Syracuse basketball just picked up its first road conference win of the season, a 69-58 victory over Pittsburgh on Tuesday. On face value, this seems like a huge win for the Orange. For a few key reasons, that isn’t the case.
The first thing many SU fans pointed out after the game was that it was a Quad 1 win. That was true… for a few hours. Once the NET Rankings were updated, the Panthers dropped from 68th to 80th. That means instead of a Quad 1 win, it’s not just a Quad 2 win for Syracuse. Still solid, but not the resume-booster that fans hoped for.
Speaking of resumes, Pittsburgh’s has gotten a lot worse as of late. The Panthers were 9-3 entering their first clash with the Orange in December. Now, Pitt is 10-7, with an ugly 1-5 record in ACC play. If that downward spiral continues, then SU’s two wins over its former Big East rival become a lot less impressive.
It’s also important to consider how uncharacteristically well Syracuse shot against Pittsburgh. The Orange went 10/17 on three pointers, which comes out to 58.8%. If SU shot its season average of 32.8%, then things would have gone a lot differently. Assuming Syracuse would have taken 17 shots anyways, then that means the team would have made 5.6 threes. Let’s be nice and round that up to six triples. If that was the case, then Syracuse would have LOST to Pittsburgh, 58-57.
Now, that’s not exactly an exact science. However, it’s something to remember moving ahead. Unless SU consistently improves its three-point shot, then the team won’t always win games like the most recent one.
Lastly, there were some discouraging performances. Judah Mintz scored 14 points, but went just 3/13 on field goals. Plus, many have bookmarked this game as the reemergence of Justin Taylor, but he had just six points. Hitting a few threes is great, but the expectations for Taylor are clearly pretty low now.
Don’t get it twisted: a road conference win is an impressive feat, no matter the opponent or performance. It’s one of the toughest things to accomplish in college basketball. However, don’t let anyone convince you that this game will boost Syracuse’s resume or be a turning point on its own. There’s still a lot for the Orange to prove.