Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Orange vs. Drexel

Just a few comments out of the disappointing loss to Drexel tonight:

Last time Syracuse had 3 losses in a season by December 19th was in the 1998-1999 season. That team started out 7-3, and had its 3rd loss by December 12th. That was an experienced team too, with juniors Jason Hart, Ryan Blackwell, Etan Thomas, and sophomores Allen Griffin and Damone Brown in the starting lineup. They would make the NCAA tournament but lose in the first round to Oklahoma State.

Glad to see Demetris Nichols finally get over 30 points, totaling 31 on a decent effort. He’s the first SU player to score 30 since Gerry McNamara scored 30 versus Louisville last February 18th, and the most points scored since GMac had 38 versus Davidson almost one year ago today (12/18/2005). Last small forward to score 30+ for Syracuse was some obscure guy named Carmelo Anthony, with 30 versus Texas in the Final Four, March 18, 2003. Nichols has been on a scoring tear averaging 27.8 ppg his last four games.

Unfortunately this team is looking a lot like last year regarding the offense. A bunch of guys standing around letting a senior take on the whole burden and carrying the offense. Take last years’ team, replace GMac with DNic, and it looks very similar (on offense).

I’ve been bashing Terrence Roberts all year with friends. I think he’s a lousy shooter, clearly a horrendous free throw shooter, has terrible hands, and is a turnover waiting to happen. He does make occasional defensive plays, but not consistently, and while leading the team in rebounding, he again is inconsistent there. He’s one of those guys who looks like he should be a much better player than he is. Having said all that, SU needs him on the court. With the loss of Onuaku, the Orange have no alternative at power forward, and even with his shortcomings Roberts is the best they have. Without him on the court in the second half tonight, it was obvious the damage other teams could do to the Orangemen.

Also regarding the Terrence Roberts free throw watch: Roberts was on fire from the line tonight, going a blistering 3-4 from the line, raising his season average to 43.3% on 22-52, and his career average is now at 136-291, 46.7%. Don't worry... he's still got the career record in the bag.

The Orangemen shot 87.5% (21-24) from the free throw line? Unbelievable. Not only was Roberts hot from the line, but Darryl Watkins goes 4 for 4? Wow. And they still lost?

Andy Rautins started again; not a bad game but not a great one either. Jim Boeheim sees these guys in practice everyday, and he knows the team’s strengths and weaknesses better than any of us. That and 30 years of coaching give him a huge edge on any of us; so I trust he knows what he’s doing. I know Rautins has tremendous court IQ. I just wish I knew what was up with Eric Devondorf… he’s clearly a shell of his former self. Paul Harris has his weaknesses, but is still getting the playing time and impact off the bench. But Devo has completely fallen apart.

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