In late November, Jim Boeheim called this team “the most overrated team I’ve ever coached.” At the time, I completely agreed with him. I had watched the games. I had seen the team’s shooting troubles, defensive lapses and very close games against subpar competition (a 63-60 win over William & Mary??). Now, though? Now, you have to really nitpick to find flaws. The Orange is improving by leaps and bounds, and after a 93-65 beating of a good Drexel team, I’m finally ready to no longer call this team overrated.
In Syracuse’s romp over Morgan State on Monday night, the story of the game was James Southerland’s shot. “He’s back,” The Post-Standard declared. But while the sophomore’s sweet stroke and 18 points deserved the limelight on that night, his rebounding and defense will keep him on the floor when Big East play begins next week.
This was an average performance for the Orange. It wasn’t the Michigan State game and it wasn’t the William and Mary game. This one was somewhere right in between. It was a comfortable win despite Iona never letting up and always closing the gap after a Syracuse run. But Syracuse led wire-to-wire and won, 83-77.