Syracuse basketball’s current losing skid is as frustrating as its 18-0 start to the season was promising. With a team coming off a feel-good season that ended disappointingly, returning some but not all of of its key contributors, and bringing in four highly touted but unproven freshman, Orange fans rightfully had no idea what to expect prior to opening night.
But whatever expectations they did have, Syracuse surely exceeded them through 18 contests. The Orange went unbeaten over the course of a tougher than usual non-conference schedule, reaching as high as the #3 ranking in the country.
All of a sudden, the Orange finds itself in the middle of the pack in the Big East. To avoid the first five-game losing streak of the Boeheim Era, SU will have to beat UConn and Kemba Walker on the road. A loss would mean an ever further descent in the league standings.
So what’s the problem with Boeheim’s bunch? The more appropriate question would be: what isn’t the problem? Team Fizz convened after the Marquette loss to talk about what’s plaguing the Orange. Hoffman’s beef is first and foremost with Scoop Jardine, despite his seemingly stellar stat line against the Golden Eagles (13 points, 13 assists).
“13 and 13 is probably going to lead to Scoop getting a lot of love. No one’s going to blame this loss on Scoop. But if you know what you’re looking at when you watch basketball game, you’ll realize that down the stretch Scoop was awful. He makes decisions as if he’s predetermined when he crosses half court what he’s going to do.”
Conroy, though, is more focused on the freshmen. He says it’s tough to rely on so many inexperienced players to cover critical areas of the zone.
“The biggest difficulty with running a 2-3 zone defense with young personnel is them not knowing where their spots are. The reason this team gelled so well last year is the corners were always staked out because you had two veteran guys in the corners of the zone.”
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Should Boeheim be giving Mookie Jones some more run to try and change things up? Conroy thinks not.
“I do love Mookie as an offensive player, but here’s the problem: In practice, when Boeheim puts him with the guards, he gets burned. Up top in the zone, he’s not fast enough, and there’s no one to sub out for him among the wings.”
It’s been miserable following SU hoops lately, so let’s take a break and focus on Doug Marrone’s recruiting efforts for the next few days. That’s what The Fizz be doing leading up to and through Wednesday, February 2nd, a.k.a. National Signing Day, a.k.a. Merry Fizzmas. Conroy explains.
“The day is going to start early. It’s not going to stop ‘till late. We’re going to be in Fizz headquarters all day. We’re going to be out and about finding recruits, targeting recruits, texting, calling, podcasting, writing. It will be as if you take a month’s worth of Fizz posts and triple it. It is the most amazing and most comprehensive Signing Day coverage you will find for free on the internet.”
And you, the Fizz consumer, gets to enjoy all of that content we’ll be churning out all day Wednesday. Team Fizz is looking forward to it, and we hope you are too.
Posted: Andrew Kanell