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Syracuse men’s basketball: Brenden Straughn to bring analytics background to the Orange bench

We’ll see if the numbers will change the style of play next year

Syracuse v North Carolina Photo by Peyton Williams/UNC/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team hasn’t been fully on board the use of analytics, but that might be changing under Adrian Autry. Autry’s hire of Brenden Straughn was thought to be one for Straughn’s recruiting connections in the DMV, but he brings something else to the Syracuse sideline.

In a piece by Donna Ditota of, Autry talked about Straughn’s use of analytics in his approach to not only his team, but scouting opponents.

“He’s really big on numbers and he breaks it down for me to understand it easier. So that was something that stood out when I checked all the boxes of how I wanted to round out our staff and enhance our staff.”

Straughn talked about his use of sites like KenPom as a way of helping players understand what the numbers mean in relation to what the staff wants them to do on the court.

“Hey, these are the areas where you’re efficient at and how do we kind of use that within our program and make sure we’re taking advantage of your strengths,”

I’m curious to see if his approach will influence the offensive philosophy. During this past season, the Orange took a lot of mid-range shots when they were not effective in that area. They did this while ranking 339th in Division 1 in three-point attempts per game, despite being 72nd in 3-point %.

Syracuse and National Champion UConn were almost identical in terms of field goal percentage (46.3% to 46.4%). However you can see that UConn took 300 more 3-point attempts than Syracuse, while the Orange took 150 more mid-range jumpers.

CBB Analytics

We still aren’t sure what the final roster will look like for Syracuse, but both Justin Taylor and Benny Williams were over 39% from 3 last season. Chris Bell was 34.5%, but take away the corners and he was over 40%. This is a great example of using analytics to focus on an individual because instead of having Bell in those corners you can move him higher, and in the time between now and next season, he can spend more time focusing on those corner shots.

It’ll be curious to see how Autry will incorporate analytics into his program, but it’s exciting to hear that he recognizes the value in looking at the numbers and what they can do to help the team win.