Somebody has to start a thread for this year's team, even after last night's debacle. That has to be the worst a Syracuse team has played in 10 years, which only confirms my belief that this will be the worst Cuse team of the post-Melo era. The glaring issues were on display in last night's lopsided loss to Cal:
- Kaleb Joseph is not Tyler Ennis. Or Michael Carter-Williams. Or even Scoop Jardine. He looked lost and frazzled, and coughed the ball up repeatedly. Hopefully he will improve, though it's also worth noting that he doesn't have anywhere near the talent around him that those other players had when they stepped in. They don't seem to have a backup point that Boeheim feels comfortable with, so it's sink or swim for Joseph.
- No offense. Basically a repeat of the last 10 games from last year. Brick after brick after airball after brick. Cooney's shot was spotty and really nobody else could hit much of anything. They cannot rely on Rakeem Christmas morphing into Moses Malone (in part because he's not that great, and in part because he can't stay on the floor).
- Defensive lapses. They won last year despite a putrid offense because they were an elite defensive squad. This year? Not so much. I don't remember many teams cutting up the zone the way Cal did last night. The new guys (and I'm counting people like Roberson and BJ Johnson here) just don't quite know the zone the way they need to. How many corner 3s did they give up last night? That's a dead giveaway that the wings aren't doing what they ought to.
- No back-up center. It looks like Coleman may be lost for the year, which is a huge blow considering Christmas can't keep himself on the floor. They are a much better team with an active Christmas blocking shots and roaming the baseline of the zone.