I apologize. I know you’d rather not talk about today’s game. So I’ll make this quick.
The Syracuse Orange had an opportunity to add a quality win to their tournament resume as they traveled south to play the Clemson Tigers. Yet, from the opening tip, the Orange looked like a team that didn’t want to be on the floor. The Tigers completely bullied Syracuse in pretty much every facet of the game as they waltzed to a 78-61 win over the Orange.
Here’s our takeaways from a completely disappointing game:
Someone give these guys a Snickers
It’s incredible how one tweet nowadays can sum up everyone’s feelings. No one is better at that than Eric Devendorf:
Toughness...never let someone push you off your spot...when you get punched in the mouth you have to fight back...we aren’t right now...have to find that fight again— Eric Devendorf (@ED23HOOPS) February 6, 2021
We saw a Syracuse team that simply did not look to compete throughout the majority of the game against Clemson. It seemed like the Orange were just uncomfortable with how physical the Tigers were being in the paint on both sides of the floor. Syracuse also looked too lazy on both sides of the floor as Clemson showed a much higher work rate than a sluggish Orange squad.
Because of Clemson’s physicality in the paint, Syracuse seemingly avoided the paint for the majority of the game against the Tigers. That meant that most Orange shots were mid and long range shots. As we’ve said multiple times on this website, that’s not the most efficient way that Syracuse can run its offense. The Orange needed to match Clemson’s physicality in the paint and show that they weren’t afraid to matchup with the opposing frontcourt.
If Syracuse wanted to shoot more jumpers, the ball needed to stop getting stuck in a player’s hands for too long. We’ve also talked about how the Orange need to move the ball around using some passing to create open looks and shots. Almost every Syracuse field goal attempt was heavily contested. A lot of the shot selection that was rightly criticized throughout the game could’ve been avoided with some extra passes and penetration to create some openings.
Capitalize on opportunities
One of the only stats that went Syracuse’s way is that it forced 17 Clemson turnovers. That’s not necessary unexpected given that the Tigers came into today’s game ranked last in the ACC in turnovers. However, despite all of the vast opportunities that the Orange got, Syracuse only scored nine points off those turnovers. Perhaps not seeing the ball go through the net on easy shots played a big part in Syracuse only going 18-of-60 from the floor, a percentage of 30%.