Countdown to Football Frustration

Next Frustrating Hoops Victory

Next Lacrosse Annihilation

Apologies around for the lack of a posting yesterday. I was up to my eyeballs in work and crime fighting. Plus, I was preparing for my hot dog eating contest with Terry Schiavo.

Lacrosse

Big win against the Statesmen on Tuesday evening in Geneva. There are stories abound.

The SU Athletics recap.

Box Score

Inside Lacrosse story.

Post Standard story.

Fish out of water?

Rochester D&C ink.

Daily Orange was there. And penned a feel-good story. I need a man-sized tissue.

Syracuse has apparently run out of Powell's and is struggling. Nice to see this story arrive after back-to-back victories.

Another Perritt on his way to Syracuse.

Hoops

Warrick is a Wooden All-American.

Devendorf McDonald's All-American.

Football

More spring notes.

The D.O. rocks.! And rolls! And rocks some more!

Wow, that's an ultra-dumpy posting. Just have to do better next time.

18 Straight and Counting

Football

Coach Robinson rocks! But really, are the new practice uniforms nothing more than putting makeup on a pig? Even if you polish sh*t, it's still sh*t.

The Daily Orange is a newspaper, too. How does Robinson feel about instant replay?

Sportsline has a bunch of stories on the Orange. Here and here.

You can't arraign LAPD, can you? Who would've thought that students would have a different view of the vicious beating Brown took than the assailants. I'm shocked. In other news, the world spins on its axis.

Basketball

In the "This is News?" category, Hakim selects an agent.

The pressing question as to Warrick is where his stock will end up with guys like Andrew Bogut, Charlie Villanueva, and Hassan Adams having made their intentions known to enter the draft. If the influx of underclassmen continues over the next few weeks, the question of "potential v. prior performance" will ultimately determine where a GM will select the high flyer.

Buch of stuff from Sportsline. Here. Here. And for the Nelly fans, herre.

Lacrosse

Game Day
Syracuse @ Hobart
7 PM - Boswell Field
TV: Time Warner Sports
Radio: WAER 88.3 FM; ESPNRadio 1260 AM;
On the Web: Syracuse ISP; WAER; WEOS; LaxPower Blow-by-Blow

Of course, SU Athletics have yet to release any game notes as of this posting. The game is only 9 hours away.

Update: Syracuse Athletics has released this mediocre attempt at "game notes." Just 5 hours until face-off. If you're looking for some hardcore .pdf notes, today is not your day.

Update: Syracuse Athletics has finally released some game notes. Let the record show it is now 4 hours prior to face-off. A new low.

The Post Standard uses as little ink as possible to preface the great Upstate battle.

Even Rochester is getting into the hype today. I'm surprised they even recognized the 'Cuse/'Bart throwdown with Nazareth having a behemoth game tomorrow.

And the Daily Orange is solid as always with their player profiles. If SU is going to down the Statesmen tonight, it'll have to be on the back of the Orange Fox.

Tuesday = Updated NCAA lacrosse statistics. Hooray for nerds!

Maybe a preview later today if I can polish off the metric ton of work I have sitting in front of me.

Miscellaneous

I love this game!

Lion Roar! The only saving grace of state schools are the ridiculously well-run athletic departments. All the more reason to laugh at Penn State.

Book 'Em, Dano

Football

Looks like Eugene Brown pulled himself a Diamond Ferri last night. The Post-Standard even decided to put it in the newspaper.

Pasqualoni always had the mantra of recruiting good citizens as well as solid athletes. Obvisouly, recruiting one of Los Angeles' finest men in blue is a no-brainer.

Snap Decision: The "I'm LAPD!" quote is now sky-rocketing ahead of the underage broad who got busted for boozin' in 44's and told the cop that "her daddy was a lawyer." Just terrific.

Tackling, eh? That's so crazy, it just might work.

Lacrosse

Not a lot of new news today. Here's the Daily Orange recap, and here's one from Oswego (yes, they can apparently read out there).

D.O. also has a nice feature on Mike Leveille in their edition today. Woe is Bill Tierney:
"Leveille," Princeton head coach Bill Tierney said with a sigh, "he ain't a freshman. He is, but he isn't. Here we go again, starting to face a guy for four years and he's pounding three on you his first year."
Puck Frinceton.

