CJ Fair - Poster Maker
The Syracuse Orange, a maligned 6-0 team if there ever was one, looked solid in a 78-58 win over Cornell tonight in the Dome. While Jim Boeheim wasn't happy (more on that in a bit) the Orange came out focused, shot better and continued sharing the ball like they did against Georgia Tech on Friday night. For the early part of the season, shot selection has been an issue. That definitely improved tonight.
Before I get to my half-baked theory on why this team's shot selection is improving, I want to take a moment to praise Jim Boeheim. I absolutely LOVED the fact that the team made a conscious effort to get Fab Melo involved early and often. The struggling freshman has looked lost so far this year and Boeheim made sure he got a chance to do something early against an out-manned opponent and it paid off. Melo was active early and played his best game at Syracuse so far.
Using a game like this to get the big man's confidence going is a little thing that will pay off down the road. The man's won over 800 games for a reason.
- Syracuse has started sharing the ball better which was a hallmark of last year's wildly successful team. I think the main reason is that young players are starting to settle into their roles. Coming into this year, the Syracuse rotation was more uncertain than it had been in years. No one was really sure who would be playing how many minutes. So when guys got out on the floor, they were pressing, trying to show what they can do. That led to a lot of quick shots and a lot of verbal beatings from Boeheim. Things are starting to sink in now. Guys are getting it.
- Really liked Dion Waiters defensive effort tonight. It's clear the kid is really, really talented. Watching him tonight it's also clear to me he understands if he wants minutes, he needs to exert himself on D. He looked like he did that tonight.
- As noted above Fab Melo was much better tonight. Of course it came against a bunch of young white smurfs, but it's a start. He still needs to work on going up vertically against opponents instead of leaning into them, and offensively he needs to be a little more aggressive, but it was a good outing for Melo.
- Scoop and Triche did not have good games, as you'll see from the Boeheim rant below. Both were both way to careless with the ball. And not to pile on, but it doesn't seem like Brandon makes many threes, yet overall he ends up shooting a decent percentage. Very odd. And frustrating.
- Rick Jackson is the best player on this team. He has become a MONSTER on the boards it looks like he's going to be pulling down a double - double almost every night.
- I Liked the fact that Mookie got in early and immediately drained a three. When he squares his shoulders he's the best shooter on the team. Unfortunately, he didn't do much after that first made three.
- Kris Joseph played an aggressive first half. Like the rest of his teammates, in the second half he wasn't as effective.
- Jim Boeheim wasn't happy with the second half performance and that's understandable. 20 turnovers is absurd against a team like Cornell, which will struggle all year long.
- You can watch the coach express his displeasure in the video below. While he's been publicly trying to beat his team into shape, I'm not ready to push the panic button yet. However, if he goes all Derek Anderson on us and tells us he takes this shit seriously, then its time to panic. Something to watch for....
- This team has a long way to go, but the bottom line is that they are 7-0, and right now that's better than the alternative.
- Here is how Syracuse fared in Stat Sheet's factors to winning formula.