Syracuse Basketball: What Orange Can Learn from Each of Their Losses

Brian KinelCorrespondent IIIMarch 3, 2013

Syracuse Basketball: What Orange Can Learn from Each of Their Losses

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    It has long been said that it's not what happens in life but how you react to it that matters. In order to react to things, you would have to analyze them and learn from them before reacting.

    Syracuse has lost seven times this season. What have they learned from each of those losses? How did they react?

    Let's examine.

December 22: Lost 83-79 to Temple at Madison Square Garden

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    Lessons Learned:

    How to bounce back from a bad game: The Owls took a beating right before playing the Orange, losing by 10 at home to Canisius. Their reaction? The unranked Owls beat a top-10 team for the fifth straight season.

    Take advantage of freebies: The difference in the game was at the free-throw line. Temple was 29-of-36 from the line while the Orange only made 19-of-34. They missed 15 free throws in a game that was lost by four points. Michael Carter-Williams was the main culprit, only making 7-of-15.

    Hit from long distance: Temple made 8-of-24 three's while Syracuse only made 2-of-12.

    Can't win with sloppy half-court offense: The Orange only had 10 assists while committing 11 turnovers. That won't win any games.

     

    Reaction:

    The Orange didn't seem to learn their lessons very well from the Temple game. While they did beat Alcorn State, 57-36, they didn't improve any of their shortcomings from the Temple loss. Syracuse was 12-of-28 from the line, 3-of-15 from three and had only 10 assists to go with 15 turnovers.

January 26: Lost 75-71 OT at Villanova

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    Lessons Learned:

    When to foul: The Orange learned that you should foul when you're up by three and the clock is winding down, so the other team has two chances from the line rather than a chance at a tying three. The Wildcats' Ryan Arcidiacono hit a three with 2.2 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime.

    Missed free throws will kill you: Michael Carter-Williams missed the front end of a one-and-one with 19 seconds left in regulation and the Orange up by three. Arcidiacono then came down and hit the tying three.

    You have to put the ball in the basket: Syracuse only made 16-of-49 shots from inside the three-point arc for a paltry 32.7 percent.

     

    Reaction:

    While the Orange did shoot better from the line in their next game, 16-of-20, they didn't shoot any better from the floor. Overall, Syracuse shot 18-of-49 while only hitting 3-of-14 three's when they lost to Pittsburgh.

February 2: Lost 65-55 at Pittsburgh

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    Lessons Learned:

    Importance of bench: With James Southerland (suspension) and DaJuan Coleman (knee) out, the Orange only had seven scholarship players available. Baye Moussa Keita and Trevor Cooney contributed three points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals off the bench. The Panthers reserves contributed 31 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals.

    You have to put the ball in the basket: Syracuse shot 18-of-49 from the field and only 3-of-14 from three. Yes, this is a repeat lesson.

    You have to rebound to win: Pittsburgh beat the Orange on the boards, 39-24.

     

    Reaction:

    The Orange bounced back with a nice 63-47 win over Notre Dame. They still only had seven players but shot the ball much better, hitting 22-of-45 from the field and 15-of-17 from the line. They also out-rebounded the Irish, 29-21.

February 13: Lost 66-58 at Connecticut

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    Lessons Learned:

    You have to defend the three: UConn made a ridiculous 8-of-14 from long distance.

    You have to hit three's to win: Syracuse only made 4-of-23 from three-point distance.

    You have to have good point guard play: Michael Carter-Williams, one of the nation's leading assist men, had only one assist.

     

    Reaction:

    The Orange didn't do much better defending the three in their next game, as Seton Hall made 10-of-26 for 38.5 percent. But they shot the three much better in the 76-65 win, making 8-of-20 for 40 percent.

    While Carter-Williams only had three assists, he also turned the ball over just once. Brandon Triche chipped in with five assists and only one turnover.

February 23: Lost at Home to Georgetown, 57-46

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    Lessons Learned:

    Once in a while, a gimmick defense might be considered: Talk about a one-man gang. The Hoyas' Otto Porter torched the Orange for 33 points on 12-of-19 shooting while the rest of the team hit 7-of-35 for 24 points. Box and one anyone?

    Don't fall in love with the three: James Southerland hit a long three just 7:52 into the game to give the Orange a 12-4 lead. Syracuse looked to make the 35,012 fans jump up again as their next four shots were all misses from behind the arc.

    After C.J. Fair missed a short jumper, the Orange missed two more three's. Fair finally scored, 5:07 after Southerland's made three and Syracuse led 15-12. But the Hoyas then went on a nine-point run and the game was never in doubt.


    Reaction:

    One player again killed the Orange, as Marquette's Davante Gardner made all seven of his field goal attempts and 12-of-13 from the line in leading the Golden Eagles to a 74-71 win with 26 points. The 6'8", 290-pound Gardner had his way with the Orange, while 6'9", 288-pound Syracuse freshman DaJuan Coleman sat the bench, despite being cleared to play.

    The Orange still took a lot of three's, although they did make 8-of-24 for a better 33.3 percent.

February 25: Lost 74-71 at Marquette

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    Lessons Learned:

    Close the gaps in the zone: Marquette's Davante Gardner killed the Orange, finding spaces in the zone for 26 points.

    You have to penetrate and not settle for jumpers: Marquette's aggressive penetration led to 35 free-throw attempts while the jump-shooting Orange only went to the line seven times.

     

    Reaction:

    Syracuse did a much better job defensively against Louisville, limiting center Gorgui Dieng to only 11 points. The Orange also shot fewer three's—only 13—and did have 14 assists. Unfortunately, they still lost to the Cardinals, 58-53.

March 2: Lost at Home to Louisville, 58-53

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    Lessons Learned:

    You have to defend the three: Luke Hancock made 4-of-5 from long distance, including a huge three with 51 seconds left to break a 48-48 tie.

    Orange need Brandon Triche: The senior's troubles continued as he only scored eight points on 2-of-11 shooting. The most glaring problem was his seven turnovers. Syracuse can't win with Triche playing like this.

    They need to find their mojo: The Orange has lacked whatever "it" is. They seem to lack intensity and are not having fun on the court. They're playing tight and can't win that way. This isn't a talent issue; it's a "between the ears" issue.

     

    Reaction:

    There's not much time for the Orange to learn from their lessons. Wednesday's home game against DePaul and next Saturday's visit to Georgetown conclude the regular season. I don't think anyone can count on more than one game in the Big East tournament for Syracuse to get their act together.

    Can they?

    Yes, but the bigger question is will they. It starts with Triche playing better and continues with getting DaJuan Coleman to contribute. Here's hoping the Orange are studying their lessons.