Syracuse is headed to Hobart tomorrow night for their annual schallacking at the hands of the Orange. Of course, neither SU Athletics nor any other major media source has yet to put out any game notes. But here's some info to satisfy your lax fix:

Hobart Media Guide
2005 Hobart Statistics

Quick Note: Hobart should not be a push over this season. The Statemen whacked Rutgers this past weekend and dropped a heartbreaker to Georgetown two weeks ago. The Orange close defense is going to have to show up on Tuesday night if they want to walk out of The Boz with a victory.

Hoops

Is Mike Hopkins moving down Siena's list of preferences? You have to think Hopkins is on somebody's short list somewhere. He's too good of a recruiter to simply be biding his time on the Syracuse bench until Boeheim yields the throne.

Eric Devendorf is piling up the accolades. This stands in stark contrast to Andy Rautins' accolades, which consist of tying his shoes by himself.

Miscellaneous

From the Christian Science Monitor: College Sports Television. Rest easy, there are no references to Terry Schiavo.

Too Easy, Drill Sergeant!

Lacrosse

10+ goals: Check.
3 Leveille goals: Check.
Active Steven Brooks: Check.
Bucktooth Assists: Check.
Contain Doneger: Check.

Overall, a pretty good effort yesterday from Syracuse. Except for Peter Trombino's hat trick to start the 3rd period and Danny Brennan's miserable day at the face-off X (only 4 of 16), the Orange really took Princeton behind the woodshed for a 10-8 victory. Hopefully, this is the medication needed to turn the season around.

The next issue for Desko to resolve is the lack of assists on the offensive end. 10 goals on only 2 helpers?

Allergic to reading? Here are the video highlights.

Inside Lacrosse story is here.

The Post-Standard dutifully covers the Orange.

Binghamton has a newspaper.

Woe is Princeton. You'd think Bill Tierney had scheduled Godzilla and Rodan by his statements. The Trenton Times has the local ink.

Hoops

I thought I hated townies. Turns out, I hate out-of-townies even more.

Football

Couple months on the job and Robinson has already erased any semblence of the Pasqualoni regime.

It's Uge!

Saturday's game at Princeton is so big, you don't need the "H." Tom Rock over at Newsday weighs in. And here's the men's lacrosse notebook from the Long Island rag.

Joe Beninati pens a piece that'll make you scratch your head and wonder if he's been drinking gasoline. Jay Pfeifer is a question mark for Desko? He's only lost 1 playoff game his entire career.

Let me write that again. He's lost only 1 playoff game.

I'm pretty sure he can step up in big situations. I'd be a little more concerned with the offense's lack of production and the rash of turnovers plaguing the team.

The folks over at the Daily Princetonian put out their Good Friday ink. Puck Frinceton.

So, you say reading is overrated? News 10 Now will fix you up right with some video of the wounded Orange.

Shakedown
Saturday is going to be a classic struggle. If Syracuse can get into double digits, the Orange should walk out of Jersey with the "W." The question is, how does Desko get 10+ tallies out of the Syracuse offense.

Last week, Mike Leveille showed all the talent he has in that lanky frame. Staying active with and without the ball in his crosse, the young attackman torched a stingy Hopkins defense (surrendering just under six goals per game) with five tallies. Leveille should expect to score no less than three times on Saturday. If he does, all the offensive dominoes should begin to fall into place.

The last few seasons, Syracuse has had a tremendous feeder on attack. Whether it was Banks, Powell, or Coffman, there was an assist machine in the orange and blue. Brett Bucktooth must step into that role this season. Bucktooth, however, has only been averaging 1.75 assists/game, and that's not cutting the mustard. If SU's fortunes begin to turn this weekend, it's because Bucktooth (and the underwhelming Steven Brooks for that matter) have turned the corner.

On defense, the Orange's fortunes turn on how Ditzell and Panarelli handle Princeton's Peter Trombino and Jason Doneger. Princeton is very young on attack and run a NyQuil offense. Princeton is going to control the bean, and the Syracuse defense must remain patient and not settle for an overplay. If SU can slow down Doneger and Trombino, Scott Sowanick may have too much of the offense to shoulder to be successful.

