Syracuse Loss to Seton Hall Least of Orange Worries

Mike MuellerContributor IIJanuary 26, 2011

Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse Orange have lost three straight games.
Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse Orange have lost three straight games.Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

If you were shocked by the Syracuse-Seton Hall score Tuesday night, don’t be. The Pirates kicked the Orange right in the teeth, 90-68 and handed them their third straight loss.

It was the third worst home loss under Jim Boeheim and the biggest Carrier Dome blunder since 1998 when they lost by 24 to guess who? Yep, you guessed it, Seton Hall.

The bottom line is that this team is not as good as its top ten ranking. People fell in love with them early after the Orange rattled off 18 wins to start the year. Boeheim kept saying they were overrated and finally after three consecutive losses, I think the Orange are proving his point.

Syracuse played an average non-conference schedule and barely got by teams like Michigan, Georgia Tech and N.C. State. Even their big win over Michigan State is starting to lose its luster given the Spartans’ recent troubles.

Syracuse is not a good basketball team at this moment. They have no leadership at point guard, zero shooters and play a very porous 2-3 zone on defense.

The Orange’s recipe for success this season has been forcing teams into taking tough shots then getting out in their transition game to score points. Pittsburgh, Villanova and Seton Hall all figured that out and patiently picked apart Syracuse’s defense.

The Pirates shot 54 percent from the field Tuesday night and 58 percent from behind the arc. More importantly they limited the Orange’s transition game and forced Syracuse into playing half court basketball. They shot just 36 percent from the field and 23 percent from three-point range.

Losing to Seton Hall is not shocking. It is how they lost that was.

Syracuse showed little interest and/or effort in what was supposed to be their bounce-back game after tough losses to Pittsburgh and Villanova. Instead, it turned into a mental and physical beatdown by the Pirates.

You simply can’t give that type of effort, or lack thereof, against any team and expect to win. Seton Hall has a lot a talent on their roster and has the potential to beat any team in the Big East on any given night.

They have two lightning-quick guards in Fuquan Edwin and Jordan Theodore, a prolific scorer in Jeremy Hazell and one of the top rebounders in the country in Herb Pope.

Granted, this was a game Syracuse should have won, especially at home but this team has a lot of deficiencies all over the floor.

Scoop Jardine continues to make bad decisions with the ball and is averaging just eight points over his last three games. Freshman Fab Melo (the Big East Pre-Season Freshman of the Year) continues to disappoint playing just 10 minutes a game and Brandon Triche has been inconsistent.

The biggest issue is that Syracuse has been ineffective in its 2-3 zone, letting Pitt (48), Villanova (50) and Seton Hall (54) all shoot for high field goal percentages and that’s led to a number of slow starts for the Orange out of the gate.

Syracuse has potential and will get better by the end of the season but right now, no, they are not a good team. They need to stop shooting from the outside and get Kris Joseph and Rick Jackson more involved in the offense.

Joseph leads the team in scoring (15 pts) and Jackson has been the team’s most important player this year, topping the Big East in rebounds, field goal percentage and blocks.

It’s not over yet but things better turn around in hurry. Right now, I see a slightly above average team that’s lost its confidence and identity.