What a wacky Syracuse basketball season it’s been. Early season struggles that actually didn’t matter because the Orange was winning. Losses in six of eight Big East games (also known as “not winning”), Now the late season surge, chock full of all kinds of fun.
All of this leads to the giant question everyone is asking: How do you feel about this team now?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from handling the weekly Fizz Inbox, it’s that Orange Nation is passionately opinionated. As a basis for the raging arguments to will ensue, I’ll provide my answers to some of the burning questions and then you are free to rip them at will.
- Do you want to see more CJ Fair?
Always. In my opinion, Fair should be playing 28-32 minutes per game, every game, without fail. Fair has played more than 28 minutes only six times, though. He’s scored in double digits four of them. He’s also had 5+ rebounds in five of those six games. I call that production and consistent.
- What about more James Southerland?
Probably not. There’s only 200 minutes to distribute, and if James is in, Fair or Kris Joseph is out. Yes, he’s amazing to watch in warmups. Yes, he’s a great shooter when he’s on. But he doesn’t rebound at a high enough rate, and isn’t consistent enough as a shooter to warrant playing big minutes. I’m for him getting a chance every game, and if The Per’fesser can catch lightning in a bottle, then great. If not – try again next game.
- Do you really want to see that man-to-man that worked so well against Seton Hall?
- What’s your confidence level in Scoop?
As high as its ever been/will be. Scoop is Scoop like Manny was Manny. At this point, we know what Scoop is. He’s got Ali Faroukmanesh sized onions when it comes to taking big shots, even if they aren’t great looks. Brandon Triche has stolen the spotlight in the last few games as a scorer, and those two have settled into their roles. Scoop is going to have his turnovers and WTF?!?!? moments, but overall he does more bad than good.
- Can Kris turn it on in the tournament?
He certainly has the ability, but you can’t expect a string of 20-point games. Ever since he suffered the concussion, he hasn’t been the same player. Maybe if he returns to 100% his game will click, but until then he’s not a bad second banana on the perimeter.
- Has Triche finally flipped the switch to scorer?
Yes, undoubtedly. In fact, Brandon might be taking some ill-advised shots (definitely the definition of a scorer). Triche is strong enough to finish plays at the rim that K-Jo can’t and has more range on his jump shot. He also hits free throws. Sounds like a complete scorer to me.
- The combustible Mookie Jones?
See answer to ‘man-to-man’ question.
Clearly everyone feels good about the matchup against DePaul, but a trip to MSG for the Big East Tournament looms. This is the topic of Sunday’s Fizz Feedback – leave your answers to all these questions below. To borrow a phrase from our buddies at ESPN Radio Syracuse, what is the “pulse of the Orange?”
Posted: Craig Hoffman