Prediction: Syracuse: 14 Princeton: 9

Basketball

"We did not expect it to end the way it did but you have to give Vermont credit because they played a great game."
Someone has been lying to you, Ross. You don't have to give anything to Vermont, especially credit. Give 'em the old Bill Self treatment. Unsportsmanship Now!

Apparently Josh Wright isn't going anywhere soon. Can you really be in Boeheim's good graces? I think it would be easier to teach English in downtown Miami.

Can Saint Bonaventure really be in a recruiting battle with Syracuse? If you're keeping score at home, this brings the all-time total to:
Syracuse: 1
Bonaventure: 0

Just as I thought, Syracuse is the basketball hub of the universe. In other news, I s*** daisies.

Everybody's Workin' for the Weekend

This is a carnivorous blog. No vegetables allowed. That means you, Terry Shiavo.

Ka-zing!

Anyways, the lacrosse news is fairly plentiful today. Praise Allah. Here's the shakedown on National Orange Day:

Syracuse @ Princeton
1 PM - Class of 1952 Stadium
TV: CSTV; Time Warner 26
Radio: WAER 88.3 FM; ESPNRadio 1260 AM; Moneytalk AM 1350
On the Web: Syracuse ISP; WAER; Princeton; LaxPower Blow-by-Blow

The SU Athletic Department actually put out some game notes before gameday. Huzzah! This rivalry has really blossomed since the early nineties when Bill Tierney began setting the game back by decades with his stop-motion offense. Put on your boots, it's going to be a war.

Here are the game notes put out by the Tigers. Fear not, they're not written in latin.

How big is this game? The Baltimore Sun is weighing in with a preview. And this is Hopkins/UVA week. It's amazing SYR/PRN is getting any ink down south.

This story deserves a Paul Pasqualoni "special teams." With Syracuse's goals scored per game average down about 5 tallies an outing from last season, it's imperative that the Orange close defense tighten up on the man-down or Princeton will run wild.

Speaking of stats, here's an updated collection of them from the NCAA.

Toilet Bowl, eh? Well, Pfiefer has it half right. If Syracuse loses this weekend, that's where the lacrosse season will be headed.

Jason Doneger is a dork. The only thing the Syracuse asks of its lacrosse studs is to not get punched in the face by Johnnie Morant (sorry Mike Springer).

In the world of basketball, it looks like Jim Boeheim is getting desparate and calling on a legacy. This essentially is working out as a Rautins for Edelin trade. At least there'll be scholarship bodies on the bench....

And the Big East is going to be cutting edge football in everything but talent. Terrific. Just what I wanted. More downtime added to an already boring football product.

Privacy Schmivacy

Today's Best of the Web
Official reason for the Wrights/Edelin's absence for The Debacle: violating team rules. Hopefully it's nothing more than just coming up short in the classroom. Or they firebombed a mosque in Mosul. One of the two.

I really hate people. Especially freaky old people who need a hobby that isn't fawning over the young.

Attention Eric Devendorf: Lead us to glory.

And Hakim's an All-American. I averaged about 10 turnovers a game as an intramural stud, where's my kudos?

The Pearl is still shining.

Get your Regional tickets. Or do what I'm doing: getting loaded a urinating on buildings.

Football recruit Mike Owen has an interesting tale. Diversity in student population, Mike? I don't think having students from all the major towns on Long Island counts as diversity these days.

If I polish off my work for the day, maybe a Princeton preview to come. Nothing like the excitement of winless PU versus a struggling SU squad mired in a 1-3 stretch.

Evening Quickie

Extra! Extra!

Read all about it!

Matt Glaude is an insufferable Syracuse Apologist!

Extra! Extra!

Is it just me, or does the Post-Standard's coverage of Syracuse University pale in comparison to that of the D.O.? It's pitiful. Anyways, here's a good read from today.

Ugh, Pace and Warrick want pay-for-play. Maybe they aren't satisfied that their $120,000 education was picked up by the university athletic department.

How the hell are the people in Auburn still fired up about the debacle? Holy cripes, cool your jets.

