Thursday, March 25, 2010

Anatomy of an Upset:

You want to know why Butler WON tonight's game? Syracuse lost it.

I know that wreaks of sour grapes, but it's true.
And don't get me wrong...I'd have killed to have Butler lose it.
But they didn't. Syracuse did.

18 turnovers to 7. Syracuse was lazy, undisciplined, and lacking any touch on lob passes into the paint.
That's just the start of what went wrong.
In a word: pathetic.

1) Jim Boeheim was outcoached, completely. Not that this ever surprises me anymore. Calhoun, Dixon, and Pitino have been outclassing him in the Big East for years now.
2) Wesley Johnson isn't assertive enough to create his own shot. His raw athleticism is amazing, but he did NOTHING after a nice 3 that gave Syracuse a BRIEF 41-40 lead. He may be a top 5-pick, but if he can't learn to create his own shot...bye bye relevancy in the NBA.
3) A 7-man rotation that goes to 6 - after AO's injury - showed the pathetic lack of depth on Cuse's bench. (Believe me, I don't blame DeShonte Riley one bit. Not his fault.) Pay knew it (I hated to agree, but he was soooo right), that Boeheim was playing with fire with such a short bench; especially if an injury occurred to one of his bigs. Lucky for the Cuse, AO is injury prone!!!
4) Rick Jackson is NOT someone you run your offense through. The game plan was AWFUL tonight. Jackson touched the ball far too much. He was uncomfortable, turnover prone, lazy on defense (probably due to being exhausted), and couldn't grip the basketball anywhere near the paint. Pathetic performance from Rick Jackson, who deserves a reign of boos next time he enters the Carrier Dome.

Of course, I'm INCREDIBLY dissapointed as a fan. I didn't have 100% Final Four aspirations, without AO, if Kansas State was waiting for us. However, I didn't want a season I invested so much time in, to end so poorly. I'd love to throw a few words in front of poorly. Man, would I ever.

To the victor goes the spoils. An impressive final 5 minutes, to say the least, for the Bulldogs.

But props to Butler. They made stops, hit deep 3s very late (lucky bounces or not), contained Jackson with relative ease, and made Rautins work his butt off. Syracuse had little to no chance to get second-chance opportunities on the offensive glass, force turnovers due to the zone extending, or get the fast break going.

Funny thing is, Butler didn't shoot lights out either (40% from the field, 25% from 3). Far from it. They didn't need twelve 3s or 30 trips to the free throw line to win. Syracuse beat themselves by failing to execute on the offensive side of the ball. A minor tweak may result in 2 or 3 nice possessions, only until things broke down yet again.

Obviously the point is, Syracuse played a pathetic game. With a pathetic game plan. With pathetic coaching. Outside of an above average opening stretch in the second half, I could sadly see the writing on the wall. No lead lasted long, even 54-50 with the under 4-timeout. Of course, the inbound play led to a turnover, a Butler deep 3, and an 11-0 run! Great adjustments Jimmy!!!

I knew it all too soon in the second half. This game would end in all too unfamiliar fashion.
It wreaked of that infamous Vermont game in 2005.

Up 54-50, Syracuse stalled completely. Killing any momentum by holding onto the ball too long on multiple possessions (after STOPS, no less). Why on EARTH did Boeheim allow the team to force BAD shots by Scoop Jardine (really?) late in the shot clock, allowing Butler time to settle their defense in, rebound poor shots, and then hit shots of their own on the offensive end??? Why not call a timeout and map out an offensive gameplan. Maybe one through Johnson, Rautins, or Joseph (who looked like his 2008-self) and NOT Jackson or Jardine. Then of course, the aforementioned turnover and 11-0 run came after the 4-minute timeout. No surprise Brad Stevens had a better game plan for the final 4 than Jimmy, right?

A team of overachievers just underachieved.
And I want real answers. From Boeheim.

Unfortunately, much like the Vermont-loss in 2005...I won't get any (answers).

I'll just get Gus Johnson unabashedly rooting for underdogs to hit deep 3s.
At least he doesn't hide it, I guess.

Utterly embarrassed to be a Syracuse fan right now.
I'd feel better if I were a Jayhawk fan right now, I think.

Now I'm going to stop pouting, grow up, and move on.
At least I didn't break anything...expensive.

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