Five years ago, Syracuse and Connecticut played a game for the ages in the Big East tournament quarterfinals.
Syracuse’s 2-3 zone tends to get lauded for its ability to protect the rim and force opponents to take contested threes. But a big part of the Orange’s success this season is how much they limit transition, and then, once the 2-3 is set, how long it takes to break down. They rank No. 1 in average length of defensive possession, at 21.2 seconds. That’s also the highest figure in the entire five-season span (2010-14) kenpom.com has been tracking possession length. Syracuse opponents tend to settle for mediocre attempts in the later portion of the shot clock.
Of course, success in the NCAA tournament hinges heavily upon matchups. It's completely hypothetical and perhaps far-fetched to suggest projected No. 15 seeds Mercer, Georgia State, Davidson or Boston University are capable of pulling off the upset of all upsets. But it's far more important to point out just how vulnerable Syracuse is to support the bold headline on this article. Consider the fact that we were brainwashed for much of January and early February when the Orange were undefeated but not, by any stretch, dominating opponents.
The ACC coaches have figured out that in order to beat Syracuse you need to slow down the tempo, force the Orange to play defense for 20 seconds per possession or more, and then get the ball into the soft spots of the zone, most notably the foul line area.
"I'm getting good shots. I'm getting the same shots,'' Cooney said as he sat in front of his locker following Tuesday's loss to Georgia Tech. "Obviously, I don't know what it is. I can go back and watch film; I doubt I will though. I've just got to keep shooting.''
Pretty weird to remember the 2010 freshman class was Fab Melo, Dion Waiters, Baye Moussa Keita and C.J.Fair.
8. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski vs. Syracuse's Jim Boeheim: They're No. 1 and 2 on the career wins list in Division I, have won a few big games between them and have a budding rivalry now that the Orange are in the ACC.
A fourth former SU player, fullback Tony Fiammetta, avoided free agency by signing a two-year contract extension with the Chicago Bears in December.
The one and only time you will ever see anyone predict Syracuse to go 11-1...
If you know SU basketball, you probably recognize Harry, who followed Tuesday's game from the living room of his DeWitt home. He is the silver-haired guy who'd always settle into a chair near the visiting team. What set him apart was the distinctive piece of clothing that now hangs in his closet: About 40 years ago, one of the Syracuse coaches -- Harry doesn't remember if it was for basketball or football -- ordered bright orange jackets for members of his team, and told the players to wear them as they traveled.
"The visit went well," McClain told BuffaloBills.com. "It reminded me of my college days being up in Syracuse. I know Coach Marrone. He's a stand-up guy. Everything that I know about him or heard about him he's a stand-up guy. I didn't get the pleasure of playing for him at Syracuse, but I got the chance to meet him and he's still the same, great personality."
Get a crazy-early look at 2014 Syracuse football opponent Central Michigan...