Wait 'Til Next Year

With the disappointment of 2004-2005 Orange hoops officially history, it’s time for a glance into next season. With all the roster changes that will be taking place within the revamped Big East this offseason (read: Charlie Villaneuva/Francisco Garcia/etc. to the NBA) there is very little that can be concretely assumed regarding where Syracuse will finish next season. However, it can’t hurt to take a glimpse at what Coach Boeheim will be trotting out onto the court when practice opens next October.

Projected 2005-2006 Roster of Scholarship Players:

G: #B. Edelin (Sr.)
E. Devendorf (Fr.)
*T. Mayben (Fr.)
L. McCroskey (Jr)
G. McNamara (Sr.)
^J. Wright (So.)

F: M. Gorman (Sr.)
D. Nichols (Jr.)
T. Roberts (Jr.)
#D. Wright (So.)

C: A. Onuaku (Fr.)
D. Watkins (Jr.)

# = Likely leaving program
* = Likely attending preparatory school
^ = Potentially leaving program

Preface
As it stands right now, it appears likely that Tiki Mayben will not be enrolling at Syracuse when the academic year begins next August. Currently, Mayben has yet to gain a qualifying score on his college boards. Considering the disciplinary issues that has plagued the young point guard the past two seasons, a year in preparatory school may be just what the doctor ordered for Mayben to find his niche as a scholar-athlete.

Dayshawn Wright and Billy Edelin may have played their last games in orange. Edelin has all but released himself from his scholarship, and I cannot foresee Coach Boeheim putting up with the daily drama that has been the Edelin Project. For everything that Edelin provided on the floor during the championship run, his personal affairs have permanently diluted any talent he can bring to the roster.

In regards to Dayshawn Wright, Mike Veley saw more time on the hardwood than Dayshawn did this season. Wright would have been in the rotation next season, considering the dearth of rebounding presence Syracuse will have, but it appears as if Wright believes he should be used in a more prominent role.

All I can say is have some fun at Mid-Major University. Say hello to De Shaun Williams and Tony Bland for me.

Until Boeheim comes clean as to why Josh Wright didn’t show up for the debacle, it’s difficult to figure out where the young point guard is standing in this shakedown. If Josh is in Orange next year, he’ll be starting and logging significant minutes. If not, well, say hello to Greg Davis for me.

Notes
This team, on paper, should be a much better shooting team than Syracuse put on the floor this season. McNamara has already proven himself an able perimeter presence. If McCroskey and Nichols can consistently drop eight to ten points a game, Boeheim will have at his disposal three veteran shooters. It’s going to be a question of whether McCroskey can develop into an intelligent shooter by choosing his shot selection more wisely and if Nichols can become a consistent inside-outside contributor.

The X-factor here is Eric Devendorf. Devendorf has some size and the book on him is that he has the spot-up game of a marksman. If Devendorf is as good as advertised from the field, relying on Nichols to climb out of the doghouse could be a non-issue. It may be a lot to ask of a freshman shooter to contribute ten points an outing, but if Devendorf can play as the third option on the floor with defenses focusing on McNamara, it doesn’t seem too ridiculous.

Terrence Roberts has shown glimpses of talent this season. His penchant for thieving in the full-court press combined with his infectious intensity has shown that he has the ability to start for the club. He, along with Darryl Watkins, will be called on to bring the Windex game in and game out. If Roberts can grab seven to ten rebounds a game, there’s no reason why he can’t make a lower All-Big East team next year. If Roberts doesn’t pan out, Syracuse may as well stick its collective head between their knees and kiss their derriere good-bye. There is nothing in terms of power forward presence behind Roberts (read: Gorman), and in the Big East, size and intensity is a prerequisite to controlling the glass.

There shouldn’t be too much surprise if Boeheim hits the trail for a JUCO transfer to try and bulk-up the frontline.

Watkins has the size to be a prototypical Big East inside rover, but needs to control his almost comical foul troubles. There is little but undeveloped talent behind Watkins next year. If there’s any reason why Syracuse isn’t competitive next season, it will be because Watkins is unable to stay on the floor and contribute.

Attention Onuaku: Tie your sneakers and come ready to play.

