is put people in good rebounding positions. If Wisconsin is hitting shots or if they are getting easy offensive boards and put backs, Syracuse will be in trouble. However, if the Zone is active and forcing Wisconsin turnovers, Syracuse should win. After all, Syracuse is 6th in the country in 3 point shooing. And Wisconsin is not a good defender of the 3 point line. Look for Tyler Lydon to get hot early, and obviously Frank Howard has found quite the stroke as of late. And that isn't even talking about leading scorer Andrew White. If Syracuse can force turnovers and prevent easy Wisconsin buckets, the scoring should take care of the rest. Wisconsin likes to play slow as well, so if the press can speed up Wisconsin into some bad shots, all the better. Frankly, people are talking about this being a tough game for the Orange. And Wisconsin is favored by Vegas in this game, but I actually just think this matchup favors the Orange. I'll take Syracuse by 11. This game is available nationwide on ESPN / WatchESPN at 7:30pm. My god. A game on actual television. What a concept. Both John and I will be in the home office. Despite our love of cheese curds, we'll be rooting for Syracuse. Go Orange!
Syracuse students agree: Typically Syracuse plays great in NYC.
It's not MSG, but Syracuse heads to New York to take on South Carolina. Both teams undefeated, with the other USC beating #25 Michigan pretty handily in their last game. However, it wasn't without some hiccups, as it took an overtime to beat Monmouth, a team that Syracuse handled extremely well. SC's best player is Sindarius Thornwell. He's averaging 20.8ppg and leads in rebounds with 7.2 per game. If Syracuse is able to shut him down, and judging by the fact that this may be the only Zone SC plays against all year, it is very possible. I think Andrew White will have a monster game, and I think after the last game with the breakout of Tyler Lydon out of his funk, I think Syracuse will have a very good shooting day in the City. This one will be close for longer, but I like Syracuse pulling away in the last eight minutes. I'll take Syracuse over South Carolina by 13. This game will be available natiowide on WatchESPN at 2:30pm. SU football is still on, so I hope you have 2 TVs. Giddy up.
Syracuse finishes the season against an old rival. As per usual.
Syracuse has had a lot of ups and downs this season. But they currently sit at 4 wins. Could they beat an old rival at home and possibly claim a Bowl spot with 5 wins?
Syracuse travels to the Steel City to take on long time rival Pittsburgh in a game that doesn't really matter for Pittsburgh, but matters a whole lot to Syracuse. But we've seen this before. Syracuse has traveled to Pitt a few times in the last several years to end the season with a Bowl Bid on the line, and they haven't been able to get it done. Not sure this year will be much different. While I do think Syracuse's hire of Babers will bring the program to a new level, that won't happen for another season really. This year, Syracuse fans should feel lucky and glad that we're even talking about 5 wins. And really, Syracuse shouldn't have beaten Virginia Tech. Like at all. So there's that. And it was awesome. But anyway, Pittsburgh has beaten Penn State and Clemson. So they are a really good football team, despite not being ranked and despite only having 7 wins. Pitt RB James Conner is a really great story and he is having a phenomenal year. Syracuse probably still doesn't have their starting QB. If that's the case, this game will probably be done at the half. It is what it is. Stay healthy, thank you seniors, and get ready in the off season. I'm taking Pittsburgh over the Orange 38 to 24.
This game is available regionally at 12:30pm as your ACC Game of the Week. Check your local listings here. For those who don't have it on TV, it's available on WatchESPN or here. John and I are both in the home office. No matter how this shakes out it was a good season, and there will be another after this one. Go Orange!
Syracuse students agree: We've already left for home and aren't at this game.
Syracuse continues their early season "Tournament" slate with South Carolina State. A team in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, they are sitting on a 1-2 record on the year, having only beaten St. Andrews (never heard of it) while losing to Wichita State and South Carolina. I can't see how this team will be able to keep up with the Orange. They are undersized, they average a little more than 21 points per game less than the Orange. Finally, they allow 31 more points per game, than Syracuse. This game should not be close. And after the first five minutes, this one shouldn't be in doubt. I think the Orange roll big in this one. SU over the Bulldogs by 34. This game is available on WatchESPN/Time Warner Cable Sports Channel (in New York) at 7:00pm. Both John and I are in the home offices. We'll see you out there.
It doesn't look good for the Orange this weekend. Football wise.
Syracuse is still without starting QB Eric Dungey. And to make matters worse, #17 Florida State is coming into the Dome. So the big question is, will Syracuse even be able to keep up? I have my doubts.
Syracuse may have Eric Dungey play in the game, but it is far more likely he is not going to even put on the pads this weekend. That leaves Zach Mahoney with starting QB duties again. While he tried his best, he was mostly ineffective in capitalizing on good field position and converting on third downs against NC State. And that probably won't change with Florida State. Miracles do happen, but I can't see Florida State having that down of a game that Syracuse could pull the upset in this one. Dalvin Cook is easily one of the top Running Backs in the country. And QB Deondre Francois is a very capable player under center. Syracuse's defense will have everything they can handle and then some, and as we saw against a lesser team in NC State, they couldn't get stops on 3rd down, and couldn't stop some big plays. Florida State should have little to no problem getting into the end zone. I'll take FSU over the Orange 45 to 27.
This game is available nationally on either ABC or ESPN 2 at 3:30pm. Check to see what channel here. This game is also available nationwide on WatchESPN. Both John and I will be in the Dome, so give us a high five. Just don't try and start The Waive. You know how we feel about that nonsense.
Syracuse students agree: It doesn't matter what your bench players do.
Syracuse continues their early season slate with Mid-Major darling Monmouth. The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season champs made the NIT last year, despite some thinking they should have been in the Big Dance. But they didn't, and Syracuse made the Final Four. Anyway, Monmouth blew up Drexel but lost in OT to South Carolina with a buzzer beater. Syracuse, meanwhile, beat Colgate and smoked Holy Cross. Syracuse was shooting really well against Holy Cross, and there's no reason to think that it won't continue versus Monmouth. Monmouth has only played Syracuse one other time in 2012. Syracuse won 108 to 56. While I don't think Syracuse will win by as much this time, I can't see how Monmouth can pull an upset if even half of Syracuse's players are putting the ball in. Monmouth may get hot shooting, but eventually Syracuse will force turnovers and pound the paint, and that will be that. Syracuse over Monmouth by 32. This game is available nationally on WatchESPN at 7:00pm. The game will be available on TWCS Channel if you have Time Warner Cable. John will be in the Dome. I'll be in route to Syracuse to watch the Florida State football game. If you're in the Dome, enjoy. If you're in Syracuse this weekend, say hi.