Tim Welsh joined us on The Juice on the Cuse podcast on Thursday to talk about Syracuse’s recent struggles. He also made some predictions for the upcoming tournament. Here are the highlights from his interview:
The Juice Online: Are you concerned about Syracuse’s recent struggles?
Tim Welsh: They’re in a terrific conference. There’s no shame in going on the road and losing. The game against Georgetown, clearly, they just didn’t shoot the ball very well from the outside and they lost to a team that is emerging as a No. 1 or 2 seed in the country. Again, there’s no shame in that. They’re going to have another swing at Georgetown so I’m sure they’ll learn and adjust from the game they played in Syracuse. In the past, Syracuse didn’t play a lot against the zone, everyone knows they play the zone, so they’re going to have to work on their zone offense. They’re going to have to work to get better shots and they’re going to have to work to get easier baskets. Their defense has been great all season long. But listen, they’re in a great conference, and you’re going to lose in great conferences, and they’ve had a terrific season knowing what they lost coming in.
TJO: What is Coach Boeheim telling his team right now?
TW:I think it’s just shot selection for them on certain nights. They didn’t get to the line enough against Marquette and their defense has been good but they’ve got to try to get easier shots in transition and move the ball a little more on the offensive end. You have to get Brandon Triche involved, you have to make sure that CJ Fair doesn’t go more than a few possessions without touching the ball and try to get on the offensive glass. That’s always the easier way to steer something when you’re not scoring the points you need to score. All of those are fixable because you’ve seen them do that for long periods of time this season.
TJO: What are your predictions for the Big East and NCAA tournaments for Syracuse?
TW: I think they’re going to very well in the NCAA tournament. I think they’re a team that’s always going to give a lot of people problems. The Big East tournament is hard to calculate at this point because there are so many good teams and basically it’s who you’re matched up against. I think Syracuse will right itself, they’ve stumbled a bit down the stretch. Not a bad stumble, they’re not playing terrible basketball and they’ve got good players and a hall of fame coach, so they’ll figure it out. And I’ve seen the switch come on to them at the right time in a lot of different years when maybe people had them dead and buried for no reason other than the fact that they lost a couple tough games. That’s usually when Jim Boeheim is at his best when he’s back against the wall a little bit. I think this team has a lot of pride and inner toughness. Brandon Triche, if he can develop some leadership as a senior, looking at this as his last run, I think they could have a special March.