Jim Boeheim: Syracuse has lost five of seven, but he’s not worried
It’s laughable to think about now, but the pundits, being pundits, looked at 25-0 Syracuse and wondered aloud to themselves and the rest of us about the Orange running the table, about the ACC being a cakewalk, et cetera.
It all looked better when the ‘Cuse went down to Florida State to close out the regular season and dominated the Seminoles in a 74-58 win. Jerami Grant had missed the UVa. and Georgia Tech games, but he was back at full strength for the FSU tilt.
Grant had 19 points and 10 rebounds in Friday’s ACC Tournament quarterfinal against NC State. That was the good news. The bad news: teammates CJ Fair and Tyler Ennis shot a combined 9-of-34 from the field in a 66-63 loss, the fifth in seven games for a reeling Syracuse team that has clearly played its best basketball, unless you ask coach Jim Boeheim his opinion on that matter.
“I don’t think that we played that poorly. I think we shot the ball badly, and it’s hard to recover when you’re not shooting the ball well, it’s very difficult to win,” Boeheim said.
State, still a long shot to get an NCAA bid, had Syracuse on the ropes in the teams’ only regular-season meeting, a 57-55 loss in the Carrier Dome in February in which the Pack blew a late lead. Grant played in that game, too, and his absence in the UVa. and Georgia Tech losses only magnified the lack of depth for Boeheim, who played Grant and Fair all 40 minutes Friday night and also played Ennis 39 minutes.
The lack of depth will hurt Syracuse as its focus turns to the NCAA Tournament, though again Boeheim disagrees on that point.
“I’m not concerned about our team,” Boeheim said. “I think we played well all year. I think we struggle shooting it. I think that’s pretty well documented. But in spite of that, we won 27 games. So I’m pretty pleased with what these guys have done. And I believe that we’ll be a very good tournament team.”