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Georgia Tech - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: Let's keep the winning at home going.
Syracuse had a huge win over Notre Dame on Thursday. Despite the short time off, Syracuse now turns their attention to Georgia Tech. And weirdly, Georgia Tech is a similar team to Notre Dame in their makeup. They typically outrebound their opponent and they shoot the 3 really well. However, Georgia Tech also averages just over 17 points per game in transition. Stopping G'Tech from running and getting easy buckets will be key to a victory. Playing the same defensive plan as they did against Notre Dame will help as well. Of course, not sure the defense mattered much against ND as the lead was so big for SU early. Not sure if they can do the same thing today, but if Malachi Richards keeps his hot shooting up, and Tyler Lydon adds a few, SU will be in very good shape. Georgia Tech has only managed to beat Virginia in conference play. Which is weird. But either way, I'm picking Syracuse at home. Especially after the way they have been playing lately. I'll take the Orange by 8. This game is available nationally on ESPN U / WatchESPN at nooner. Enjoy.

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The man of the night was clearly Cooney. But everyone was pretty good.
Down goes Notre Dame. A pretty familiar sentiment for Syracuse fans. Syracuse is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings. Boeheim owns Mike Brey, now 16-5 against the Irish under him. So when #25 came in, they left with a loss. But Syracuse played maybe one of their best games of the season. Syracuse dismantled Notre Dame 81 to 66.
  • Notre Dame started off the game ahead 5-0, but then Syracuse rattled off a 23-1 run, that gave SU the lead 23 to 6 with just under 10 minutes to go in the first half. SU never looked back.
  • Trevor Cooney finished with 22 points on 7-17, 3-8 from the floor. He was also 5-5 from the free throw line. He added 3 rebounds and 3 assists.
  • Michael Gbinije and Malachi Richardson, along with Tyler Lydon off the bench, all had 15 points. Generally when two of your starters and your 6th man have 15 points a piece, you're probably going to win the game.
  • Just as ND was making the game close, Malachi Richardson drilled a 3 and was fouled, adding the free throw. A rare 4 point play. Which was a huge momentum change for SU.
  • Tyler Roberson wasn't as productive as he has been, but he added 9 points and 9 rebounds. A very solid day. He also had a tip in where he was THE MOST high up. All the ups.
  • Syracuse outrebounded ND 36-32.
  • For the first time since I can remember, SU only missed one of their free throw attempts.  They were 15-16 (93.8%) from the charity stripe. You'll win a lot of games when you make you free throws at that clip.
  • Oddly, both teams shot the 3 really well. Both teams made 10 from behind the arc. ND only did a little better, making 10-24 instead of 10-25 that SU shot.
  • Notre Dame was the best team in taking care of the ball in the country, averaging 9.2 turnovers per game. SU forced 11 in the game, most of which were in the first half.
  • This was the most complete team win of the season, especially in conference play.
  • SU was listed on most prospective brackets as a "first team out". This is a huge resume boosting win for SU. I would say as of right now they are in the NCAA Tournament.
Syracuse had a big win. But the turnaround is short as Georgia Tech comes into the Dome on Saturday afternoon. But for a short time we can savor another victory over the Irish. And everyone looked good doing it. At least, if they had orange on.

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Notre Dame - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: It's always satisfying to beat Notre Dame.
I'm back. After a short vacation out of state I gave the keys to the blog to John, who drove it admirably. It helps that he got to write about Syracuse beating Duke at Duke. But since the kids lost down at Virginia in a whole heap of snow, I'm back previewing Syracuse's return to the Carrier Dome to take on Notre Dame. Let's get to it. Notre Dame is the 2nd best 3 point shooting team, only behind Virginia. However, despite making a good chunk of the 3s they do shoot, Notre Dame doesn't shoot that much. They would rather go inside. And I'm sure they're licking their chops against a team like Syracuse, who's only major inside threat would probably be Roberson (although Coleman seemed to have a pretty good game against Virginia overall). Therefore, Syracuse has to really commit to defense inside and in stopping Zach Auguste. If Syracuse can limit his touches inside, or force him to take shots he's not used to, away from the basket, Syracuse has a good chance of earning more rebounds and putting them in a better position to win. Additionally, SU needs to force Notre Dame, a team that rarely turns the ball over, into making bad passes so SU can earn some runouts. What can help is that Notre Dame is missing their starting point guard, who was injured in their last game. Which means someone that doesn't primarily handle the ball will be doing so. That could allow for some pressure situations and force bad passes so SU can pick them off. Of course, none of this matters if Notre Dame gets hot and everyone starts taking and making 3s. But pending that, I like Syracuse at home. I'm picking the Orange in a really close game by 3. This game is available nationally on ESPN 2 / WatchESPN at 7:00pm. John is in the building. I'm at the home office. Let's go Orange!

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Syracuse - Virginia Postgame Reactions OR Snowed Out

Obviously taken during gameplay, but, this picture totally looks posed.

Don't blame jet lag. Mainly because Syracuse and Charlottesville are in the same time zone. But in an "unprecedented" gameday travel arrival, Syracuse tried its best to stick to its gameday routine and not let any distractions keep it from focusing on the task at hand: extending its winning streak to four games. A tall task in even ideal circumstances. On Sunday night, Syracuse struggled in a few areas in which it had found success: consistency and defense. But for Michael Gbinije and Malachi Richardson, there was hardly any offensive production. And, as Jim Boeheim noted after the game, the defense at the 5 position was non-existent. To be fair, Syracuse hung with the Hoos for much of the game, but by about halfway through the second half, you just knew they'd never get close enough to make a real run at the lead. The streak comes to an end, as Virginia came out on top 73-65.

  • Gbinije and Richardson scored 24 and 23, respectively, combining for eleven three-pointers. They were the only ones in double digits for the Orange.
  • After that monster game against Duke last Monday, Tyler Roberson cooled off, with only six points and seven rebounds. Anthony Gill really had his way with him down low.
  • Boeheim only went seven-deep in this game, with Tyler Lydon logging 26 minutes, and Frank Howard with five. Sure, there aren't many good bench options. Plus, Syracuse had six days since its last game, and four days until the next, so if you're going to overwork your starters, this was the right timing for it.
  • 39 of Syracuse's 65 points were from deep; so it's no surprise that Syracuse got demolished in the paint, being outscored 30-12. With as hot as Gbinije & Richardson were from beyond the arc -- and you had to keep letting them shoot -- literally anyone else stepping up with any semblance of an inside game quite honestly might have given the game to Syracuse. But, nobody was to be found.
  • Virginia's offense was consistent, and as expected most of its production came from Malcom Brogdon, London Perrantes, and Anthony Gill. They are good players.
So the streak is over. But you really can't be upset going 2-1 on a three-game road stretch of Wake, Duke, and Virginia. Up next is four straight home games (?!) against teams Syracuse could (should?) beat. It's the 2016 ACC, who knows what can happen! Also with this loss, we can welcome back Brian to regular blogging again -- a more normal mix of both of us contributing. Welcome back, Brian!

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Syracuse - Virginia Preview

Syracuse students agree: Snow can be a major headache!

As of the writing of this post, the Syracuse team charter has just landed in Charlottesville, so I'm pretty confident that the game will actually be played tonight. Historically, Syracuse does not beat Virginia. But with the way each of these teams have been playing this season -- and more importantly, lately -- I don't think you can look at historical trends and just let that tell the story of who will win tonight. Virginia comes in as the #13 team in the country, but have three ACC losses -- to Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and Florida State, all on the road. None are slouches, to be sure, but none are historical ACC powerhouses. Meanwhile, Virginia's wins have been impressive -- over the likes of West Virginia, Villanova, Miami, and most recently the surging Clemson Tigers. So, the Cavaliers can beat good teams. Coach Tony Bennett uses a rotation with bench players, keeping his team fresh, and spreading around the contributions -- a luxury Syracuse doesn't have. Malcom Brogdon is the most likely to chuck up a three, so the zone needs to zero in on him. However, if the Cavs get it to London Perrantes, he's successful from deep at a much higher percentage. Anthony Gill can get after the rebounds, particularly on the offensive glass, so Syracuse will have to neutralize him to cut down on Virginia's second chance points. For the Orange, I think you look at the blueprint from the last three games, and just keep doing that -- consistent scoring, attacking the glass, and playing tough, gritty defense. Really the biggest question is how much will the delayed game and travel readjustments affect the Orange? It'll be talked about, but I think it'll be a non-factor. However, I just think Virginia's too tough, particularly at home, for Syracuse to steal a win, so I've got Virginia by four. This game is available tonight at 7:00pm EST on ESPN2 and the WatchESPN app. I'll have a 2-TV setup for this and the NFC Championship, as I'm sure most of you will as well. See you on the tweets!

