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Bracketology: Expert Patrick Stevens’ take on Syracuse basketball’s NCAA Tournament hopes

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 25, 2016 at 10:06 pm Contact Sam: sblum@syr.edu | @SamBlum3 With Syracuse teetering on the bubble heading into its matchup with North Carolina State in the Carrier Dome on Saturday, The Daily Orange spoke with NCAA Tournament guru Patrick Stevens. Stevens’ projections appear in The Washington Post and, in 2014, he was the only bracketologist, out of 121, to correctly pick all 68 teams in the field, per Syracuse.com.Here’s what he had to say about SU’s chances at an NCAA Tournament bid.The Daily Orange: Where do you have Syracuse right now, and where would it be if the season were to end today?Patrick Stevens: I have Syracuse as a nine seed in the West, playing Florida in St. Louis with Xavier as a possible matchup as a one seed. If you look at their profile, and believe me, there’s a spot on the bracket and it’s probably around the seven line, where the bottom falls out. Suddenly you’re looking at teams that really aren’t quite as good and then it gets even worse from there. So there are teams that are like Syracuse that have flaws, without question, such as the loss to St. John’s. That’s the one thing that stands out as much as anything else. But beyond that, there’s not a whole lot that you’re looking at that’s really dreadful. They’re .500 away from home, they’re 7-8 against the Top 100, 5-7 against the Top 50. Neither of which is great, but neither of which is dreadful.I think Syracuse is in preservation mode as much as anything else … I think they simply have to handle the business they should handle, which very simple for them might mean beat North Carolina State and beat whatever team the wind up playing in the 7-10 or 8-9 type of situation in the ACC tournament, barring complete chaos anywhere else. Right now on the at-large board, which takes out all of the current conference leaders, I have Syracuse 28th. I have them with a four-team buffer with them and the play-in games at the moment, let alone the edge of the field. So you look at them, and they’re not in terrible shape whatsoever at this stage.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textD.O.: The NCAA Tournament committee said it would look at the nine-game suspension for Jim Boeheim when determining SU’s spot in the field. Do you do the same with your bracket projections?P.S.: I haven’t given it much thought. You look at the games that they lost and you say, “How much of a difference would have that have necessarily made?” They lost handily at Miami. They lost by double-digits at Pittsburgh. They were down a bunch at Georgetown without him. Even the St. John’s game, as bad as that was, double-digit loss. The question I ask is how much of a difference would he have made? And I don’t know the answer to that. And frankly I don’t think anyone knows the answer to that. The Clemson game is the one game where you look at it and you think, “Maybe that would have made a difference.” But I think that’s a really hard thing to quantify. At least with a player it’s “OK, you’re taking out 16 points a game. You’re taking out this, you’re taking out that.”D.O.: How much does it help Syracuse’s seeding when a team like Duke or St. Bonaventure really elevate their play after the Orange already beat them this season?P.S.: This is an every year deal for every team. You beat a team you think is good in the season and it turns out they’re not worth a whole lot. You beat a team that’s bad early in the season and it turns out that they’re pretty decent. Both of those teams, the Duke game in particular, is helping Syracuse a great deal right now. And at the end of the day, that would not shock me if that is the best thing that’s left on their profile come Selection Sunday. It’s certainly better for them to have Bonaventure in the Top 50 than not. It’s certainly better for them to have Duke playing well now, than not. Is that helping Syracuse’s profile? Yes.D.O.: Speaking hypothetically, if Syracuse were to lose out, what could things look like for the Orange?P.S.: That’s going to depend on what a lot of other people do. It’s a 351-team situation with a lot of variables out there. But I would not suggest Syracuse lose their next three games … The variables are reduced to this point that say this: If Syracuse beats N.C. State, loses the two road games, splits in the ACC tournament, I think it’s going to take a lot of absolute wackiness elsewhere to cost them an NCAA Tournament berth.D.O.: Does it help Syracuse that a team like Louisville is off the board?P.S.: There are two extra spots in the field this year with Louisville and Southern Methodist not in. Syracuse is two spots closer to the edge of the field if those two teams are eligible, then yeah, there’s a little bit less margin for error. This year, when they talk about taking the top 36 at-large teams, what they’re really talking about is taking the top 37 or 38 because those two teams aren’t going to be in the field. Commentslast_img read more

