Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on February 12, 2017 at 11:30 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschweds All Jim Boeheim wanted was to be even. His team surprised him against then-No. 6 Florida State when it won the rebounding battle. That led to an edge in second-chance points, 15-11, and on the scoreboard, 82-72.The Seminoles are the third-tallest team in the nation, per Kenpom.com. Pittsburgh, which outrebounded the Orange by 16 on Saturday, is the second. And when SU (16-10, 8-5) hosts Louisville (20-5, 8-4 Atlantic Coast) on Monday at 7 p.m. in the Carrier Dome, it’ll be facing the country’s 16th tallest team. But height doesn’t necessarily correlate to success on the glass. Syracuse has struggled mightily on the boards despite being the nation’s eighth tallest team.It may have just been the gauntlet that is the Orange’s ACC schedule that caught up to the team riding a five-game winning streak. After being outrebounded by 17 in the first half against the Panthers, SU’s sense of urgency on the glass reached a season-high.Syracuse has rebounded 65.5 percent of opponents’ missed shots, last in the ACC and 337th in the country, per Kenpom.“The boards were the story of the first half,” Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. “Down 17 at halftime and one differential in the second half. Rebounding was a problem.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textNot a single Orange player snatched more than two boards in the first frame against Pittsburgh. After the break, though, Tyler Lydon pulled down five while Tyler Roberson grabbed four. In the last 20 minutes of the game, SU recorded 16 rebounds compared to Pitt’s 15. The turnaround gave Syracuse a chance as it whittled a 13-point deficit to as few as three. But the damage had been done.Syracuse struggled, players said, because they were out of position as the ball bounced off the rim. They also needed to be more aggressive. The Orange displayed both its rebounding ceiling and floor on the same afternoon.“Just gotta be more physical,” Lydon said. “Look to just be aggressive on the boards. That’s what it comes down to.”Syracuse showed it could compete on the boards against some of the nation’s best teams by outrebounding Florida State by three and getting outrebounded by then-No. 9 Virginia by just one. SU has lost the rebounding battle in eight of its last 11 games and hasn’t outrebounded an ACC opponent by more than nine.“It’s not that hard (to rebound),” 6-foot-10 center Taurean Thompson said. “I have an advantage with length. I just have to move around, which I haven’t been doing.”Thompson is still honing the intricacies of Syracuse’s 2-3 zone and struggles to crash the glass offensively from the high post. Andrew White played guard throughout his career before a shift to forward. He averages 4.6 rebounds per game. Roberson has proven to be the Orange’s best rebounder, but he’s averaging 20.4 minutes per game.That leaves Lydon, Syracuse’s leading rebounder. But the Orange floundered when he got caught out of position against Pittsburgh. If the Orange wants to alter a season hanging on by a thread, winning the boards would be valuable.“Any time teams (win the rebounding battle), it’s tough to win games,” Lydon said. “You definitely take pride in (rebounding).” Comments
Sources: #mnwild aggressively pursuing Mats Zuccarello, Ryan Hartman https://t.co/1l2t9eZNJM— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) June 30, 2019Minnesota could benefit from getting more depth on the right side; Jason Zucker is their top right wing, but all signs point to him not returning as he has become the center of trade rumors. After Zucker, Kevin Fiala, who the Wild acquired at the deadline, and Luke Kunin are next on the depth chart.Pontus Aberg was Minnesota’s fourth-line right wing, but he was not issued a qualifying offer and will become a UFA as well. Kunin led all Minnesota right wings in scoring with 17 points in 49 games.MORE: A complete list of all 31 teams’ free agentsThat being said, Zuccarello and Hartman could easily fill voids in the lineup and also turn Minnesota into a top competitor. With free agency kicking off on Monday, the Minnesota Wild are reportedly prepared to make an aggressive push for Mats Zuccarello and Ryan Hartman.According to The Athletic’s Michael Russo, sources have indicated that the Wild are targeting the two UFA right wings. Zuccarello, one of the top RWs hitting the market, had 11 goals and 37 points in 46 games with the Rangers before being dealt to Dallas at the deadline. He played in two games with the Stars before an upper-body injury sidelined him for the rest of the regular season, but he made a triumphant return during the playoffs, registering 11 points in 13 postseason games for the Stars.It’s been a hectic few days for Hartman, who was “off the grid” while fishing for the weekend when the Flyers traded him to Dallas. The Stars didn’t issue him a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent.Hartman played in 83 games this season split between the Nashville Predators and Philadelphia; with Nashville, he had 10 goals and 20 points in 64 games before he was dealt at the deadline as part of the Wayne Simmonds deal. He went on to play in 19 games with Philadelphia, posting two goals and six points.