You may have noticed that this space has been silent for the past six weeks. Unfortunately, things have happened which have conspired to rob me of the many hours a week I used to have available to put into this blog. I had a Villanova postgame autopsy all put together in my head but was thwarted by an unexpected turn of events. I’ve been running a few steps behind ever since. But with Syracuse’s Big East finale looming, and a batch of tickets thereto in my possession, it’s time to take advantage of DC’s snow day to get back into the game.
I’m not going to recap all of the ups and downs of the past six weeks. But they have certainly exposed the team’s major flaw: lack of an elite scorer. They need someone who can put the ball in the hole in the last two minutes of the game, when defenses tighten, whistles get swallowed, and the pressure gets cranked up. All of SU’s losses over the past month, with the possible exception of the Pitt game, have been tight contests until the last couple of minutes. Early in the season SU was winning these games with defense and opportunistic scoring (e.g. off late turnovers). But lately they’ve been stymied again and again.
I think it really has to be Triche who becomes this guy. CJ Fair has been phenomenal but there’s only so much mid-range game you can rely on. Southerland is great when he gets hot but he can hardly dribble, let alone create his own shot. MCW is still too inexperienced and makes too many questionable decisions, plus he doesn’t have a consistent jump shot. And nobody else on the team is even a candidate for this. It has to be Triche. He has to use that “running back frame” over and over to get into the lane and shoot floaters, draw contact, find the open man. It’s probably unrealistic to expect him to develop that mentality now, when he has only rarely shown it in the past four years. But that’s the thing. He has shown it at times. We’ve seen him take over, seemingly out of nowhere, a few times a season. He did it in SU’s season opener this year and I figured he’d made the jump from “complementary player” to “team leader”. But he’s not come through nearly as often as we’d hoped. As a result, this is a team made up entirely of complementary players.
I still think this team has the ability to make a deep tournament run. Opponents outside the Big East are not as well prepared for what SU brings to the table on either side of the ball. On the other hand, they could lose in the first round to some CAA team with a shooter who gets hot and a bunch of bruisers on the front line. I guess that’s what makes college basketball exciting, though. And this year more than ever, everyone is losing all the time. Usually the #1 seeds are teams with only a couple of losses, and those to other elite teams; this year there will probably be a #1 seed with at least five losses, including a stinker or two. I don’t envy the committee.
Anyway, back to this weekend. There are Cuse Country staffers coming into DC from all over the country and we’ll be storming into the Verizon Center in our brightest orange. Despite what happened at the Dome a couple weeks ago, I’m still insanely pumped to see what goes on in that building for the last meaningful time. I plan to have more in this space in the next few days.
I don’t expect to have time for another Pro Update anytime soon, but I do want to share with you this heretofore overlooked nugget:
In January, Terrence Roberts played four games for Sonic Boom KT in South Korea. He scored a total of 11 points in 17 minutes of game action, with 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and a block. I’d assumed T-Rob had been trying to get back in the D-League with all the other former SU players, and maybe he has, who knows. But at least he’s still out there living the dream.