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Syracuse - Duke Postgame Reactions OR The Revenant

This is basically what happened each time SU missed a shot

I didn't have to work yesterday, so I decided to catch a movie before settling in for Big Monday's Syracuse at Duke game. I picked The Revenant, mainly because I didn't know what that word meant & didn't want to see Star Wars. At any rate, I saw the movie without getting around to looking up the definition of revenant, but basically figured it out during the course of the film: one that returns after death or a long absence. And so, watching Syracuse play at Duke last night ended up being a lot like the movie: the Orange had been gone for a long time, some had pontificated about the death of the season, and then they waltz into Cameron Indoor and play really hard for 40 minutes and beat Duke, so it all just kind of fit. Tyler Roberson was a rebounding machine, the team had a balanced scoring effort, and the defense held Duke to a bunch of poor & unsuccessful three-point attempts. Syracuse beat Duke at Cameron Indoor for the first time ever, 64-62.

  • Roberson notched another double double with 14 points and 20 rebounds, twelve of them offensive boards. In total, the team had 26 offensive rebounds, leading to 17 second chance points. Roberson's 14 points led the team in scoring, but...
  • He was tied with Cooney, Gbinije, and Richardson with those 14 points. The only other Orange points came off the bench with Tyler Lydon's eight.
  • It was a great shooting night for the Orange, particularly from beyond the arc -- 11-23 for 47.8%. Compare that to Duke's numbers -- 10-37 for 27% -- and you see why Syracuse won. Marshall Plumlee was a huge presence down low for the Blue Devils and scored 19, but by and large most of the Duke possessions were three-point attempts. When you only hit on 27% of those, it's not gonna be a good night. Credit that to the zone to not only force those shots, but to get out and defend the shooters to prevent a lot of wide open threes.
  • Syracuse got into foul trouble in the first half -- three for Gbinije, and two each for Richardson and Coleman -- but they all played smart in the second half, and the prospect of fouling out never really became a huge concern for anybody.
  • Statistically, this game was really close in just about every category, including the score, but that was the one that mattered most in the end.
I'm sure if you've cared enough to read this recap, you probably watched the game live or caught a replay, so I probably don't need to provide much more than what's above. Bottom line, Syracuse is the Revenant. Back from the dead. The season is not lost after all! Well, assuming the team can keep up the type of play we've seen over these last three games. Up next: the final game of this road trip Saturday at Virginia.

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Syracuse - Duke Preview

Syracuse students agree: a win at Cameron Indoor would be really nice.

Two ACC trips to Cameron Indoor Stadium for the Orange have resulted in two losses. The first two years ago, as syracuse.com just reminded me by posting the video of it, contained that bullshit charging foul on CJ Fair with ten seconds to go. Textbook block. I'm so infuriated all over again! The second trip to Durham I had the privilege to attend last year, and was pretty much dominated by Duke the entire way through. This year, both programs are in much different positions from then. Syracuse is off its postseason ban but is down three scholarships, just got Jim Boeheim back, and has been struggling to find its way -- though brings a two game winning streak into this game. Duke has had injury problems and Coach K recently made a change in the starting lineup -- and really only plays seven guys -- and has lost its last two games, to Clemson and Notre Dame. The timing of this game might just be right for Syracuse to steal one at Cameron. To do that, the Orange will have to remain consistent, play great defense, and win the rebounding battle. Duke loses when they struggle to score, but Coach K knows how to exploit the zone. Look for Luke Kennard to probably have a big game for the Blue Devils -- if he doesn't, this could be an Orange victory. History tells us that since Trevor Cooney just had a great game, he'll disappear for this one, so someone else will have to step up and shoot lights out. Gbinije? We'll see. I've got Duke by five in this one. If you're not one of the lucky 10,000 people crammed into Cameron Indoor Stadium, you can catch the game tonight at 7:00pm on ESPN Big Monday with Sean McDonough and Dick Vitale, or on the WatchESPN app. There are no blackouts on this nationally televised event, unless you drink too much.

