Before the season began, it was evident that Syracuse Men’s Basketball has a depth issue. Everyone knows that Jim Boeheim likes to play a tight rotation, but even with that, the Orange are thin, especially at the guard position.
Cuse has its starters in Joe Girard and Buddy Boeheim, then really only one reserve in Symir Torrence. The three man backcourt became a two man pairing, at least for the next few games, on Monday. Boeheim announced on the weekly ACC conference call that Torrence will probably not play this week against Pittsburgh and Wake Forest.
“He’s played well the last couple games, and we’ll miss him,” Boeheim said. “He’s added a lot to the lineup. He’ll be out for a little while.”
Torrence collided with Duke’s Jaylen Blakes in the second half of Saturday’s loss to the Blue Devils. The Marquette transfer hit the floor, grabbed onto his right shin for a moment, but then continued to play. After a few possessions, he began to limp and favor his right side more and more until Boeheim pulled the backup point guard out of the game.
We can all state the obvious here, losing Torrence is a massive hit to a Syracuse team that is reeling right now. You could look at it from purely a numbers perspective and say it is really hard to play a full 40 minute game with only two guards, especially against ACC-caliber competition. You could also take into account Torrence’s increased role on the team.
At the beginning of the season, Torrence was seen as someone who could just tag out Buddy or Girard so that they could catch their breath for a couple minutes. However, now the backup guard is playing a considerable role in SU’s offense and defense. Torrence has logged double-digit minutes in four straight games, including a season high 25 over the weekend against Duke.
Torrence’s increase in production has led to Boeheim playing a small-ball lineup with three guards. He is a better true point guard, so with Torrence on the court, Girard can play off the ball, where he thrives as a catch and shoot guy. Plus, Torrence is quicker at the top of the zone, making it more difficult for opposing teams to penetrate.
Although Boeheim is portraying the injury as minor and Torrence’s absence won’t be long, it will absolutely be felt. Syracuse was just figuring out the three-guard lineup and Torrence was establishing his spot in the rotation. The Orange’s offense and Buddy and Joe’s legs will be feeling the effects.
SU is not in a position to be losing games as its tournament hopes continue to dwindle. So, you better hope Torrence comes back soon. He may just be a backup point guard on the roster, but his impact is much larger than that.