How bad was Sunday's 81-61 loss at the Coliseum on the campus of West Virginia University?
So bad that after watching the first half from my home, I went to my parents house for dinner, and instead of demanding to watch the game, we decided to watch the end of the Division Playoff game. At one point we flipped to the game at a commercial or between plays and the score was 42-21 Mountaineers, so we flipped back a few minutes later and my father says "Well at least they're coming back."
I just shot him a blank stare because the score was 61-40 at the time. He quickly responded, "I mean at least they aren't getting doubled anymore."
That was the type of day it was Syracuse, who saw the mistakes that plagued them at Cincinnati magnified in this defeat as they fell to 2-2 in the Big East.
The Orange shot just 30% in the first half. They took bad shots, quick shots, but truly they were never getting much on the offensive end. Point guard Jonny Flynn only had one assist and I think that glaring stat shows some of the real problems this team is having right now.
Not sure that I have any of the answers. But I might try to let Donte' Greene play on the perimeter a little bit. Because it seems as if there isn't any respect given to any other Syracuse offensive player. Consequently, even when there is any dribble penetration, there is plenty of help defense because the opposition doesn't fear what the Orange can do from the outside. But I think if it were Greene standing around the perimiter, the help might not be as quick to come, and Greene might get some open looks. Instead of the forced threes that he is taking. Right now he is the best shooter the Orange has from the perimeter. They have to utilize that.
The real problem today was the -8 turnover margin. Syracuse turned it over 19 times and Jonny Flynn who had a horrendous road trip committed six, while Paul Harris had 5.
I truly thought today would be better. I know that losses in January aren't ones to cry over. Really it only hurts to lose once a year. But if you lose too much during the regular season, you don't get the opportunity to experience that painful loss in the postseason. Syracuse is starting to compile too many regular season losses. I don't think if I drew up a bracket tomorrow, they'd be a part of it any longer.
Wednesday night against Rutgers is a chance to get healthy. The Orange will then host another struggling team in Villanova on Saturday. By this time next week, things could seem good again. But it is no doubt this first Big East venture onto the road did not go very well. But this is a young team that is getting better and will continue to get better. We did not see any of that on this trip, but I trust that it will get better.