Syracuse basketball roundtable: Florida State, Tyler Roberson and more

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 1, 2016 at 9:16 pm With one last regular-season game at Florida State on Saturday, Syracuse (19-11, 9-8 Atlantic Coast) remains on the NCAA Tournament bubble.Though SU nearly knocked off No. 8 North Carolina on Monday night, it has lost three of its last four. Beat writers Sam Blum, Jesse Dougherty and Matt Schneidman discuss three topics surrounding the Orange as it nears postseason play.1. What must Syracuse do to beat Florida State on Saturday, a game many are considering a must-win?Sam Blum: This goes back to the age-old answer of the season: The Orange probably needs to shoot pretty well to win games. The Seminoles play a couple of trees down low and have multiple offensive threats. But this game is a battle of the bubble, and if the Orange can knock off a fellow dweller twice in one season that’ll be very important come Selection Sunday. The Orange showed on Monday that it can play well, even when it doesn’t play even close to its best game. An effort like that would probably be enough to beat FSU.Jesse Dougherty: Obviously Syracuse needs to shoot well from the perimeter (per usual), but these teams’ last meeting showed the Orange will have a good chance to win if it limits Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley’s scoring opportunities. The freshman pair forms a two-man scoring machine for the Seminoles, but SU held them to four combined points in the second half on Feb. 11 after they scored a collective 21 in the first. The Orange put up 85 points on a spotty FSU defense in that game, but how much SU can limit the Seminoles’ backcourt will be the key in Tallahassee.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMatt Schneidman: I’m not sure if Syracuse can again shoot a blistering 62 percent from the field like it did the last time it played FSU. Let’s be honest, that’s not going to happen. But a more realistic formula for the Orange to pull off a vital game is to contain the two-headed freshman monster of Bacon and Beasley. Last time out, the Orange held the pair to below their season averages. The FSU bigs aren’t much of an offensive threat, so neutralizing its potentially lethal backcourt could lock up a spot in the NCAA Tournament before heading to Washington, D.C. for the conference tournament.Liam Sheehan | Asst. Photo Editor 2. Syracuse nearly knocked off national championship contender UNC with Tyler Roberson going for nine points and 11 rebounds. How much production must Syracuse get from him each game for the Orange to make a postseason run?S.B.: It feels like Syracuse has played a long slew of games in which its opponent has been interior-focused. SU needs Tyler Roberson plugged in every game, since it’s so evident what he does for a team when he’s playing well. Getting points on the offensive glass and being the only Orange jersey in a group of players and still getting a board is something he’s a pro at. When he doesn’t play well, it’s hard to imagine Syracuse doing much of anything down the stretch of this season. Having him around a double-double would be ideal.J.D.: Since Syracuse only lost by five on the road to the Tar Heels — widely considered one of the best teams in the country — I think it’s safe to say that something around nine points and 11 rebounds (or more simply 10 and 10) is what the Orange needs from Roberson. UNC collected 19 offensive rebounds on Monday, the most SU has given up this season, but Syracuse grabbed a respectable 12. Roberson was responsible for half of those, which proves the SU offense has a whole new layer when he is aggressive on that end.M.S.: Roberson is Syracuse’s best option to battle with an opponent on the boards and if 11 rebounds is what Jim Boeheim “expects,” just imagine if he could go off for a couple more and actually draw some legitimate praise from his head coach. Sure, there were some outliers of late were Roberson wasn’t his usual self on the glass. But the key with the junior is finishing. He’ll almost always log near double-digit rebounds, but it’s when he converts those offensive boards into second-chance points of his own that Syracuse receives an extra boost.3. How can Syracuse win games against NCAA Tournament-caliber teams when it shoots poorly from 3?S.B.: Syracuse shot 5-of-20 from 3 on Monday and still almost beat the nation’s No. 8 team on the road. When one thing doesn’t go well, another thing must. Playing good defense, and stopping second-chance opportunities is crucial. Getting second chances and making free throws is too. It’s certainly possible for Syracuse to win without making 3s, but it isn’t possible if the Orange is taking more than 30 3s. If it isn’t working, then SU players like Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinije and Malachi Richardson should look to get to the basket, something they’re all capable of.J.D.: To still be effective offensively, which would be necessary to win in this situation, the Orange has to get to the rim and draw fouls. Both Gbinije and Richardson are very savvy off the dribble, and Cooney has also shown the ability to mix up inside on offense. No, Syracuse didn’t beat the Tar Heels on Monday, but it came within five points because SU went to the line 23 times and made 19 free throws. There are a lot of ways to compensate for poor perimeter shooting, and getting to the stripe for high-percentage scoring opportunities is a very tangible one.M.S.: Syracuse is just going to have to hope that Tyler Lydon and Roberson can assert themselves on the inside and Dajuan Coleman can chip in eight points or so. Oh, and there’s that thing called defense, which Syracuse isn’t too bad at. The Orange needs to hold an NCAA Tournament caliber team to 65 or fewer points and get some inside scoring if it wants to save its season in March when the long ball, hypothetically, isn’t falling. Commentslast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *