Last week some folks posited the notion that Seton Hall was a must-win. Well we all saw how that turned out. So given the events that transpired and the current issues plaguing the team, is Saturday's game against Marquette now a must-win?
Eh...almost, but not just yet. Certainly a "really need to win," though.
Here's the good news...Marquette has not beaten Syracuse since they joined the Big East (7-2 SU all-time). In fact, we're the only Big East team they have yet to beat since joining. Let's keep it that way. Their last win? A 79-68 victory in 1983-84 when Rick Majerus was their coach.
Need to boil this game down to its basics? Otto's Army does just that:
Marquette is leading the Big East in scoring, putting up 80 points per game. Syracuse is the third-best scoring defense in the league, giving up under 63 per game. Something’s gotta give.
Here's another little nugget of doom and gloom from the Daily Orange:
Marquette's four leading scorers have shot 108-of-269 (40 percent) from 3-point range this season.
The good news? Marquette is a defensive mish-mosh, says CuseOrange.
The Golden Eagles have had ten games this season where the opponent scored at least one point per possession. Marquette’s schedule has included Gonzaga, Duke and Vanderbilt, but even Rutgers and UW-Milwaukee didn’t have much difficulty converting on possessions. The inability of their defense to get stops at crucial moments in games has been a major sore spot all season long.
Both teams have different sides to themselves. It's all going to depend on which sides show up.
We do now that Syracuse will go back its big line-up, at least to start the game. The Great James Sutherland Starting Experiment is over as quickly as it stated.
[Going small] hurts our defense," Boeheim said. "That hurts our rebounding. We’re going to go back to playing the two big guys. It’s too much to ask Ricky to play the middle the whole game."
It still begs the question...what's the difference when Fab only plays ten minutes a game?
Syracuse needs a win here for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is to make sure we ruin National Marquette Day. If we lose, will the Dome ceiling crumble and the University disband? Probably not. But its better to live in a world where Syracuse is winning basketball games again.