Did you ever play Nintendo with the Game Genie? You’d put in Super Mario Bros. and make Mario invincible and be able to jump five times higher than normal. At first it was one of the most amazing things ever but slowly you started to miss the challenges of the normal game. Without the element of real competition it began to lose its appeal. That’s now how I feel watching Syracuse. Playing a team like Colgate is like unlocking all the Game Genie codes.
Look, I love a good beat down. It’s great to see Boeheim clean his bench in the final few minutes of the game and cheer for players whose names I hardly know. But I’m ready for some real competition now and hopefully so are the Orange.
I’ve said this before but always feel the need to preface any analysis of these types of games by mentioning that you can’t really read too deep into these games because of the competition…but….Syracuse’s man-to-man defense isn’t clicking quite yet. They’ve gone man-to-man early in the most recent games and it hasn’t been very effective. They’re not switching well on picks and somehow, despite being in man, they are giving up too many open jumpers.
Their full-court press had mixed results. They pulled away in this contest with that ridiculous 13-0 run over the course of 78 seconds where they had 6 steals. Sorry to bring up video games again (I’m not really sorry) but it reminds me of all the basketball games I’d play where I’d constantly be pressing the button to steal the ball and 90-percent of the time it worked. It should be noted that at the center of the turnaround was James Southerland who caused havoc on the inbounder. His length caused all sorts of problems and he had three of the six steals.
But prior to that video-game like run Colgate didn’t have much trouble advancing the ball and actually got a few layup attempts. A staple of the Orange’s full-court press has always been a big man sitting back waiting as a last line of defense. But last night, instead of getting into position to take a charge or alter the opponent’s path, Baye Keita approached jogged to the side of the opponent, timed his jump and swatted the shot away. It was a beautiful block but that will be an and-one situation against any Big East squad.
That’s really it as far as attempting to pick out any negative aspects of the team’s game last night. C.J. Fair showed how far his jump shot had improved with his 5-for-8 performance including knocking down a 3-pointer. Dion Waiters continues to impress with his ability to get to the rim. He’s in the perfect spot as the sixth man. He doesn’t have the pressure of a starter but might play just as many minutes as one. That type of player that can lead a second unit can be the difference between a good and a great team.
What, no mention of Bernie Fine? Nah. I think that’s been covered enough. I’ll stick to analyzing what actually happening on the court.
Entered the game at: 12:14
First shot: 11:31
Time elapsed: 43 seconds
First made shot: 9:45
Time elapsed: 159 seconds
-7:05 remaining: The time Colgate got their first and only block. The victim? Michael Carter-Williams. Hopefully this is the equivalent of a punt returner getting tackled by the punter and he gets made fun of mercilessly by his teammates.
-4:05 remaining: Fab Melo fouls out. He lasted nearly 36 minutes? Now that’s what I call progress!
-7-2: That’s how the 3rd unit finished the game. Maybe this team is even deeper than we thought. Clearly Matt Tomaszewski and Albert Nassar deserve more PT. Boeheim has his work cut out for him.