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.
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.