Saturday, September 14, 2019

Early Comments on Syracuse 2019-2020 Basketball Schedule

The ACC recently announced the conference basketball schedule for 2019-2020.  The newly vamped 20 game season with the addition of the ACC network has the Orange playing a game in November vs Virginia, and one on the road against Georgia Tech in December.  The rest of the games, as expected, fall into the traditional January through March time frame.

Overall, the schedule is fine.  There are a few things I do not like about the schedule:

Here’s what I don’t like about it:

  • We play Notre Dame, Virginia, and Virginia Tech all twice in our first eight games.
  • We play five of our last seven games on the road
  • No games in NC this year likely means a boatload of games in NC next year.

Since we’ve been in the ACC, he’s how the end of our schedule played out each time:

  • 2013-2014 four of last five games on the road
  • 2014-2015 three of last four games on the road
  • 2015-2016 four of the last six games on the road
  • 2016-2017 four of the last seven on the road (though only two of the last five)
  • 2017-2018 three of the last five on the road
  • 2018-2019 three of the last four on the road
  • 2019-2020 five of the last seven on the road

So there is a pattern there that is not very kind to Syracuse, and given a sample set of seven, that is more than a coincidence.

Of course, if we always finish our schedule with more road games than home, then the rest of the schedule will of course feature more home than road games. But come crunch time of the season, every single season, we have to go on the road.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Era Pre-Big East

The Big East launched its inaugural season in 1979-1980 with Syracuse, Georgetown, St. John's, Connecticut, Providence, Seton Hall, St. John's and Boston College on board. Villanova would join a year later, and Pitt a few years later in 1982.

It may be hard to believe now, but the Orangemen did not have rivalries with all those teams prior to the Big East.  A few, including Georgetown, they had barely played.  I discussed that in detail in an article back in 2018

The Orangemen did have some common opponents prior to the Big East.  Penn State was the most common opponent over the previous 11 seasons (1968-69 to 1978-79), with 23 games.  Syracuse won 17 of those, losing just six.  That was by far the most games the Orangemen had against any team over that time span. 

The Orangemen played the following 13 teams ten or more times during that eleven year period:

Team Wins  Losses Games
Penn State 17 6 23
Niagara 10 3 13
Colgate 12 0 12
Pittsburgh 7 5 12
West Virginia 7 5 12
Cornell 10 1 11
Canisius 10 1 11
American 9 2 11
St. John's 8 3 11
Temple 7 4 11
Buffalo 10 0 10
LaSalle 8 2 10
Fordham 8 2 10

Only Pittsburgh and St. John's would be in the early years of the Big East; West Virginia would come along in 1995.

Most of these teams the Orangemen have barely played since the Big East began; Cornell and Colgate would be the notable exceptions with frequent play.  

Connecticut, St. Bonaventure and Rutgers just missed that list with nine games each during that time span.  UConn, of course, was in the Big East.  Rutgers was invited to join, but declined.

If the original Big East was built on Syracuse's most common recent opponents, with eight teams, the league would have been:  Syracuse, Penn State, Niagara, Colgate, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and two of the following:  Cornell, Canisius, American, St. John's, and Temple.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Syracuse Three Year Scoring Leaders

Tyus Battle finished his Syracuse career this year as the #16 all-time scorer in school history.  Most scorers with 1,000+ points accomplished the feat in four seasons, but Battle did it in three.

There are only two three-year players ahead of Battle on the all-time scoring list. The top 10 scorers for three-year players are:

Dave Bing
Dave Bing
1. Dave Bing 1,883 points (24.8 ppg)
2. Billy Owens 1.840 points (17.9 ppg)
3. Tyus Battle 1,647 points (16.0 ppg)
4. Dennis DuVal 1,504 (18.6 ppg)
5. Rudy Hackett 1,496 (17.2 ppg)
6. Pearl Washington 1,490 (15.7 ppg)
7. Bill Smith 1,451 (20.7 ppg)
8. Greg Kohls 1,360 (19.2 ppg)
9. Mike Lee 1,351 (16.3 ppg)
10. Vinnie Cohen 1,337 (19.7 ppg)

Obviously, there are some four-year players who would have made this list based on just their first three years.

