Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Syracuse survives test moves to 5-0

I know there are a lot of Syracuse Orange fans feeling a lot better today. The prospect of having to play Cornell at the Carrier Dome on Tuesday night had some very wise fans concerned. Rightfully so. Cornell is a good basketball team, with the ability to get hot from the outside, which could have posed a problem for a Syracuse team that might still have been reviling in the joy of the Coaches Vs Cancer Title.

I can't tell a lie, so I can't tell you I wasn't a little bit concerned because I was. But there were two factors that made me feel pretty good about the Orange's chances.
  1. Cornell entered off the loss to Seton Hall - and it was going to need to play above its regular level to beat the Orange. No doubt it could occur. But having wins over Alabama and Massachusetts previously led me to believe that the Big Red might not be able to reach a peak high enough to beat the Orange. Because mid-major teams, even though they can raise their level of play, have a difficult time sustaining it. Mainly because of depth issues and that at some point their elite players will cool off.
  2. The second reason was defense. The Syracuse defense is very good. And defense doesn't usually take nights off. Especially when the defense is predicated by the athleticism and the size that the Orange has. This team guards teams. And often times in a way teams are not used to being guarded. When that defense is played so consistently, it makes it extremely difficult to have an off night. Because even if your scorers have an off night, or you don't shoot the ball well, you have the defense to rely on and win games for you. That hasn't always been the case for the Orange. Coupled with the fact that this team has multiple offensive options and it was freshman Brandon Triche's night to shine, I felt pretty comfortable heading into the game. The Orange didn't disappoint.
Now its on to another Ivy Leaguer and fellow NY team Columbia on Friday night. I don't know of any Orange fans who are scared by the prospect. It should be one where the Orange gets to work on some things and gets some playing time for some of those guys deeper on the bench.

Wrapping Up the rest of the NCAAB night from Tuesday

Watertown Paper

Cuse Orange

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