Sunday, January 31, 2016

Boeheim on Zone Defense

I simply love Jim Boeheim's statement in the Georgia Tech press conference regarding Syracuse's zone defense.  The highlight of the quote is:

 "It's not some freaking magic trick here."

The full context of the quote is:

"People overlook defense, Trevor (Cooney) and Mike (Gbinije) are so good on defense. It's all overlooked because we play zone defense. You have to play defense in a zone. It's not some freaking magic trick here. You have to work at it and you have to play it."

Link to the SU article in the Post-Standard.

Later in the same press conference, Boeheim talked about Cooney and Gbinije's effort and execution on zone defense, and leading the way for the Orange to shutdown Georgia Tech during crunch time.

"Trevor and Mike are so good at the guard spot, They did such a good job on Hunt and Smith at the end that I can't tell you. They couldn't even get a shot. It was as good a defensive effort at the end as I've ever seen."

Friday, January 29, 2016

Cooney the Irish Killer?

Before Thursday night's game there was a strong perception that senior shooting guard Trevor Cooney plays very well against Notre Dame, that he has monster games and dominates the Fighting Irish.  He definitely had a strong ending to the 2015 game, and he lit up Notre Dame his sophomore year for 33 points.

He broke Notre Dame fans' hearts in 2014 when he hit two clutch baskets 80 seconds apart to propel the Orange to an upset win. But other than those two clutch shots, Cooney wasn’t outstanding in his freshman or junior games.
His freshman year he shot 2-6 from the floor, with 2-5 from three, with no rebounds or assists totaling 6 points.
Trevor Cooney
His sophomore year he shot 11-15 from the floor, with 9-12 from three, with 2 rebounds and 2 assists totaling 33 points.
His junior year he shot 5-11 from the floor, with 1-6 from three, with 3 rebounds and 2 assists totaling 11 points.
His freshman & junior games combined he shot 7-17, 3-11 form three, with 3 rebounds and 17 points, or 27.2% from three, and 8.5 ppg. Not killer stuff, and well below his career average. His monster game his sophomore year greatly distorted his three game average coming into last night’s game.
He did have a good game his senior year, but even last night wasn’t a killer night; it was a good solid night of play, with a strong first half of play.
His senior year he shot 7-17 from the floor, with 3-8 from three, with 3 rebounds and 2 assists totaling 22 points.
After last night's game, it would be safe to say that he had memorable moments in three of the four Notre Dame games.  His sophomore game stands on its own.  His junior year he was clutch down the stretch in an upset, and his senor year he lit up Notre Dame in the first half with 15 points to launch the Orange to an upset victory. 
I would have to say it is safe to call him an 'Irish Killer'.  Not because he statistically dominated against the Fighting Irish, but rather because he was able to have the big moments necessary to win games.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Balanced Scoring Against Duke

The Orange pulled the big upset over Duke last night, taking down the Blue Devils 64-62 for Syracuse's first win at Cameron Arena.

Tyler Roberson was the most impressive player on the court, scoring 14 points and pulling down 20 rebounds, in the process setting an Cameron Arena record for most rebounds by an opposing player. Roberson also pulled down 12 offensive rebounds.  He had help up front as Tyler Lydon had 9 rebounds of his own.  

The Orange had a strange shooting anomaly for the game.  The team shot 47.8% from three point range led by Trevor Cooney's 4 for 9. The shot only 37.5% from the free throw line, and they shot an abysmal 29% from inside the arc (two point range).  Michael Gbinije and Roberson were a combined 15 of 26 from two point range.  The rest of the team which was comprised of Cooney, Tyler Lydon, Malachi Richardson, DaJuan Coleman and Franklin Howard shot a horrendous 3 of 28 from the floor, or 10.7%!

The hidden gem in the game was the balanced scoring from the Orange.  Four players led the team in scoring with 14 points a piece:  Roberson, Gbinije, Cooney and Richardson. 

That rarity has actually happened twice before in Syracuse basketball history.

