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Syracuse basketball just keeps trolling you: Five takeaways from Syracuse’s 68-62 loss to Old Dominion

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The Orange just keep trolling.

NCAA Basketball: Old Dominion at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team just keeps trolling you. Just when you get excited after a big comeback victory over Georgetown and a Tyus Battle game-winner, the team let you down again by dropping to 7-3 on the season after a home defeat to the Old Dominion Monarchs.

Starting the 2018-19 Syracuse basketball season the Orange were back from a Sweet 16 appearance with all five starters. Syracuse was poised for a monster year, brimming with talent as reinforcements made their way into the mix and the Orange made its way back into the top 25 and national relevancy.

Then Syracuse lost two games at Madison Square Garden in disappointing fashion. Quickly thereafter Frank Howard returned the SU picked up a huge road victory against Ohio State. Then things looked bleak again at halftime against Georgetown where folks were quick to remind us that this was an NIT team as the same problems from last season resurfaced again.

But then Syracuse came from behind to win and all of that quickly forgotten. Syracuse basketball was back to where we set expectations for it. That is until today, where Jim Boeheim’s team let us down again and we got mad about. Like so mad we took to twitter to be mad online and express our disgust amongst each other on the internet.

Take a breather.

Haven’t you seen this story unfold before?

Syracuse just keeps trolling you

Just when you think Syracuse is good they lose again. Unbelievable. Right?

Mike gets it. Okay, maybe Syracuse isn’t as good as we thought they’d be. So what? We’ve seen how this has shaken out two out of the last three years.

The jury is still out. We’re not even into conference play yet. Jim Boeheim has said his team is about 2-3 weeks behind schedule. Given the events that occurred with preseason injuries and the results from today’s game, I’m inclined to believe the guy.

What have we seen in the past that we can apply today?

Syracuse will once again get better as the season goes on. They’ll get even better on the defensive end and become a matchup problem for almost every team they play. They’ll assuredly lose a few more games that they aren’t supposed to, they’ll assuredly win some games they aren’t supposed to and will likely be in the mix for an at-large NCAA Tournament berth where you know the rest.

The jury is still out. Relax, take a breather and take it one step at a time. Also, be nice to each other on the internet.

Old Dominion isn’t a bad team

Is Syracuse better than Old Dominion? Yes. Should the Orange have lost today? Probably not.

While Old Dominion isn’t a great team, they were among the top 3 favorites to win Conference USA for a reason. They get stops on the defensive end and ranked 27th in the country on that side of the ball coming into today. They certainly proved they can play defense today by holding Syracuse to 33.3 percent shooting with a veteran squad and a tough competitor in BJ Stith. The Orange have struggled on the offensive end this season to be sure, but ODU gets stops. That’s what they do.

While no loss is a good one, this won’t be categorized as a ‘bad loss’ on Selection Sunday.

More center production

Syracuse absolutely needs to get more from the center position. Boeheim said after last game that if Syracuse will be successful in the long run his true centers will have to play. Paschal Chukwu looked out of sorts today on both ends as did Bourama Sidibe. While they only shot once as a collective, those two combined for 0 points, 7 rebounds and 4 fouls.

Marek Dolezaj is capable of stepping in there but for Syracuse to reach its potential it’ll have to get more production out of the center spot.

Free throws

It’s hard to ignore the charity stripe in a game like this that’s decided by just a few points. Syracuse went 22-34 today from the line, or 64.7 percent. That’s not enough to get it done in close contests.

Brent Axe, where ya at? #FreeThrowsMatter

This team needs at least three scorers

John has made this point a few times, but Syracuse needs at least three guys to score night in and night out. Tyus Battle balled today with 23 points on 11 made free throws, but only Elijah Hughes joined him in the double-figure scoring category. Oshae Brissett had a tough day on 3-11 shooting. Frank Howard had a season high 9 points but he still missed some shots today and free throws today that he’s capable of making. Syracuse needs a consistent third scorer on this team.

***

As tough a pill as this is to swallow, Syracuse will have an opportunity to bounce back next week. The Orange will once again fall out of the AP poll on Monday, but Syracuse has a chance to take down a ranked Buffalo squad on Tuesday. They’ll have to move on quickly, but SU showed it could beat the Bulls last year at home. Both teams have synonymous personnel from last year.