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The Painful Truth About SU’s Loss to Oregon

Syracuse didn’t lose to 80-65 to Oregon on Friday at MSG due to bad coaching or mental errors.

Defensively, the Orange big men got out-muscled inside. Offensively, the Orange couldn’t make an open jumpshot. It would be much easier to blame such a harrowing loss, the second of the week, on something that seemed more fixable. But Boeheim can’t make shots for Syracuse, and he can’t make Paschal Chukwu or Bourama Sidibe tougher on the interior against elite bigs.

It’s a coach’s job to make sure the team runs the best offense possible. Against UConn, there was way too much isolation. Not enough ball movement, not enough off-ball motion. Against Oregon’s 2-3 zone, that changed. SU actually kept the ball moving, worked the ball inside-out and found open looks. They just didn’t fall.

The Orange made five of their 28 attempts, a 20% clip.

Going into the season, the Orange were expected to be an elite defense. Now they’ve given up 80 points in two consecutive games. The main culprit has been the weak interior. Bol Bol, a five-star recruit, went off for 26 points and nine boards. Forward Kenny Wooten also hit double figures for Oregon and had three offensive rebounds.

Boeheim pulled Chukwu midway through the first half to see if Sidibe could better handle the load. Even Marek Dolezaj played some minutes in the middle of the zone. Nobody could sure up the interior defense and rebounding. It’s the second straight game teams have  dominated Syracuse inside. Boeheim was asked if he thinks Chukwu and Sidibe can be more physical.

“It doesn’t appear that they can do that right now,” Boeheim said

Syracuse is not an adjustment away from winning basketball. Friday’s loss was about individuals not getting it done.

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