Owens, Battle and the Pearl are the only ones on the list who left after their junior year. The others are players who played when freshman were not eligible.

Lawrence Moten, Syracuse's all-time leading scorer, had 1,745 points after his first three seasons.  He would have ranked 3rd on this list.

Sherman Douglas scored 1,914 point in his last three seasons at Syracuse, the most for any player over three consecutive seasons.  Stephen Thompson scored 1,764 in his final three seasons.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Paschal Chukwu - By The Number - 2019

Pashcal Chukwu wrapped up his career with the Orange this past season.  He never developed an offensive game other than offensive rebounds and alley-oop dunks, but he did get somewhat proficient with those making 72.1% of his shots his senior year.

Paschal Chukwu
Chukwu did not make too many of Syracuse's to 100 lists, but he did chart some places.

355 career points is nowhere near the top 100 for Syracuse.  Including his time at Providence, Chukwu scored 445 career points, or less points than Elijah Hughes scored this past season.

458 rebounds for 54th all-time.  Jeremy McNeil has 460 and Adrian Autry 456.

163 blocked shots for 12th all-time.  He is well behind #11 Conrad McRae (163) and just ahead of Baye Moussa Keita (154).

53 steals for 83rd all-time.  He is similar to Matt Roe (54) and Sean Kerins (52).

Chukwu led the team in blocked shots the past two seasons.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Oshae Brissett - By the Numbers - 2019

Oshae Brissett ended his freshman year on a high note, leaving fans with high expectations for 2018-2019.  Unfortunately, Brissett did not improve over the summer, and appeared to regress in many ways, particularly with his three point shooting and free throws.  

Here are the numbers for Brissett's developing career:

Oshae Brissett
976 points scored for #64 all-time at Syracuse.  He is currently right behind teammate Frank Howard (992 points).  If Brissett does return for his junior season, he will most certainly be the 63rd Syracuse player to score 1,000 points in his career.

581 rebounds for 37th all-time.  Preston Shumpert had 589, Lawrence Moten 590.

95 assists for 90th all-time.  He's in the same company as Andre Hawkins (96) and Sonny Spera (90).

85 three point field goals made for 31st all-time.  Teammate Elijah Hughes has 87 for his career , and Malachi Richardson had 79.

56 blocked shots for 39th all-time.  That is similar to Donte Green (57), Kueth Duany (57) and Jerami Grant (55).

76 steals for 67th all-time.  He is tied with Rakeem Christmas, and just behind Tyler Lydon (77).

30.69% three point shooting percentage for 52nd all-time.  The nearest shooters to him are Tony Bland (30.9%), Lazarus Sims (30.65%) and Michael Carter-Williams (30.4%).

73.6% free throw shooting percentage, for 44th all-time. His poor shooting in 2018-19 dropped him significantly, down from 18th from last year. He is about the same as John Wallace and DeShaun Williams.

Brissett has led the Orange in rebounds back-to-back seasons.  The last to do that was C.J. Fair in 2012-13 and 2013-14.  His 7.5 rebounds per game was the lowest for a team leader since Fair's senior year.

Brissett led the team in three point percentage as a freshman with 33.1%; he was the worst on the team in 2018-19 at 27.0%.  That is the second lowest three point percentage in Syracuse history, minimum 100 attempts.  Trevor Cooney's freshman year was lower at 26.7%.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Frank Howard - By The Numbers - 2019

Frank Howard wrapped up his Syracuse career with a disappointing senior season hampered by a preseason injury that lingered all year and a banned substance suspension to end the year.  

Here are the numbers to remember Howard's career:

Frank Howard Syracuse Guard
Frank Howard
992 points scored for #63 all-time at Syracuse.  If he had not been suspended, he likely would have reached the 1,000 point plateau.  Instead he gets to supplant Danny Schayes as the player closest to reaching that mark without achieving it.

