Reports of Syracuse’s demise are greatly exaggerated after they toppled #1 Louisville at their place on Saturday night. Most thought that without James Southerland that this was not going to end well for the Orange. Louisville was almost an eight point favorite in Vegas. What took place on Saturday in a Syracuse victory never could have been predicted due to the issues that have plagued the team all season long.
Let’s start with the positives and once again that was Brandon Triche. The leader scored 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting. He hit five of his seven three point attempts and was a calming influence when the Cardinal went to the press. Triche is great alongside Michael Carter-Williams who was good tonight despite the eight turnovers. The lanky point guard scored 17 points while adding seven assists. He made one of two FTs in crunch time to help cement the win. The Orange missed only five all night which was big as well.
Another underrated contribution came from Jerami Grant who is seeing more time in Southerland’s absence. The athletic forward scored 10 points adding five rebounds in the game. He made a difference in so many areas and continues to look like the freshmen everyone believed he would be.
Concerns for Syracuse continue to be on the rebounding side. Late in the second half, they continued to give up a ton of second chances. Louisville had 14 offensive rebounds with 11 coming from Chane Behanan and Gorgui Dieng. Another concern is the lack of production from the bigs once again. The trio of Baye Keita, DaJuan Coleman and Rakeem Christmas scored nine points combined.
Syracuse can’t get too fat or happy after this one as they’ve got Cincinnati on Monday afternoon and the Bearcats are going to test them especially in the backcourt. A win like this means very little if they don’t follow it up with another victory.