The 2007-08 edition of Syracuse basketball has definitely been entertaining, to say the least. A few days ago they had their most disappointing loss of the season to South Florida, basically ending any realistic change they Orange had to make the NCAA.
Today, they had probably their biggest win in two seasons, beating bitter rival #8-ranked Georgetown 77-70 before the Carrier Dome’s 64th crowd of 30,000-plus fans. Everything the Orange did not due on Wednesday, they did today. They played with intensity the whole game, protected the ball on offense, and were aggressive for the ball on defense. They played tough inside, and started the game quickly. They made all the clutch shots down the stretch.
Make no mistake, the Orange still have a long road ahead of them. I felt a couple of days ago, they needed to go 5-2 down the stretch… unless they had a win at Georgetown, where a 4-3 stretch effort may help them. Well, they beat Georgetown, and they are 1-1 so far in those seven games. Picking up three more wins is going to be very difficult. Syracuse has the talent to do it, but I still haven’t seen the consistency of effort and execution to suggest they can.
But hey, for a few days, Syracuse fans can feel very good about the Orange. They took one of the best teams in the country and beat them solidly. And the big win today should do wonders for their morale. Hopefully they can get some momentum and keep it up for a few games. A loss today would have been devastating, giving them three straight and absolutely ending any chance for NCAA post season action.
The Big East Tournament will be rough for Syracuse. They go only seven players deep… on a good night. There’s very little chance they can play four games in four nights and win them all. Jonny Flynn would be required to play 160 minutes in four days. You think the Orange are tired now?
The Big East season has been a grind on Syracuse. Donte’ Greene is shooting only 37% from the floor, and 31% from 3 point range in Big East play. This was after he shot 47% from the floor in non-conference play, and 39% from three point range. I know Greene probably thinks he is ready for the NBA, but in my opinion he’s got a lot of development to do. He could develop while sitting on the bench in the NBA for a few seasons, or take another year at Syracuse and learn more fundamentals, become a stronger defender and rebounder, and more consistent in his play.
I know it’s probably one of the best kept secrets in college basketball, but does anyone realize that Syracuse can shoot free throws? We do have Arinze Onuaku who is trying to become the next Terrence Roberts at the charity stripe. But the four guys who typically handle the ball during crunch time all shoot 70% or better from the free throw line. Flynn is a solid 78%, Jardine 77%, Harris a decent 71% and Greene 75%. None of them are Gerry McNamara… but then again, very few college players ever shoot free throws like GMac.
Good luck to the Orange in Louisville on Monday!