…shallow-benched bunch that doesn’t care much for defense.
One of the beauties of the 2-3 zone is that you don’t have to work as hard as you do in a man-to-man. Rather than chase shooters all over the court, you stay in a particular area, cover who’s there, switch off when necessary, react in certain ways to certain types of ball movement around the perimeter, and converge around the hoop when a shot goes up. Of course it’s more complicated than that, but it’s indisputably an energy saver.
Perhaps they should expend a bit more energy on the defensive end.
Two nights ago, against a mediocre UMass squad, Syracuse gave up the most points at home since 1980. Most of the bloggers on this site were infants at the time.
I don’t mean to take anything away from UMass. They played a gutsy game and made shots when they needed to. But there’s the rub: if Syracuse is going to keep a lead in the second half, they’re going to have to play more intense, smarter defense.
To me, Andy Rautins’ season-ending knee injury was a tipping point with this team. They were at least 7 deep with Rautins.
Now? They play with 5…maybe 6 if Josh Wright is having a good week, mentally.
These young players are spending too much time on the court to expect them to play great defense for 40 minutes. Period. Good teams will exploit their lack of depth…actually, so will mediocre teams.
The silver lining in all of this is that the young core (Green, Harris, and Flynn) are getting invaluable experience by being on the court so much. They’ll be amazing next year and the year after.
For now, we have a shallow team with growing pains. Promise and upside abound.
But this is not their year. This blogger will be pleasantly surprised if they make the field of 64…
1. Old Dominion University is going to get its ass kicked today by Georgetown. Last year, Georgetown lost to ODU in a complete embarrassment at its campus home, McDonough Arena. Of course, Georgetown went on to have a great season, but I don’t doubt that JTIII is still smarting from that loss. Expect them to go Cobra Kai on them today. No mercy.
2. Remember this from two years ago at MSG. Not for those with weak stomachs:
Some of our teams have been playing like a bunch of turkeys this week. With such high expectations this season, things seem to be going bad faster than that extra helping of cranberry sauce you still have in your fridge.
Is there still time? Of course, there’s lots of it. Do losses really matter right now? Sure, a little bit, but they’re not that important if your not going to be a bubble team in four months. It’s just annoying to have team after team lose. So what do we make of all these defeats? Well, for those of us living in ACC & SEC country, it makes it difficult to win debates over who has the best conference. Am I running around in circles here? Yea, but that’s what losses do, they add confuson and uncertainty, and I for one, am certainly confused and uncertain.
The biggest loss was not Louisville dropping a game to BYU, it was Padgett going down to injury. Hopefully, by late January he’ll be back. Hopefully. If the Cards are to be as good as many, including myself have predicted them, they’ll need Padgett at full strength. Even without Padgett though, Louisville should have beaten Brigham Young.
Then there’s Syracuse. We know they’re young, and we can expect upset wins and upset losses, but they got shredded by Ohio State the other night. If you saw the game, you know, it was ugly.
And after Providence beat Arkansas, then they go and lose to Miami. This wouldn’t be so bad if Miami wasn’t a member of the ACC.
Then we have Notre Dame, who blew two late leads to Baylor, and the ACC’s Georgia Tech.
And even though Marquette’s loss to Duke wasn’t a bad one, it was still another loss to the ACC.
What do we know so far? Marquette can be really good. They easily played well enough to beat Duke, and without what seemed like 10 bad bounces, Marquette would have won. The ball often bounces Duke’s way though, and last week out in Maui, it certianly did.
We also know that UConn is in fact, much improved. They lost to Memphis at MSGin a game that was close until the final moments. They played well, and Memphis is easily one of the most talented teams in the country. This is Memphis’ best team they have ever had, and UConn’s effort was very encouraging to Husky fans.
We also know that Pitt and G’town are going to be consistant. Pitt has played 5 weak teams so far, but I’ve still been impressive. In the past, they’d beat those teams, but they’d win close. They’ve been burying everyone so far, and that’s very promissing for the Panthers. Georgetown detroyed Michigan, and two other cupcakes. And with Padgett not being around, the Hoyas look like favorites in the conference right now. Villanova has remained undefeated, as has Seton Hall and St. John’s. None of the Wildcats, Pirates or Redmen have a significant victory yet, but all have been consistant.
And once again this year, West Virginia might be better than expected. They lost by two yesterday to SEC favorite Tennessee. Again, another loss, but like the Huskies’ loss to Memphis, this one doesn’t seem so bad.
