The notoriously slow starting Syracuse basketball team will have to overcome a demon that plagues college basketball teams all across the nation throughout the season: a long layoff.
By the time Syracuse and Louisville tip off in the KFC Yum Center this weekend, it will be a full week since their last outing against Villanova. For a team that has a reputation of starting games off slow this season, this is a terrible time for for such a game between games to occur. Syracuse really has no injuries, and unless the Orange can get James Southerland eligible this week, there is nothing about this situation that is positive or beneficial to this team.
So how much will it affect the Orange? Hopefully not much. But one can’t help but notice that the last time the Orange had a long layoff, they struggled mightily offensively on their return, scoring just 57 points against a lowly Alcorn State team. Syracuse had a lot of scoring droughts in that game, and it took Syracuse a while to pull away in that game, despite Alcorn State scoring just 36 points the entire game.
Now your guess is as good as mine if the week layoff led to the Syracuse offensive woes in that game. Personally, I don’t think it was a coincidence that their worst offensive performance of the season came after a week long break. This situation is a little different because the Orange will be practicing all week, where the week leading up to the Alcorn State game was a holiday week over Christmas break.
Still, I think it’s fair to say the average Syracuse fan is petrified of a slow start for the Orange Saturday down in Louisville. Should Syracuse have a sluggish start to the game, they very easily could face a double digit deficit early on, and that is tough to recover from, especially against a quality team like Louisville.