Breaking News Award: Syracuse’s Offense Is Not Good
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>There is zero confidence with these kids. Battle just looks tired. So does Brissett. Not having a bench with some talent hurts these kids. With Thompson and the guard from S FL leaving school, hurt SU. Here’s to next year.</p>— Brett Baron (@brettbaron) <a href=”https://twitter.com/brettbaron/status/959923941006553088?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>February 3, 2018</a></blockquote>
https://twitter.com/nysoxfan79/status/959904131828867076<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>You can have a defense half as good and it would still be the same story. This team is an absolute joke on offense.</p>— Keith (@nysoxfan79) <a href=”https://twitter.com/nysoxfan79/status/959904131828867076?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>February 3, 2018</a></blockquote>
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Thanks Boeheim</p>— Zack (@YankeesGod2722) <a href=”https://twitter.com/YankeesGod2722/status/959915974089740289?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>February 3, 2018</a></blockquote>
The most common response I saw to Saturday’s game on Twitter was that the Orange simply can’t score. The players suck, the coach sucks, everything sucks. Let’s just cancel the season already.
I won’t disagree with the generally-negative sentiment. This is the most offensively-challenged SU group we’ve seen in a long time. On Fizz Radio, I said the ‘Cuse had “zero” chance to beat Virginia — and the Orange would be lucky to get to 50 points.
But fans who voiced frustration with Syracuse’s stagnant “offense” today are misguided for two reasons: first, we already knew this team is anemic, and second, it was trying to accomplish the near-impossible task of scoring on the best defense perhaps since the turn of the century (more on that later).
“They’re a great defensive team,” Jim Boeheim said after the game. “We just weren’t able to get shots against them.”
If any game should have convinced you that the Orange’s offense is punchless, it shouldn’t have been this one.
Best Trademark Defensive Scheme: Virginia’s Pack-Line
Sorry, Coach Boeheim. In a matchup of two teams with patented styles on the defensive end — the 2-3 zone for SU, the pack-line for UVA — the No. 2 team in the nation proved which one is more effective in emphatic fashion.
That’s not to say the zone doesn’t work. In fact, Syracuse boasts a top-10 defense in the nation, per KenPom.com. But the best rating in the nation belongs to Virginia, and it’s not even close; the Hoos are on pace to post the best mark college basketball has seen since 2002 (when KenPom.com began tracking ratings). After UVA limited SU to its lowest scoring output in the history of the Carrier Dome, Tyus Battle said the Hoos’ defense is the best he’s seen since he began his college career.
Tony Bennett truly is a defensive wizard. Virginia’s current run of sustained success on that end of the floor is almost unbelievable: the Cavaliers have led the nation in scoring defense in four of the last five years, and the one season they didn’t, they ranked second.
Most Hateable Player: Kyle Guy
Virginia’s top scoring option feels out of place: this dude should be playing for pre-one-and-done Duke, not generally-likable Virginia.
But Guy does indeed play for the Hoos, saving him from a life full of Grayson Allen-esque hatred from every fanbase aside from his own team’s. He was lights-out Saturday, draining as many triples (4) as Syracuse did as a team.
Guy is lucky he shaved the man bun that he rocked as a freshman last year. It took him from a 10 to a 9.5 on the hateability scale.
Silver Lining: Syracuse Fills the Dome
This one may be better described as a bronze lining. Silver feels a bit too optimistic.
But hey, at least it was a large number of fans who felt deflated while streaming out of the Carrier Dome. Officially, 27,083 butts were in the seats Saturday afternoon, the largest crowd for an on-campus college basketball game this season.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Attendance today: 27,083, the largest on-campus crowd in college hoops this season.<br><br>By the time they announced it in the Dome, at least 10,000 were either in their cars or walking out.</p>— Orange Fizz (@OrangeFizz) <a href=”https://twitter.com/OrangeFizz/status/959920782989283329?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>February 3, 2018</a></blockquote>