Dags Discusses

What just happened here? Nine days ago, the Syracuse Orangemen basketball team were in the midst of a 13-game win streak and seemed to have found an identity. Now, the Orangemen have lost two games in a row, getting outmuscled and outhustled by both Seton Hall and Pittsburgh. The freshmen, having hardly played for much of the season, suddenly logged 50 minutes against Pittsburgh. And Jeremy McNeil didn't play one second against the Panthers. This isn't how the script was supposed to look.

But this week will be a pivotal point in the season for Boeheim's Bunch. If anything, it might be an indicator of what to expect for the rest of the season.

Their next game is Saturday in the Carrier Dome against Virginia Tech. So they will have had a full week of practice to work out all the kinks. A week at home will probably have given them time to re-focus and allowed Gerry McNamara to rest his ailing groin.

Also, Virginia Tech (8-8) may be a perfect remedy for an ailing team like Syracuse. They can get back into a groove in a game against a lesser opponent.

If the Orangemen don't take the Hokies lightly and can come away with a victory, the UConn Huskies will be waiting for the Orangemen in Storrs on Monday. That will be the big test. There's no way Syracuse can walk onto UConn's floor and play the way they did against Pittsburgh. If they do, the Huskies will embarrass the Orangemen.

Last year's script of the Orangemen's season included pride and a knack for coming back when they were against the ropes. Right now, the team is in the corner and getting pounded with body shots. Will they go down hard? Or will they come out swinging? We'll find out a little bit of that after the next two games.

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