We saw the 20 rebound performance against Duke. We saw him nearly average a double double in the NCAA Tournament last season. We heard about the improving jump shot. Regardless, Tyler Roberson is no longer in the starting lineup. And you can’t really fault Jim Boeheim. Dajuan Coleman is looking like the five star recruit that he was and Tyus Battle has been significantly better offensively.
Before the season began, the only way you could have imagined Roberson getting benched would have been Paschal Chukwu playing out of his mind and both Matthew Moyer and Taurean Thompson dominating on both ends. But just the opposite has happened. Chukwu is getting even less playing (back to back games without seeing the floor), Moyer redshirted this season and Boeheim has called out Thompson’s defense time and time again.
After a hot start to the season offensively, Roberson has significantly fallen off. In his last four games, he has just eight total points, including a goose egg in SU’s loss against Wisconsin.
But the reality is, Roberson has not shown up against the quality opponents on Syracuse’s schedule. He has only cracked double figures against Colgate, Holy Cross and South Carolina State. Meanwhile, he has yet to eclipse six points against the others. Ever since his benching, he has not been on the floor for more than 13 minutes.
When Roberson plays well, the team goes. Looking at the games in the past two years where he excels, the Orange has won games. In the first four games of the NCAA Tournament, Roberson recorded double digits in either points or rebounds, which is why Boeheim had no choice but to keep him on the floor. However, in the three losses against Pitt last season, Roberson averaged just over six points and four rebounds.
It seems like Boeheim prefers the small ball scoring lineup, but this team needs Roberson if it wants any kind of deep run in March.