Ask Syracuse men’s basketball assistant coach and head-coach-in-waiting Mike Hopkins a question, any question, and he’ll have a memorable response. From social networking to being named one of the nation’s premier assistant coaches, the former SU guard fielded a variety of questions with aplomb at the team’s Media Day that ushered in the 2010-2011 season.
Tom Izzo is one of the best coaches in the history of college basketball. He has averaged over 24 wins per season since taking over the reigns at Michigan State in 1995, he has taken the Spartans to the NCAA Tournament 13 consecutive years, and he’s made the Final Four in six of the past 12 seasons. But Izzo did not do his homework on Syracuse. Perhaps the Spartans have been traveling too much (a trip to Cameron Indoor and a trip to the Maui Invitational) because they did not look prepared to play the Orange. Syracuse played to their strengths and Michigan State did little to slow them down as the Orange pick up a signature victory over the 7th ranked Spartans, 72-58.
The trend Syracuse hasn’t been able to shake is not putting together a complete game. It seems in every game they have one good half and one awful half. Well, they broke that trend last night but not in a good way. Instead of one good half, they played half of one good half. But their defense played just good enough in the final few minutes to pull out another victory against a mediocre opponent. Syracuse improves to 8-0 by beating North Carolina State, 65-59.