The Syracuse Orange's defense hasn't been amazing all season, but especially in recent contests (58 points per game allowed in the last four), you can tell there's been an uptick in intensity on that end.
As Syracuse.com discusses, you can thank the team's transition defense for that.
Chris Carlson's post goes into detail about how Syracuse has not only clamped down in transition, but has actually prevented any transition baskets over the course of the last four games. Not only that, but SU opponents are only scoring 15.8 percent of baskets in transition (according to Hoop-Math.com), which is the best figure in the country. Jim Boeheim points to senior guard play as the main reason for this success. As he told Syracuse.com:
"Our guards, our perimeter people, do get back. Really, only Tyler Roberson is a really good offensive rebounder. The other perimeter guys get back well."
"I think one of the things about fast break is bad turnovers lead to fast breaks. We haven't done that. Our turnovers have not been turnovers that can get people out on the break. That's one thing."
Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, whose team faces Syracuse this Thursday, added:
"You're talking about two fifth-year. … guards, that is a great advantage and a heck of a place to start when building a nucleus. You've got two men that know how to play, veteran guys, it's a great foundation to start with."
They're right, too. Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije combine for just 4.6 turnovers per game. And as a team, SU averages 11.7 per game, good for 70th in the country (and one that improved in the team's three straight wins prior to the Virginia loss).
In a season full of little things done well, and big things done poorly (and plenty more questions than answers), chalk this up as yet another on the list.