Having just capped off an impressive victory in round 2 (until the tourney is 96 teams, I refuse to recognize any more than 6 rounds) here are my main thoughts on that game and looking forward:
1. Orange Adapt- Defensively the team looked to have reinvented itself. Southerland was a major presence and between he and Christmas created a fierce tandem for blocks and rebounds. This helped to create more steals which put us in position to run, something we have not had the opportunity to do in a while. On offense we saw less three pointers and more pounding the paint. This team clearly gets into its best offensive rhythm when it begins inside and works its way out. Today they had 4 guys making consistent dribble drive penetration for 4 different outcomes. Dion Waiters created kick-outs and pull up jumpers. Scoop created easy dunks and was available for open three's. K-Jo drew fouls. Triche made a couple of nice pull up jumpers from near the foul line (which he can and NEEDS TO DO at will)... but turned the ball over enough to negate that. In short, they looked like a potentially fierce unit for the first time all season, despite the obvious flaws.
2. Problems- They are getting beat on the boards, but they put up a much better fight. What concerns me more is the propensity of Triche, Jardine and sometimes Waiters to make a very silly play. Triche had two awful turnovers today. He seriously makes me ask "WHY!" sometimes! Would have liked to at least gotten a peek at MCW on the floor today, but for whatever reason he sits. At least when we see him he is smiling and cheering on teammates. None the less, can't understand how he benefits us from being on the bench?
3. UP NEXT- This is the only part that matters. Next we have Wisconsin. From what I saw of their game, they look to be a team capable of getting in your face on D and slowing the clock down on O. They look to have solid outside shooting, but also move the ball well. And they get in your face on defense. Did I mention that? In short... they are a superb combination of every major weakness we have.
MY GUESS- If Syracuse can continue this reinvention, we will see their offense become more potent. Only TODAY have they shown any sign of being able to attack the basket as a TEAM. Let's hope they can figure out the next step. CLUE: PATIENCE. On D, they need to keep fighting. No matter how bad their O is against Wisconsin, they can not let them run circles around us when we are on D. We need to be nastier to them than they are to us. That's it. Can they beat Wisconsin? Yes. But they are going to need to play near flawless basketball in order to.
Until then, and as always, win or lose it will be fun to see how things play out...