Fun While it Lasted…

22 Jan


20-0 was great.  21-0 was supposed to be next, and most thought with relative ease baring any unforeseen circumstances or an incredibly hot night from Notre Dame and an uncharacteristically cold night for the Orange.  Well all three of those happened Saturday in South Bend.

I woke up this morning to the news that Fab Melo did not make the trip with the team to Notre Dame because of what we would later find out to be an unresolved academic issue.  This is where it began.  Then the game started, and before you knew it, SU was down 11-2.  Exactly the start that they needed to avoid.  The crowd was going crazy and Notre Dame was feeding off of it.  Notre Dame also started the game on fire, hitting their first four field goals, three of them being from three.  Normally, this would be expected from a Notre Dame team.  Growing up, all the Notre Dame teams were great outside shooting teams, but this year that was not the case.  When Jerian Grant banked in a three late in the first half, I just knew it was going to be one of those nights.  This continued throughout the game as Scott Martin who coming into the game was shooting 8%, yes 8%, from three in Big East play was 2-2 from three.

The Orange didn’t help themselves at all either shooting a season worse 34% from the field.  Their patented transition game put up a big goose egg, and they continued to get crushed on the boards.  From the get go, something just felt off in this game.  I have to go back to not having Fab Melo.  This was a huge key in Notre Dame success because the Irish dominated down low.  Also, a lot of Fab’s blocks will lead to transition buckets for the Orange and he also is known to draw a charge or two each game.  There is also the mental fact of losing a teammate and having to put that in the rearview mirror and stay focused on the game.  This is not easy to do for some of the players on the team, and it showed tonight.

This team has been real fun to watch all year, tonight they were far from it.  Now I don’t want to overreact to just one game, also a game where we were missing our starting center and a game where Tim Higgins was in the building.  The game at Cincinnati on Monday night will be an even tougher one than this, but again, we can not overreact even if we were to go out and lose again Monday.  I really hope this Fab Melo thing gets straightened out and he is back on the court a week from today against West Virginia.  If not, SU will have to start making adjustments.  I have some ideas on that, but I would rather wait until I’m in full blown panic mode and I know what the situation is with Fab.  So let’s just chalk this up to a one, maybe two game thing, and hope this team gets back to wowing us with its play.  A nine point loss on the road to a decent team that played above average and a game where you played your worst game of the season means you are still a pretty damn good team.  So take is easy Cusenation, we will be fine. 20-1 doesn’t sound as great as 21-0, but its still a hell of a start to what we hope turns out to be a championship season.



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