Syracuse just continues to win. Every game has seemingly had some rough patches, but the Orange always seems get it done. However, there are certainly some concerns despite the 28-1 record. SU has struggled to put teams away, and seems to ease off the gas when it grabs a lead. Dion Waiters has been hot and cold, James Southerland can‚Äôt hit a shot, and the half court offense has struggled at times. But the biggest concern has to be the disappearance of Brandon Triche, and his poor play over the last month.
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Why are Triche’s problems such a concern? He seems to lack confidence on the court. Brandon looks lost, hangs his head, has spent long stretches on the bench, and just can‚Äôt finish right now.
Ever since his 18-point outburst against West Virginia, Triche‚Äôs numbers on the offensive end have been brutal for a player of his caliber. He hasn‚Äôt broken double-digits once in the last 6 games (he’s tallied 4, 7, 5, 8, 5 and 3 points despite averaging nearly 22 minutes per night). He hasn’t shot well and can’t finish around the rim. He has shot just 11-for-38 over this stretch, and just doesn‚Äôt look right. His uncle Howard Triche spoke with Brent Axe on the Score 1260, and has a theory:
‚ÄúBrandon sometimes thinks too much on the court instead of just reacting.‚Äù
Brandon has talked about this himself. He‚Äôs a more cerebral player trying to think everything through instead of just using his instincts. But he also looks to be lacking confidence on the floor, slumping his shoulders after mistakes. After he missed a shot against USF, he seemed to hang his head as Scoop Jardine clapped at him and told him “Let’s go!” Positive sign from a leader like Scoop, but where does that leave Brandon?
At some point it simply comes down to Triche understanding how important he is to the team, and what he can do on the court. Many including ESPN’s Jay Bilas have called him the best player on the team, and even if that’s a stretch, he’s much better than he has shown recently.
Syracuse needs Triche to step up if it plans on making its karmic trip to New Orleans. Single-digit points and 30% shooting is not enough from a crucial member of this team. Obviously there are other areas SU can be better, but guards get it done in March and that needs to be the case for Triche.
Posted: Alex Plavin