Welcome Guest. Login/Signup.
ACC Sports Journal Logo

Orange's Bench Shallowest Of Contenders

Thursday, March 20, 2014 5:47pm
  • Kevin Rivoli/AP
     Kevin Rivoli/AP

Syracuse’s short bench has become one of the bigger narratives surrounding the Orange, particularly after they dropped five of their last seven games down the stretch. Coach Jim Boeheim’s hesitation to go to his bench is staggering, as only three reserves — DeJuan Coleman, Baye Moussa Keita and Michael Gbinije — play more than 10 minutes per game.

We wanted to see just how shallow Syracuse’s bench is compared to the rest of the top teams in the country, so we ran the numbers to check it out.

Below is a ranking of the percentage of minutes played by a team’s traditional reserves, in reverse order. Through the course of the season, certain players will start some games in place of the usual starters for various reasons, but this ranking excludes the five players who made the most starts for each team.

Fewest Percentage of Minutes by Traditional Bench Players

1. Syracuse - 21.3%

2. Wisconsin - 22.6%

3. Arizona - 27.3%

4. Michigan - 27.8%

5. Iowa State - 28.5%

6. Creighton - 30.1%

7. Kansas - 31.3%

8. Duke - 31.8%

9. Villanova - 32.1%

10. San Diego State - 32.7%

11. Florida - 32.8%

12. Virginia - 33.6%

13. Wichita State - 34.2%

14. UCLA - 34.8%

15. Michigan State - 38.7%

16. Louisville - 39.2%

As you can see, Syracuse’s reserves played fewer minutes than any other team who received a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament. Only Wisconsin was particularly close to the Orange.

Below is a ranking of percentage of points scored by reserves, also in reverse order. This data was compiled excluding the five players who made the most starts per team.

Smallest Percentage of Points by Traditional Bench Players

1. Syracuse - 13.6%

2. Iowa State - 19.2%

3. Wisconsin - 20.3%

4. Michigan - 23.4%

5. Arizona - 24.8%

6. Villanova - 25.2%

7. Louisville - 25.5%

8. Kansas - 25.7%

9. Creighton - 26.8%

10. Duke - 28.0%

10. Wichita State - 28.0%

12. San Diego State - 30.7%

13. UCLA - 32.0%

14. Michigan State - 32.3%

15. Florida - 32.8%

16. Virginia - 34.7%

Syracuse’s bench scores far fewer points than Iowa State’s bench — which is the second-least productive set of reserves among the top four seeds in the tournament.

So, there you have it. Syracuse does, indeed, have the shallowest bench of the 16 top national title contenders. When playing two games in three days for potentially three consecutive weekends, depth becomes a big factor in March. That’s one area the Orange are severely lacking.