On February 19th, the Syracuse Orange woke up with a 25-0 record. That night, they lost to a 6-19 Boston College team, and since then, they’ve lost two of their last three.
The Orange now stand at 26-3, with only two games remaining on their regular season schedule. Just two short weeks ago, Syracuse seemed like a lock for the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, now they’d be lucky if they get any of the four #1 seeds.
The reason for Syracuse’s poor play recently, is the recent decline in the performance of their top players.
For this team, everything starts and ends with C.J. Fair. In Syracuse’s 26 wins, Fair has shot 44.03% from the field; in their three losses, he has shot just 35.42%. Fair has gotten off to some bad starts in recent games and he is noticeably pressing, just trying to get something going. He is a very talented player and needs to relax and let the game come to him, because he has teammates who can step up when he is off his game. For example, Tyler Ennis.
The freshman Ennis propelled himself into the national spotlight a few weeks ago in a game at Pittsburgh, when he hit a half-court buzzer beater to save Syracuse’s then-undefeated season.
Ennis has shown himself to be a very reliable player who doesn’t crack in big spots. He currently ranks ninth in the nation in Assist-Turnover Ratio, at 3.35, and he is scoring about 12 points a game.
If Fair and Ennis can pick up their play, the rest of the team will follow suit. Syracuse has Jim Boeheim, one of the best coaches in the country, to make sure that happens.
The good news for Syracuse is that they have time to fix their issues before the tournament. The bad news is that time is starting to wear thin.
Gut check time is coming, and it starts on Tuesday night, Syracuse’s final game this year at the Carrier Dome. They take on Georgia Tech, before they head to Florida State on Sunday to wrap up their regular season schedule before their first ACC tournament.
Will Syracuse solve their problems? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.