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"People in Syracuse don't realize Trevor Cooney is a good shooter. People in other cities seem to."

Consistency from the starting five: that's what we knew would be key going into this three-game road trip for Syracuse. If Saturday's game against Wake Forest was any indication of that, then maybe this team can turn around its otherwise bad fortunes on the season. The Orange built a sizable lead in the first half and never looked back. The team got great production from its starters -- most notably Trevor Cooney, dealt with an overcame foul trouble, and successfully limited Wake's Devin Thomas. Put it all together and Syracuse gets a major road victory at Wake Forest, 83-55.

  • The aforementioned Cooney scored a game-high 25 points on 7-14 shooting, 6-11 from three, and 5-6 from the line. Most of that was in the first half, allowing Syracuse to build a comfortable lead they would never relinquish.
  • Tyler Roberson continued to be plugged in, notching another double double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. After picking up his third foul with 3:50 to go in the first half, Tyler played smart the rest of the way and had no fouls the rest of the game. This was crucial, given the "foul trouble" talk centered around Syracuse at the end of the half.
  • Michael Gbinije not only played another consistent game, but had a series of impressive slam dunks to really show people he was playing with confidence again. G was 6-11 for 15 points, had eight rebounds, and three steals -- I believe all of them leading to fast-break dunks.
  • Tyler Lydon was the other Orangeman in double digit scoring with eleven on 4-9 shooting, including 3-4 from three. It's nice when DaJuan Coleman is playing well and Lydon can get minutes in at forward -- offense is much better in that configuration.
  • Speaking of Coleman, while he didn't match or exceed Wednesday's 11-point effort, he had a nice six-point game. His stat line isn't impressive, but he was a great presence out on the court.
  • Wake big man Devin Thomas needed to be ineffective for Syracuse to have any chance here, and the fact Syracuse limited him to nine points is a chief reason this game was so out of reach for the Demon Deacons. Oddly enough, Wake's only double digit scorer was Doral Moore, who had ten points in ten minutes.
  • Chinoso Obokoh got 13 minutes in relief of foul-striken Coleman and, though he didn't score, he grabbed three rebounds and played with some much needed physicality. Which ultimately led to him reaching the five fouls for disqualification. But hey, he did his job. With Coleman playing better, he'll get in foul trouble, and it's that much more important that Chino can enter the game and be effective. He'll never be the offensive threat like Lydon is, but holding down the 5 spot in the zone is vital as we go forward.
  • Syracuse with 32 points in the paint, 30 points off turnovers, and 20 second chance points. They also won the battle of the boards 43-35, and shot 44.4% from the field. You will take that effort any day or night of the week against any team, and expect to win.
No conference game is easy, and no conference game on the road is easy. So, despite Wake not being at the top of the ACC, this was an impressive win for Syracuse. Wake entered with a number of wins over great competition, so it's not like they're a push-over. If building momentum means anything, then Syracuse is well-positioned heading into a Big Monday showdown at Cameron Indoor Stadium against Duke. With the Saturday-Monday turnaround, the team is staying in North Carolina, so thankfully they won't be travel-fatigued. It'll be a good one!

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Syracuse - Wake Forest Preview

Syracuse students agree: gotta win a conference game on the road.

