|Mark Teixeira took in the Syracuse game Wednesday night. The buttons on his friend's shirt did not|
Syracuse beat Indiana 69-52 in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge tonight. Five observations from the game are coming up as soon as I finish not getting my chest waxed.
1.) The Syracuse backcourt, which was a huge question mark coming into the season, has rounded into shape faster than anyone could have hoped. Tyler Ennis is the best freshman point guard in the country and Trevor Cooney from this year is the anti-Trevor Cooney from last year.
2.) Speaking of Cooney, Jim Boeheim has credited steady playing time and the confidence that comes with it as the main reason for his improvement. Another reason -- improved fundamentals. He's working his ass off to set up his defender off screens, getting his feet set quickly and properly, and not drifting on his shot. That, and well, he's got a killer look:
Cooney has a fresh-out-of-a-bender beard.3.) I don't know what a foul is anymore. The thought at the beginning of the year was that officials would call the game close and players would "adjust." Well I don't how you adjust to grazing someone who happens to be standing in the same area code as you. At the end of the day basketball features 10 very large, athletic men in a rather confined space. Some contact is inevitable. I suspect we may see games called like this all year. Make your free throws kids.
— Hoya Suxa (@HoyaSuxa) December 4, 2013
4.) No real deep insight here, but the Orange still need more from the big men. Coleman is willing, but not yet able. Christmas is able, but not yet always willing. Both have shown some signs, if they continue to improve, that bodes well for the Orange in March -- until both are mysteriously linked to an unsubstantiated scandal by anonymous sources that is quickly forgotten as soon as the season ends.
5.) Baye Keita runs like a gazelle. He's SU's best defender in the middle of the zone. He's an able shot blocker and by all accounts, a great teammate. He is not, however, a receiver. Four years after arriving in Central New York, catching a basketball is more vexing to him than catching a tan is to Jim Boeheim.
All in all, it's been a fantastic start to the season for the Orange. The top half of the ACC is going to be really fun to watch. Game on.