Listen to a Fresh FizzCast on the 4-game losing skid and Signing Day:
Syracuse basketball‚Äôs current losing skid is as frustrating as its 18-0 start to the season was promising.¬†With a team coming off a feel-good season that ended disappointingly, returning some but not all of of its key contributors, and bringing in four highly touted but unproven freshman, Orange fans rightfully had no idea what to expect prior to opening night.
But whatever expectations they did have, Syracuse surely exceeded them through 18 contests. The Orange went unbeaten over the course of a tougher than usual non-conference schedule, reaching as high as the #3 ranking in the country.
Then the wheels fell off and SU‚Äôs confidence went with them. Dion Waiters provided yet another distraction in a season full of them.
All of a sudden, the Orange finds itself in the middle of the pack in the Big East. To avoid the first five-game losing streak of the Boeheim Era, SU will have to beat UConn and Kemba Walker on the road. A loss would mean an ever further descent in the league standings.
So what‚Äôs the problem with Boeheim‚Äôs bunch? The more appropriate question would be: what isn‚Äôt the problem? Team Fizz convened after the Marquette loss to talk about what‚Äôs plaguing the Orange. Hoffman‚Äôs beef is first and foremost with Scoop Jardine, despite his seemingly stellar stat line against the Golden Eagles (13 points, 13 assists).
‚Äú13 and 13 is probably going to lead to Scoop getting a lot of love. No one‚Äôs going to blame this loss on Scoop. But if you know what you‚Äôre looking at when you watch basketball game, you‚Äôll realize that down the stretch Scoop was awful. He makes decisions as if he‚Äôs predetermined when he crosses half court what he‚Äôs going to do.‚Äù
Conroy, though, is more focused on the freshmen. He says it‚Äôs tough to rely on so many inexperienced players to cover critical areas of the zone.
‚ÄúThe biggest difficulty with running a 2-3 zone defense with young personnel is them not knowing where their spots are. The reason this team gelled so well last year is the corners were always staked out because you had two veteran guys in the corners of the zone.‚Äù
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Should Boeheim be giving Mookie Jones some more run to try and change things up? Conroy thinks not.
‚ÄúI do love Mookie as an offensive player, but here‚Äôs the problem: In practice, when Boeheim puts him with the guards, he gets burned. Up top in the zone, he‚Äôs not fast enough, and there‚Äôs no one to sub out for him among the wings.‚Äù
It‚Äôs been miserable following SU hoops lately, so let’s take a break and focus on Doug Marrone‚Äôs recruiting efforts for the next few days. That‚Äôs what The Fizz be doing leading up to and through Wednesday, February 2nd, a.k.a. National Signing Day, a.k.a. Merry Fizzmas. Conroy explains.
‚ÄúThe day is going to start early. It‚Äôs not going to stop ‚Äòtill late. We‚Äôre going to be in Fizz headquarters all day. We‚Äôre going to be out and about finding recruits, targeting recruits, texting, calling, podcasting, writing. It will be as if you take a month‚Äôs worth of Fizz posts and triple it. It is the most amazing and most comprehensive Signing Day coverage you will find for free on the internet.‚Äù
And you, the Fizz consumer, gets to enjoy all of that content we‚Äôll be churning out all day Wednesday. Team Fizz is looking forward to it, and we hope you are too.
Posted: Andrew Kanell