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Syracuse Basketball: Three takeaways from SU’s 77-60 loss to Wisconsin

Another loss for the Syracuse Orange, and this time we are left with questions unanswered.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Wisconsin
It was a tough night for all in Orange.
Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

SU’s 77-60 loss to Wisconsin on Tuesday night was an eye-opener to say the least, and if Syracuse wants to be competitive, they need to figure out who they are. An identity is needed for any team to reach their potential and right now it looks like coach Jim Boeheim and his roster don’t know what brand of basketball they represent.

The Orange have time, but the longer they wait, the shorter the season will be.

The offensive glass is an issue

The Orange 2-3 zone is supposed to force the opponent into a tough shot that leads to easy offensive opportunities. The last thing you want from a zone is second chance opportunities—the Syracuse Orange don’t understand that.

The Wisconsin Badgers finished with 14 offensive rebounds, a stat that will hurt any team’s chances of winning a basketball game. The Orange need to learn that watching the ball won’t lead to rebounds; instead, the second a shot goes up all members of the zone need to find a man and move him out of their property.

One shot is enough, and for the Orange to bounce back they need to take more pride in possession of the basketball.

The Orange are one step behind on defense

The 2-3 zone is supposed to be the Orange’s bread and butter—it’s supposed to be the reason they win basketball games. Tonight’s performance was an eye opener for the Orange—they need to work on defense. The last place Syracuse wants the ball on defense is in the middle, and countless times again the Orange found their defense broken from middle by the Badgers.

Quick passes terrorized the Orange as they saw the ball fly by their heads leading to easy layups. Not only did the Badgers use their passing expertise around the rim, but they also found the open shooter off of a pass from the middle. Quickness is needed to run the zone to perfection and right now it looks like the Orange are beating themselves instead of the opponent.

Changes need to be made

It’s obvious the team looks out of sorts, but tonight’s performance was a sign that players need to be moved around. The top of the zone looks slow with Frank Howard and Andrew White III manning the top, and once the ball is passed them the Orange lack the skill set to recover.

Quickness and athleticism is what makes Boeheim’s zone a specialty, and right now it looks like the weakness of this basketball team to say the least. The Offense is also an issue as of late with Tyus Battle lost with the second unit and Tyler Lydon performing inconstantly on the wing.

The pieces are there to see success, Boeheim just needs to figure out the right way to fit the puzzle together.