Syracuse struggled in its first real test of the young basketball season, falling to South Carolina in a ugly game on Saturday at the Barclays Center. The Orange now travel to Madison for their first true road game of the season against the pesky Wisconsin Badgers, who handed Syracuse their first loss of the year last season. Naturally the loss on Saturday, particularly its ugly nature, has some Orange fans worried.
Well, now is not the time to panic. If Syracuse loses to Wisconsin, it is still not the time to panic. The Orange were always going to experience some growing pains. This team not only lost its top three scorers but two of its senior leaders in Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney. If you think that Orange may have lacked leadership in the loss to South Carolina, you’d be right. However, that doesn’t mean someone won’t step up and be that player.
This team is loaded with talent but has even more new faces. Syracuse is using nine guys this season, five of whom did not play one minute for Syracuse before this season. To expect a team like that to come flying out of the gate, firing on all cylinders may have been a little presumptuous.
The Orange are going to need to find a way to move the ball better, but ultimately the Orange lost in the most promising fashion possible. They just didn’t hit their open looks. Syracuse has plenty of strong shooters on the team in Battle, White, Lydon and Thompson and on more nights than that, those shots will fall for the Orange. In other words, don’t panic. Syracuse has a lot to figure out and plenty of time to do it.
Tuesday is the perfect opportunity to really bury those worries. If the Orange can take care of the basketball and bury their shots they have a real chance of getting revenge on the Badgers for last year’s defeat. A win on Tuesday would surely quiet some of the voices of discontent. However, a loss does not mean the sky is falling. Not yet.