Monday, November 15, 2010

"Overrated" Syracuse Team Defeats Canisius

On Sunday afternoon the Syracuse Orangemen defeated Canisius College 86-67 in the Carrier Dome in front of 20,454 fans. However, what happened on the court was nothing compared to Jim Boeheim's post-game press conference.

Jim Boeheim got things started early in the press conference, saying he needed to "clarify some things," and then told the room of reporters that "we have no depth. Everybody talks about 'this guys a great player,' we don't have one guy who's made a significant play in a college basketball game." Then he asked the media assembled to give him one player who has done anything coming off the bench this season.

Jim Boeheim went on to say that "we have four guys," meaning Rick Jackson, Scoop Jardine, Brandon Triche and Kris Joseph. "We're going to go where our veterans take us... you can count on that."

"Watch the tape of the first half tonight, and tell me how many games you think we're going to win with that depth that was out there... We need to get realistic. Right now we're the most overrated team that I've ever had. Right now. And I'm a little shocked that every body's bought into this whole thing."

"We have got a long ways to go, and we have a lot of work to do." Jim Boeheim made it very clear. However, it's a little curious to hear from a man who told us that Fab Melo was going to be a national rookie of the year candidate and that Dion Waiters was one of the best freshman guards he's ever had at Syracuse.

Apparently the team got a little ahead of themselves and needed to be taken down a few pegs. When considering the first half performances in the two regular season games we have played this season, he has a point.

Syracuse held just a three point lead for the 2nd straight game at halftime, and looked extremely sloppy with the ball, especially around the rim. The Orangemen were held to just 23 points in the first half of the Northern Iowa game. On Sunday, Syracuse scored 32 points in the first half. Considering the level of competition, that's completely unacceptable. Rushed 3-pointers and blocked shots inside are no way to run the offense. Given Syracuse's extreme size mismatch inside, how are they settling for outside shots?

Things weren't all bad for the Orangemen on Sunday, they did win the game by 19 points and outscored Canisius 54-38 in the second half. Rick Jackson finished the afternoon with 17 points to lead the Orangemen and added 13 rebounds 3 assists 2 steals and 4 blocks with just 2 turnovers. Kris Joseph struggled early and finished with 10 points on 3-9 shooting from the floor with 7 rebounds and 2 assists.

Scoop Jardine, who scored zero points in the opener against Northern Iowa, dropped 13 points and had 8 assists on 5 of 11 shooting including 2 of 3 from 3-point land. Brandon Triche, who Boeheim criticized following Friday's game for not being aggressive enough, shot 6-13 from the floor, 4-8 from three, and finished with 16 points.

Off the bench no one could keep up with Baye Moussa Keita. Keita grabbed a team high fifteen rebounds and added 6 points on 3 of 5 shooting in just 17 minutes. Baye Moussa Keita had 9 offensive rebounds, however was 0-4 from the foul line after not missing a shot from the charity stripe in the exhibition schedule. C.J. Fair also contributed off the bench, giving the Orangemen 11 points in 18 minutes to go along with 4 rebounds.

Dion Waiters was 1-5 from the floor and finished with 3 points in 13 minutes of action, afterwards Boeheim called Waiters a "non-factor today." Another struggling Orangeman was James Southerland who shot an ugly 1-9 from the floor in 9 minutes of action with just 2 rebounds and 2 points. His defense wasn't much better and played a very uninspired game.

Lastly, there is Fab Melo. In just 13 minutes of action Fab Melo did his best Daryl Watkins impression and fouled out of the game, for the second game in a row. He finished with 4 rebounds and 2 points. In two regular season college games, the only thing that Melo has 10 of is fouls (6 points, 7 rebounds, 0 blocks).

As we stated in our season preview, Fab Melo just has played just 1 year of American basketball in his life. There is definitely going to be an adjustment period and right now other teams are going right at him and forcing him to make a play. Going from high school to college and playing as a freshman is hard enough as it is, and considering he only has 1 year of high school ball in this country, that adjustment is going to be even harder.

The Syracuse Orangemen's next game is Tuesday in the Carrier Dome when they host the Detroit Titans. The Titans lost their season opener to New Mexico 63-54. Tip-off on Tuesday is 7PM. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.

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