284 rebounds for 90th all-time.  He has one less than teammate Tyus Battle, and roughly the same number as Trevor Cooney (285), Scoop Jardine (282) and Eric Devendorf (277).

435 assists for 10th all-time.  He's in the same company as Brandon Triche (438) and Lazarus Sims (432).

138 three point field goals made for 18th all-time.  That's about the same as Adrian Autry (139) and Jason Hart (139).

23 blocked shots for 72nd all-time.  That is the same number as teammate Tyus Battle, as well as Herman Harried and Erich Santifer.

166 steals for 21st all-time.  He is in close company with DeShaun Williams (168) and Josh Pace (161).

31.9% three point shooting percentage for 48th all-time.  The nearest shooters to him are Billy Owens (32.3%), Ryan Blackwell (31.7%) and Lawrence Moten (31.6%).

68.3% free throw shooting percentage for 82nd all-time.  Similar free throw shooters include Scoop Jardine, Derrick Coleman, Luke Jackson and Billy Owens.

Howard led the Orange in assists in both his junior and senior seasons.  His 84 assists as a senior were the fewest ever by the Orange team leader.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Tyus Battle - By The Numbers - 2019

Tyus Battle surprised many Syracuse fans when he bypassed the 2018 NBA draft and came back to Syracuse for his junior season.  Battle did improve some aspects of his game, particularly his efficiency, but overall the season was disappointing for the team.  Battle has announced he is going into the 2019 NBA draft, and I would be surprised if that were to change this year.  

Here are the numbers to remember Battle's career:

Syracuse Tyus Battle
Tyus Battle
1,647 points for 16th all-time.  If he had not missed the ACC Tournament, he most certainly would have passed C.J. Fair (1,660 points), and possibly Eric Devendorf (1,680 points).

285 rebounds for 89th all-time.  He has one more than teammate Frank Howard, and roughly the same number as Trevor Cooney (285), Scoop Jardine (282) and Eric Devendorf (277).

214 assists for 44th all-time.  He's similar to Trevor Cooney (215) and Josh Wright (217).

179 three point field goals made for 9th all-time.  That's about the same as Todd Burgan (178).

23 blocked shots for 72nd all-time.  That is the same number as teammate Frank Howard, as well as Herman Harried and Erich Santifer.

135 steals for 31st all-time.  He is tied with Ryan Blackwell and close to Eric Devendorf (134).

33.5% three point shooting percentage for 37th all-time.  Comparable three point shooters to him are Trevor Cooney (33.7%), DeShaun Williams (33.6%) and Adrian Autry (33.3%).

80.3% free throw shooting percentage for 12th all-time.  Similar free throw shooters include Danny Schayes and Trevor Cooney.   Battle is one of only 12 Syracuse players to shoot 80% for their career (minimum 100 attempts).

Battle led the Orange in scoring in both his sophomore and junior seasons.  The last player to lead the team in scoring back-to-back years was C.J. Fair in 2012-13 and 2013-14. 

Battle fell four assists short of leading the team in assists.  If he had accomplished the feat, he would have been the first non-point guard since Andy Rautins 2009-10 to lead the team in assists.

Battle holds the Syracuse record for most minutes per game for his career in the NCAA tournament with 39.6 minutes a game for 5 games. 

Battle was a Second Team ACC Player his sophomore year, and Third Team ACC Player his junior year. 

Saturday, April 06, 2019

How Did the Syracuse Transfers Do in 2018-19

Four former Syracuse Orange basketball players played for other schools in the 2018-2019 season.  How was their performance this past year?

Kaleb Joseph at Syracuse
Kaleb Joseph transferred in 2016.  He wrapped up his career after two years at Creighton this year.  Joseph was one of the Bluejays top reserves this past season.  

