After starting the season with 25 consecutive victories -- including a stirring 91-89 overtime win against Duke, Syracuse looked like a lock for a No. 1 seed. But after losing five of their last seven, the Orange have many wondering which team will show up at the NCAA tournament?
So what happened? Let’s look deeper in the numbers:
6: Number of times Jerami Grant had at least 10 or more rebounds during Syracuse’s winning streak. That’s also before Grant went down with back issues. In the five losses, Grant’s reached double-digits in rebounds just once, that coming in the loss to N.C. State in the ACC tournament.
7: Number of Orangemen to appear in at least 30 games. Did the wear and tear of a long season begin to take its toll on a team that doesn’t appear to have a very deep bench? And how much did that thrilling overtime victory against the Blue Devils sap Syracuse – which is a pedestrian 6-5 since Feb. 1?
8: Number of times Syracuse allowed a team to score more than 60 points in that 25-0 run. Since then, the Orange have allowed more than 60 points five times – all losses.
10: Number of 3-point baskets made by sharp-shooter Trevor Cooney in the past seven games, out of 51 attempts. That’s a 19.6 shooting percentage, well below his season average of 37.7.
18: The difference in 3-point baskets made by Syracuse’s opponents and the Orangemen in the past seven games. That’s 51 additional points from the perimeter against a team that’s No. 10 in the country in scoring defense, but only 198th when defending the arc.
18.8: The field-goal shooting percentage for Syracuse leading scorer, C.J. Fair, in the loss to the Wolfpack. He’s averaging nearly 17 points per game – but was held to nine by N.C. State.
38.1: The percentage of field goals made by Syracuse in the past seven games. That’s more than seven percent below their season average, which is only 45.4 percent.
38.8: The 3-point shooting percentage of Syracuse opponents in the past seven contests, more than five percent better than what the Orangemen allowed during their unbeaten streak.
254: Syracuse’s Division I ranking in points scored per game. The Orangemen are averaging 68.8 per contest, but have exceeded that number just once (74 in the win against Florida State) since suffering their first loss on Feb. 19 against Boston College.
Syracuse is a team that prides itself on a stingy defense and an offense that grinds out points in a methodical fashion. But as the numbers show, teams are now beating the Orange from the perimeter and Syracuse hasn’t been able to make enough buckets to keep pace.