Orange Fizz


Fizz Feedback: Part II – Zone Outdated, Incoming Hoops Class, Big East Elite

Part I of this week’s Fizz Feedback tackled the first level of grieving for Syracuse fans. Part II begins with Teddy‚Äôs piece in last week’s “What Went Wrong” series on Syracuse‚Äôs lack of a go-to scorer (and overall offensive philosophy). Conroy notes the Orange want to run a version of the motion offense, but there seems to be little credibility to what the coach’s may believe since there was no motion. Teddy’s historical connection between an elite player and Syracuse‚Äôs success is 100% dead on.

“I don‚Äôt necessarily believe that you must have a star player to carry the team, but what they absolutely have to have is a few offensive sets that they can run that will get them good shots.” -Kevin Foley

Butler has proved that this year. Shelvin Mack is a pro, but he’s not a superstar in the college game (although he does show up in big games and is absolutely clutch). But UConn has proven that a bonafide superstar can lead you to the promised land (as long as he gets a little help along the way Рsee Lamb, Jeremy and Napier, Shabazz). Syracuse has neither a superstar nor a system like Butler that provides consistent offense. Plus, the Bulldogs are amazing defensively. Ronald Nored is the best perimeter defender in the country by far. Syracuse was terrible guarding on the perimeter. The Marquette game was a microcosm of all Syracuse’s problems that reared their ugly heads on one fateful night in Cleveland.

“Gonna have to disagree with you on ‚Äúopponents controlling tempo‚Äù. This is an inherent weakness with a zone defense, which doesn‚Äôt put enough pressure on the opponent to make them adjust. That defense works fine when SU is hitting their shots and scoring points. When they are not hitting their shots, or committing turnovers, there is no incentive for an opponent to take a rushed shot against it.” -Kev

Au contraire Kev! There is only one inherent weakness of a zone that is counterbalanced by the one inherent positive of a zone. The weakness is you are not guaranteed to have one of your men guarding one of theirs. The strength is you are guaranteed to have all areas of the floor guarded. In ’09-’10 SU’s zone was a turnover-forcing machine because of how it was played. Instead of laying back in the zone looking disinterested, the Orange players needed to be active and apply pressure. It could force bad shots and turnovers, both of which would help Syracuse control tempo.

“We settle for project players all across the board because JB believes the Cuse has to develop players like in football.” -steve

I’ll give you one guess who this critique is about. In all due fairness to Boeheim and Murphkins, Fab Melo was being recruited by UConn, Florida (Billy Donovan himself doing the recruiting), Kansas (Bill Self and Danny Manning), and Louisville (Rick Pitino). Syracuse “won” the prize of getting the 7-footer. He’s still young and now with a season under his belt and a college off-season conditioning program in his future he still has miles of room for improvement. That being said, Boeheim set the bar high early in the year and Melo never came close to it. His freshman season was a 100% bust. But he has more time ahead of him, so let’s hope that he does develop (and that future big man Rakim Christmas doesn’t need that same development time).

Last but not least, we looked at whether or not the Big East was overrated with 11 teams in the tournament and only two making it past the first weekend.

“Who wins a tournament and who is the best team are two different things. That is why the NBA has a series. How many times would Morehead St. beat Louisville in a series? How many time would Ohio St. lose in a series to any team? How many teams would Butler beat in a series? That is why it is called march madness instead of the playoffs. We never really know who the best team is, only who won the tournament. ” – 44pride

Couldn‚Äôt have said it better. The Big East wasn‚Äôt overrated, it deserved 11 teams. It underperformed certainly in the tournament with so many squads going down early and all to lower seeds, but that‚Äôs March Madness for you. The Big East got 11 teams in, yet never had a team ranked #1 in either poll all year. The conference isn‚Äôt the basketball version of the SEC in football because the Big East’s strength is in depth, not elite teams. When was the last time the Big East would have had a team in the theoretical National Championship Game of #1 vs. #2 if it was set up like football? Since ’06 it would’ve only happened twice.

2011: Kansas vs. Ohio State

2010: Kansas vs. Kentucky (Syracuse is close but no A.O. means no go)

2009: North Carolina vs. Louisville

2008: North Carolina vs. Memphis

2007: Florida vs. Ohio State

2006: Duke vs. UConn

Meanwhile the SEC has won a football national title every one of those years. The Big East is the best conference for depth but simply doesn’t collect all the elite talent (see Kyrie Irving, Jared Sullinger, Harrison Barnes, John Wall, Austin Rivers, Kevin Durant, Greg Oden).

@orangefizz “just becuz a market is flooded, doesn’t mean it is flooded with talent. Mcw starts in a year & cooney will c pt bcuz of his shot “- orangedan09

Great point by orangedan09 following us on Twitter. Next year’s rotation is going to be interesting for so many reasons. Syracuse is going to have depth, but will Jim Boeheim, a coach who is notorious for keeping a short rotation, use it? Also, the depth is all young, and if this year proved anything it’s to not count your chickens before they hatch. The guarantee was Fab. The next closest thing was Dion. Fair was a flotation device for emergency use only. Baye might as well have been Nick Resavy. The Fizz thinks MCW will get serious run because he’s everything the current Syracuse guards aren’t and Cooney because he’s a shooter. It all depends on whether Triche, Waiters, and Scoop improve in the off-season.

The week of mourning is now over, it’s time to return to normal life. Plenty of Football Fizz coming with Spring practice. Remember Fizz Nation to continue pouring out of your soul for us to publish in our comments section and on Twitter. Onto lacrosse season!

Posted: Craig Hoffman

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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