Syracuse zone to face tough challenge in No. 7 Villanova

first_img Published on December 19, 2014 at 3:45 pm Contact Jacob: | @Jacob_Klinger_ Syracuse’s 2-3 zone can be broken through the high post. It can be shot over from beyond the arc.No. 7 Villanova (10-0) gets to and scores from each area of the court better than most teams in the country. Syracuse (6-3) has to slow and stop the same Wildcats in its 1 p.m. tipoff on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.It’s a task that no team in the country has truly completed this year and one that looks especially difficult for the Orange. SU struggled to defend the high post and the perimeter in the first half of its narrow win over Louisiana Tech on Sunday and the Bulldogs highlighted the weaknesses with a series of alley-oops that hushed the Carrier Dome crowd.“I don’t like people dunking and stuff like that,” SU forward Rakeem Christmas said.Syracuse guards closing off the top of the zone and simply stepping to the perimeter ended Louisiana Tech’s aerial dominance. But while SU mainly worried about Bulldogs guard Raheem Appleby, Villanova boasts five regulars shooting above 30 percent from 3 this year. And junior guard Ryan Arcidiacono, who’s had a slow start to the season, shot 36.7 percent from 3 coming into 2014-2015.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHe’s an underperforming but established part of a backcourt that’s all but built to bust zones with a combination of penetration and sharp shooting. Down low, the Wildcats look to the 6-foot-11 Daniel Ochefu, a skilled passer in the high post who averages 9.4 points per game.“They do a lot, a lot of things well,” SU guard Trevor Cooney said, raising his eyebrows and leaning back in his chair by his locker. “… They’re not ranked No. 7 for no reason.”Ochefu and fellow forward JayVaugn Pinkston combine for an average of 18.5 points per game — 24.3 percent of Villanova’s average total. But the Wildcats are hardly dependent upon them. Syracuse gets 43.5 percent of its points from Christmas and forward Chris McCullough.In Villanova’s toughest test of the season, though, the Wildcats scored 30 points in the paint as they beat then-No. 19 Michigan, 60-55.After SU’s win against Louisiana Tech, Jim Boeheim bemoaned Syracuse’s perimeter defense, raising his voice to its loudest volume in the press conference when talking about a player who said he couldn’t cover a shooter because he was so far away.“He’s where you’re supposed to be,” Boeheim said.The fixes for the SU defense that let a Louisiana Tech attack score so easily in the first half Sunday seem simple: step to shooters, close up the top of the zone, and keep a big man back to protect that basket.But in Villanova the Orange faces a team that excels where SU struggles. The Wildcats place shooters all over the floor. They’re experienced too, with only one freshman getting regular playing time. The Wildcats put forwards in the posts, set to pass through the heart of Syracuse’s trademark defense.And they’re deep. Villanova regularly runs out nine players in a game.“We just need to go watch the film,” Christmas said after beating Louisiana Tech. “We’re going to go watch film tomorrow until all the bad things are behind us and get ready for Villanova and we’ll be fine.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

What we learned from Syracuse’s 85-68 loss to North Carolina

first_imgCHAPEL HILL, N.C. – For the fifth straight time, North Carolina got the best of Syracuse. The latest edition came in a Final Four rematch that the No. 9 Tar Heels (17-3, 5-1 Atlantic Coast) won, 85-68, over the Orange (11-8, 3-3) in the Dean Smith Center on Monday night. UNC outrebounded SU by 20 overall and 12 on the offensive glass, and a combined 30 second-half points from Tyler Lydon and Andrew White wasn’t nearly enough as the Orange dropped to .500 in conference play.Here’s what we learned from Syracuse’s 17-point loss.Even the Orange’s best showing away from home wasn’t nearly good enoughSyracuse has certainly laid some eggs away from the Carrier Dome this season, most notably a 50-point dud at Madison Square Garden in a two-point loss to Connecticut and a 15-point defeat to Boston College at Conte Forum. Add losses to South Carolina, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech and now UNC, and the Orange is 0-6 outside the Carrier Dome.Even though Monday night’s loss to the Tar Heels tied SU’s largest defeat on the road or a neutral court this season, head coach Jim Boeheim stressed the silver lining his team can take away from its eighth loss of the season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAfter all, SU shot 41.7 percent from deep and over 44 percent from the field. SU is still the best foul-shooting team in conference play (81.9 percent). And despite getting clobbered on the boards, Syracuse held UNC to below 30 percent from 3-point range and chipped significantly into double-digit deficits on several occasions.“I thought we played the best that we’ve played all year on the road. When you make a couple mistakes against them, they take advantage of it,” Boeheim said. “It doesn’t look like it with the final score, but I thought we showed a lot of good things.”Syracuse has a problem at point guard that doesn’t have a solutionFor the second straight game, John Gillon struggled on the offensive end. On Monday night, he shot 1-of-7 from the field and scored only four points. The difference from SU’s 23-point win against Boston College, in which the fifth-year senior scored four points on 1-of-6 shooting, was that this time Syracuse couldn’t afford it.“I know I didn’t have a big scoring night,” Gillon said on Saturday, “but we played such good defense I didn’t have to score at all this game.”On Gillon’s first shot of the game with only 1:07 gone, he had a floater rejected by Justin Jackson. Boeheim immediately summoned Frank Howard from the bench, who in short order returned to the sideline following a sloppy turnover near midcourt. He didn’t come back into the game.SU’s only other option at the point is Battle, but bringing the ball up would restrict his ability to attack from the wing. So when asked what Gillon did to earn 38 minutes to Howard’s one, Boeheim answered bluntly.“What’s the difference?”Andrew White is still fairly one-dimensionalEven though White scored 15 points, 12 of them coming in the second half, they all came on 3-pointers.White continues to struggle creating his own shot, and is often the benefactor of screens and his ability to find an open space when his teammates are pressured. Rarely have we seen the fifth-year senior create his own jumper off the dribble or finish a drive to the rim.“(Justin) Jackson did a great job,” Boeheim said of the UNC forward who guarded White. “White had at least four really good opportunities getting to the basket and nothing happened.”Granted, he’s still providing SU with substantial scoring numbers, but the expansion of his game would do wonders for a Syracuse offense that couldn’t do enough to overcome rebounding woes against the Tar Heels. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on January 16, 2017 at 11:16 pmlast_img read more

