Deeper Dive: Notre Dame Offense Too Much for Syracuse

Breaking down Syracuse's loss at Notre Dame.

Top Performer: Tyler Lydon had his second straight monster performance on the road against a ranked opponent. He finished Saturday's matchup against Notre Dame with 24 points on 7-13 shooting, 10 rebounds, two assists and a block. Lydon was easily the best player for the Orange. He scored with outside jumpers, on the low block and even flashed his mid-range game. He is looking more and more like a potential lottery pick. 

Bottom Feeder: In just 11 minutes of action, Tyler Roberson grabbed only one rebound, scored zero points, turned it over twice and committed four fouls. For Syracuse to be successful, they need Roberson to play well. This type of performance is not going to cut it. 

Stat of the Game: Notre Dame finished the game with 20 assists on 29 made baskets. Syracuse had just eight dimes on 23 field goals. That statistic exemplifies the ball movement that the Irish used in order to get open looks all afternoon, while also showing how Syracuse is not playing together. 

Turning Point: Syracuse gained a little momentum going into halftime with a quick 5-0 run. They opened the second half with a Lydon dunk that cut the lead to seven. Notre Dame, however, responded with a 13-3 run to push the lead to 17. Syracuse would not cut the lead to single digits the rest of the game. 

He Said It: "We can't win with three guys against anybody. We have to have more guys. I can't even describe how disappointed I am in a couple guys on our team." - Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim on John Gillon.

Five Takeaways:

  1. Overshadowed in the two losses this week has been the play of Tyler Lydon. He has been fantastic. Against North Carolina and Notre Dame, he averaged 25 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 56% from the three-point line and 67% overall. He has been fantastic in both efforts, though neither were enough to pull out a win. The more he plays like that, the less likely it is that he returns. 
  2. Tyus Battle is trying to be more assertive offensively, and that is a very good thing. Even though he was just 6-14 shooting against Notre Dame, he still had 17 points, got the free-throw line and got into the lane for quality looks. Once he comes a little more consistent finishing around the rim, he will take that next step in his development. 
  3. When Roberson is not "plugged in Robey," Syracuse has a huge disadvantage inside. Taurean Thompson is not good enough defensively right now (he picked up four fouls in nine minutes against ND), and Dajuan Coleman does not have enough defensively to make an impact. Coleman was OK against the Irish, contributing five points and seven rebounds in 23 minutes, but all of the leg injuries have zapped his explosiveness. Against athletic bigs, he really struggles.   
  4. The point guard position looks to be a weakness for the rest of the season. There just do not seem to be any answers. John Gillon played poorly against the Irish in limited minutes, with zero points and only one assist in 10 minutes while looking lost on both ends at times. Frank Howard had a better game than in recent memory with four points and four assists, but he still made mistakes and turned it over three times. Meanwhile, Notre Dame's Matt Farrell finished with 15 points and nine assists. If things do not get better with Howard, does that mean Syracuse needs a grad transfer and/or a recruit to take over the position for next year? That is very possible. 
  5. Notre Dame is a very good offensive team, but the Syracuse zone is just sloppy. Hands are down routinely, they do not get deflections, there are far more openings than can be remembered in recent years and opposing teams seem to be able to get whatever shot they want. It is arguably the worst defensive team in the Jim Boeheim era, and the team just does not seem to have any interest in playing it. 

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