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Syracuse vs. UConn: Three takeaways from another devastating loss

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The Orange aren't going anywhere with performances like tonight’s.

NCAA Basketball: Connecticut vs Syracuse
Andrew White III’s late heroics couldn't even save this game.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

So this is what Syracuse is. The Orange are a team that can’t move on offense, a team that can’t rebound consistently, and a team that seems lost. Syracuse has potential and can compete verse talented teams when everything goes their way, but when they face adversity, the answer just doesn’t come to them.

That’s how you suffer the most difficult defeat yet this season: a 52-50 last-second loss at the hands of the hated UConn Huskies.

This is not where people thought this team would be on December 5, but these were the cards they were dealt and Orange fans just need to trust coach Jim Boeheim knows what to do.

Onto the three takeaways from the game...

Rebounding in the zone is still an issue

Enough. No basketball team will ever be successful without finishing defensive possessions with control of the basketball. The zone is looking more fluid each game, but the Orange still find themselves getting destroyed on the defensive glass.

There are numerous athletes on this roster who could dominant a game based on their rebounding abilities, but the Orange seemingly refuse to box opponents out. You cannot out-jump your opponent every time—it’s that simple. Lazy play (Dajuan Coleman aside) in the paint doesn’t earn you possession of the basketball.

This offense is too stagnant

The pick-and-roll is a great play to run; isolation offense is useful at times. The Orange use these two forms of offense a lot. No, that’s wrong. They use these two plays an absurd amount. The Orange don’t need to run a set every time down the floor, but it would be nice to see something other than people watching (at most) two guys move while the rest of the offense is stationary.

Time and time again, the Orange were watching the ball handler dribble the shot clock out, ending the possession in a forced contested jump shot. These kind of plays may work vs. teams like North Florida (and even then, barely). But if they want to beat talented teams, the Orange need to figure out how to get people moving on the offensive end. As John (and others) said on Twitter early in this one, passing the ball to each other over and over on the perimeter is not quality ball movement.

This team is not good enough to beat anyone when they struggle from beyond the arc

There are talented shooters on this team, even if you didn’t see it tonight. On any given night there are multiple players who can explode from three, but when none of them find a rhythm, this offense struggles to make anything happen.

For some reason, the Orange don’t like to feed Tyler Lydon down low when he has the size advantage (see MANY times this evening). And without Lydon getting involved, there really isn’t any option to score inside. This offense is stuck in the mud with no movement and no interior offense, and right now March isn’t what should be discussed. Find ways to score the basketball is priority no. 1 as this team continues to try and right a rickety ship.

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