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?!?