Zlatan’s Farewell from the Swedish Fans: I’m Sweden, I love you!

first_imgZlatan Ibrahimovic performed last night for the last, 116th time, in the jersey of Sweden.Sweden was defeated by Belgium with the score 0: 1, which meant their farewell from the Euro where Zlatan did not manage to score a single goal, after the last three tournaments of the best European teams, when he entered the list of the best scorers.Zlatan got a huge applause after the match, and he decided to also thank the fans via Facebook.“I came from this place people call “ghetto Rosengard”, conquered Sweden and made it my country. My way. I am Sweden. A huge thank you to the Swedish people – without you I would never have been able to fulfill my dreams. You will always be in my blue and yellow heart. I love you,” stated Zlatan.Ibrahimovic scored 62 goals in the jersey of Sweden.(Source: E. B./ EPA)last_img read more

Man City star loves Balotelli and thinks Man United bought best

first_img 5 5 2. James Rodriguez – Real Madrid – Click the arrow for more – Following an unbelievable World Cup, there was little doubt that Rodriguez would be included in this list, but in what position? The Colombian was the second player listed by Toure, who described Real Madrid’s £63m signing as “a fantastic one”. 5 5. Mario Balotelli – Liverpool – Click the arrow for more – Yaya Toure saved a special mention for his friend and former team-mate Mario Balotelli, who joined the Merseysiders from AC Milan for £16m in the summer. “I hope he is going to do well with Liverpool because he has been involved in a few problems in the past year,” Toure said. “I think this year he is coming more mature and he can control all of that,” he added, claiming Balotelli is one of his great friends, “like my brother”. 5 4. Alvaro Negredo – Valencia – Click the arrow for more – The fourth name from Toure was another team-mate – Alvaro Negredo – who left the Premier League champions for Valencia on loan in the summer. “He has been brilliant for us this last year and I think he will be a great move,” he explained. “We will be sad to see him go because he was one of our top strikers in the last year. Of course he had a couple of events and he needed to go back to his country, but I think we are going to miss him a lot.” 1. Angel Di Maria – Man United – Click the arrow for more – Perhaps a little surprising was the first name Toure mentioned – Man United’s British record signing Angel di Maria. The City midfielder named the former Real Madrid man as one of his best signings of the summer, but will he be as welcoming when Di Maria and co. head to the Etihad this weekend? 3. Radamel Falcao – Man United – Click the arrow for more – A surprise inclusion, Toure showed little hesitation in naming Man United’s £6m loan acquisition Radamel Falcao among his top summer signings, saying: “He is a great striker, unbelievable.” This weekend marks an already pivotal stage in the season as Man City and Man United face off in the 168th Manchester derby – LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on talkSPORT, Sunday 2 November from 1pm.With United trying to return to former glories and reigning champions City looking to remain in the title race, it promises to be a feisty affair, but that hasn’t stopped City hero Yaya Toure from praising their bitter rivals.Speaking to Nissan, the Ivory Coast international was asked to pick his top five summer transfer window signings, with some surprise inclusions.Click the arrow above to see who he named.Nissan are the official automotive sponsor of the UEFA Champions League 5last_img read more