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Syracuse Baskeball: Tyler Lydon is the Orange's X-Factor

The freshman big man had great games in the Battle for Atlantis, but since then he has been awfully quiet. Many think he needs to shoot more, but when he did against North Carolina, he struggled.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Lydon came to Syracuse with an outstanding reputation. Orange fans had a lot to be excited about when he arrived on campus. Lydon was considered by many recruiting experts as an athletic stretch power forward. But nobody really knew if he was ready for the college game. He came in weighing around 205 pounds, but since then has put on some more muscle to be able to bang down low.

Lydon proved that he was ready for college basketball when he exploded onto the scene in the Battle for Atlantis tournament. In the three games leading up to Atlantis, the Orange played Lehigh, St. Bonaventure, and Elon. Lydon performed well in the games averaging 7 points per game, and 8 rebounds per game. All three games were wins for the Orange.

The Orange then went to Atlantis for their first real test of the season. They played Charlotte, Connecticut, and Texas A&M. The Orange won all three games and claimed the Battle for Atlantis title. Lydon was named to the All-Tournament Team and caught the eye of many college basketball experts. Coming off the bench, Lydon averaged 16 points per game and 9 rebounds per game. It appeared that Lydon was ready to have a monster freshman season, but since then things have changed.

Lydon was incredibly efficient from the field during Atlantis and shot 60% from the field on 25 shots in the three games. Since then Lydon has been reluctant to pull the trigger from the field, as our Michael Burke points out. In the games after Atlantis, Lydon has looked timid and some times lost out there on the floor. He is not involved in the offense as much as he was in Atlantis.

In the Orange's 7 losses this season, Lydon is averaging 6 points per game and 5 rebounds per game. That is not nearly enough production from a guy as offensively talented as Lydon. He has averaged 33 minutes per game in the losses, he needs to be more productive in those 33 minutes.

Lydon has been much more productive in the Orange's 10 wins this season. He has averaged 11 points per game and 8 rebounds per game. His ability to both stretch the floor and battle inside were key for the Orange in their wins this year. While Lydon's production has been up in the teams wins, his minutes have actually been down, as he has only played 30 minutes per game in the Orange's wins.

Tyler Lydon has an extremely bright future with the Orange, but his unique ability to stretch the floor and battle in the post is what has made him so valuable for the Orange when he plays well this season. If the Orange want to make the NCAA tournament, he will need to play well again.