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Plenty of blame to go around for Syracuse’s three-game slide

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(USA Today Sports Images)

Syracuse lost its third straight and second consecutive home game after falling 58-52 to Louisville on Saturday and there seem to be plenty of theories bouncing around about what is ailing the Orange.

Is it poor guard play or ineffective centers? Maybe its just one of the toughest Big East Conference schedules catching up with them or option D; all of the above. Regardless, coach Jim Boeheim is searching for answers with the regular season's final week looming and tournament time to follow.

Guards Michael Carter-Williams and Brandon Triche combined to make just five of 21 shots (1-for-7 behind the arc) against the Cardinals , who seem to be trending in the opposite direction down the stretch this season. Syracuse's starting back court has scored just 58 combined points in the losing streak while committing too many turnovers and failing to get to the foul line.

Centers Dajuan Coleman Rakeem Christmas and Baye Moussa Keita combined for two points and six rebounds against Louisville. It's not surprise the Orange lost considering those numbers. The Syracuse Post-Standard pointed out that Orange centers have been missing in action in all six Big East losses, averaging a miniscule 4.5 points and nine rebounds in those games. They have failed to combine to score 10 points in any of those games.

“We’d like to get some more out of the center position,’’ Boeheim said.

That might happen if Coleman can start to earn more minutes. He returned from injury Saturday and didn't score or grab a rebound, but he only played 3 minutes. He had missed more than a month following minor knee surgery.

“The thing that bothers me about our centers is they’re in position to get rebounds they don’t get,’’ Boeheim said. “They get a rebound and miss a layup. Layups aren’t that hard. This is college basketball. They’ve got to be able to make a layup. You’ve got to be able to catch the ball and dunk.’’

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