The Syracuse Orange tipped off their season with an embarrassing performance against defending national champion Virginia Cavaliers on Wednesday night. Syracuse scored 34 points, going 13 of 55 (23.6-percent) from the floor and making just 5 of 29 (17.2-percent) three-point attempts. They even shot below 50 percent at the line. It was... utterly macabre. So what inspired such an uninspiring performance? Well, Carmelo Anthony, of course.
Melo briefly addressed the team before they went out and scored two points in the game's first 11 minutes. What a perfect footnote to a horrible night for Syracuse basketball. In case you were curious, Melo's career-high at Syracuse was his 33-point performance against Texas in the Final Four.
As for this team's performance, coach Jim Boeheim blamed the scheduling, calling playing league games at the start of the season "stupid" and a "money grab." Via Syracuse.com:
“You have to schedule games for TV, for the TV contract. So you got to play games early. Then someone had the brilliant idea of opening up the first game with a league game. I just don’t think it’s good. I don’t think it’s smart. You want to build up to the league. The league is the most important thing, so why would you play the most important game of the year in the league? It make no sense to me.”
Syracuse doesn't face Virginia again until January, so they should be ready to break 40 by then. They should be able to get things cooking over the next few weeks as they host Colgate, Seattle, Cornell, and Bucknell. Then in late December they have Oakland, North Florida and Niagara. I'm almost certain that none of those schools are sending intramural teams.