On Wednesday night Syracuse made easy work of a streaking Providence team in yet another home washaway. The Orange led 43-16 at the half, and played the Friars even in the 2nd en route to an 84-59 final.
Although the game proved to serve as little more than a warm-up for the Georgetown 35,012 game on Saturday, there is still plenty to gather from the easy win. Here are the Fizz Five takeaways from the victory over the Friars.
- The better MCW is the one who shoots less
For just the third time in Big East play, Michael Carter-Williams attempted less than 10 field goals in a game. The results were overwhelmingly positive. MCW did as well to involve his teammates as we’ve seen in a while. He finished with 12 assists, marking just the second time in conference play the Big East’s leader in dimes has totaled a dime’s worth or more.
Carter-Williams was still able to score the rock, totaling 15 points will help from a 5-6 performance at the charity stripe. Perhaps he’ll settle back into a groove now that James Southerland is acclimated again. Which ties into our next point.
- Southerland is clearly a difference-maker
You could see against the Friars how his unconscious range adds so much to the Orange offense. In addition to spacing the floor in the half court, Southerland gives the ‘Cuse a dangerous and underrated fast break weapon. He’s brought his range out to NBA distance and beyond, which makes it a chore for defenders to actually contest his shot. On the break, he always seems to catch in perfect rhythm and balance, and in those situations he’s capable of finding the mark from 25-26 feet without thinking twice.
With the athletes SU have who can all convert alley-oops, it’s especially tough for defenses to locate shooters in transition. Southerland took advantage of that a couple times during Syracuse’s 31-4 run to end the 1st half.
- Fair for Big East POY?
That’s something that’s been tossed around over the past few days, and I think deservingly for C.J. He’s been the most consistent member of the Orange this year. Again on Wednesday, he dropped 20 points on 6-10 shooting, and grabbed 10 boards.
Good to see Syracuse really trying to get Fair involved in the offense early. He’s the type of player who can score without play being run for him, but who says his scoring ought to be limited to that? Boeheim designed sets to create post-up opportunities against the smaller PC defenders. The common complaint has been that the Orange doesn’t have a low-post scorer. It would be nice to get more scoring from Rakeem Christmas, but if SU can continue to get Fair looks close to the hoop, it partially nullifies that problem.
- More often than not, the refs don’t have control of the game in the Big East
A very minor note in a game that was already decided by the time this became an issue – but the officiating in the 2nd half was suspect at best.
Down by 27 at the intermission, Ed Cooley seemingly instructed his Friars to transition from basketball to football in the 2nd half. They employed an ultra-physical press in which they pretty much fouled SU every possession. Luckily the Orange had the composure to gut through it, but the officials could have handled the constant fouling better by calling more of them. They called some, but they needed to call even more. The commentators mention it during nearly every Big East game these days – the refs have permitted too much physical play in the Big East, and it’s damaging the brand of basketball.
- What a difference a Dome makes
The Orange isn’t night and day on the road versus at home. It’s more like solar eclipse and day, if you catch my drift. The Orange has extended its home win streak to 38 straight, easily the active lead. That mark is just so impressive considering how tough the Big East has been the last few seasons.
SU has played 16 games in the Carrier Dome this season. All have been victories. SU has played 10 games away from the Dome. Four have been losses. Winning on the road in the Big East is tough, and this year’s Orange squad is proving it. Just look at the home-and-home series with Providence. On the road on January 9th, the Orange squeaked out a 72-66 win, at one point trailing by nine. At home on Wednesday, the game was long over before the 2nd half even began.
The longest home win streak in the nation could be hard pressed to survive until the ACC though, with the Georgetown and Louisville home contests remaining.
Posted: Andrew Kanell