The loss to Old Dominion was a shocking one for the Orange. Not only is this unfamiliar territory for the Monarchs, but Syracuse needs all the non-conference wins it can get. A team that already suffered an ugly loss to unranked UConn can’t afford to take on too much water outside the ACC. We’ve seen in recent years, the Orange struggle in the conference, especially with the elite teams. It’s hard to imagine this year being much different.
As ESPN noted after the game, “Well, here the Orange are again. Jim Boeheim’s squad has losses to UConn, Oregon and Old Dominion – three teams that could miss the NCAA tournament – before the start of ACC play. With another middle-of-the-pack finish in the league, Syracuse could enter Selection Sunday without any guarantees. Again.”
Over the last four years in the ACC, Syracuse has finished no higher than 7th. So unless SU is able to collect a bigger number of wins in league than we’ve seen since ’13-’14, these non-conference losses will be held against them come March. Plus, a top-15 Buffalo team is coming to town this week and they’re no joke.
The problems are evident. Frank Howard has made just six of his 29 shots from three. There’s very little offensive movement. Oshae Brissett is shooting under 45% from two. Free-throw shooting failed them against ODU. The squad as a whole is shooting just 30% from beyond the arc.
It’s still early, but these are important games for the Orange. College basketball betting lines still have SU as about a 50-1 odds to win the title, but no one is thinking about that right now in CNY. It’s about taking care of business in the non-con, and the test against Buffalo is a big one already.