Syracuse Basketball 2018-19: WTF

The Filthy One

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I have decided that the reason we're seeing once in a generation events like losing back-to-back home games to non-conference teams (including Old Dominion!) is that I didn't start a thread for the team this year.

I haven't gotten to watch much of the team this year other than the end of the second half of the Ohio State game and the Georgetown game, but this team is a complete mystery to me. They should be so much better than last year's team, but it is not coming together. Is Frank Howard's injury really making that big of a difference-maker? Can they bounce back in ACC play?

The thing that drives me nuts with Syracuse every year since the 2010-2013 run ended is why it seams like every team that SU plays shoots so much better than we do. Can Boeheim not recruit shooters? Does he not want to?
 

bsj

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I cant post this on a Syracuse forum so maybe I can here without getting yelled at.

The 2-3 zone is the source of all of our success and of all our problems. It is the great equalizer. It allows us to compete with and beat elite teams in the tourney and make deep runs, and it also allows others to to the same. There is a clear formula to beat it that requires a little bit of luck and a lot of deep shooting to fall. That can be somewhat mitigated by energy and activity - something that motivated teams often do in the tournament but often falls flat in these early season games.

I'm not anti zone at all. I do wish he would at least try a man D for a play here and there just to shake things up. But he just refuses.
 

BaseballJones

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I have decided that the reason we're seeing once in a generation events like losing back-to-back home games to non-conference teams (including Old Dominion!) is that I didn't start a thread for the team this year.

I haven't gotten to watch much of the team this year other than the end of the second half of the Ohio State game and the Georgetown game, but this team is a complete mystery to me. They should be so much better than last year's team, but it is not coming together. Is Frank Howard's injury really making that big of a difference-maker? Can they bounce back in ACC play?

The thing that drives me nuts with Syracuse every year since the 2010-2013 run ended is why it seams like every team that SU plays shoots so much better than we do. Can Boeheim not recruit shooters? Does he not want to?
The problems with SU hoops, in no particular order:

1. No post up players. None. Zero. In the past, they've always had SOMEBODY as a low-post presence. Onuaku. Etan Thomas. Ricky Jackson. Rakeem Christmas. SOMEONE. Now, they don't have anyone. Like, not a single guy posts up ever. The entire offense is outside-in.

2. Boeheim's P&R offense sucks so bad. And it sucks primarily because the guy he always has set the screen is someone like Sidibe or Chukwu, neither of whom represents ANYTHING resembling an offensive threat. So defenses don't respect the P&R and they can easily defend it. When's the last time SU got a real easy look off the P&R? It almost never happens. It's running it for the sake of running it, and that's pointless.

3. They never ever ever ever ever box out. I thought I'd put together a little picture presentation (and I have the pics so I could do it) but I don't know if I want to go through it like that. Just trust me - look at any highlight and you'll see that they all just watch the ball, turn to the hoop, and maybe step towards the basket. There is never ever ever any effort to box a guy out. I know it's zone, and it's harder to box out in zone, but they don't even TRY to find a guy and put a body on him. They give up SO many offensive rebounds each game. Last night Buffalo got 18 offensive rebounds. That's essentially 18 extra possessions. I don't care how good defense you play; if you give the other team 18 extra possessions, it's going to be almost impossible to win.

To this point: Buffalo took 5 more field goals and 7 more free throws than SU did - with the same number of turnovers (so those negate each other). Given that each field goal could have been a three, that's potentially 22 more points that Buffalo could have scored vs. Syracuse (not counting and-ones on three point attempts). Of course they didn't convert all those, but they converted SOME, and won by 12. You can't give the other team the free opportunity to score 22 more points than you, unless they shoot horrifically and you shoot the lights out.

4. They still suck at free throws. 5-13 last night. In big spots when two free throws would have kept them in it, they brick both at the line. I mean if they shot 11-13 from the line (not impossible) then they'd have been in the game still.

5. They turn the ball over way too much. They don't do well against pressure defense and they make stupid decisions and poor passes and they force way too much.

Now, they have great, long, athletes. All over the place. Athleticism isn't the problem. This is a coaching problem. I've long been a Boeheim supporter, but it's time. It's time to move on. His system isn't good. His offense is terrible. They do so many of the basic things so poorly. Give coach K this talent and they're top 10 in the country at minimum.
 

The Filthy One

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I cant post this on a Syracuse forum so maybe I can here without getting yelled at.

