Sorry Orange fans of which I have been one for half a decade now. but I can’t give coach Boeheim any bows. Time and again I saw excuses that the team shooting was substandard compared with high quality teams featuring both depth and height as well as skillful ball handling– just plain smart coaching and expecting and seeing results from practice.
This year’s team played great defense and handled the offense well but made too many mistakes in dribbling and pass off slop. For a while their 3 pointers were going in about 1/2 – 3/4 season but then to collectively lose it which I believe to have been the result of exhaustion. The coach had little if any trust of his small back up bench players, never including them to build a support for the regulars. And except for a few guys, their foul shooting really stunk, especially in the final minutes when the result could easily be reversed. I counted the shots that were blown; I counted the times when fouls were made on 2-point lay-ups, adding pressure on the key stars who found it necessary to lay off being too aggressive. Just these two elements caused the loss of several games, not merely one or two and perhaps against teams like Duke and Virginia. So they make two pointers; so what? They didn’t turn it into a 3-point play.
A coach should make every effort to correct shortcomings and I named them. These caused the team to lose countless times when the difference between a win and defeat was less than 5 points. And just the foul shots missed would have been a rallying cry and inspiration for fans and players alike had most of them been made. Those misses leave the spirit down both for the players and fans.
I heard one team coach say a few of his players came early for practice to sharpen their foul shooting accuracy. Well, did Syracuse players do this? I don’t know.
My brother George was a 6-5 center and leading star in high school and used to shoot his foul shots underhand which was a common practice of the early days of the sport. I never remember his ever missing one. And look at the girls!! They seem to score just about every time. So is the problem one of skill or because they are tired out toward the end of the game, having to play most of all four quarters where the coach relies too much on his personal glory of achievement? One thing most learn serving their country is that team work and depending upon the whole group to work as a unified and trusted body is the best way to victory. Making excuses like I have read in the newspaper and in interviews is not building team success.
I guess I said my peace and that is the way I see it.