Cuse Country

Home Away From Dome for Syracuse Orange Fans

Trap Game

Posted by Josh on November 27, 2006

I agree with basically everything that El Syracusan said in the last post. I’m baffled (and troubled) by the team’s inability to run any sort of consistent half-court offense. Other than a few drive-and-dish possessions that resulted in open shots from 3 (only some of which went in), the half-court production was pretty moribund. The fast-break was the only reliable weapon they had going, and that is not something you can rely on in most games. I think Watkins’ absence hurts here, because he is at least somewhat of a low-post threat — in a half-court set, they can at least throw the ball in to him, and see how the defense adjusts, rather than lots of perimeter dribbling and passing, followed by a drive into a collapsing defense. TerrenceRoberts.com has not shown that he has much of a post-up game; in fact he seems to have entirely given up playing in the post on offense. Which is probably on Boeheim’s orders, and is fine by me.

Tonight: the Crusaders of Holy Cross come to town, spreading their basketball gospel by the sword (to borrow a phrase). This has all the makings of an early-season trap game:

  • Holy Cross is 5-0, with a road win under their belts, playing confidently. They have some size and some athleticism on their roster. 5 guys average between 4 and 7 rebounds a game — and their leading rebounder is a 6-5 guard (who is also their leading scorer, a good 3-pt shooter, a senior — the kind of player who often gives SU fits).
  • SU may relax a bit coming home after their first road game.
  • Holy Cross coach is Ralph Willard who coached at Pitt for quite a while, so he is familiar with the Dome, the 2-3 zone, etc. In fact (I did not know this) he was an SU assistant for one year (’86-’87 – the Final Four season) so he may have even more of an inside scoop on SU’s tendencies.
  • SU’s players may be looking ahead to Saturday’s matchup with likely-top-20 Wichita State.

Combine these factors with the Orange’s habit of playing lackadaisically against lesser foes, and the ingredients are certainly there for an upset. Here’s hoping Canisius scared some sense into them, and they come out focused and aggressive from the opening tip.

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