|Jeremy Hazell and Seton Hall torched Syracuse|
Three straight losses later this team has magically reverted to the one that barely beat William and Mary in November. In case you're wondering, that team is 10-9 on season -- which is better than the 8-12 record Seton Hall put together before they treated Syracuse like a baby treats a diaper. It's been a couple of hours and I'm still disgusted by the performance, so like a band aid, let's rip off these observations quickly and get it over with.
1.) If you want one word to describe the way this team played selfish is the one you're looking for. I am so sick of seeing guys bring the ball over half court and hoist a bad shot without even attempting to run any sets or look for teammates. As soon as they got behind, everyone went into hero mode and starting jacking horrific shots from everywhere.
2.) To prove my point, SU had 12 assists the entire game. It's a team game and right now no one wearing Orange seems to get that point.
3.) For the third game in a row an opponent destroyed SU's zone. Granted some of the shots Seton Hall made were very difficult, but others were wide open. It demonstrates a fundamental weakness with a 2-3 zone - guys don't have to work when they are off the ball. So when they jacking and making 25 footers, they are more comfortable than if they had been running off screens all night. Now, SU's man to man was no better - but I would have liked to have seen Boeheim go to it in the first half for a few possessions, just to shake things up.
4.) There were some bizarre substitution patterns tonight. James Southerland started in place of Fab Melo and for the third game in a row he was lost. He's on the verge of playing himself back out of the line up for the second time this season. Meanwhile Melo came off the bench, played 4 minutes, had 3 rebounds a bucket, and was never heard from again, which was strange since SU got murdered on the boards by a team that starts a 6-6 power forward.
5.) For the third consecutive game the guard play was atrocious. Putrid. Scoop continued stinking out the joint. We saw more poor decisions, quick shots and no attempt to run offense or get others involved. He compounded that with foul trouble which then led to him not guarding anyone in the second half. Dion Waiters managed to do nothing but miss shots. Check out the box score, 0-4 from the field, followed by a million zeros and one foul. Plus he seemed to show Boeheim attitude in the first half, which then resulted in Mookie Jones getting some first half playing time. Mookie promptly drained a three, had another one rattle out and then didn't get in again until garbage time -- despite the fact that SU desperately needed scoring.
6.) For as well as Kris Joseph played on Saturday, he was just as bad tonight. He scored some garbage points, but they were meaningless.
7.) The absolute worst thing I saw tonight was the SU team basically quitting with 10 minutes to go. I know guys got frustrated and as a result were hanging their heads, but the effort just wasn't there once they got down 20. A top 10 team bucks up, shows some pride and makes a run right there. This team curled up in a ball, started sucking it's thumb and asking for mommy. After turnovers guys weren't hustling - on offense guys weren't trying to find each other.
8.) Mike Singletary may have flamed out as a head coach -- but this speech should be played on a loop in the Carmelo Center for the rest of the season. It's not about a single guy, it's about the team. Its about winners and wanting to win.
9.) In the span of one game, two debates that SU fans seem to argue about ad naseum were resurrected. While both arguments had faded away lately, be prepared for a lot of talk about whether the Orange should play more man to man and whether or not Mookie Jones should play more. It's like a gift from God to sports talk show hosts and message boards throughout Central New York. Ugh.
A week ago I thought this Syracuse team was good enough to go to the Final Four. Tonight I'm not sure they are good enough to make the NCAA tournament. The truth is somewhere in the middle, but unless an amazing turn around happens, it's probably closer to the latter than the former.