The 2-3 zone is the source of all of our success and of all our problems. It is the great equalizer. It allows us to compete with and beat elite teams in the tourney and make deep runs, and it also allows others to to the same. There is a clear formula to beat it that requires a little bit of luck and a lot of deep shooting to fall. That can be somewhat mitigated by energy and activity - something that motivated teams often do in the tournament but often falls flat in these early season games.

I'm not anti zone at all. I do wish he would at least try a man D for a play here and there just to shake things up. But he just refuses.
I read somewhere that Boeheim liked the 2-3 zone because very few kids in college can shoot well enough to beat it. That might have been true 10 years ago, but the rule changes in the NBA have trickled down to college, and now high school kids know that to be truly great players they need to be able to shoot. I worry that the zone is more vulnerable than it used to be because of this.
 

LeftyTG

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I keep saying it, even though people keep dismissing it.

We are firmly in the 'late Bowden years at FSU' stage of Boeheim's career. The transition away from a legend is never smooth and never easy. I just fear we lost our Jimbo Fischer when Hopkins got tired of being jerked around and left for Washington.

I don't think Boeheim has the willingness to learn and evolve and grow anymore. The game is changing and he isn't changing with it. Perhaps even more importantly, players are changing - particularly how to communicate and get through to players. Syracuse used to be one of the best at getting very good (but not elite) recruits and maximizing their talents. In the last 5 years or so players haven't improved at the same rate as they consistently did decades prior.

It is painful watching Syracuse play. Not just because they lose to teams like Old Dominion and Buffalo, but that their brand of basketball is just horrible (they have to lead the nation in one dribble jumpshots just inside the three point line - drives me insane). And I say this as a deeply devoted fan! The program is stale, and my biggest fear is that there is nobody strong enough to push Boeheim out - especially since his son is just a freshman. If you are a recruit, why on earth would you go to Syracuse right now?
 

Doooweeeey!

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WTF, is right. The Orange just beat Duke* on their home court in OT...
First loss for Duke as a #1 team at Cameron by any other team than the Tar Heels.

So it's a big win. Many times in the game Duke seemed ready to pull away, and The Orange answered.
They had the ball in Battle's hands with a chance to win in regulation.

Howard looks like he's getting comfortable again. A career high 17 boards for Chukwu.
Without these two they won't go very far, but they now have a couple signature wins.

*I know, I know, Tre Jones got hurt, Cam Reddish was ill, and they had NO answer for Zion Williamson.
Still, it's a good result and a good sign.
 

The Filthy One

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It's not just that they beat Duke (well, the players Duke put on the court...which, to be fair, did include the likely 1 and 2 picks in the NBA draft), it's that they did it while giving up 90.

Both CBS and ESPN now have Syracuse as a 10 seed and not even among the last 4 teams in the tournament. That's despite home losses to Old Dominion and Georgia Tech (I assume they will get a little break for the loss to UCONN based on having Howard out).

But I have no idea at all what to expect going forward. It wouldn't surprise me to see them lose at home to PITT on Saturday, for instance. They go entire games where I think they have no idea what they are doing on offense. Their defense is not as good prior years, they are all over the place on offense, but who knows, maybe they just turned a corner?
 

Doooweeeey!

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Now 5 - 1 in the ACC, with a tougher portion of the schedule coming into focus.
Miami isn't good, but it's encouraging to see Howard, Hughes and Buddy shooting well.
Battle earned a career high in assists playing the point (which ought to happen when guys hit the shots he helps create...)

Dolezaj's passing continues to earn him minutes. Chukwu's second half was much better than his first.
There have been worse tandems at "center" in my years of watching this team...

Apart from the rebounding, the defense was pretty good against the undermanned Hurricanes.
Second game in a row with 10 blocks or more...

I enjoy watching this team now.
 

The Filthy One

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This team is the most frustrating of any in my lifetime as a Syracuse fan. They are clearly a step above the bottom tier of the league (Miami, BC, Pitt, etc.) and just as clearly a step or two below the top tier teams. Buddy Boeheim seems like the team's X-factor: When he makes >1 3PT, they are 6-1; when he doesn't, they are 11-7. In wins, he's shooting 40% from 3; in losses, 19%.

Looking ahead to next year...I'm not optimistic. They missed out on Isaiah Stewart and Qudus Wahab, and it felt like they really needed one of those guys to step in and play center next year. They have offers out there to a few more fringe top-100 guys, but none of them seem likely. I've definitely come around to the idea that the lack of an inside scoring threat is the biggest difference between this team and the teams that had success in recent years. Kind of a depressing time for SU basketball.
 

