For several years now, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team has been tough to watch on offense. Though plenty of other teams find success playing at a slower pace, there’s at least efficiency there to warrant the strategy (see: Virginia, as the most prime example).
For Syracuse, that hasn’t been the case at all times. While some recent seasons have featured teams that shot well, attacked the rim and got to the free throw line, others haven’t. This year’s team seemed destined to fall short of that sort of play — chucking up threes and avoiding contact in ways that made the offense entirely one-dimensional. But these past couple games against Duke and Pitt (both wins) have seemingly changed that... while also being assisted by Syracuse hitting from outside at a higher clip.
So if the improved scoring continues, does that mean the Orange have turned the corner after what looked like a disappointing fall just a couple week ago? SI.com took at a look at SU as part of a larger group of teams that may be in the middle of turnarounds. On the plus side: the team’s top-12 defensive efficiency rating and the uptick on offense. Opposite that, you’ll find concerns that the offense’s improvement will last against an ACC schedule that only gets harder from here.
From our vantage point as fans of the team, we know they’ll go as Frank Howard stays healthy, and the team can get anything out of the center position on offense. I’m tempted to believe that means the offense can keep it up — even if not at the break-neck pace we saw vs. Duke. That’s enough to get you the wins required for an NCAA Tournament bid.
That, plus the rest of your Syracuse-related links below:
Have These Teams Putting Together a Strong January Turned the Corner for Real? (SI.com)
Their offense isn’t unwatchable, either. Syracuse scored 95 points in an overtime victory against Duke on Jan. 14, including 32 from leading scorer Tyus Battle. The Orange have won six of their last seven. Expect them to finish closer to the top of the ACC than the conference cellar.
How Syracuse is turning Marek Dolezaj into a shooter (Syracuse.com)
“I was never like a shooter,” he said. “I was more like pick and roll and drive to the basket. I was tall and athletic and no one could guard me. I always tried to get to the basket. But yeah, I could make 3s.” ”He was a non-shooter,” Autry said. ”But he has touch. His touch is unbelievable. Just the mechanics were bad. And he didn’t have confidence.”
3-star Georgia DB Jamel Starks sets official visit to Syracuse football (Syracuse.com)
Class of 2019 defensive back Jamel Starks has scheduled an official visit with Syracuse football for the final weekend before National Signing Day, he announced on Monday. Starks, a senior at Southwest DeKalb High School in Decatur, Ga., will be in Central New York from Feb. 1-3 after touring Louisville the previous weekend.
Michigan made: With big goals, Eric Devendorf hits the ground running at Detroit Mercy (Daily Orange)
He consulted the entire SU coaching staff before departing his alma mater, and he made sure Boeheim thought the move would propel him closer to his long-term goal of running his own Division I program. His former head coach, plus former associate head coach Mike Hopkins, both advised him to go.
Film review: The passes that led Oshae Brissett to compare Marek Dolezaj to Magic Johnson (Daily Orange)
He finished with four assists against the Tigers’ man-to-man defense, and when Pittsburgh played a similar brand of over-pursuing man-to-man, Dolezaj took advantage again. Three times, he picked out cutters from the left elbow, each of whom began their move when Dolezaj caught the ball.
Battle, Williamson land ACC player of the week honors (The ACC)
Bracketology 2019: Duke is back as the No. 1 overall seed in our NCAA tournament projection (SB Nation)
First Baptist running back Michael Dukes receives offer from Clemson (Charleston Post and Courier)
What happened to Carmelo Anthony? (USA Today)
The 2019 College Crosse Preseason Top 20 Poll & Crossecast (College Crosse)
10 ACC football breakout candidates for 2019 season (247Sports)