I struggled to write the headline for this one for a couple of reasons: I knew this was the definition of a knee jerk piece after the Hoyas made 35,012 feel like 0. I've written "This is a wake up call for Syracuse" more than several times with nothing changing. But ultimately, Syracuse basketball was just pushed down, stomped on and made a fool on what should have been the greatest day in Carrier Dome History. Where do we go?
I'm not a complete idiot. I'm not going to say the Jim Boeheim needs to drop the zone just because the Big East Player of the Year had his best game against his teams' biggest rival.
I'm not going to harp on the lack of big men production: we already know this.
I'm not going to just vent about how much this freaking sucks even though I mirror the campus' emotions as most drunkenly plodded in the mud and slush to some place other than the Dome.
However, I do know this: Someone told me on Friday, "Man Georgetown has to be jacked. They have a chance to spoil the biggest planned Syracuse party and JT3 can put his name next to his dad's." If Boeheim and the Orange didn't realize this before the game, they did after Georgetown pulled away by 8 and never let the Orange get back.
But ultimately, what I want to focus on moving forward is the offense. The defense didn't lose this game. You put up 55 on Georgetown, that should be enough to win.
Tactically, there were a lot of questions: Allowing the team to keep shooting from three even after the strategy was obviously not working brings questions. Not giving Jerami Grant more time after Southerland went stone cold confuses me especially when we know Grant can handle physical games.
This is where I think it's about time we look to the stats. Because they make my case better than anything else I say.
This season, the Orange are 22nd in the country in offensive efficiency at 1.076 points/possession and a shooting percentage of 45%, good for 80th. I understand these two numbers alone are not an indicator of Syracuse as a whole but let's compare to 2010-11, a team that this has been compared to before. Syracuse was shooting a 47.5% clip good for 18th, but their offensive efficiency was identical at 1.076.
Compare these numbers to 2011-12, the shooting percentage was right in between at 46.7% but we saw the Orange have the eleventh most efficient offense in country with 1.106 points/possession.
I'm not going to belabor the point I'm trying to make here: The Orange aren't playing smart offensive basketball. There's not a whole lot of ball movement except dancing around the top of the key. The system is there, the players just don't execute it very well, which is worrisome.
As constructed, there is enough talent here to go to a final four. The problem that Jimmy B has been skirting around all year is that Syracuse has not shot the ball well at all in conference ball and shot atrociously in their losses. There isn't enough time to make any drastic changes. The team was supposed to get their spark with James Southerland. Didn't work when they needed it to.
It's time for Jimmy B to show us why he's one of the greatest coaches out there and pull what we can from this team. I don't think anything above the first round can be expected anymore. But we and Boeheim know that this team is entirely capable of putting something together.
It's time to wake the F' up and make it happen.