I….. I….. I got nothing. No really. I sat down to write this column and give my impressions of the 2018-19 Syracuse Orange through seven games, and much like the team, I can’t put anything together.
It’s not my fault. I’m not suffering from writer’s block or anything. It’s just that this team is so uneven, so all over the place on a night to night basis, that formulating any sort of thesis or making any predictions is impossible.
After a couple of easy wins to open the season, the Orange looked terrible in back-to-back games at the Garden. But before I could write them off, the boys predictably beat Colgate and then went into Ohio State an brought home an impressive road win.
But, before I could get excited, Cornell, yes Cornell, knocked on the door of a huge upset before the Orange managed to hold on for the win. It was the first time in 13 years that the Orange didn’t win by double digits.
Do I harp on the fact that the Syracuse offense stalls out for giant stretches at a time and is only averaging 11.3 assists per game, good for 297th in the nation? I would, if it weren’t an uptick from the 10.68 assists per contest last year’s Sweet Sixteen team averaged. If that offense worked, why couldn’t this one?
So here I am still wondering about this team. Will Tyus Battle and Oshae Brissett need to play 36+ minutes per night to keep this team competitive, even against the likes of Cornell? Will they tire out if they do? Will Jalen Carrey find his way back onto the court and impact winning? Will Frank Howard find his feel and dish out more than three assists per contest?
Maybe I’ll know more and have a better feel by the time ACC play starts. Unlike past years, once the new year turns the Orange will have played three ranked teams, including an upcoming upstate battle with surprising #17 Buffalo.
Maybe that’s why I’m having a hard time. Instead of running out to an 7-0 or 6-1 record against cupcake opponents, the Orange have been fighting this season from the beginning.
Not that I’m complaining. It’s been more interesting than in past years, and I am genuinely curious about this team. I may be at a loss for words, but I’ll be watching them closely.