Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Morning After


Waking up this morning was like waking up from a bad dream.

Did that really happen?

Is it possible that Seton Hall (a team that was 2-6 in the Big East, a team that had an 8-12 overall record, a team that Syracuse hasn't lost to at home since 2006) came into the Dome and absolutely blew out the #9/#10 ranked Syracuse Orangemen?

That's the reality we are waking up in today. Syracuse, after winning 18 straight games to open the season, have now lost three straight games and the latest is the most humiliating.

It's one thing to lose to #4 Pittsburgh on the road. It's one thing to lose to #7 Villanova at home. But to lose to unranked and outmatched Seton Hall in this kind of fashion. To not only lose at home, but to be blown out. That is completely and 100% unacceptable for a program that was just last week ranked #3 in the nation.

Immediate feelings after the loss: Shock. Embarrassment. Humiliation. Disbelief. Anger. Disappointment.

Could 90-68 really be the final score? And can Syracuse really be on the losing end? If you missed the game and just saw the final score you would have definitely thought that the person giving you this information got the order of the teams wrong. But no. This is real.

From the opening tip to the final buzzer the Syracuse Orangemen were out worked, out hustled, out shot and were lacking the sense of urgency and poise necessary to make this a game.

If I were Jim Boeheim I would have told my players to stay in the locker room after the game. I would have told them to keep their sneakers on, and that we are waiting for the stands to clear out, because there's going to be practice. No basketballs. Just your sneakers and a whistle. Be ready to run. In hockey, they call it a bag skate. I'm not sure what they call it in basketball but to quote Herb Brooks in the movie Miracle, "you guys don't want to work during the game, no problem, we'll work now."

Rick Jackson was Rick Jackson. 12 points 11 rebounds 6 blocks 3 steals 3 assists. Unfortunately Scoop Jardine was the Scoop Jardine we have been seeing lately. Scoop was 4 of 10 from the field for 11 points with 2 assists and 3 turnovers. Brandon Triche was 3 of 11 from the floor and 1 of 6 from 3-point range to also finish with 11 points and 3 assists (and 3 turnovers).

James Southerland started in place of Fab Melo, and only succeeded at being invisible. Southerland was 1-5 from the field, 0-4 from 3-point range, had just 2 rebounds in 19 minutes and for much of the time he was out there he was difficult to even notice on the floor. Kris Joseph finished with 17 points to lead the Orangemen in scoring.

The defensive effort by the Cuse was 100% unacceptable. How a team like Seton Hall can score 90 points on you in a 40 minute game is beyond me. Jeremy Hazell came out of the gates literally on fire and finished with 28 points on 10 of 17 shooting from the floor (5 of 10 from 3). Not one player on the Syracuse team could match his intensity on either the offensive or defensive side of the ball.

I think going forward C.J. Fair should take some of the minutes we are watching James Southerland receive. He actually understands how to run a full court press, a facet of the game that looks lost on the rest of the team, and he can rebound the basketball. Fair was 3 of 5 from the floor for 6 points with 3 rebounds and 2 steals in 16 minutes. Dion Waiters finished 0-4 from the field. His only other stat was that he had 1 foul in 14 minutes.

Where do we go from here? It looks like Syracuse has three tough road games coming up against Marquette on 1/29, in UCONN on 2/2 and in South Florida on 2/5. The Orangemen better not treat that trip to Tampa like a vacation, because they will come home with the same level of embarrassment we are all forced to live through today.

This team needs a serious gut check. They need to find out if they are going to just shrivel up and die or if they are going to start hitting back and earning some of the respect back that they have most definitely lost after last nights game. The good news is that there are plenty of ranked opponents left on the Orangemen's schedule. It's not as if we play in the ACC and we only have one ranked team on our schedule. There will be opportunities to get some big, big wins under our belt as the season moves along, and they better take advantage of it!


photo courtesy of syracuse.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like your posts, but can you change the font? It's really hard to read, so if I'm busy I sometimes skip by your columns.

Keep up the good work though, but I would recommend a font that's easier on the eyes on a computer.