After losing to Notre Dame and ending their undefeated streak, Syracuse went up against a very formidable 15-6 Cincinnati squad determined to hand the Orangemen their 2nd straight loss.
Kris Joseph led the way for Syracuse with 17 pts and was continually penetrating the Cinci defense to wreak havoc on their ability to play man-to-man defense. The Orangemen went 46% from the field and just 25% from beyond the arc, but still managed to pressure Cinci into the up-and-down game they wanted to play. When the tempo slowed, it showed one of Syracuse’s weaknesses. In a half-court set Syracuse’s offensive flow often gets stagnant and disjointed.
Even though the Orangemen are #4 in the nation and coach Jim Boeheim just chalked up his 877th career win, the blueprint to beat Syracuse has definitely been established in the last two games. The keys to defeated this team is forcing them into a half-court game, limiting their offensive shots with solid defensive rebounding, attacking their full-court pressure to score, and dumping it inside against their 2-3 zone. The Orangemen doesn’t start a true 5-man which hurts them underneath in the back side of their zone.
With these weaknesses pointed out, I would be remiss if I didn’t applaud the impressive fashion Syracuse bounced back after their emotionally draining loss to Notre Dame. The loss to ND knocked Syracuse out of the #1 ranking they’ve had most of the year and down to #4. The four slot is probably more in tune with where the Orangemen actually belong, but the reality check would sting any young ego. Boeheim’s squad handled the loss with poise and managed to come back and impress.
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