After an impressive win over Boston College on Wednesday night, Syracuse embarks on a three-game conference roadtrip. First up is Wake Forest. Like Syracuse, the Demon Deacons have had a rough go of it as well, entering with a 10-6 overall record, 1-3 in the ACC. Devin Thomas is the one we'll have to watch, as he's averaging a double double (16.9ppg, 10.4rpg). But we can pretty much count on him not being an outside threat -- he has attempted exactly zero threes this season. In that regard, Wake shoots 34.7% as a team from beyond the arc, and Bryant Crawford hits them at the best clip. Also zero in on Konstantinos Mitoglou and Mitchell Wilbekin, who each have had success from three. Key for Syracuse will be finding consistency: Michael Gbinije bounced back against BC after being ineffective as of late, Trevor Cooney lit it up against UNC but was a no-factor against BC, Tyler Roberson is at various times "plugged in," and DaJuan Coleman scored 11 points against BC with Boeheim giving him more minutes. While not everyone has to have a career game, everyone needs to have a competent game -- with that sort of effort, Syracuse should easily beat Wake. I'll take the Orange in this one by six. Brian's busy playing Topgolf in Arizona, while I'll be watching from my couch. The game is available Saturday at 12:00pm EST on the ACC Network (find your affiliate here) or on WatchESPN if you're not blacked-out, or maybe try the ACC Website or ACC Mobile App if all else fails. Have fun & get it done!

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Boston College - Syracuse Postgame Reactions OR A Win

DaJuan had himself a nice little game

Four ACC games; four losses. Never before in the Jim Boeheim era had Syracuse lost five games in a row. I think we've all come to terms with this not being a great Syracuse team, yet none of us could imagine experiencing an unprecedented losing streak. Enter Boston College: The Outhouse on the Hill, who sucks and always will. Literally, they're the worst team in the ACC. They're young and inexperienced, and are typically out-physicaled by their competition. So, a sight for the sore eyes of the Orange basketball team. Speaking of sore eyes, the "16,701" in attendance at the Carrier Dome, we weren't exactly blown away by the demonstration of "basketball" on the court. 35 total fouls, 30 total turnovers, and an 11-11 tie ten minutes into the game. Thankfully, the Orange woke up around that time, built a lead, kept it, and broke its losing streak beating BC 62-40.

  • After literally laying an egg against North Carolina (yes, literally, think about it) Michael Gbinije remembered how to play basketball again. Against the Eagles, he scored 14 points on 5-8 shooting, six rebounds, two assists, and four steals. Not a dominant performance, but he was a factor in this game whereas he was invisible against UNC.
  • Safe to say Tyler Roberson was "plugged in" Wednesday night: ten points and twelve rebounds (five offensive) for a double double. His stats may have been better had he not been taken out after a fourth foul for going over the back. He got an earful from Boeheim on that, who referenced how his 6th grade son knows you don't go over the back when you have three fouls. But absent that, great game.
  • DaJuan Coleman had a wonderful game as well. In a lengthy 26 minutes, Coleman managed eleven points and five assists. Not a perfect game, but his defense was decent and he showed some good moves on offense, including catching the ball near the baseline and driving 10-15 feet to the basket. Good floor presence to recognize the path was clear and not mess it up. More of this smart play is needed from Coleman if Syracuse wants to compete in the rest of the ACC schedule.
  • Syracuse shot 47.8% for the game, which obviously helped them pull away from Boston College, who struggled at 31.9%. Syracuse also won the rebounding battle 35-27, and limited BC second chance points to eight. The Orange benefited from dominating in the paint, with 34 points, and turned 16 BC turnovers into 22 points.
  • A couple early 3s from BC's Eli Carter got me thinking we'd get beat by another no-name who has a career game, but luckily that never came to fruition.
So hey, a win. Just what the doctor ordered. It wasn't pretty, but a win is something this team can rally around and maybe build on. They'll have to, with a difficulty 3-game stretch on the road: Wake Forest, Duke, and Virginia. Stay tuned...

