This feels like the Syracuse Basketball season all over again. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, the Orange relinquish a lead and lose a close game. That’s what has happened in each of the last two games. First, SU falls to Duke 14-13 in overtime. In fairness, that was a game where Syracuse had to back and knot the game up which they did.
However, this was still a very winnable game and the Orange just didn’t execute to come out on top. On Saturday, Syracuse did let that lead slip late and then allowed #10 John Hopkins to end the game on a 3-0 scoring run an 11-9 win.
With the loss, the Orange have now dropped four-straight and nine-straight to ranked opponents. What hurts is that three of the four losses have been three-goal games or less including the 15-12 decision at Maryland.
These are games that will really hurt this team in its postseason prospects come May. Coach Gait said that if the face-off and ground ball departments had better results perhaps this is an SU team that’s 6-0 heading into a clash with the Blue Jays.
Instead, this is a squad that sits at 3-4 and has plummeted from the rankings after three-games that were very winnable. So, now the Orange need to make up for those losses. The next stretch offers a good chance for this team to build some confidence back. First, a road trip too Hofstra tonight at 7 and then a pair of home dates with St. Bonaventure and Hobart.
Syracuse should be 6-4 when it gets back into ACC play and closes the season on a gauntlet. Notre Dame, Princeton, UNC, Duke, and UVA all await dates with the ‘Cuse. Each of those five teams are ranked as of right now. If the Orange want to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament, they’ll need to steal at least two wins out of those five, maybe even three. That’s a hill that is extremely steep for Gary Gait and Company.
Look, this team is better than last year, that’s obvious. We saw flashes early in the year during the 3-0 start. Heck, even Mike Powell said this year’s team is different just based on how they play the game freely and creatively. However, this year’s season might already be in the bag due to these close losses. Are there chances to fill in those losing holes? Yeah. Are those mud piles very heavy to shovel? Yeah as well.
This Syracuse team needs to start piling up the wins and build for the end of the season stretch and it starts tonight on Long Island.