He never developed into a starter, and in fact he played more minutes his freshman year at Syracuse than he did his sophomore, junior and senior seasons combined.   Joseph scored 4.3 ppg the past season, with 1.2 assists per game and 1.5 rebounds. He did have a career high 16 points in a win over Georgetown this year.

Taurean Thompson quit the Syracuse basketball team on the first day of school in 2017.  This was his first season playing for the Seton Hall Pirates.  Thompson would play only 278 minutes this season in 27 games, as opposed to 607 minutes for Syracuse his freshman year.   He scored 4.6 points per game this past year, along with 2.2 rebounds per game.  He shot 40.3% from the field, and 24.1% from three point range.  He played a few minutes in Seton Hall's first round NCAA tournament loss.

Matthew Moyer transferred after last season to Vanderbilt.  The NCAA granted him a waiver to play immediately, so he was able to play this season.  Moyer was a top reserve for the Commodores, playing 420 minutes in 31 games, and starting five games.  He scored 3.7 points per game, along with 3.0 rebounds a game.  Moyer shot 34% from the field, and 24.5% from three point range.  Vanderbilt  was 9-23 this season, winless in SEC play and losing their last twenty games of the season.

Braedon Bayer, the walk-on hero of the Michigan State upset in 2018, was a graduate transfer.  He was able to play at Siena this past season.  Bayer would play in 19 games, but saw very limited playing time with only 53 minutes on the season and scoring only 3 points.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Syracuse Orange Basketball - By The Numbers 2018-19

The Syracuse Orange basketball team ended the season on a sour note losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament.  On the bright side, they did comfortably make it into the tournament, earning an eight seed.

Here's some team level numbers to remember the year by:

Syracuse was 18-11 in games Frank Howard played.  2-3 in games he did not.

Syracuse was 5-1 in games that Marek Dolezaj started.  15-13 in games he did not.   Four of his starts were ACC games.

The Orange were 3-8 versus AP Top 25 teams.  The 11 games against ranked teams ties the school record set in 2005-06 and again 2015-16.

The Orange were 1-5 versus AP Top 5 teams.  The 6 games against top 5 teams ties the school record set in 1995-96, and again in 2017-18 (last year).  

The following is a list comparing 2018-19 statistics to the other 42 seasons in the Jim Boeheim era:
  • 808 field goals made were the 2nd fewest in the Boeheim era (2014-15 is lowest with 763)
  • 42.40% field goal percentage was the 2nd lowest (2017-18 is lowest at 41.7%)
  • 68.5% free throw percent was 23rd lowest (1987-88 is lowest at 60%)
  • 274 three point field goals was 3rd most ever (2015-16 is highest with 315)
  • 824 three point attempts is 2nd most ever (2015-16 is highest with 876)
  • 33.3% three point percent is 23rd highest ever, right in the middle of the pack (1986-87 is highest with 40.3%)
  • 408 assists is third lowest (2017-18 is lowest with 395)
  • 1176 rebounds is 8th lowest (1984-85 is lowest with 1,064)
  • 424 turnovers is 7th lowest (2013-14 is lowest with 306)
  • 162 blocked shots is 9th lowest (1994-95 is lowest with 141)
  • 2,370 points is 7th lowest (2014-15 is lowest with 2,096)
  • 69.7 points per game is 4th lowest (2017-18 is lowest with 66.6)
  • 12.0 assists per game is 3rd lowest (2017-18 is lowest with 10.7)
  • 34.6 rebounds per game is 2nd lowest (1984-85 is lowest with 34.3)
  • +3.7 Point differential per game is 5th lowest (2017-18 is lowest with +2.8)
The last time the Orange has a negative point differential was 1968-69.  That was also the team's last losing season.

Syracuse set the NCAA Single Game home attendance record of 35,642 versus Duke on 2/23/2019.

Tyus Battle's 17.2 ppg was the lowest for the team leader since C.J. Fair had 16.5 ppg in 2013-14.

Oshae Brissett's 7.5 rebounds per game was the lowest for the team leader since C.J. Fair has 6.4 in 2013-14.

