This isn’t what was supposed to happen. When Syracuse basketball entered its 2016-2017 season, The Orange wasn’t supposed to fail its first three real tests of the season. It wasn’t supposed to fall out of the AP rankings in November, and it certainly wasn’t supposed to leave the fan base with the nasty taste in its mouth it has now. At 5-3, Syracuse basketball has some work to do, but that’s what games like tomorrow’s are for. SU hosts Boston University in the Carrier Dome, and while the game will (hopefully) be an easy win for the Orange, it’s also the perfect opportunity to see if Jim Boeheim has started to work out the kinks.
Syracuse needs to be more consistent than it has been up to this point in the season. The Orange hasn’t won outside of the Carrier Dome this season which is obviously a problem, but doesn’t tell us why been able to stay strong for the whole 40 minutes. SU averages 37.9 points in the first half, which is above average when compared to the rest of the nation. In the second half, the Orange averages only 34.9. That’s No. 276 in the country, according to TeamRankings.com.
In it’s losses, Syracuse hasn’t been able to put the ball in the basket. The Orange has shot 45 percent from the field, which makes it look like there isn’t a problem. But when you look at how the Orange has performed when it’s lost, the picture becomes more clear.
vs. South Carolina: 31.8 percent
at Wisconsin: 38.2 percent
vs. UConn: 25.9 percent
Sometimes the Orange looks like a team with top 10 potential, but other times it just isn’t there.
When the offense isn’t flowing, the Orange isn’t winning. Syracuse’s 2-3 zone defense is always solid — save the Wisconsin game — and is able to keep the Orange in games when the offense hasn’t performed, but this year it hasn’t been enough. When Syracuse has won it’s been able to move the ball, averaging 21 assists per game. In it’s losses? Just nine.
For whatever reason, it’s taking longer than usual for Jim Boeheim to get his players working together offensively. If you watch the games Syracuse has lost (and some of the ones it’s won), there’s times where it looks like nobody knows what to do. It’s still not time to worry. Jim Boeheim runs a system that takes time to master, and 2016 makes three years in a row the Orange has been a top 25 team and fell out of the rankings before conference play. This year it’s been more of a struggle, but Syracuse fans have to have faith in their Hall of Fame coach. If the Orange is still shooting 25 percent against Miami, then you can start to sweat.