Whats up with them?
Got blasted today 61-39 by Georgetown
Lost to ranked teams Louisville,Marquette and Georgetown again also lost to UCONN
Only beat Unranked Depaul
All in the last 3 weeks
They're going down the wrong path with the tourney coming up.
I thought Southerland coming back would help them and put them back in contention for the Big East title. He has played well but this teams problem is that they are very soft inside. Christmas and Coleman have not impressed and the lack of interior defense, rebounding and scoring is the reason this team is being exposed.
I can break down the issues (been watching every game of their's for the past 5 years or so.
1. Interior play
Christmas played decently today, but for the most part, he struggles on the glass. Keita gets pushed around with ease because he weighs about 100 pounds. Coleman is a very good rebounder, but he gets lost in the zone defense, so they can't risk leaving him out there very long. Christmas works his butt off to post up early in games, but the guards never really get him involved unless it's an alley oop pass (which he struggles with more than he should). By the end of the game, he stops trying to get good position offensively. Defensively, he blocks a ton of shots, but doesn't draw any charges (whereas last year, Fab Melo was probably among the leaders in charges drawn in the country), and because he tries to block everything, he often gets caught out of position for easy buckets underneath/easy offensive rebounds. Keita is just all around bad and honestly should never play, but Boeheim is madly in love with him (and there is some good reason to that; I know him; he's one of the nicest people you'll ever meet).
2. Brandon Triche
Syracuse is 5-6 since the end of January. Through January, Triche was shooting 45% from the field and 34% from 3, averaging 15 points per game. During the 5-6 stretch, Triche is shooting 35% from the field and 17% from 3, averaging 13 points per game, but as you can see by the percentages, he's doing it much less efficiently. Moreover, he's turned into a turnover machine and he's regressed defensively. Last year, he was the best defensive guard on the team. This year, he's routinely been caught out of position.
3. Far too limited offensively
CJ Fair does a nice job of scoring within the offense, but he's a poor ball-handler and is only effective if he's going to his left. He doesn't really pass the ball once he gets the ball, so defenses can just make it a tough shot for him without worrying about him passing off to an open teammate. Having said that, he's easily been the most efficient scorer during this stretch, and he's putting up great numbers, but he's very limited as a scorer and basically needs MCW to get him some space to shoot. MCW is the only player on the team that is capable of getting into the paint and being able to score or pass once he does so. Triche has begun to settle for jumpshots (which he can't make), Southerland has always been nothing more than a catch-and-shoot guy that takes far too many bad shots, and Xmas and Keita can't catch the ball down low, so MCW basically has nobody to pass to (but he tries anyways, hoping that his perimeter guys will eventually start knocking down shots). Syracuse has shot somewhere in the 30-40% range from the field over this stretch. You just aren't going to beat ranked teams like that. They've kept it close in basically all of the losses (besides today's obviously), but if they don't start knocking down jumpshots, getting Xmas involved in the post, or giving up on the jumpshots and just attacking relentlessly, they're doomed to an early exit in both the Big East Tournament and the NCAA tournament.
They can't get buckets, darn young bloods. MCW can't shoot from outside and Triche has been in a slump lately. Southerland, their best shooter, was 0-8 today.