LeftyTG

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it's only going to get worse. Like many legends before him, Boeheim didn't know when to step aside and is too powerful to push out. The Hopkins succession plan was a good one, and it got screwed up. The program will long rue the day Hopkins was allowed to leave. The absolute ceiling of this program right now is to squeak into the tournament and hope for a match up against teams hapless against the zone. I have very little hope for the immediate future of Syracuse basketball as long as Boeheim is still coaching, which is weird to say after a lifetime of being very good and occasionally elite. I'm hoping against hope that they'll make a clean break when he does finally decide to walk away and not hire someone on the current staff.
 

The Allented Mr Ripley

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Jim Boeheim struck and killed a pedestrian last night.

Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim struck and killed a man walking outside his vehicle on Interstate 690 around midnight, a source has confirmed for Syracuse.com | The Post-Standard.

The man in his 30s had been in a car with four others near Thompson Road in Syracuse when their vehicle crashed for unknown reasons, said a source familiar with the investigation.

The man at some point got out of his vehicle, the source said.

That’s when Boeheim drove by and struck the pedestrian, the source said.

Boeheim was given a routine blood-alcohol content test and had no alcohol in his system: .00 BAC, the source added. He was interviewed by police and released.
 

Red Averages

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Sounds like one of those nightmare scenarios where you're driving...

Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim was driving a car that hit and killed a pedestrian on an interstate highway Wednesday night in Syracuse, New York, police said in a statement Thursday.

Jorge Jimenez, 51, was outside a car on Interstate 690; the vehicle was involved in an unrelated accident due to bad weather. Jimenez was a passenger in that car, which struck the guardrail and came to rest in the middle of the road. The occupants exited the vehicle and moved to the side of the road.

Boeheim's car attempted to avoid the vehicle in the road and struck Jimenez after 11 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Police were then called to the scene.
http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/26045948/syracuse-jim-boeheim-involved-fatal-car-accident

One of those situations where, it appears anyway, to be a freak accident and as a result you have one person dead and another person that needs to carry that guilt around forever.
 

BaseballJones

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Nobody commented on this but Virginia was insane on Monday night. But UVA shot 18-25 from three (72.0%), some of them wide open but many of them highly contested. It was absolutely nuts. A team that plays that kind of defense, shooting like THAT....you've got NO shot at all. Never seen anything like that at all. If a team shoots that many and shoots over 50% it's crazy great. But 72%??? Come ON.
 

The Filthy One

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Nobody commented on this but Virginia was insane on Monday night. But UVA shot 18-25 from three (72.0%), some of them wide open but many of them highly contested. It was absolutely nuts. A team that plays that kind of defense, shooting like THAT....you've got NO shot at all. Never seen anything like that at all. If a team shoots that many and shoots over 50% it's crazy great. But 72%??? Come ON.
And one of their misses was a bench guy playing in garbage time. Their starters shot 75% from 3. Their top 3 scorers shot 18-23 from 3 (78%). Many teams would struggle to shoot 78% from the free throw line. Wut.

Anyway...Short of completely collapsing and losing to Clemson on the road and a game in the ACC tournament, it looks like Cuse will be an 8/9 seed in the NCAA tournament. With the way things have gone the last few years on Selection Sunday, I'll take that. I'd love to get up to the 7 line, but this team just doesn't seem able to hang with the big dogs in the ACC, so that feels like a stretch.
 

Doooweeeey!

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Good Call TFO: #8 In the West.
I think the Orange should beat Baylor, whose best players are injured.
Maybe take a page out of St. Mary's book against Gonzaga?
I believe this team can do it. Gotta protect the ball, shoot well and not let the 'Zags run.
 

The Filthy One

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Frank Howard suspended indefinitely for violating athletic department policies.

This won't help, though it may not be the death knell some are making it out to be. There have been games this year in which Syracuse was significantly better with Frank on the bench. Still, it's not ideal to lose a starter the day before the tournament starts.

Side note: It feels like this is an annual tradition for Syracuse. Josh Wright, Arinze Onuaku, Fab Melo, etc.
 

benhogan

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Indefinite suspension means 1 game, don't worry.
ugh, drugs (weed). career is over.

Cuse already got in trouble for players smoking weed about 15yrs ago. Cuse self-reported that 2 players failed a drug test (not NCAA mandated BTW) and NCAA set up shop for a half dozen years going through the program with a fine tooth comb. Program can't take the risk.
 