Frank Howard's 2.9 assists per game was the lowest for the team leader in school history.  The previous record was 3.1 by Ross Kindel in 1976-77.

Tyus Battle's 76.3% free throw shooting was the lowest for a team leader since Damone Brown's 75.0% in 1998-99.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Should the Orange be Shooting so Many Threes?

The perception is the Orange are a poor shooting three point team.  They are shooting only 32.8% from three point range.  However, I would suggest that number is greatly biased by horrendous three point shooting by the team earlier in the year.  The team shot 29.9% against the non-conference opponents, making 87 of 291 attempts.

The team was even worse in its first five games of the year, when it made only 23.3% of the shots, making 24 of 103 attempts.  The team has shot 35.1% starting with the Ohio State game.

Buddy Boeheim
As the team entered ACC play, it got even better. Here are the breakdowns for the first nine ACC games.

Notre Dame 41%
Clemson 23%
Georgia Tech 21%
Duke 44%
Pitt 46%
Miami 47%
Virginia Tech 32%
Boston College 42%
Pitt 32%

The team is shooting 36.3% in ACC play.  Some of the individuals are really shooting well since conference play started.  

Buddy Boeheim leads the way making 17 of 33, or 51.5%.  That's outstanding.
Elijah Hughes is shooting 37% (27-73), FRank Howard 37.3% (19-51) and Marek Dolezaj 50% (5-10).  

Earlier in the year Frank Howard was missing from the lineup, which messed up the ball movement. Even when he returned, it took several games for him to get back up to speed.  That definitely had an impact on all aspects of the offense, including three point shooting.

The problems for the Orange isn't that they shoot a lot of threes. The problems are when they shoot the wrong threes. If they are shooting early in the shot clock without working to get an open shot, or if they are not moving the ball well, and then forced to shoot as the clock expires, then they are likely to fail. But when they move the ball around properly, move it into the paint and then back out, things work well.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

2,000 wins for the Orange!

The Syracuse Orange basketball team had an impressive win over Miami on January 24th, winning 73-53.  The Orange had a hot night shooting from the perimeter, making 13 three point shots, and had a tough interior defense with 11 blocked shots along with many altered shots.  It moved the Orange to 5-1 in the ACC, and put them in a tie for first place.

The game also marked the 2,000th win for the Syracuse men's basketball program.  The Orange are the fifth program to win that many games.  The top five are:
Syracuse Orange 2000 Victories

Kentucky           2,263
Kansas               2,248
North Carolina  2,232
Duke                  2,144
Syracuse            2,000

The Orange have only had seven full time head coaches (plus a brief tour by Mike Hopkins when Jim Boeheim was on suspension).  Victories by coach:

Jim Boeheim   1,041
Lew Andreas      358
Ed Dollard          152
Roy Danforth      148
Marc Guley         136
Fred Lewis            91
John A.R. Scott     64
Mike Hopkins         4

126 of those wins have come against Colgate.  366 were in the Big East Conference, 55 in the ACC conference. 

Go Orange!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Paschal Chukwu's Big Numbers Against Duke

Paschal Chukwu had arguably the best game of his career in Syracuse's upset win over Duke on Monday night.  The 7'2" center pulled down 18 rebounds, scored 10 points, and made two clutch free throws down the stretch to ensure the win.  He did that against a Duke front line that had Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett.  Both those gentleman had big nights too; Chukwu wasn't stopping them.  But he was impacting the ability of the rest of Duke's players to drive the paint.  They had to be content shooting from the perimeter, and the Orange pushed them back and dared them to beat them from there; Duke failed.
Would you believe...
Paschal Chukwu
Paschal Chukwu

...that Paschal Chukwu has had twelve games at Syracuse with 10+ rebounds?
Chukwu has definitely regressed this season; I think we would all agree he isn’t playing at the same level as he did last year.
Yet, if you look at his productivity per 40 minutes, it is up this year:
8.6 points vs 7.9 points
12.8 rebounds vs 10.0 rebounds
3.7 blocks vs 3.6 blocks
65% FG shooting both years
63% FT shooting both years

