3 things Dino Babers said: ‘Don’t bet the house’ on Syracuse beating Clemson, Cordell Hudson and the bye week

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Dino Babers addressed the media at his weekly press conference on Monday ahead of Syracuse’s (4-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) matchup with No. 3 Clemson (8-0, 4-0) Saturday at 3:30 p.m in Death Valley. It was the first time Babers spoke since last Wednesday’s Atlantic Coast Conference teleconference — his only media availability during the Orange’s bye week.Here are three things Babers said.‘Don’t bet the house’ on Syracuse winningBabers described Clemson as “different” from any football team he’s seen. He said the Tigers have no weaknesses, are extremely talented and have a lot of guys that will be millionaires some day.Clemson is undefeated, boasts the 11th best scoring defense in the country and the 26th best scoring offense. The Tigers won the ACC championship last year and lost in the national championship game to Alabama.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBabers said Syracuse would have to play its best game for a shot at a win, Clemson would have to play “not its best game,” and the Orange would need to get several bounces to roll its way.“Then maybe, maybe we get a chance,” Babers said. “Maybe. But don’t bet the house on it, brother.”Bye week and this week’s scheduleBabers opened his press conference running through what the Orange staff and players did during the bye week last week and its schedule for the current week. Here’s what he noted.Syracuse held early practices on Monday and Tuesday at around 6 a.m. following the win over Boston College. Then the players had off through Saturday.“We still wanted to practice the underbelly of the team,” Babers said, “get our threes and twos a lot better, but at the same time we have to get our ones healthy because we’re playing games from the beginning all the way to the end.”The assistant coaches spent the week recruiting, reviewing film of Clemson while they were on the road. Babers went to Texas A&M on Thursday to watch his daughter play volleyball.The coaching staff reconvened on Saturday and started putting together the game plan for Clemson on Sunday. They’ll finish it up tonight.Practice resumed on Sunday with Monday as the normal day off. The players will practice Tuesday through Thursday before the team flies to South Carolina Friday night.Cordell Hudson is not out for the seasonStarting cornerback Cordell Hudson has missed the last two games because of injury. He was notably missing from the pre-Clemson depth chart released Monday.Babers said Hudson is “not a guy that’s out for the entire year.”“It’s a medical thing,” Babers said. “It obviously has to do with when he feels better. … We don’t want to put people back in until they absolutely feel like they’re ready to go. And when the medical people give us the clearance, he’ll be back in.”Redshirt freshman Christopher Fredrick has started in Hudson’s place while he’s been out. Comments Published on October 31, 2016 at 1:14 pm Contact Jon: jrmettus@syr.edu | @jmettuslast_img read more

Fortier: Syracuse’s season is in critical condition

first_imgATLANTA — Jim Boeheim sat in the folding chair in the back corner of the visitor’s locker room, his right leg folded over his left and blankly examined the stat sheet in front of him.Everything had gone so wrong. On a night when his team had needed to be at its best, the Orange seemed further than it had all season from generating any half-court offense. Syracuse (15-7, 4-5 Atlantic Coast) lost, 55-51, to Georgia Tech (11-11, 4-5) on Wednesday night in a crushing blow to its postseason chances.Syracuse’s season is in critical condition.The way the Orange played in its GT loss combined with a lack of signature wins, a lack of road wins and an increasing lack of chances to earn either puts this team on the brink of missing the NCAA Tournament. Boeheim refuses to prognosticate on any season, which is fair enough, but his team now finds itself in a deep, deep hole without any margin for error.“Man, we’re not looking at it like that,” point guard Frank Howard said. “We’re competitors. This is what we come here for, for challenges like this. We want to prove ourselves.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“This is the ultimate test for us. We’ll be ready.”Consider the schedule.Syracuse probably needs to win four or five of its remaining nine games to make the NCAA Tournament. Kenpom.com gives the Orange a 50-50 shot or better in three of them, at home against Wake Forest and North Carolina State and on the road at Boston College.SU also needs to beat at least one of the six teams left on its schedule currently projected as “in” by Bracketville, the most accurate projection site in the past five years, because Syracuse has yet to beat a team in conference play that looks to be solidly in the NCAA Tournament. Bracketville has Syracuse listed in the “Next four out” category.Last year, the NCAA Tournament committee left out an 18-14 Syracuse team that upset three Top 10 teams down the stretch because it only mustered two road wins. This season, SU has two, but neither will impress the selection committee. Its only conference road victory came against Pittsburgh, the ACC’s worst team by far. Even that was a struggle; Syracuse didn’t pull away until late in the second half. This means the Orange needs to win at least one, though likely two, of its final four road games — Louisville, Miami, No. 4 Duke and Boston College — and the easiest target, BC, toppled then-No. 1 Duke on its home floor earlier this season.Yet no one in the locker room seems nervous. Especially not Tyus Battle.“We’ve got a tough Virginia team next, then we go to Louisville,” he said. “We’re going to get two really good wins.”Consider the offense.It encompasses three players who play almost every minute of every game. It relies on one-on-one dribble penetration. It operates without set plays — Boeheim said they wouldn’t make the shots off them if they got the looks anyway — and therefore it deploys a lot of high pick-and-rolls, which rarely results in a pass to the rolling big anyway.Syracuse, in conference play, has allowed totals of 51 and 55 and lost because offensive impotence overwhelmed elite defense. Boeheim called the GT loss a “classic example of that.” The reductive offense makes Syracuse predictable and allows opponents like Georgia Tech to shut off one aspect of the game and worry about little else.Yellow Jackets head coach Josh Pastner told his players Syracuse’s three scorers — Oshae Brissett, Howard and Battle — loved isolation plays and driving one-on-one. So, GT enacted a simple plan.“Every time (one of their players) drove, he’s seeing bodies,” GT wing Josh Okogie said. “We did a good job kind of stopping the drives. That’s half the battle.”Consider the roster.Syracuse needs a herculean effort and it has two guards. This team had a third until a practice injury sustained Monday sidelined freshman point guard Howard Washington for the year.The other players outside the three scorers have proven unable to carry the offensive load when their teammates are stifled. Geno Thorpe, the grad-transfer scoring guard Syracuse brought in at the beginning of the season who then quit, is currently tied for the Orange’s fourth-highest points per game (6.0) numbers this season.Now, Syracuse waits on forward Matt Moyer to return to his regular minutes after an ankle injury has limited him in the last week. It waits for forward Marek Dolezaj to find a balance between passing and scoring from the high post. It waits to see what it can expect from center Bourama Sidibe on a nightly basis to ease the load from starting big man Paschal Chukwu. It is a team waiting on a lot of things that cannot afford to wait on anything.“They played only about six guys,” Okogie said after the GT game. “It’s hard to win with just six guys, no matter who they are.”In the locker room after Wednesday’s loss, Battle sat in the chair in front of his locker with ice bags taped to both knees. When asked about the situation Syracuse finds itself in, Battle looked up and said, without hesitation, “I love it. It’s going to be tough, but you live for challenges like this, especially when you’re a competitor. I’m going to be ready for it.”Really, you love it?“Yeah,” he said. “Yeah. I really do.”Battle might not love how the season ends if Syracuse loses even one more game it shouldn’t. The Orange is not quite finished, not yet, but they’re way down in the hole.A comeback is possible, because it always is, but climbing out of this seems, at the very least, improbable.Sam Fortier is a senior staff writer for The Daily Orange where his column appears occasionally. He can be reached at sjfortie@syr.edu or @Sam4TR.  Comments Published on February 2, 2018 at 12:12 pm Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more