Men's Basketball

3 things Jim Boeheim said on the ACC coaches teleconference before the Virginia Tech game

Jessica Sheldon | Staff Photographer

Jim Boeheim praised Virginia Tech's depth, saying that the Hokies can still be dangerous even if Seth Allen doesn't play.

Before Syracuse (10-6, 2-1 Atlantic Coast) heads down to Blacksburg to face Virginia Tech (12-3, 1-2) on Tuesday at 7 p.m., Jim Boeheim hopped on the ACC coaches teleconference Monday afternoon. Here are three notable things the SU head coach touched on coming off his team’s two-game winning streak.

Boeheim should’ve tempered his expectations early on

In hindsight, the SU head coach wishes he would’ve taken a more realistic approach when viewing the outlook of this year’s team before the season started. He told ESPN’s Andy Katz before the season that this Orange team was one of the best he’s had in a while, but the first 14 games certainly didn’t pan out like that as Syracuse struggled to an 8-6 start.

Half of SU’s rotation players — John Gillon, Andrew White, Tyus Battle and Taurean Thompson — are in their first year at Syracuse. Boeheim has repeatedly harped on that factoring into this year’s team moving at a slower pace when it comes to adapting to “what Syracuse is trying to do,” especially with the principles of the 2-3 zone.

On Monday’s teleconference, Boeheim specifically pointed out his two graduate transfers, noting that college experience and learning how Syracuse operates specifically are two different animals.

“The biggest surprise for me was how long it takes fifth-year guys to figure out what we’re trying to do. It takes time,” Boeheim said. “I should’ve been more cautious with this team.”

John Gillon looking for his own shot

After four straight games scoring in single digits, the Orange’s new starting point guard posted 20 points against Pittsburgh on Saturday. That came after a game in which he dished out 11 assists, a total he matched against the Panthers in his first double-double at Syracuse.

There was a four-game stretch earlier in the season, spanning from Syracuse’s loss to South Carolina to SU’s loss against Connecticut that Gillon took a combined 11 shots. Granted, he wasn’t playing as much, but the fifth-year senior hoisted a season-high 16 in Saturday’s game alone and hit six, all 3-pointers.

“Pittsburgh game was different. They were giving him some opportunities, some shots and he scored the ball,” Boeheim said. “He really stabilized our offensive team.”

Praising Virginia Tech’s depth

The Hokies play eight, and all eight average double-digit minutes per game while none averages over 31.1 and six average at least 26.

“The one thing with Virginia Tech is that their depth is really good,” Boeheim said.

Five players average over 10 points per game, led by Zach LeDay at 16.3 and Ahmed Hill at 15.3. Seth Allen, who shoots over 55 percent from the field and 43 percent from 3 in 26.6 minutes per game, may not play Tuesday. According to VT head coach Buzz Williams, Allen was still in the concussion protocol Monday morning and Williams was unsure if he’ll be ready for the game against Syracuse.

Even without Allen, Virginia Tech boasts more depth than SU has been playing with the past two games, something that the Orange has proven isn’t necessarily part of a winning formula.

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