With Elijah Hughes only playing a handful of minutes for the Syracuse Orange on Tuesday night, we got a glimpse at what the team will look like without him — a time which increasingly seems like it will come by next season. Syracuse.com’s Donna Ditota looked at who stepped up and where the Orange fell short without their leading scorer. We’ll just do a little bit more of that here, before diving into the rest of today’s links.
For starters, Hughes is Syracuse’s best player in terms of most metrics KenPom tracks — save rebounding stats, efficient field goal percentage and offensive rating (the latter gets dragged down a little bit higher usage compared to the top player, Marek Dolezaj). He’s not only a solid shot creator, but also the team’s best facilitator and best defender as well.
Without him, the team transitions into something at least a little different. Defensively, Dolezaj becomes your best defender and that provides additional room on the wings since Marek plays a decent number of minutes at the 5. Quincy Guerrier was plugged in more to deal with Hughes’s absence as well, and while he’s not the offensive threat Elijah is, he’s also Syracuse’s best rebounder (from an efficiency standpoint).
Dolezaj is a different type of offensive player than Hughes, but possesses a better offensive rating (just outside top 200 nationally) in part because of lesser usage, and in part because his aggressive approach sees him taking more high-percentage shots. Synergy Sports points out situations where both players excel:
Hughes is “excellent” in transition (per the efficiency ratings the site uses), but just “good” in the overall half court offense. Meanwhile, Dolezaj is “very good” in transition, but also “very good” in the overall half court. Dolezaj is actually a better offensive player coming out of timeouts, but a much worse player on jump shots and post-ups than Hughes.
This shift away from jump shooting (where Hughes excels) puts more on Joe Girard and Buddy Boeheim, which we saw last night. For Girard, it meant a 30-point effort because the shots were falling (and they aren’t always — he has the worst eFG% by far of the six main rotation guys). For Buddy, the attention of the other team’s best defender didn’t necessarily do him any favors — something Syracuse.com also took a look at — as he was held to just 10 points on the night.
If Hughes ends up being out for a bit, we’ll probably dive into the advanced metrics a bit more and take a look at the different lineups the Orange can toss out there.
Guerrier said the secret to his offensive rebounding prowess – only Sidibe grabs a higher percentage of missed shots on the offensive end – is “going to the right spot,” then boxing out the closest player to the rim. At 6-foot-7, he is often battling taller opposing big men. But his muscular 220-pound frame allows him to withstand much of the punishment beneath the rim.
The contract gives SU the flexibility to back out of the deal without financial penalty if, for example, College Football Playoff expansion sets off seismic changes to the sport’s landscape or the ACC decides to shake up its mundane schedule. Without such changes, it would cost the school $1 million to cancel the series unless the decision was mutually agreed upon.
Being Jim Boeheim: One game through the eyes of the coach (The Athletic)
Few coaches in college basketball make fewer substitutions than Boeheim, long a proponent of a starting five that plays most of the minutes. Per KenPom.com, the Orange annually rank near the bottom of the country in bench minutes. Sometimes, his first sub doesn’t come until midway through the first half. Not tonight.
A native of Irving, New York, Scanlan scored the most goals ever by a player in his Syracuse debut with a seven-goal outburst in a Friday win against Colgate. His seven goals was the most by a Syracuse player since 2015, and he became the 17th player in program history to score seven or more goals in a game, with it being the 28th time the feat has been accomplished. He scored his seven goals on just 12 shots.