The Downside- Old Dominion | Syracusefan.com

The Downside- Old Dominion

SWC75

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- It was the first long, sad drive home after a loss this year. The football team, the basketball team and the women’s basketball team had been undefeated in the Dome: zero losses in the fall semester before today.

- A subject that comes up often for the football team each year, (but hopefully not for a while) is “moral victories”. I always point out that it’s an absurd team. What would an immoral victory be? What we are really talking about is that we want two things out of every game: victory and optimism. We want to get the W and feel that there are a lot more W’s to come. If you get the W but play poorly you figure you were lucky you weren’t playing a better team wonder what will happen when you do. If you lose and play well, you come away feeling that with that performance, there are a lot of other games that you will win. If you lose and play poorly, you wonder how many upcoming games we’ll even have a chance to win. Those are the options: 1) an encouraging victory; 2) a discouraging victory; 3) an encouraging defeat; 4) a discouraging defeat. This was #4 because we played like #2, if you know what I mean. This just isn’t the team we thought we were going to see this year and they aren’t improving. We were supposed to have a team with last year’s strengths enhanced by additional depth and firepower. Instead we have a team that doesn’t even seem to have last year’s virtues.

- The goal of being curious, rather than nervous on selection Sunday is fading away. Even curious may be replaced by pessimistic or resigned at some point. I wanted us to have single digit losses at that point and thought this team would be capable of that. Instead, we will probably be no better than 9-4 in the pre-conference season. We’ve never done anything in the ACC tournament so that’s a 5th loss. We aren’t going 14-4 in the ACC regular season. It may be a struggle to go 9-9, which would make us an 18-14 team. Those #1 teams we had early in the decade seem like a long time ago.

- The most frustrating thing is that we are the country’s most famous zone team but we seem to have no idea how to attack a zone. We look like some of those NCAA teams we’ve beaten over the years that have never seen a zone, or at least our zone and look totally clueless as to what to do. You either need to have an intermediate passer at the high post or maybe to the side that he’s already penetrated the zone before he got the ball and can score from there or pass it to the baseline or back out for a three or you need to get swift, efficient ball movement, probing for a weakness in the zone. We have a weakness in the zone and that is that our center is supposed to cover the corners rather than stay home and ODU got the ball to those corners. They’d either score from there or pass underneath for an easy score. We have the perfect guy to be an intermediate passer in Marek Dolezaj but we don’t use him in that role. Instead we either settle for threes or try to drive into the zone from outside. The guy with the ball got double-teamed every time we did it and every time the center set a pick, there were two guys around him, too. The result was a 23-39 finish in the last 15:46 after we had a 39-28 lead. In that stretch we had 7 turnovers, missed 7 of 12 field goals 6 of 16 free throws.

- Coach Boeheim has often expressed his frustration with his centers and this game won’t change anything. Paschal Chukwu and Bourama Sidibe played 32 minutes, got off exactly one shot, which was missed and scored no points (0 for 2 from the line). They did manage 7 rebounds and two blocks. Ahmad Carver had 7 rebounds in 35 minutes for ODU and he’s a 6-2 guard. It’s not entirely the big guy’s fault. They were often left to battle 3-4 guys by themselves as their teammates went downcourt. But they were often out-positioned and out-muscled.

- Oshae Brissett was back in his New York mode, staying outside, jacking up three pointers and being too far from the boards where he could really help us. Our double-double machine had 9 points and 6 rebounds. When he did go inside he missed 4 of 5 two point shots and 1 for 3 from the line. Both those last two numbers are bad. When he’s playing well, Oshae gets 8-10-12 free throw attempts and makes most of them.

- Frank Howard was 2 for 7 from the field and had 3 turnovers. Boeheim yanked him in favor of Jalen Carey who looked not-ready-for-prime-time, especially with a bad turnover that caused Jim to tell him “I didn’t put you in there to turn the ball over.”

- I wish there was stat for who winds up with loose balls. It’s as important as rebounds or turnovers and we would have lost it big today.
 

sugrad68

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You bring up a good point. ODU got almost all the loose balls in the 2nd half. Once ODU stopped turning the ball over SU was in big trouble. We had 3 consecutive trips downcourt fairly early in the 2nd half where we had turnovers, one an alley-oop to Chukwu that had no chance for success. On another, Carey just threw the ball out-of-bounds. These turnovers allowed ODU to quickly cut the lead and it was all uphill for SU after that. It's hard to lose a 13 point lead and lose by 6. Boeheim has some things to figure out quickly.
 

Madbiker

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JB keeps recruiting the same type of centers. Toothpicks who get muscled and shoved out of position by stockier players, have no offensive skill, and have no hands to catch the ball. Since we have have had such a run of these I assume these are the qualities he is looking for in his center recruits.
 

SoBeCuse

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JB keeps recruiting the same type of centers. Toothpicks who get muscled and shoved out of position by stockier players, have no offensive skill, and have no hands to catch the ball. Since we have have had such a run of these I assume these are the qualities he is looking for in his center recruits.

Long limbs.
 

tbonezone

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i don't think the 2003 team appeared in the polls until january but they moved up every week.
this team is sliding backwards. not good . and the schedule is going to get much tougher. it's possible these early losses will toughen us up down the stretch. but we're running out of rope.
 

bballbeadle

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A neighbor who used to play on the team WITH Boeheim back in the day told me that Frank had major surgery on his - what? - ankle? Did we know that? What we do know is that Frank is not close to being Frank.

They came out flat and they seem to come out flat every game. I don’t understand the flatness. My neighbor was actually confident that the team could play better. Usually he is critical, so I was surprised to hear him say it.

Speaking of critical, I think I’m going to have to talk to the father of the 17 year old sitting next to us. He’s impossible and making it hard for everyone around us. If you hate the team so much, stay the F home.

SWC, I “liked” your assessment, which was dispassionate. You acknowledged difficult truths. #4 is indeed what we experienced today. It is very hard to go from feeling so happy and confident about our season to this jarring reality. But the story of this season is not written yet, and there may be some surprises and even happiness around the next bend.
 

blust2i3d4

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Almost all underdogs today put a good fight. Many won today. It is the holiday spirit. I wish we had played an easier game today like Arkansas State.
 

SWC75

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Almost all underdogs today put a good fight. Many won today. It is the holiday spirit. I wish we had played an easier game today like Arkansas State.


I hope that one turns out to be easy. Nothing seems to be easy for our team.
 

sugrad68

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i don't think the 2003 team appeared in the polls until january but they moved up every week.
this team is sliding backwards. not good . and the schedule is going to get much tougher. it's possible these early losses will toughen us up down the stretch. but we're running out of rope.
The ACC is weaker this year than it's been since SU joined the league. Notre Dame, Miami, Clemson, Boston College, Wake Forest. Pitt, Louisville, and possibly NC State are not as strong as they've been in recent years. Not that it matters to SU. We can lose to any team in this country. But the victories are there if the team wakes up.
 

kingtidge

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The ACC is weaker this year than it's been since SU joined the league. Notre Dame, Miami, Clemson, Boston College, Wake Forest. Pitt, Louisville, and possibly NC State are not as strong as they've been in recent years. Not that it matters to SU. We can lose to any team in this country. But the victories are there if the team wakes up.

If we can find a way to do it the hardest way possible, we will.
 

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