7 steals vs 1.0 steals
His turnovers and his fouls are both up this year. 
2.3 turnovers vs 1.6 turnovers
6.8 fouls vs 4.6

His is maddeningly inconsistent, last year and this year. He misses so many shots he should make, and has more turnovers than he should for as little as he touches the ball. 17 turnovers this year and 31 field goal attempts. Just maddening.
Yet, in many ways he’s been productive at times, particularly in the rebounding and shot alteration capacity. He’s never met the expectations I think we had, but he’s also far from a bust.

Friday, January 04, 2019

New York State of Mind

We often hear about Syracuse playing local schools, and they do have a storied history regarding playing teams from New York state.  Since 1900, the Orange have played 46 different New York teams, with Colgate well established at the top. 

Here is a list of all 46 teams, what the Orange’s record is against that team and how many games they have played. 

1. Colgate 126-45, 171 games
2. Cornell 93-31, 124 games
3. St. John’s 51-40, 91 games
4. Niagara 53-28, 81 games
5. Canisius 46-24, 70 games
6. Rochester 53-11, 64 games
7. Fordham 28-16, 44 games
8. Buffalo 28-6, 34 games
9. St. Lawrence 26-8, 34 games
10. Army 19-11, 30 games
11. St. Bonaventure 25-4, 29 games
12. Manhattan 21-7, 28 games
13. NYU 9-12, 21 games
14. Clarkson 17-1, 18 games
15. RPI 13-5, 18 games
16. Union 15-3, 18 games
17. Columbia 11-3, 14 games
18. CCNY 5-8, 13 games
19. Hobart 11-0, 11 games
20. Albany 8-0, 8 games
21. Alfred 8-0, 8 games
22. Siena 8-0, 8 games
23. Hamilton 6-1, 7 games
24. LeMoyne 6-0, 6 games
25. Binghamton 5-0, 5 games
26. Iona 5-0, 5 games
27. Sampson Naval Training 3-2, 5 games
28. Buffalo State 4-0, 4 games
29. Cortland State 4-0, 4 games
30. Oswego State 3-1, 4 games
31. Potsdam 4-0, 4 games
32. St Francis College 4-0, 4 games
33. Utica 4-0, 4 games
34. CW Post 3-0, 3 games
35. Hofstra 3-0, 3 games
36. Ithaca College 3-0, 3 games
37. Wagner 3-0, 3 games
39. Queens College 2-0, 2 games
39. Schenectady Company E 0-2, 2 games
40. Syracuse All-Stars 1-0, 1 game
41. Batavia YMCA 1-0, 1 game
42. Brooklyn College 1-0, 1 game
43. Brooklyn Polytechnic 1-0, 1 game
44. Cazenovia College 1-0, 1 game
45. Long Island University 1-0, 1 game
46. NY State Teachers College 1-0, 1 game

Hobart gets the distinction of the most games against the Orange without the Orange losing a game, a perfect 11-0.

Colgate has won more games against Syracuse than any other New York team.  Of course, 45 wins in 171 attempts isn’t very impressive, but hey, they hold the record.

NYU (9-12), CCNY (5-8), and Schenectady Company E (0-2) get the distinction of being the only New York  teams with a winning record against Syracuse.

If we want to see the top 10 New York teams that Jim Boeheim has coached against (1976-1977 season to present), then we have:

1. St. John’s 65 games
2. Colgate 32 games
3. Cornell 32 games
4. St. Bonaventure 24 games
5. Canisius 20 games
6. Siena 8 games
7. Niagara 7 games
8. Fordham 7 games
9. Buffalo 7 games
10. Albany 7 games

St. Bonaventure moves up the list from 11th to 4th.  Several teams in the top 10 all-time dropped off.  Surprisingly, only 5 NY schools routinely played Syracuse during Jim Boeheim’s 43 year coaching career.