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BC - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: BC should be a win. But you never know I guess.
Syracuse is a hot garbage fire of a team right now. BC is too. So who will win? It should be SU. They are playing at home, and make 3s at a better clip than BC. BC has paint problems like SU, so the Orange shouldn't get torched like the have the last few games. BC has mostly freshmen playing, who haven't played against the Zone. I think SU will force a lot of turnovers and get some easy transition points. Malachi Richardson should continue being fairly hot, and Gbinije will bounce back. I also look at Coleman to have a good game inside against a weaker set of players from BC. All in all, unless some nobody has an unconscious game against SU (which is always possible), SU should get their first ACC win of the year. I'll take SU by 12. This game is available regionally at 7:00pm. Check to see if your station appears here, or the WatchESPN blackout map as well.

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Syracuse played 35 minutes of competitive basketball. The game was 40.
You could see it coming a mile away. With about 4 minutes left to play, the lead of UNC was growing. You knew SU couldn't come back. Especially since Syracuse couldn't get a stop either, let alone score. Trevor Cooney had his best game of the season, but it wasn't enough. Syracuse lost to UNC in Jim Boeheim's return 84 to 73.
  • Obviously Trevor Cooney, who also had an excellent outing against UNC last year, does it again. He finished with 27 points on 10-21, 5-12 shooting. He also had 5 rebounds and no turnovers.
  • Michael Gbinije was a ghost until the last 3 minutes when the game was out of hand already. He was 3-13 and 0-6 from distance. Easily his worst game of the season.
  • Malachi Richardson continued his fairly hot hand, earning 16 points, and led the team with 5 assists.
  • Both Tyler Roberson and DeJuan Coleman tied for the lead with 7 rebounds each. SU led UNC in rebounding 35 to 33. Coleman played more than he had in the last several games, staying on the floor for 27 minutes. SU needed a big body inside, and honestly he played pretty good defense. The forwards were the main defensive breakdown in the game.
  • SU had 13 turnovers to UNC's 9. Not a great look, especially in crunch time and a bad one to end the first half to let UNC go into the locker room tied after SU got off to a hot start.
Now SU can get a slight breather when BC comes calling in the Dome in what should be SU's first win. We'll see, but as of right now, at least SU should beat BC after a great effort for almost the entire game against UNC. Hopefully Gbinije will bounce back, because it definitely wasn't anything UNC was doing against him. He just had a terrible night. Which is not something a first team all-conference player typically does.

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North Carolina - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: Winning this game would really help everything.
Don't call it a comeback. Jim Boeheim regains his place as the head man for the Orange. After serving a nine game suspension for not doing anything wrong but failing to know something was wrong even though there were checks in place to tell if something was wrong, Boeheim is calling the plays and running practice. Welcome back Jimmy. Syracuse has a tough task in taking on a very good UNC team. Tar Heals are averaging around 50% from the floor. However, most of that is done from inside. Center Kennedy Meeks is doubtful for the game, which is good for Syracuse as they can't handle talent at the center position, no matter who is on the floor for the Orange. The key for Syracuse in this game is to pack the paint, and not let any cheap baskets go in. If they can play solid interior defense inside the arc and paint, and only allow a few uncontested shots from long range, Syracuse should do well in keeping the score close. Also tracking a guy named Marcus Page would be good. He torched SU last year, and he's capable of doing it again. Trevor Cooney was the one that showed up against UNC last time, despite the loss. If he can do that again, Syracuse could go a long way in even trying to win this game. Malachi Richardson is also still very hot the last two games. If they both are hot in this game, and Gbinije contributes, SU could very well pull the upset. Vegas is listing UNC only a six point favorite. How that happened I'll never know. Despite the students still not being back, and the crowd not expected to be that big, because Jimmy is expected to be back there will be a little better energy in the Dome than there was against Clemson. I expect the crowd to be into the game and it to be loud. I think due to UNC's starting center limited, and the fact that Richardson is still playing hot right now, I'll give the slight edge to SU at home and say Syracuse by 3. This is a total gut play. We may get murdered. I don't know. This game is available nationally on ESPN / WatchESPN at 8pm. I think I'm actually going to be in the Dome for this one so giddy up! Go Orange. Jim > Roy.

