Syracuse dropped its fourth non-conference game of the season on Tuesday, 71-59 to the Buffalo Bulls. It’s the first time that Syracuse has dropped two straight non-conference games at home in program history. So people are upset. Reactions are happening. Let’s sort out the overreactions from the fair reactions.
This was a bad loss…
No… it was actual bad losses, which made this a “must win,” which made you feel like this was a bad loss. Buffalo is very legit. Not sure why the betting line (SU -3) or ESPN win probability said otherwise. They have shooters all around, physicality, and a star in CJ Massinburg. The Bulls needed all of that firing to get past Syracuse. This wasn’t a bad loss… At all. It only feels like one because of Old Dominion. Verdict: Overreaction.
Syracuse is a bubble team…
This much is clear. With four non-conference losses, SU will need to win the next two against Arkansas State and St. Bonaventure, then go at least 11-7 in the ACC. Assuming the Orange don’t win the ACC tournament, that scenario would have the Orange at 12 losses, which is about as many as a team can withstand and still make the Big Dance. Here’s the problem: Syracuse hasn’t been that successful in the ACC since the 2013-14 season. That was the inaugural season in the conference. This team won’t avoid the bubble this season, and if you had to choose a side they’re probably on the wrong side of it. Verdict: Fair reaction.
This team will never be very good…
This is a nine page essay, so let’s just keep it to this game. Syracuse fans have every reason to be upset after tonight.
The most frustrating thing about this: Syracuse lost exactly how one would predict them to…
Fast break points: 16-5 UB
Offensive rebounds: 18-10 UB
Free throws: SU 5-13
— Orange Fizz (@OrangeFizz) December 19, 2018
But nothing happened on the floor helps answer this question. What happened in the post game press conference does. Jim Boeheim said this:
Expectations are all based on winning three games last year. It’s the same team that lost 14 games last year.
He’s right. The problems that exist this year aren’t far off from last year. SU had a pretty solid defensive performance considering Buffalo’s prowess. The issue is still the offense. Elijah Hughes has come in and played well, but Frank Howard got injured and hasn’t played well at all. Howard is one of the only areas that will probably get better for this team. Will that be enough of a boost to make this team very good? Probably not. The way Boeheim is already talking about this team is really bad in itself. Verdict: Fair reaction.