September 28, 2020

Syracuse IS The Real Deal!

All right…enough is enough.

Will someone please tell me what the sports world has against the Syracuse Orange? In particular the 2009-2010 edition of the men’s basketball program?

I just finished watching the ever brilliant Doug Gottlieb make another astounding back handed compliment about the Orange.

Here’s the clip:

First off – when the hell is ESPN going to let go of Syracuse’s loss to the D2 Lemoyne Dolphins. It was a stupid EXHIBITION game!!!! In EARLY November!!!! Did you notice how Gottlieb made it sound like Syracuse lost the game during part of its regular non-conference schedule? Straight out of Gottlieb’s mouth – “The one time they tried to play man to man, they lost to a non division 1 team, in the non-conference.” Maybe it was a slip up but with Gottlieb’s open disdain for anything Orange…I don’t think so.

I mean (and don’t hate me for this UNC fans) the Tar Heels lose to the College of Charleston (out of the Southern Conference) in early January and it gets one maybe two days worth of coverage. And by the way UNC has lost 4 of the last 5 and they are STILL in the top 25. I’m not trying to disrespect the Heels…but if it was the ‘Cuse…they would have been dropped out of the top 25 after the loss to the College of Charleston.

But let’s get to what really has me steamed. This whole notion that Syracuse’s 2-3 zone defense is not a quality defense and therefore not capable of winning a National Championship or even beating a team such as Texas.

Some facts:
Syracuse holds teams to 37.4% FG%
Syracuse holds teams to 30.3% 3-PT%
Syracuse averages 7.1 Blocks per game
Syracuse averages 11.7 steals per game

All from a zone.

Syracuse shuts down hot outside shooting all the time. Many games this season teams come out shooting like mad men from beyond the arc. In the 2nd half the ‘Cuse adjusts its zone, pushing out on the shooters and slowing down the number of 3’s allowed and then they run away with almost every game (the average margin of victory so far this season is 19.9 points).

Syracuse is holding teams to 30.3% from 3 and 37.4% overall and still the sports prognosticators – like Gottlieb – say the zone will not work well enough to be used as a full time defense against teams like Texas and Kentucky. After 19 games of this season that argument is getting very old. This is an extremely talented defensive team playing a solid defensive scheme.

Is this team good enough to beat anyone in the country? I would say yes. Is the defense good enough to get a number 1 seed in the tourney? Arguably yes. Is it talented enough to win a National Championship? You betcha! – It seems to have worked in 2003.

I am not sitting here saying that it will happen; too many things have to go the right way for even the best of teams to win and make it all the way to a national championship. But I am going to argue that if this trend continues and the Orange continues to play the way they have been playing, it is a distinct possibility.


  1. Agreed TD.. Gottlieb is a ninkcompoop. always has been.. Which is why he couldnt hack it at ND and had to transfer to “get into school easy” U called Okie St. ‘Cuse is real deal

  2. Very well put TommyD. Cuse is good enough to win it all and the zone D did work very well back in 2003. They were able to take out Okie State, Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas during that tourney run.

  3. Doug Gottieb is a college basketball D0UCH3!!! By season’s end he’ll be sucking the juice from a freshly squeezed Orange National Championship… At that point he can continue to rag on the Orange as the only National Champions to have lost to a D2 team… IN AN EXHIBITION!!!

  4. Paul McNeil says

    Thanks, Tommy for saying everything I wanted to say, but saying it better.

    I really believe Mr. Gottlieb is simply parroting someone else’s storyline, perhaps because he lacks a deeper understanding of college basketball.

    Many people, including even some coaches, used to say that being exclusively dependent on a zone defense would make winning a national championship very hard to do. And they kept saying that right up until 2003. Then they stopped saying it. Or, at least we stopped hearing it until Mr. Gottlieb’s recent diatribe.

    Mr. Gottlieb must think the Syracuse zone is like your normal high school pack-it-in zone. It isn’t. And it’s not even close to that! It moves! And it traps! It’s a “match-up” zone.

    Bobby Knight says that of all that he has seen thus far, he likes Syracuse for the number 1 spot right now.

    And to me, what Bobby Knight says carries a lot more weight than anything a Mr. Gottlieb says.

  5. Doug Gottlieb is a moron. im sick and tired of liistening to this guy talk about something he doesnt really know that much about and surely was never very good at. ESPN- if theres 2 people u need to cut from your staff for being morons, its Doug Gottlieb #1 and Douschepump Jay Bilas #2

  6. dexineffex says

    Quite a convincing angle on Cuse b-ball. I can say that Syracuse looked to be the best team my Tarheels have faced all season (better than Texas, Kentucky, Mich St, Clemson) — that was purely our matchup versus them. Granted, I don’t follow the CUSE but they have talent, are athletic as hell & are deep — led by a hall of fame coach [that’s a great recipe for a nat’l champ]. Ironic how a team can be this strong after loosing it’s 1-2 Guard punch to the league. Also ironic how a team (UNC) can nearly run the table, then a year later, just be a hot pile of pooh [injury bug not helping the heels — we’ll bounce back!]

    Gottlieb is hit & miss — if he’s a CUSE hater then he’ll get a bad hangover from drinking & serving up orange haterade to the masses.

    While I’m more of a fan of the man-to-man — history has shown most teams have fits playing against an active & ‘smart’ 2-3 zone like SU runs.


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