SYRACUSE, N.Y. - It was a privilege to watch Jim Boeheim - the second winningest active coach in the nation - operate the last couple days.
It wasn't as entertaining to watch Boeheim's 10th-ranked Syracuse squad smother UNI by 22 points Friday night.
This game featured an almost freakish discrepancy in shooting, as UNI shot just 18.2 percent (6-for-33) from 3-point land overall and Syracuse shot 65.2 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes. Panther fans can point to that stat for their glimmer of hope.
Of course, Syracuse had a big hand in on the Panthers' woeful shooting display, as the hosts forced UNI to shoot from beyond the arc. Boeheim's patented 2-3 zone was, in a word, impenetrable.
UNI (0-1) will shoot better down the line, and it won't face a team anywhere near as talented as Syracuse until its Christmas trip to Las Vegas.
Still, Friday exposed some eye-opening problem-areas for the Panthers.
First of all, the Panthers miss the great post presence 7-footer Jordan Eglseder was, but, as Kwadzo Ahelegbe put it late Friday night "Jordan's not gonna be here this whole thirty-some games. We need to focus on what we have now."
Secondly, the hesitancy to shoot by several Panthers Friday night has to be a bit worrisome to the UNI coaching staff. Kerwin Dunham went 1-for-4 on the night, despite playing 24 minutes. He's a senior now. He must be more aggressive.
Finally, UNI's 3-point shooting is reason for at least modest concern. Yes, Friday was only the season opener, but the Panthers also shot just 23 percent from beyond the arc throughout the exhibition slate, too. Aside from Johnny Moran's 4-for-11 performance from the perimeter Friday, UNI's other guards went 2-for-16 from 3-point territory.
The Panthers have plenty of time to round into form before their Dec. 29 conference-opener against Missouri State. But Friday's beating by Syracuse was a sobering slap in the face.
- My cab driver late Friday said he wasn't a huge basketball fan. Yet, the second he heard I was from Iowa he asked "Whatever happened to that Ali Fa-rook-manesh guy?"
- The Panthers, who missed 27 3-point attempts, probably missed Ali pretty badly too on Friday.
- Friday's men's game drew a massive, raucous crowd of 22,198. Then, a half-hour later, the Syracuse women tipped off in the Carrier Dome, against Northeastern. ... There MIGHT have been 500 people left in the place.