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Free throws aren't free for Malachi.
It was earlier than it usually it, but Syracuse faced a much win game in January, taking on Clemson in the Carrier Dome. The last game of Jim Boeheim's suspension, Syracuse needed to stop their ACC losing skid, and win a conference game. Syracuse managed to not fade in the final four minutes, but rather in an extra five, and on a couple key spots in the final minute of regulation, leading to a defeat. The Clemson Tigers ended up winning in overtime 74 to 73.

  • First thing is first. The way Clemson shot the ball (53.8% total, 47.1% [8-17] from 3), they should have won the game. SU (38.7%, 38.2% [13-34] from 3) normally shouldn't beat a D2 team. However, SU was in it with 13 made 3s, and had they made just one more free throw, the Clemson 3 at the end of regulation wouldn't have mattered.
  • Michael Gbinije bounced back from his Miami outing wit 22 points, leading all scorers. It was on 7-19, 4-13 shooting. Not great on the 3s, but pretty good overall. He also added 4 assists and no turnovers.
  • Malachi Richardson continued his hot hand adding 21, mostly on 5-7 shooting from distance. He also led in rebounds with 9.
  • SU had 11 steals to Clemson's 4. However, the overall defense was rough. Especially both inside, and in guarding Clemson's DEEP 3 attempts, all of which seemed to go in, especially the last shot in regulation. ROUGH.
  • While SU kept the rebounding close (33-32), again, there was very little competent interior defnse or boxing out / rebounding. Obviously the biggest concern besides fading late in games or not consistently scoring.
  • Gbinije after the game said he "thought the plan" was to just play straight up defense. Jim Boeheim has talked lately that fouling when up 3 is the way to go. I agree. Unfortunately it didn't seem that was the plan and it certainly didn't happen. Probably the biggest costly mistake of the game.
SU now has ranked UNC coming into the Dome. Fortunately, they also have their head coach back. Will it matter against UNC? Not sure, but we'll find out.

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This guy barely got off the bus.
Syracuse gave it a solid effort against the #13 team in the country. However it ended EXACTLY like the Pitt game. After the under 4 media timeout the team faded, not really scoring. Miami gave Syracuse a hell of a chance by missing 22 3's, but Syracuse couldn't build a lead when they should have. Despite leading at the half, Syracuse faded and Miami won 64 to 51.
  • Malachi Richardson was the leading scorer for the Orange, bouncing back from disappearing for the last few days. He hit 7-15, 5-6 from the floor for 20 points. He also added six rebounds.
  • Gbinije did have 10 points, but it was on 3-14, 0-7 shooting. He had a horrible game and basically only got to 10 points because of a few free throws. He also had eight turnovers. EIGHT!
  • Syracuse shot only 32.1% from the floor. Miami only did slightly better, but it was enough. They did only make 3-25 on from 3 though.
  • The officiating was uneven in this game. Usually this isn't a valid criticism because 99.9% of the time if the fouls are uneven it's because one team actually is fouling and the other isn't. But in this case one of the officials even admitted to Gbinije that they were calling it different in one end than the other. The fouls were 14 fouls on Miami and 25 on Syracuse. It almost made the game unwatchable for both team's fans.
  • Tyler Roberson had a monster game on the boards, pulling down 11 for a team that sucks at rebounding.
Syracuse has to learn how to close games and quick. Because Syracuse should have been able to get a huge lead and keep it when your opponent takes 25 threes and they only get 9 points from them. This was another bad ending. Let's hope there aren't too many more we have to stomach this year.

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Clemson - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: This is a must win game.
Syracuse has played the exact same game twice now. With Pitt and Miami, Syracuse kept pace in the game, even leading in the 2nd half, only to fade out after the Under 4 time out, losing by 11 and 13 points. Syracuse was outrebounded in both games, and when it came down to it, no one was clutch and scoring down the stretch. However, the bright spot was Malachi Richardson against Miami, and Tyler Roberson against Pitt. These players contributing is nice (and necessary to win), but they haven't put it together in one night, as when Richardson got hot, Michael Gbinije had probably the worst game of his career. When Roberson got hot, Cooney turned the ball over badly late in the game. A veteran and a roll player have to be hot on any given night for SU to win. SU couldn't beat Miami who couldn't hit anything. Clemson is actually a better 3 point team on paper. They shoot an awful lot. More than Syracuse even. So the question is, will Syracuse be able to defend the line and rebound when Clemson's shots don't go in? If Syracuse manages to keep the rebounding close, and keep harassing the Clemson shooters, without letting them have free reign in the paint, SU should have a nice home win. I think Richardson stays hot, and Gbinije bounces back. I like SU's chances at home to rebound and get back a little momentum in a must win game for the season right now. SU over Clemson at home by 8. This game is available regionally at 8:00pm. Check your local listings here. WatchESPN for the rest of you.

