Still looking for its first win outside of the Carrier Dome, Syracuse (13-9, 5-4 Atlantic Coast) will try to cure its road woes in PNC Arena against North Carolina State (14-8, 3-6) on Wednesday at 7 p.m.SU head coach Jim Boeheim joined the ACC Coaches Teleconference on Monday afternoon and reiterated that SU has looked better of late, highlighted by an upset of then-No. 6 Florida State on Saturday. Yet, the Orange has played like a different, far more inferior, team on the road.Here’s a brief recap of Boeheim’s comments on Monday.The difficulty of transitioning John Gillon and Andrew WhiteIn coaching 41 different Syracuse teams, Boeheim has plenty of experience in transitioning players to fit his system. Most often that transition has been from high school basketball to college, allowing Boeheim plenty of freedom to mold players how he wants. With fifth-year transfers Gillon and White, that sculpting process was substantially more difficult.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“In some ways it’s almost easier to work with a freshmen,” Boeheim said, “because they don’t have any built up, learned behaviors. It’s been much more difficult than I would’ve thought (with fifth-year players)”Both Gillon and White endured their own obstacles as the Orange navigated the first half of its season. White’s shooting ability has stuck with him, but he struggled to find his correct placement in the zone. Gillon shared some of those same defensive struggles, but his hardships have more clearly been illustrated when trying to run the offense.Turnovers and careless ball movement have stagnated Syracuse’s offense at times, and Gillon has drawn the public ire of Boeheim plenty of times. Gillon has still started the last eight games. And against the Seminoles, the Colorado State transfer scored 21 points and dished 11 assists as he strung together one of his best performances of the season.“Andrew White figured it out earlier. I think he’s been pretty solid all year,” Boeheim said. “… I think John Gillon took a while, (but) I think he’s back playing at a much different level now.”Looking ahead to the WolfpackFreshman guard Dennis Smith Jr. has not only been N.C. State’s star — he’s been one of the best players in college basketball’s deepest conference. Smith Jr. leads the ACC with 6.5 assists and 2.2 steals per game, complemented by his 19 points per game, which ranks fifth in the conference. Without any doubt, he’s the player SU needs to worry about most.N.C. State has also been one of the steadier shooting teams in the ACC. The Wolfpack’s 47.7 percent shooting clip from the field is fifth-best in conference play. After beating only Pitt and Virginia Tech in its first seven ACC games, N.C. State pulled a stunner and upset Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium last Monday. They’re more than capable of getting the same result against the Orange on Wednesday.“When they play well, they can beat anybody,” Boeheim said. “They’ve demonstrated that.”Can Syracuse be fixed on the road? Boeheim thinks soIt was only a matter of time before one reporter on Monday’s teleconference questioned Boeheim about Syracuse’s dramatic home and road splits. The head coach ran through the basics that have been beaten down: Poor defense, OK offense, no wins.But then it was posed to Boeheim: Can those problems be addressed at this point in the season?“We’ve fixed it,” Boeheim said. “Our defense is better. Our offense is better. We were much better. But the last two road games against North Carolina and Notre Dame, they’re tough teams to beat at home anyway.“I think we’re better. Is it good enough? That’s what we’ll see. I don’t know that. I don’t know if it is or not.” Comments Published on January 30, 2017 at 1:36 pm Contact Connor: firstname.lastname@example.org | @connorgrossman Facebook Twitter Google+
Following a 7-0 sweep of San Diego State, the No. 22 USC women’s tennis team prepares for a matchup with its crosstown rival, No. 20 UCLA. The Bruins will come to Marks Stadium on Saturday for a noon tilt with the Trojans. The match, however, will not count toward Pac-12 play.But despite the fact that it doesn’t have direct conference implications, pride will be at stake, as is the case with any matchup between the Trojans and Bruins. The match has significant weight towards the annual Crosstown Cup, with the winner of Saturday’s match taking home 5 points (out of 10 allotted for the sport) for their school. USC has won the Crosstown Cup 10 out of the past 15 years, but the Trojans are currently trailing 45-35 to the Bruins. A win this weekend against their historic rival would help the Trojans’ cause significantly.The Bruins are led by freshman Ena Shibahara, currently ranked No. 3 in the ITA rankings, and No. 91 redshirt freshman Jada Hart. Both women have been selected as Pac-12 Player of the Week recently, with Hart getting the honor on Jan. 30 and Shibahara a week later on Feb. 6. The doubles team of Hart and Shibahara is currently ranked No. 12 in the country. The doubles team of Hart and junior Terry Fleming is also ranked at No. 38. Before their match with USC, UCLA will host Pepperdine on Friday in Westwood.The Trojans have time to wait and prepare for the Bruins. With a 7-0 sweep of San Diego State nearly two weeks ago, the Trojans improved their record to 3-1 on the season. Despite its win over the Aztecs, USC slipped from No. 18 to No. 22 in the ITA rankings. Junior Gabby Smith, went from unranked to the No. 25 singles player in the country. Smith, currently riding a nine-match win streak will look to keep the train rolling. Smith’s impressive run has included beating five ranked opponents. Other Trojans in the ITA top 100 include sophomore Jessica Failla (No. 61), senior Zoë Katz (No. 62) and junior Madison Westby (No. 82). In the ITA doubles rankings, the pair of Katz and Westby rose from the No. 27 to the No. 14 ranking. USC has two other ranked doubles teams including Katz and Smith (No. 47) and Failla and sophomore Rianna Valdes (No. 55).In a historically close matchup, USC has a slight lead over their rival Bruins with a 50-44 all-time record. In their last matchup with UCLA in April 2016, the Trojans defended their home court with a 4-1 win that sent USC to the Pac-12 Championship.Weather conditions on Friday led to a cancellation of USC’s matchup against No. 1 Florida, and the match will not be rescheduled. With 17 days between their win against San Diego State and their match against their rival from Westwood, the Trojans will be well rested, while the Bruins will have to recover quickly from their match on Friday.