Syracuse Blown Out By Virginia, How Concerned Should We Be?

Virginia torches Syracuse down the stretch, takes ACC regular season crown.

If you’re a glass half-empty Syracuse fan, a faithful Orange supporter who’s convinced the bottom drops out at some point, this is all making too much sense. A torrid 25-0 start to the season has given way to three losses in the last four games, and the only victory being a nail-biter over a very mediocre Maryland team.

Syracuse had a chance to stop the bleeding and prevent Virginia from winning the ACC regular season, while probably locking down a no. 1 seed and got beat up 75-56. Had the Orange knocked off the no. 12 Cavs on the road, that likely would’ve sewn up a top seed. Instead, there’s serious questions staring Syracuse in the face right now.

After all the late-game magic through the first 25 games, SU has looked tentative and out of sync in the final minutes since. This was a tied game, 42-42 with 11:00 to play. Virginia then went on a 33-14 run to close out, creating turnovers, getting stops and finishing on its end.

Tyler Ennis who has looked so calm, so complete in pressure situations, was harried and off the mark in the second half (although he came out of the gates like lightning to begin the game). C.J. Fair’s offensive game was ugly when it mattered most as well. He connected on two free throws that made it 42-all. He scored only one point in the final 11 minutes.

But the biggest concern is clearly Jerami Grant. His back is tweaking on him, and he was unable to play in the second half. Without Grant, the Orange just doesn’t have enough firepower (or big bodies) to get deep into March. A healthy and effective Grant takes scoring pressure off Fair and Ennis, adds vital rebounding, and creates plenty of second-chance points off misses. He allows Rak Christmas and Baye Moussa Keita to merely be role players, instead of depended on for crucial defense and glass work.

It’s probably best for Jim Boeheim to rest Grant the final two games. You don’t want to take on any more water, but Syracuse has to be able to beat a bad Georgia Tech team at home without him. Going to FSU and winning minus Grant will be tougher, but SU’s most important work will come in the ACC tourney and NCAA tourney. And as long as the Orange are placed in the Buffalo and New York City pods, whatever happens in the regular season is forgiven and forgotten. A healthy Grant for the tournament is a necessity.

A cynical Syracuse fan has seen this story unfold before. Hot start, weak finish, disappointing exit in March. And those Orange fans will be watching through their fingers until SU gets sorted out.

Posted: D.A.

11 Comments on this Post

  1. OrangeCrush27

    It really comes down to JB. IMO, his coaching just drops off this time of year. He has no solid rotation, gives no PT to any of the Frosh which leads to no breaks/rest for starters and cannot change D’s. This team looks tired/beat up. You cant tell me that Patterson, Johnson and Roberson cant go in for AT LEAST 10 minutes a piece, per game. Look at Pitino’s teams, he presses all game and plays 8-10 guys! Giving everyone a solid break. And with fatigue comes bad shooting. No legs, no shot.

    And when your starting to get down by 10, on the road, with under 7-8 minutes can you throw a wrinkle at your opponent to stop them from taking 30 seconds off the shot clock to then hit a basket? JB just buries his teams and expects them to get out of it while sitting back in zone. Press, throw a trap, do something to help your team win.

    I think we beat GT and FSU. But i agree you got to sit Grant. The ACC Tourney will be interesting to watch.

  2. orangeinva

    The only way we’re a #1 seed is if we win the next 5.

  3. If we win the next five? Have you ever watched college basketball before? We can lock up a number 1 seed with 3 more wins because our first game will be against a decent team in the acc tourney and then we will play either duke or North Carolina. I’m sorry but we do not to win the acc tournament to get a number 1 seed that’s idiotic.

  4. orangeinva

    Chris..when rankings come out tomorrow CUSE may not be in the top 8-10. Let’s say we split the remaining 2 regular season games.

    Going into the ACC tourney both UVA and Duke WILL be ranked ahead of us. If one of those 2 wins the ACC- you’re looking at a 1 seed.

  5. saltine44

    Boeheims problem is he plays short rotation every year. 30 reg. Season games take the toll and creates a few injuries along the way. He has to increase his rotation to 10 or 11 guys if he is to win in march. Frustrating to see this happen to a great team!

  6. We still have a better resume then both duke and Virginia if you look at it over all still more top 50 wins and head to head against duke was split. But as jerry palm says head to head means as much as the coaches last name it’s all about what you’ve done during a season as a whole.

  7. o'crush

    Duke with 6 losses versus Syracuse with 3. We split with Duke yet they are ranked ahead of SU. Why? coach K. The coaches and the press love coach K., kisses his @#$ at every turn. SU doesn’t get the respect. I hope the team plays with a chip on their shoulder, they should. They are as balanced a team as I have seen. They all need to contribute collectively. Have not seen that since the first Duke game.

  8. No way at any point of this season. Should Duke be ranked ahead of Syracuse. Virginia right now should be because they only have one ACC loss. Cuse needs Grant healthy and everything will get better.

  9. This was a very good team, but JB has played them to exhaustion. I seem to remember a guy named Gerry that bombed in the pros because he had nothing left. JB needs to play at least nine all year in order to survive. Forget the 20 point wins, play 6,7,8 &9 and win by 5.

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