In anticipation of Wake Forest’s game against Syracuse, we chatted with James Szuba of Nunes Magician about Tuesday’s basketball game. To read my answers to his questions, you can check out Nunes Magician HERE.
BSD: Syracuse made the Final Four last season and was 12th in Ken Pomeroy's preseason rankings. Yet they now sit at 11-9 overall, 3-4 in ACC play, and just 59th in Ken Pom. I realize that Syracuse has played a difficult schedule, but why hasn't this team lived up to expectations?
NM: For starters, the zone has not been up to par all season. Although it has improved steadily, it certainly isn't up to the level Jim Boeheim would like it to be. The first year players have struggled to adjust -- which includes the fifth-year seniors -- and the point guard play has been suspect all season. The zone and point guard play are the two biggest reasons for the lack of success.
BSD: This is the worst Syracuse team in terms of adjusted defensive efficiency of the Ken Pom Era (since 2001-2002). What has been the reason for this?
NM: Building off of the last question, a good Syracuse zone has sometimes been the best Syracuse offense in years past. That and the point guard play have hurt us mightily on the offensive end. Specifically on the offensive end, guys are more stagnant and there's been a lot of one-on-one. Tyler Lydon and Tyus Battle have emerged in ACC play but all five guys have to be on the same page.
BSD: Who do you believe is an X-factor for the Orange in this game?
NM: I'd have to say Tyler Roberson. When he's plugged-in, Syracuse is so much better on both ends of the floor. When he's not, Syracuse seems to struggle.
BSD: Tyler Lydon has been excellent as of late, with the exceptional of a dreadful showing against Virginia Tech. What has been the key to his success?
NM: Lydon is starting to shoot the ball more. He was hesitant early on but he's starting to realize that he has to score for Syracuse to be competitive. He's a tough matchup as a stretch four/five and he can hurt you from all three levels and he's been solid since Boeheim moved him from the small forward position.
BSD: What's your prediction in this one?
NM: Syracuse has been mostly solid at home so I'm going to take the Orange in this one. It won't be all for naught as Wake will keep things close, but I see Syracuse pulling away late.