A quick take on Syracuse’s embarrassing 90-66 loss at Louisville on Wednesday evening:
WHAT HAPPENED: After a dunk by Bourama Sidibe made it 47-40 with 16:34 to go, Louisville completely took control of the game. Just seven minutes later, Steven Enoch dunked home a pass from Ryan McMahon to extend the Cardinals’ lead to 69-44 with 9:39 left and the Orange suffered its worst loss of the 2020 ACC season. Little went right for Syracuse’s starting front line of Marek Dolezaj, Bourama Sidibe and Elijah Huhges. Dolezaj and Sidibe fouled out midway through the second half after combining for only 5 points and 8 rounds. Hughes suffered through a rough shooting night, finishing with 10 points on 3-13 from the field.
ANALYSIS: Syracuse continues to struggle on defense. Ranked 135th in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency heading into Wednesday night, SU gave up 90 points. The Cardinals asserted their offensive will, shooting 46.9 percent from the field and 10-24 from downtown. Louisville also dominated the glass 45-36, including 12 offensive rebounds. And with Sidibe and Dolezaj struggling to defend inside, the Cardinals went to the free throw line 29 times (compared to 18 for the Orange). Meanwhile, Louisville stymied Syracuse’s offense, holding the Orange to 38.3 percent from the field and 7-26 from downtown. Though Buddy Boeheim led the Orange with 15 points, he took 15 shots to get there one game after going scoreless on 0-7 shooting.
HERO: Four of Louisville’s five starters were in double figures, led by Jordan Nwora’s 19 points and seven rebounds. Malik Williams added 14 points and 13 rebounds (six offensive).
ZERO: Barring a 2006 Big East Tournament style run, the Orange can kiss any hopes of an at-large NCAA Tournament bid goodbye. There are five games left in the regular season plus at least one ACC game and the Orange is 14-12. Syracuse needs at least two more wins to guarantee a .500 regular season and to preserve a spot in the NIT. Should the Orange not reach that mark, it would be the first time in Jim Boeheim’s storied coaching career that SU would not qualify for a postseason tournament.
WHAT’S NEXT: Syracuse returns home to host Georgia Tech on Saturday at 4 p.m.