Monday, April 04, 2016
Jim Boeheim was praised for changing his strategy against Virginia, shifting to a press and turning the game around. He made no such chance against North Carolina, but even if he had, it wouldn't have mattered. All week leading up to this game, I was hopeful that Boeheim would use a different version of zone, essentially packing it in around UNC's excellent interior players and daring their suspect guards to shoot over the top. Clearly, that didn't happen in the first half as UNC missed every single 3-pointer (0-11) and made almost every inside shot. I was begging for him to change their approach and set up Cooney and Gbinije basically at the free throw line, and keep the wings down on the baseline instead of having them jump out to contest. But when Syracuse finally started to make a run, scoring 10 straight points to turn 57-40 into 57-40, Marcus Paige nailed an open 3. And every time Syracuse tried to get back in, UNC nailed another one. Missed their first 12, made 4 of the next 5. They just ran into a better team playing better. But we will always remember and appreciate the great tournament run they went on. I hesitate to call it a great season because it was actually so bad they almost didn't even make the tournament. But four great games in a row at the right time is very special. As are Trevor Cooney and Michael Gbinije. And with Malachi Richardson and Tyler Lydon, I feel a little more optimistic about the remainder of Jim Boeheim's tenure as the head coach. If only he would continue with the defensive adjustments.