How have we done against the ACC this year? 1-3 (Thank you very much USF for beating FSU)
Against the other majors? Big Ten 1-1; Big Twelve 0-1; SEC 1-2; Pac Ten 1-0. Courtesy of Syracuse, the only major conference that we have a winning record against is the Pac Ten.
What does this all mean? So far, our beloved Big East has been far from beastly. But hopefully, as the weather gets colder, our teams will get hotter.
Instead, I’m going to put on my UConn fanboy hat. There’s reason for tremendous optimism for the Huskies this year. They’re bringing back essentially the entire rotation, all sophomores and juniors now (obvious). They led the conference in defense in 06-07 (semi-obvious). They’ll have one of the more efficient floor generals in the conference from last year in Price (not-so-obvious). Don’t agree? That’s what reading the aforementioned article is for.
The offense can only get better as someone, anyone?!, figures out how to score efficiently this time around. Price will find any scorers that emerge, and there’s depth everywhere. It’d be insane to expect or even hope for championship-caliber basketball in Storrs, but with all the “potential” “upside” here, it feels sort of like 1998 or 2003.
The people here in Connecticut are still steaming over the fact that they couldn’t watch the last 2 UConn football games on TV. The reason…… Comcast controls the state (and many others) and the cable company won’t put ESPNU on its lineup. As a college sports fan, I think this battle will get uglier as the hoops season rolls along. UConn’s AD Jeff Hathaway has issued a much reported rebuke to ESPN for putting UConn football on the U. He said that Comcast, with 21.6 million customers nationwide is not allowing recruits around the nation to see (and possibly choose) UConn. I recently spent 10 days in Indiana and Illinois and heard the same complaining there as well. Comcast controls Connecticut, Chicago, Philadelphia and the D.C. area. DePaul fans are screaming about the number of games the Demons have been relegated to on the U channel. I know this is a basketball board but lets look at what ESPN has done to force fans in these areas to pressure Comcast to make an agreement with the sports giant.
In football, Louisville – Murray State, Syracuse-Illinois, UConn-Pitt, Louisville-NC State, Pitt-Virginia, USF-FAU, USF-UCF, UConn-Virginia, Louisville-Cincinnati, Syracuse-Buffalo, UConn-Rutgers, UConn-Cincinnati, Louisville-USF, and Syracuse-Cincinnati have been shown on ESPNU. Granted, some of these games are minor contests but Louisville, USF, Cincinnati and UConn have been targeted.
The basketball schedule is even more interesting. UConn’s first two games were on the U. Later in the season, the UConn-ND game and UConn-DePaul game are both being shown only on ESPNU. Syracuse- Siena, Providence’s games in Puerto Rico including their opener vs. Temple are on the U. Other early season clashes Pitt-Duquesne and Villanova-Temple, both in city rivalries have been scheduled for ESPNU. Seton Hall- NC State, Villanova- LaSalle, and Pitt- Lafayette are U games. Once the BE schedule begins there are some marquee games on the U. Among these are DePaul-Georgetown, Villanova-Cincinnati, WVA-Syracuse, ND-Cincinnati, DePaul-Villanova, DePaul- Rutgers, Villanova-Rutgers, DePaul-Marquette, Villanova-Pitt, DePaul-USF, Villanova-Seton Hall, DePaul-Louisville, UConn-Notre Dame, DePaul-UConn. Cincinnati-USF, Georgetown-St. John’s, and Cincinnati-Providence. It’s obvious that ESPN is targeting Villanova, DePaul and UConn to put pressure an Comcast to settle. I know that Comcast has the South Bend market also. Rutgers and Seton Hall are in Comcast territory as well.
The comments from the two camps are interesting. ESPN says that they are in negotiations and hope to be put on Comcast soon. Comcast says they have NO PLANS to put ESPNU on and that fans should be happy with what they’ve got now. In my conversations with an employee high up at ESPN, he said that Comcast is hardballing ESPN. ESPN is using the argument that they want the station on. Comcast is insisting that the U not be put on a sports tier. But Directv has ESPNU on their pay-extra sports tier. Don’t know about other cable companies but I doubt that they put the U channel on basic.
There is another twist here. The BE women’s tournament has the quarter finals and semis on ESPNU. Here in CT, the ladies are as popular as the men’s team. Especially with the senior citizens and women. Wait until they find out that they have to go to a sports bar to watch their “girls”. I guess it’s time to get out a saw and climb that tree that is blocking my Directv signal.