Cuse Country

Home Away From Dome for Syracuse Orange Fans

Someone tell me what to think

Posted by Josh on December 6, 2006

Finished watching the game about an hour ago (on tape since I was busy earlier) and I still can’t figure out how I feel about it. I can’t remember seeing a team in any sport that can go from outstanding to putrid, from sharp to shitty, and then back again with no discernible reason. It just seems to be a crapshoot every time down the floor.

Glass half full: nearly winning despite missing Devendorf with some sort of mystery disease; several successful offensive moves in or near the paint by Watkins & Roberts; not quitting on the game and nearly pulling off the comeback; Nichols finding his range (and also driving the lane a couple times); solid foul shooting; a few good minutes by Mike Jones; an effective press defense; that Harris dunk.

Glass half empty: probably a dozen turnovers where OK St. players knew where the pass was going to be and got a hand in the way, or just knocked the ball right out of the Syracuse player’s hands while he was dribbling (Harris was especially susceptible to these while handling the ball at the top of the offensive set); giving up 11 offensive rebounds and only getting 14 defensive rebounds; the 6 minute scoreless stretch; a couple missed golden opportunities on fast breaks; not continuing to feed the ball inside on offense against a smaller team, especially during the time that the offense was not clicking otherwise; not forcing the ball out of Curry’s hands with the game on the line; another loss to a team that we probably should have beaten, even though it is not a Bad Loss.

Glass simultaneously full and empty: Josh Wright. At times he was a sturdy floor general, making good passes, pushing the break with his speed when the opportunity was there, driving the lane for layups and even hitting a three off a set play. Other times he got stuck under the basket with nowhere to go, had some sloppy turnovers, and couldn’t get the ball to anybody who could score it on a 4-on-1 break late in the game. Also there was a stretch of the game where Harris looked totally flummoxed trying to start the offense — I was waiting for Wright to demand the ball and help out his teammate, but he disappeared when the team most needed him to step up and be the quarterback.

Also I give credit to the OK St. staff for a good scouting job — they had a good offensive game plan against the zone a lot of the time, and on defense they often had a good idea of what SU was planning to do, and forced a lot of turnovers by jumping the pass routes and cutting off player movement.

Now it’s back to Creampuffville (not exactly, but no super-serious threats) until the Pitt game, which will give them time to get better but will not tell us anything about their development (unless they lose to Drexel or something). It’ll be kind of like the first month of the season all over again — they will not play spectacularly, but will win games, and everyone will still be wondering “How good are these guys really?” until at least early January.

Ultimately I really want to give them a pass on this one because of Devendorf’s absence, but it was so frustrating to watch them fumble away the game when it could have turned into a feel-good, overcoming-adversity situation if only they’d executed a bit better (and boxed out a couple of times) that I’m not sure my gut will allow me to let them slide. (Which, I’m sure, bothers the players tremendously.)


One Response to “Someone tell me what to think”

  1. […] I had the opportunity to snag an extra ticket for last night’s Duke-Gonzaga game in Madison Square Garden. I missed much of the sloppiness that defined the first 20 minutes of play, but what I did see had me thinking a lot about the Syracuse game I attended on this very same court against Oklahoma State two weeks ago. Even though both Duke and the ‘Zags were struggling at times, they played with an intensity that I haven’t seen from the Orange. Both teams desperately wanted to win this game, while Syracuse has more often seemed intent on not losing. Not coincidentally, this had led to three actual losses, the first time we have lost this many games before league play in eight years. […]

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