During the season, The Juice Online will tackle a burning question about the Syracuse basketball team in “Tipoff Countdown.”
Today’s topic: Syracuse shot a combined 5-27 from downtown in their last two games, and was just 37 percent from the field against Alcorn State. What can Syracuse to do prevent offensive slumps like this?
Two of our contributors, Nate Federman and Aaron Plante gave their thoughts:
FEDERMAN: Well for starters, Brandon Triche and (especially) Michael Carter-Williams need to avoid getting into foul trouble and/or fatigued, so Trevor Cooney sees as little floor-time as possible. I’m kidding, but not really.
Our entire offense runs through MCW. He’s the key and when he’s not on the floor or plays poorly and we’re not turning teams over and getting easy transition hoops, this squad is going to have trouble scoring.
As the floor general, MCW needs to understand when it’s time for him to set-up his teammates and when the team needs him to look for his own shot. Now that the scouting report is out on him and teams are playing him as a distributor, he needs to stop forcing passes in traffic and start finishing around the hoop. If he can force teams to respect his scoring ability, they’ll have to send help-defenders when he penetrates, which will open up the rest of our offense.
PLANTE: With this team, like similar Syracuse teams in recent years, and most really good college teams, it’s all about shot selection. Tim Welsh, who I love, said the same thing. He ripped Cooney for just catching the ball and shooting or driving to the bucket without ever passing it around.
That won’t cut it. Syracuse should try to give CJ the ball 12 feet from the bucket and let him work. When Dajuan is sitting out, let MCW and Brandon drive in there and see what happens. If Dajuan is in, give him some touches. Hit James trailing or off MCW penetration. That’s what we need to see more of.