On December 14, 1982, Syracuse beat Ohio State 91-85.  Erich Santifer, Leo Rautins, Tony Bruin and Gene Waldron each scored 19 points while leading the Orangemen to victory.

The first time it occurred was January 6, 1912.  Syracuse beat the University of Toronto 45-28.  Sol Bloom, Walt Davey, Lew Castle, and Clarence Giles scored 8 points a piece to lead the Orange in scoring.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Orange Win Big over Wake Forest

The Syracuse Orange ran away with a relatively easy 28 point victory over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons yesterday by the score of 83-55.  Trevor Cooney led the way scoring 25 points in the game, 19 of those points in the first 10 minutes of the game as he was extremely hot shooting from the perimeter early in the game.

The Orange have struggled this season with some inconsistency, and have had tough times on both the offensive and defensive side of the court.  The Demon Deacons were simply over matched for this one game, despite the fact the Orange had significant foul problems with over 10 minutes left in the game.

The 28 point victory for the Orange was the team's largest conference margin of victory since they March 3rd, 2009, when the Orange beat Rutgers 70-40 in a Big East game.  Paul Harris led Syracuse in scoring that day with 18 points, and Jonny Flynn had 10 assists.

The Orange have also had a scoring margin of 50 points the past two games with the aforementioned 70-40 Wake Forest win and the 62-40 win over Boston College earlier in the week.  This is the best two game conference stretch for the Orange since the Orange beat Cincinnati 86-63 on 3/1/2009, and followed up that win with the aforementioned Rutgers 70-40 win. That two game stretch was a 53 point margin.  

That two game March streak was also part of an equally impressive three game streak, as the Orange beat the St. John's Red Storm 87-58 on 2/24/2009 with a 29 point margin.  For those three games, the Orange outscored their opposition by 82 points.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Boeheim & Bilas Watching Syracuse

Jim Boeheim and Jay Bilas sat down to watch Syracuse play, and ESPN taped the event to show in pieces over the next week or so.

Here is a link to the first video related to the game.  ESPN Video

My thanks to SBNation / TNIAAM for finding this gem.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Myth of Hopkins Rotation Depth

A common theme I have seen on Syracuse basketball forums this year is that Mike Hopkins is going to his bench more often than Jim Boeheim; in particular, that Boeheim never pulls Michael Gbinije and Trevor Cooney to play others. 

The evidence from those proponents of this idea point to the reduced minutes that Cooney and Gbinije have had under Hopkins in the weaker non-conference games.  It is true that both players see reduced playing time for those games.  Cooney played 36 minutes against Colgate, 34 against Cornell, 28 for Montana State, and 36 for Texas Southern.  Truly, Cooney's minutes were down in those games.

However, that is not a matter of Hopkins deciding to go deeper than Boeheim does; rather it is an indication of who the opponents are.  Boeheim, contrary to the opinions of some, also historically goes deeper into his benches against the easier non-conference opponents. Consider Conney's numbers from 2014-2015: Kennesaw St (33), Hampton (36), Loyola (27), Holy Cross (33), LA Tech (40), Colgate (29), Long Beach State (40) and Cornell (35).  Boeheim actually used less of Cooney than Hopkins did in those same types of games.  

Meanwhile, Gbinije had 39, 39, 33 and 40 in those same four non-conference games this year (Colgate, Cornell, Montana State and Texas Southern).  Silent G had no reduced playing time, except for the Montana State game.  

The images of how Jim Boeheim coaches are imprinted on fans memories, particularly those who dislike him or his style.  It is absolutely true that Boeheim goes to a shorter bench in the tighter games.  However, that is not a true statement for Boeheim regarding the easier non-conference games.  He routinely rotates and tests out players in those games.  Now he may not test out the players that you as a fan may want to see more of, but considering he sees those players each and every day in practice, I trust that Mr. Boeheim (and Mr. Hopkins) have a far better understanding of the players' abilities than you or I.

Data from Cooney and Gbinije is from