The Filthy One

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ugh, drugs (weed). career is over.

Cuse already got in trouble for players smoking weed about 15yrs ago. Cuse self-reported that 2 players failed a drug test (not NCAA mandated BTW) and NCAA set up shop for a half dozen years going through the program with a fine tooth comb. Program can't take the risk.
If you could pick the most Frank Howard end to Frank Howard’s career, weed suspension the day before the NCAA tournament would be high on the list. I feel bad for Frank who has been snake bitten his whole Syracuse career. I hope he gets a chance to play overseas and make some money.
 

benhogan

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If you could pick the most Frank Howard end to Frank Howard’s career, weed suspension the day before the NCAA tournament would be high on the list. I feel bad for Frank who has been snake bitten his whole Syracuse career. I hope he gets a chance to play overseas and make some money.
pun intended?

agreed very Frank-ish outcome

He tried to trip Zion the other night, so karma kind of got him here.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Howard's absence could test the Ewing Theory. It hurts their depth but this shouldn't factor much in this game.
 

benhogan

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Howard's absence could test the Ewing Theory. It hurts their depth but this shouldn't factor much in this game.
Anything that insults a Hoya gives me that warm and fuzzy feeling.

Cuse is a fringe team anyways. Howard had a terrible season (foot injury excuse), relative to the expectations coming into the season.

On the bright side, more tournament minutes for Boeheim and Carey can only help them next season
 

BaseballJones

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pun intended?

agreed very Frank-ish outcome

He tried to trip Zion the other night, so karma kind of got him here.
I don’t know if weed SHOULD be against the rules, but it is. And therefore Frank Howard is a complete idiot. The start of the NCAA tournament - what you work all year for - and you get busted for the dumbest thing. Unless you’re an addict (and all I’ve heard about weed is that it’s not addictive) choosing to smoke weed before the NCAA tourney is just so selfish and stupid.
 

The Filthy One

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This was a frustrating season, from beginning to end. Next year, Cuse will be an NIT team. One bright side is that, despite being the best player on the team, Battle was so ball dominant that the offense late in games often became "Run a pick for Tyus and then get out of the way." Last night was a great example. They probably won't have anyone able to do that with next year. Maybe they'll have to actually have some offensive sets.

Also, I don't get the hype around Joe Girard III. He's ranked something like 230 nationally, and people act like he's the second coming of Gerry McNamara. GMac was a top-40 recruit. Expecting JG3 to step in and be a game-changer next year is ludicrous.
 

benhogan

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This was a frustrating season, from beginning to end. Next year, Cuse will be an NIT team. One bright side is that, despite being the best player on the team, Battle was so ball dominant that the offense late in games often became "Run a pick for Tyus and then get out of the way." Last night was a great example. They probably won't have anyone able to do that with next year. Maybe they'll have to actually have some offensive sets.

Also, I don't get the hype around Joe Girard III. He's ranked something like 230 nationally, and people act like he's the second coming of Gerry McNamara. GMac was a top-40 recruit. Expecting JG3 to step in and be a game-changer next year is ludicrous.
I expect Boeheim, Brissett, Marek, and Hughes will all be back and better next season. Howard was terrible most of the year and Battle had his limitations. Upperclass guards that stink from the 3 is the recipe for mediocrity.

I see a top 25 team next season. Syracuse is at its best when they have several 3pt threats (look back at all their great teams). The Syracuse length schtick is overplayed by the media, shooting is more important.

JG3 was Mr. New York, and holds the career scoring mark, he can shoot/score. After watching last nights game I wouldn't mind a 6'1" PG that can shoot the 3. He'll also be at Cuse for 4yrs. Duke and Michigan recruited him, so I wouldn't take that #230 rating all that seriously
 
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The Filthy One

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Oshae Brissett declared for the draft but did not hire an agent. I watched a lot of Syracuse basketball this year, and never once did I think, "Oshae Brissett should be in the NBA." I thought that at times last year, but he took a big step backwards this year. I hope he returns, but who knows. Maybe he's done with school and just wants to play somewhere and get paid.
 

The Filthy One

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Oshae Brissett declared for the draft but did not hire an agent. I watched a lot of Syracuse basketball this year, and never once did I think, "Oshae Brissett should be in the NBA." I thought that at times last year, but he took a big step backwards this year. I hope he returns, but who knows. Maybe he's done with school and just wants to play somewhere and get paid.
As if we needed further evidence that I'm not an NBA scout, Brissett will stay in the draft (presumably because somebody told him they'll pick him).