This season, Syracuse has really struggled to get the ball inside the paint and get easy buckets. In the Bahamas, they were bailed out by lights-out shooting and as such were able to disguise their somewhat one-dimensional offense and poor rebounding. Against Wisconsin, all of those weaknesses were exposed early and often.
The most important thing to recognize is that the struggles aren’t and won’t just be on offense. Syracuse got absolutely dominated on the glass against Wisconsin. The Badgers were able to haul in 16 offensive rebounds and all of those second-chance opportunities gave them the edge they needed to down the undefeated Orange.
However, despite the severe struggles on the glass, the Orange only gave up 66 points in 45 minutes. This means that the most logical place to look to figure out why Syracuse lost the game is the offense. There were many possessions that it seemed that the Orange did not get the ball inside the arc once. These possessions ended with the Orange chucking up desperation threes late in the shot clock. Needless to say, few found their way in.
Obviously, the simplest solution would be to have bigger players. Well, needless to say that is not an option for this season. As such, Syracuse will need to find a way, to get into the paint. This will lead to more easy field goals and, in many cases free throws, which are a whole different topic.
Syracuse did a much better job moving the ball and getting to the rim in the second half. Of course, they were helped by the fact that Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney began to sink shots. Ultimately, it was for naught as the Orange fell in overtime 66-58.
The Orange need to find a way to get some sort of offensive production when the three isn’t falling. Though he has been far from great this year, Syracuse may need to get the ball to DaJuan Coleman. Granted, it is difficult to do that when he is on the bench for 80% of the game. The decision to keep Coleman on the bench was a head-scratcher.
Syracuse had little to no interior offense. At the very least, Coleman provides a big body which forces the opposing team to use one of their big bodies to guard him. Plus, maybe he could help out the atrocious rebounding (Syracuse was out-rebounded 51-25) that plagued the Orange from the opening tip to the final buzzer.
With all of that said, the Orange sit at 6-1 on the season; a record that very few predicted them to have through their first seven games. The Orange have another huge game on Saturday when they travel to D.C. to take on Georgetown in their first true road game of the season.