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Well that sucked to watch. Unless you're an ND fan.
South Bend: Where #1 goes to die. While the result wasn't too much of a surprise it was still unpleasant to watch. Syracuse falls, but the good news is that this was a road loss we knew would happen eventually, and Syracuse is still in solid command of first in the Big East. The absence of Fab Melo did not help either. But let's talk about this game first.
Notre Dame got off to a roll hitting two three pointers right away. Syracuse never led in this game. They had a season low half output of 23 points to ND's 35. Luckily Dion Waiters hit two back to back three pointers before the half to only make it 12 points. Then in the second half ND and SU basically traded baskets, with both teams going on mini-runs of points, with Syracuse never really getting closer than seven or eight points. Missed free throws and failing to take advantage of turnovers really never let Syracuse get back into the game. Oh yeah, and a ton of bricked three pointers. Syracuse ends up going down 67 to 58. Not bad considering how good ND played and how bad Syracuse shot in this game.
  • Syracuse's leading scorer was James Southerland off the bench with 15 points. He probably played the best offense for Syracuse looking at the game in total. He was 5-10 and 3-7 from the floor respectively. He also was 2-2 from the line.
  • Kris Joseph was the leading rebounder on the floor for the Orange with five. CJ Fair and Rakeem Christmas each added four.
  • Scoop Jardine, as usual, led in assists with seven.
  • Syracuse missed Fab Melo. They only had two blocks in the game.
  • Despite the fact that Notre Dame turned the ball over the least in the Big East going into this game, Syracuse caused 17 for the Irish, and had nine steals. Sadly that didn't equate to a win like it normally would. In the circumstances, it really didn't feed any transition offense in the vast majority of the turnovers.
  • Syracuse shot the ball poorly. They were 18-53 (34%), and 7-23 (30.4%) from three. Syracuse missed 14 of their first 19 field goal attempts. The worst way to start a game on the road, let alone against a team in the Big East.
  • Notre Dame, conversely, shot the ball better. They shot 50% both overall and from behind the arc.
  • Syracuse only got 28 points from their starting lineup.
  • Scoop Jardine was 0-5 and 0-2 in the game. His only points were two free throws out of four. He couldn't hit the ocean from a boat on Saturday night.
  • While Fab Melo was not the reason Syracuse lost the game, and he would have only contributed a few baskets at the most, where he was missed was simply being in the zone. A seven footer makes players alter their shots and think twice about driving in the lane. He also blocks shots. He would have given Jack Cooley a run on his scoring.
  • Baye Moussa Keita can't catch the ball worth shit. And he has no excuses as his thumb is healed and unwrapped. He couldn't catch it wide open, let alone hot underneath the basket. I mean, how is that possible?
  • Similarly, Kris Joseph couldn't dribble in this game. At all. What's up with that?
  • I defer to our friend Russ at the Three Idiots with this post. In it, about the blocks/charges he says "The block/charge call is ruining college basketball. The refs screw it up more times than they get it right and it takes the aggressiveness out of the game -- the flopping is worse than it is in a European soccer game. In my opinion, unless a guy is an absolute statue, the call has to be a block. If the game starts getting called that way, you'll see a lot fewer guys sliding over at the last second and taking guys out too." Nailed it. And I'll add that the charge that Waiters "committed" was a block. It was a secondary defender sliding over standing directly over the arc line. Stationary or not, that is a block by the new rules. In the arc as a secondary defender? That's supposed to be a block. Higgins called it a charge.
  • Cooley, in a three person trap from the press of Syracuse, swung his elbows and hit CJ Fair. It was a textbook Flagrant 1 as the rule now states and it was called that after a review. Good for the referees. It was about the second or third one he committed on the day.
  • No one player played completely bad from the floor on offense, but almost every player had a good stretch where they were just awful or made a terrible shot selection. Notable examples were Watiers, Fair, and obviously Scoop.
  • Yelling "Overrated" at a team you are beating devalues the win. Most people know this except the one jackass that starts it in every student section in the nation. Also, as someone pointed out, if Syracuse was so overrated why are you rushing the court?
  • Chanting "Fab Can't Read" is funny. Is it also over the line? That's debatable. You want to yell that? Fair enough. I expected that at UConn,WVU, Pitt, or Georgetown, but not at ND though.
Syracuse now travels to Cincinnati to take on the Bearcats. Will Syracuse play better with the still absence of Fab Melo? Will the pressure of being #1 now lifted will Syracuse simply crush? We will find out Monday night. Let's just hope everyone involved forgets about this game quickly.

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