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Should Syracuse Switch Strategies?

Courtesy Syracuse Athletics

Heading into the basketball season, it seemed like SU would play similarly to last season. Fast and with plenty of threes. But so far, Joe Girard has struggled and just totaled the lowest minutes in a game of his career against Buffalo. Since coming back from Covid contact tracing, Buddy Boeheim has shot 3-16 from deep. Now, his three-point shooting percentage is just 25.9%

While shooters have struggled, Quincy Guerrier has been a revelation for the Orange. The sophomore is averaging 18 points per game and had a career high 27 points against Buffalo. Defenses have trouble matching up with the versatile forward, since he does most of his work down low. This season, he’s consistently getting to the free throw line as well. Besides working the ball to Guerrier inside, the sophomore can also step out and hit threes this season, which he struggled to do as a freshman.

Instead of working the ball around the arc trying to find Girard or Boeheim with an inch of separation, Syracuse has had more success attacking the basket. Even Alan Griffin, known for his deep-threat acumen, scored seven of his eight field goals from two against Buffalo. When his threes aren’t falling, he’s simply adjusted his style of play.

Buddy Boeheim will likely bounce back from a slow shooting start and once again be one of the best shooters in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Girard’s future seems a little more uncertain. But instead of trying to find shooters from a couple feet behind the arc — which has been the case at times this season — SU has a couple of players who can get their own shots. 

Guerrier and Griffin can both get to the bucket, and score or dish. Marek Dolezaj is the best passer on the team and can fluidly swing the basketball cross court to find an open shooter.

Instead of passing the ball back and forth around the arc, Syracuse needs to work inside-out, utilizing the players who have been most successful this season.

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