Safe to say, things have changed just a little for SU basketball. Not long ago, Orange Nation was wondering if it was going to have to buy Carrier Dome NIT tickets. Now, Syracuse is hot on the trail of a Big East Tournament double bye. The Orange soap opera (a certain ridiculous rumor, underachieving freshmen, a grumpy Per’fesser, and a four-game losing streak) has subsided. Syracuse was able to exact revenge on the Hoyas and the Wildcats, though it’ll have to wait until the Big East tournament to get another crack at Rick Pitino and the Cardinals.
D.A. joined Kanell for a Fresh FizzCast to discuss the recent turnaround. With so much good, bad, and ugly for Boeheim’s bunch in 2010-2011, does D.A. have any idea at all how things will play out in the postseason?
“I honestly don’t know if we’ll ever figure out the potential of SU basketball until the final game of its season. And that might be in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, and that might be in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament.”
Kanell makes a prediction, though.
“I’ve always thought of this team as a team that’s going to take an early exit in the NCAA tournament, because I just look at its biggest weakness. It doesn’t have a go-to scorer.”
While the Orange undeniably has talent, SU still doesn’t have a closer to finish off games. D.A. explains:
“It doesn’t seem like Kris Joseph wants the ball in crunch time enough. It seems like Scoop does, but Scoop’s probably not the best offensive option to do so. Rick Jackson’s the most consistent player. But he’s obviously not a guy that you feed at the wing and say, ‘okay go make something happen big man.’ That’s not going to happen.”
We didn’t expect to see any contributions in crunch time from Fab Melo, but the freshman from Brazil came from out of nowhere to make an impact against Georgetown. D.A. believes Melo could actually give the Orange a big boost in March.
“He’s so long, he’s so tall, his wingspan is so large, that when he steps to the top of the paint and can extend his arms, he makes that intermediate shot so difficult. He’s built perfectly for it. Here’s hoping he gets more playing time in the Big East Tournament and then on, because if he does then that means he’s doing things right. And that means that the Syracuse zone is about 30 times more difficult than it usually is without him.”
Any added depth in the always-grueling Big East Tournament would certainly be useful for the Orange. D.A. looks forward to what has the potential to be a special week at MSG, with an unprecedented amount of teams that could win the Big East.
“This is going to be one of the most fantastic five days of college basketball in recent memory. There are eight legitmate teams – you could maybe even say nine or ten – that could win the Big East Tournament. Every game is going to be a bloodbath.”
Before that, SU hosts DePaul in the Dome Saturday on Senior Day. D.A. is set to buzz CNY for the weekend in a Volvo s60, to witness what should be bloodbath of a more one-sided nature, and tear things up afterward on Marshall Street. D.A. calls for all Fizz readers to look out for him, and the protocol if you happen to run into him at Chuck’s.
“Say hello, rip me if you want for pushing Ishaq Williams away. I’ll buy you a beer. It’s on me.”
Conroy also dropped by Fizz Headquarters to look back on a week in which we spoke with each member of next year’s SU basketball recruiting class. The 2011-2012 squad is going to have unparalleled depth, and Conroy and Kanell discuss who we see winning the playing time battles. The prospects for next year’s team shine bright, and it’s nice to say this season’s story is nowhere near over yet.
Posted: Andrew Kanell