- Lack of Offensive Fluidity
It ended up being a 21-point blowout, but for large portions of the game, especially in the first half, there still wasn’t a lot of rhythm moving the ball. Michael Carter-Williams had a solid day, but the SU start against an 11-18 DePaul squad won’t fly against Georgetown. Jim Boeheim called the first ten minutes stagnant, and C.J. Fair echoed to The Fizz the Orange played “laid back” on both sides. Syracuse only amassed ten assists as a team (and only 8 against the Hoyas two weeks ago), and it took 16 minutes to grab a lead and sustain it. SU must get off to a hotter start against Georgetown. A double-bye in the Big East Tournament is on the line.
- Stuck in the Deep Shot Doldrums
- Rak Can be Physical
Yes, It’s true. We saw it. Christmas got off to a slow start in the first half, but played with fire for a majority of the second. The biggest key is sustaining the energy underneath. The forward had five blocks and five rebounds, but what was more impressive was his ability to get the ball into transition quickly. It’s a wonder what actually gets Christmas going on the defensive end. Boeheim noted postgame Rak has a tendency to be out of position on both ends of the floor. That certainly has been evident throughout the season. But SU can’t afford any less intensity from Christmas than he displayed vs. DePaul. The Fizz asked Triche what motivates Rak on the court. “Alley-Oops. And when he gets big dunks and buckets down low.” Considering his offensive game, let’s hope that a defensive performance like tonight motivates the 6’10” forward down the stretch.
- The Most Intriguing Storyline Came Pregame
With a routine victory over a Big East bottom-feeder, perhaps the most interesting thing is what transpired beforehand. Talking with television play-by-play announcer Jason Benetti, he said Boeheim posed a question to his group in the locker room prior to tipoff: “Do you want to go down as the team that didn’t have heart?” It’s good to hear that despite his obstinate public denial of these concerns, Boeheim privately has called out his team’s effort. Whether it’s true, this year’s Orange has appeared to lack the leadership, composure, and hustle needed to make a deep NCAA Tourney run.
- The Legacy of This Senior Class is TBD
Consider last year’s senior class. With Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph, it was abundantly clear on Senior Night they would go down with notable places in SU history, regardless of how the rest of their season went. Not quite the case for this year’s pair of seniors. Southerland and Triche have spent the better part of their careers on the bench during crunch time. Given the chance to finally take control as seniors they’ve led a group that’s sputtering at the wrong time. Triche and Southerland have quiet personalities, which is normally okay. It just doesn’t look too good when you’re supposed to be the leaders of a team that on the surface is lacking adequate leadership. If in the postseason Southerland becomes Big Game James, and Triche becomes what people have been waiting for since he was a freshman, then SU will have a great chance to go far, and the seniors will forever be known to Orange fans as clutch performers.