Two road conference road games, two bad losses for the Syracuse Orange. Yesterday's burnt couch ass whooping was administered by the West Virginia Mountaineers. The hope generated by a 5 game winning streak is actually turning out to be an evil thing, as Syracuse fans can attest to this morning.
With the message boards in full melt down mode - here's a brief analysis of what is wrong
Youth - Very simply, the team is too young and there's nothing anyone can do about it. When the wheels start to come off the bus during a game there is no one that's been there before and can right the ship. Losing Devendorf and Rautins in addition to the seniors may prove to be too much to over come. While obviously talented, this season has the potential to be similar to the one UConn experienced last year.
Depth - Again, there is nothing that can be done about this - they've got 7 guys, if a few of them are having off nights, they stay on the floor and the team has an off night. What is curious is the wasting of a redshirt year by Sean Williams. The kid should NOT be logging any serious minutes, but when you're down 20 with 3 minutes to play, he should at least get out on the floor. Besides, when they press or are in scramble mode, it would help to have a shot blocker at the back of the press.
Defense - In the name of brevity, let's all agree that the defense is horrible, otherwise we will be on this subject all day. Two main points to hit on here, this team doesn't have the will to play solid defense for extended periods of time - it's something they have to WANT to do - and right now they don't. The second part of the equation is that when things break down there's no one there to clean up the mess. For year's SU has had a Darryl Watkins or Jeremy McNeil or Etan Thomas to block shots and protect the rim. Arinze is getting dunked on by white guys. As good as he's been offensively, defensively he'd struggle against Craig Forth.
Offense - The biggest problem they've been having offensively is that when things aren't going right on that end, it affects the rest of their game way more than it should. The first 10 minutes yesterday they got good looks and didn't make anything - at that point they started hanging their heads and quit playing D. Donte Greene (and Boeheim) need to realize he's 6'11" - his offense needs to start 5 feet from the rim, not 25. He's trying to do too much, and his shot selection has been very poor. Of course, this is mainly attributed to him being a freshman and being asked to carry the offense, plus, if he jacks up 10 bad shots in a row, who's going to come in for him?
The last two games physical man to man teams have taken them out of what they're trying to do - and frankly its debatable right now that there's even a plan on the offensive end. Boeheim's never going to install the flex offense and run a bunch of tightly controlled sets, but they've got to run SOMETHING in the half court. They also need to do a better job of setting screens, but that's pervasive throughout college basketball.
The bottom line is that while the last two games have been disasters, there's still time to get this thing straightened out, but it's going to be an uphill battle.