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Syracuse men’s basketball: Why we shouldn’t put a Red Alert on Adrian Autry

SU just had a coach stay for 47 years; let’s not try to run his successor out of town after just one.

The Syracuse Orange are coming off their worst game of the 2023-24 season. While it wasn’t as large of a loss as the trip to Chapel Hill last month, every flaw that this current SU team has was on display in a bitter 29-point defeat at the hands of Wake Forest.

We can sit here and discuss what went wrong all day, but instead I want to talk about one guy who seems to be getting too much of the blame: Head Coach Adrian Autry.

I and many others came into this season having no clue what the new leader of the Orange would bring to the table, and looking at the metrics, he’s done a fine job in his first season. While SU’s offense has struggled to create spacing, the defense has played well for the most part:

This is while dealing with a roster makeup that is far from ideal. ‘Cuse has no true center, and they barely had that while Naheem McLeod and Mounir Hima were healthy. They’ve dealt with “team rules” violations from Benny Williams before he was cut from the program, which now forces Justin Taylor into even more minutes out of position. Chance Westry hasn’t seen the court this season and, in all likelihood, won’t in the final few weeks either.

They also had an extra pair of losses baked into the schedule thanks to an appearance in the Maui Invitational this SU squad had no right being in. Red said on media day that the schedule was made before he took over, so consider that one last parting gift from Jim Boeheim’s tumultuous close to his tenure.

In spite of all that, this season has been more enjoyable to watch than the previous two. KenPom shows that Autry’s first team has played against the 13th-toughest schedule in the country yet maintains the number-36 defensive rating. He’s been on the border of a Top-10 improvement rate among 1st-year head coaches.

Also consider his overall demeanor. Autry expects effort but is willing to let his players deal with their struggles out of the spotlight. Only now, when it was clear that a team-wide wakeup is needed, did Red make his disdain public:

Tonight's game against Louisville should be a good indicator of how the Orange respond to their first major criticism. There seemed to be mixed reaction to Benny being let go, but now the remaining roster needs to come together and play with, and for, one another.

At the very least, there are 8+ games left for this group to continue their development. The same goes for Red.

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