Syracuse has lowest scoring game in 74 years against No. 11 Virginia

first_imgAs Syracuse passed the ball around the perimeter, one fan let out the cry of a flaking offense. “Someone move,” he yelled.No one did. The ball flung around the perimeter to freshman Brycen Goodine. He took a step forward and jumped. The shot was blocked. Another Syracuse possession had ended without points and the crowd groaned again. Fans flooded up the bleachers toward the exit. With a little more than five minutes to play, the Orange hadn’t cracked 30 points. When the last ball finally clanked off the rim and Syracuse players had turned their heads in anguish enough times, No. 11 Virginia (1-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) beat Syracuse (0-1, 0-1), 48-34, on Wednesday night in the Carrier Dome. It was Syracuse’s worst offensive performance in 74 years. The Orange shot 23.6% from the field, including 5-of-29 from beyond the arc. On the opening night of the 2019-20 season, Syracuse needed to find a new offensive identity. Instead, it met the strangling bully of Virginia’s pack-line defense. “We just are not ready to play against that defense,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “I thought we were going to be a little better, but we really just did not do the things offensively…we just really never got movement and when we got it, we just really didn’t get positive actions off the movement.” AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse’s 34 points against UVA is the lowest total any Jim Boeheim team has scored. Max Freund | Staff PhotographerSyracuse’s first opponent of the 2019-20 season wasn’t the easy win it had become accustomed to. Instead of Eastern Washington or Cornell, the Orange welcomed the defending national champions and a perennial conference juggernaut under head coach Tony Bennett. Virginia’s defense has ranked in the top 10 of Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency stat each season since 2014. Boeheim described the Cavaliers as the best defense Syracuse would see all year. And without its top two scorers from a year ago, Virginia’s defense stifled the Orange. The defensive set itself, known as the pack-line, is a man-to-man. Freshman Joe Girard III noted the classic man scheme but it’s like “you’re against 1-on-5,” he said. The way Virginia sags off players who don’t have the ball creates a fortress around the paint, and Syracuse couldn’t penetrate it.“They’re always in front of you,” forward Marek Dolezaj said. “They never jump at a shot fake. They are always at the same place. They just don’t let you do anything.” So, Syracuse stood from outside the wall created by the Cavaliers and fired. Even 29 3-point attempts couldn’t bail the Orange out.It all came down to movement, both Boeheim and players said. Elijah Hughes, who led Syracuse with 14 points, admitted it can become easy to stand around when shots aren’t falling. The Virginia defense builds on its opponent, slowly lulling the players without the ball to sleep. They needed to screen the ball more. Or screen off-ball. Or screen for Hughes. Or screen for Buddy Boeheim. Packed in close, Virginia’s defense had Syracuse where it wanted: Far away from the basket. The Orange never moved so Virginia didn’t have to either. “It’s just hard,” Hughes said. “We didn’t get in a rhythm because of it and they just made it difficult for us.”Boeheim noted in the preseason that his time will rely more heavily on the 3-pointer. Numerous shots rimmed out in the first half when the Orange had open looks. More than 10 minutes into the game, Syracuse’s lone points had come from a Bourama Sidibe layup. Marek Dolezaj was one of three players to score over three points. He went 2-for-8 on the night. Max Freund | Staff PhotographerIn spurts, SU flashed what it could be offensively. On one series, a Virginia defender stuffed Hughes’ jump shot from the elbow. Syracuse retained possession though, and when Hughes drove to the basket, he finished through a foul. The redshirt junior, clenched his fists and let out a roar. That’s what this offense can be — a Hughes takeover. But it didn’t last as he clanked the ensuing free throw.Girard III, New York State’s all-time leading scorer, sank his first bucket for Syracuse against Virginia, a 3-pointer in which the ball bounced off the back of the rim and in through the mesh. Kihei Clark, the Cavaliers star guard, frequently picked Girard III up at or before the half-court marker. Girard III crossed his defender up on a drive to the basket midway through the first half, drawing a resounding “ooo” from the crowd. As the freshman guard drove toward the baseline his kick out pass was far off from any white jersey and went toward the radio announcers. As the freshman dribbled around the top just beyond the three-point arc, an extra defender sometimes slid up to help out despite Bennett waving them back. Girard III then advanced the ball on to Dolezaj in the high post. With no man on him, Dolezaj scored once. Another time he looked for a skip pass. It soared over Buddy’s head in the opposite corner. Syracuse’s offense can be a Girard III or Buddy shooting show. On Wednesday, it was off the mark.“We’ve got guys that can shoot,” Boeheim said. “I’ve got to get them in better position to get them better shots, better looks and we’ll see how we can build in the next week or so.” Syracuse kept it close with Virginia all night. The shots just never fell. At some point, it all adds up. Or in Syracuse’s case, not enough added up.  Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 6, 2019 at 11:10 pm Contact Josh: jlschafe@syr.edu | @Schafer_44last_img read more