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Three takeaways from Syracuse’s 68-54 loss against Iowa

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 03 Iowa at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After going 0-2 in the NIT Season Tip-Off, the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team returned home to take on Iowa in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Orange only trailed by one at the half, but fell apart in the second to lose by a final score of 68-54.

The Orange are now 4-4 on the season, which is the worst start in Jim Boeheim’s 44-year coaching tenure. See that, and other takeaways below.

Worst start in the Boeheim era

Syracuse has never had a 4-4 record in the Jim Boeheim era. The 2019-20 team is off to the worst start for a Syracuse basketball team in over 50 years.

It’s not just the fact that Syracuse has lost these games though. It’s the way that Syracuse has lost. SU has not played a power five team within single digits this season. In fact, the closest margin has been 14 points, which has been the difference in three of the four losses (Virginia, Oklahoma State and Iowa).

Iowa v Syracuse Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

Offense goes cold

Syracuse has struggled offensively against tougher competition. While the first three losses were all to top-25 teams in defensive efficiency, Iowa was not a particularly good defensive squad.

The lack of offense was the story again for Syracuse against Iowa, as the Orange went almost eight minutes without a made field goal in the second half.

All told, Syracuse scored just 25 points in the final 20 minutes. SU shot 36.5 percent from the floor and 28.6 percent from deep.

That’s not going to get it done on any night.

Not many opportunities left for a good non-conference win

While NET rankings have yet to be released, you don’t need to be Joe Lunardi to understand that there isn’t much opportunity left for Syracuse to grab a key non-conference win. The ACC has gone to 20 league games, which gives Syracuse two less games it otherwise would’ve had out of conference.

The Orange have lost all three of its quality non-conference games thus far. Georgetown is the last top-75 KenPom team that Syracuse will face outside of conference play. That game will be played next Saturday in Washington, D.C.

Then, the only three non-conference games that remain before ACC play are against Oakland, North Florida and Niagara. Oakland is the highest ranked team in Ken Pom at No. 188.