Jim Boeheim‘s face is the one a lot of Syracuse fans are making right now after a head-scratching loss to Villanova early on Saturday. If you looked up in a basketball book, how to blow a game, the Orange illustrated it.
The Orange were up 59-53 with 4:06 left to play and proceeded to pull the ball out to drain clock. Problem is that teams who are ranked third overall shouldn’t use this strategy because they are the better team. Teams like Villanova would use this strategy to give the better team less possessions. Michael Carter-Williams had an awful stretch with two turnovers, a missed shot and a crucial missed free throw giving the Wildcats the chance to tie.
We’ve chronicled time and time again the same weaknesses on this team, and they finally bit them in the ass. Syracuse got to the free throw line 35 times, but missed 11 of them including crucial ones late. Six of those came from Carter-Williams who scored 17 points in the loss. He has got to get better at the line especially if he’s going to be the one dominating the ball.
Rebounding crushed the Orange again as well. They gave up 17 offensive rebounds to Nova including the one at the end of the 2nd half which led to the three pointer. There were times that only one Syracuse player was in the paint fighting to rebound, which is unacceptable. Every player has to crash the glass because you can’t get fast break points if you don’t have the ball.
Rakeem Christmas had a good game of nine points and 10 rebounds, but his counterparts were of no help once again. When Baye Keita fouled out, they turned to DaJuan Coleman who had been on the bench for 36 minutes. Coleman is getting yanked so quickly that I can’t imagine he has much confidence. Jerami Grant was also a bright spot until fouling out so he seems to be finally bursting out of his shell.
They have a week off before a road game at Pittsburgh and a home game with Notre Dame. The Orange better use this week of practice to fix a few things or they will be the next “team to ruin your bracket” candidate.