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Syracuse - Miami Preview

Syracuse students agree: Road games should worry fans.
Syracuse stays on the road to play #13 Miami down in Florida. A tough road game for Syracuse, who is doing everything well, but almost nothing great right now. Miami holds an 8 rebounding margin against the teams they play, which means Syracuse, like in the Pitt game, is probably going to get murdered on the boards. Some of that has the 2-3 Zone to blame, but mostly it is because Coleman, Roberson, or Lydon are getting boxed out, don't get in position, or are just unlucky. Either way, it equals more chances for the other team and less for Syracuse. While Syracuse, especially Cooney, seemed to bounce back in the shooting department in Pitt, Syracuse needs to score consistently or Miami will get a lead they will not relinquish. Syracuse will be out manned inside, so look for Miami to attack Coleman at center, getting him into foul trouble. That might not be a bad thing, as Syracuse really needs more offense than defense lately. But again, with the way the rebounding will go, it probably won't matter in this one. Miami is very efficient on offense. Unless Syracuse can continue their hot shooting ways, and get Richardson or some other contributor more involved in scoring, Gbinije and Cooney will have a hard time doing it all. I think Roberson will again shine on the boards and on the scoreboard, but that won't be enough against Miami. I'll take the 'Canes at home by 14. This game is available regionally at 2:30pm. Check local listings here. Also available on WatchESPN if you aren't blacked out. Even if you are blacked out, you can watch on TheACC.com here. Plenty of ways to enjoy. Or rather, "enjoy".

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It was a solid effort... until about the last 3 minutes.
Syracuse put on a good effort for most of the game, including building a small lead in the 2nd half. But Pittsburgh kept scoring in the last 3 minutes. Syracuse did not. Pitt ends up the home victor 72 to 61.
  • Both Tyler Roberson and Trevor Cooney were SU's leading scorers with 15. Michael Gbinije added 14. Roberson was 7-12 on the day, while Cooney was 3-8, 3-5. Roberson also added 7 rebounds, the team's leading rebounder.
  • Cooney made some effort to get inside more, but his shooting was actually on from long range today. He did miss an easy one early, but he also drilled a long one from dead on, just pulling up, as well as a crazy drifting, ugly one that had no business going in. He also had his one and only turnover in the game in the final minutes with a baffling pass that was dumb even by Cooney doing dumb things standards.
  • Dejuan Coleman only had 2 points and 1 rebound, but he actually played pretty well, boxing out, and defending the lane. Whether Pitt was unreasonably afraid to go at Coleman, or he was actually playing very good defense is up to debate, but he had a good game overall, despite the stats.
  • The rebounding edge was pretty crazy in Pitt's favor. 43-25 was the final. All things considered, a pretty good effort from Syracuse on the boards but Pitt is far superior.
  • Syracuse forced 9 Pitt turnovers, but had 10 themselves.
  • Syracuse only took 15 3 point shots in the game. They made 5 (33.3%). However, it's notable because they have been taking a lot more shots in every game. There was a clear game plan to go inside more. Which I like. Finishing layups would help my health however.
  • Syracuse actually shot better from the floor than Pitt, 43.5% to 40.7%. Pitt's rebounds and the fact they shared and move the ball so well (18 assists) were probably the edge.
A solid effort, but it ended exactly how I thought it would. SU stays on the road to take on Miami. Another bleak outing is probably ahead. But hey, if they win, it will make your Saturday.

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