With each week that goes by in NCAA basketball, I find myself reading an editorial with yet another reason why the Syracuse Orange can't make it to the final four. First, it was the inability to play defense in the half-court. Then, it was the absence of Melo. Now, I'm hearing more and more about the problems for Syracuse to make 3-pointers.
I'm not blind or deaf to all-things negative about Syracuse, like some of the Orange fans I've come across. To think we are infallable is a fail in itself. However, I'm not sure the 3-point issue is as big as it's being made out to be. Are we bad from behind the arc as of late? Yes. Are there worse teams than SU from 3-point land? Absolutely. In fact, one of them (Ohio St.) is a strong contender for the Final Four as well. So...how is Syracuse winning games and staying in the top five, while continuing to miss baskets from outside? Perhaps it's because they aren't allowing anyone else to make 3-pointers either.
The Florida Gators are arguably the best 3-point shooting team in the NCAA. Averaging 40% from deep on the season, the Gators were held to 9-26 against the Orange (34%). The number of three's to go down were more than I would like, but the Gators made some wildly deep shots in that game. Why? Because those were the only buckets the Orange would give them.
The ability for Syracuse to flex the zone and close-out on guards is helping to combat their own shooting woes from deep. In addition, forcing the opponent into ill-advised 3-point attempts will continue to aid the fast break, allowing the Orange to do what they do best; run in transition and score before the opposing defense can set up.
Syracuse does have the talent to make the deep ball. They're going through a bit of a slump from long-range, but if a team can "slump" and still win by 25, then I'll take that "slump" any day of the week.
It's scary to think what the scores would look like, should the Orange get hot from beyond the arc. However, until then, if we can't make the 3-pointers, then neither will anyone else.