Next year’s edition of the Orange should be a Top 25 club; probably in the 15-25 region. If Watkins, Roberts, and the slew of big guards/small forwards can slam the glass, the team has a shot at making some noise in the national tournament. There shouldn’t be any Final Four expectations, but asking this team to, at minimum, advance to the Regional Semifinals isn’t too outlandish. There are enough shooters on this squad to be a dangerous matchup on a nightly basis, but as mentioned, it’s going to be a question of defensive toughness and a desire to win the rebounding contest game in and game out.

And even if the season is completely lost, there will be nothing quite like McNamara’s Senior Day.

Monday Mash

Hoops

Putting out an APB on the Wrights: Class of 2009, where are you? Speculation is that Dayshawn is all but off The Hill next year. As for Josh, it's a mystery. And it looks like Coach Boeheim wants to keep it that way.

If both Wrights leave, a tentative starting five and sixth man for the Orange:

PG: Gerry McNamara
SG: Eric Devendorf
SF: Demetrius Nichols
PW: Terrence Roberts
C: Darryl Watkins
6: Louis McCrosky

... Not too thrilling ...

Get yourself a spot in the line of people destroying the Big East. Instead of criticizing poor play or deficient strategy, this jamoke blames it all on fabricated desire. I've just about had it with the "Vermont wanted it more" trash that's been flying around.

The Mike Hopkins sweepstakes can now officialy begin. What does Gregg Doyel think? The Republican likes him going to Siena. Hey, it worked for Louis Orr.

Lacrosse

Highlights from Saturday's heartbreaking defeat. Warning: It's heartbreaking.

Gotta love the short-stick. Gives a little insight into what Jarrett Park has done the last few seasons before his move to the offensive midfield. 'Course, this is all about the Terrapins, but you can still be appreciative. Be appreciative, dammit!

First 1-3 start since 1975? No problem. Of course, the university didn't make a final four until 1983.... Here's a throwback story on The Streak.

Nifty story on trying to make your way onto the field on as an Orange laxman.

Hello Darkness My Old Friend...

There isn't much to be said about the debacle that was last night. Just incredibly maddening. It's simply not the losses that provided the sting; it was the way Syracuse managed to fall in defeat.

Ken Pomeroy has the commentary of the day. The statistical analysis is truncated, but still illuminates a great deficiency in Boeheim's coaching strategy last evening.

If you're looking for straight media, check out the links at left.

If you're looking to commiserate, head on over to the Phog Blog. Misery loves company. And if losing to Vermont provided crippling trauma, try this.

On a happier note, this guy needs to buy some lottery tickets. I question his sanity is picking Bucknell over Kansas and Texas Tech over the Mighty 'Zags.

Pressing Storyline: Where are the Wrights?

Black Friday

The month was May. The year, 2001. The setting was the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship at picturesque Rutgers Stadium.

The importance? A single statement delivered to Sean K. Palmer from The Glaude.

"I'd rather see a loss in regulation than in overtime. It's just too painful to lose in overtime."
The result: B.J. Prager (4G) netted Princeton it's sixth national championship 3:19 into the overtime session.

Was the loss tough to take? Sure, but it was a Syracuse team loaded with a ridiculous amount of underclass talent (read: Freshman Mike Powell). There was hope in defeat. Plus, the 3+ hour ride home was all the therapy I would need to rationalize such a gut-wrenching defeat.

The month was March. The year, 2000. The setting was the NCAA Men's Basketball Regional Semifinal at the picturesque Palace at Auburn Hills.

The importance? A single statement delivered to a forgettable soul.

"Man, it's gonna be nice shutting up all these Michigan State folks. Better tell my professors I'll be missing some classes to go to the Final Four."
The result: Michigan State, led by All-American Mateen Cleaves, erased a 20-point second half deficit to shock the Etan Thomas-led Syracuse Orangemen.

Was the loss tough to take? Sure, but it was impressive just handling MSU the way SU did. It all happened in an incredibly hostile environment just a week following a gutty victory against 5th seeded and Jamaal Magloire-led Kentucky. Plus, there was plenty of time on the plane ride home to engage in some worthwhile reflection.

The month was March. The year, 2005. The setting was the NCAA Men's Basketball 1st Round at the decrepit Worcester Centrum (or whatever it's called now) and the cold warmth of the Carrier Dome.

The importance? I didn't drink a gallon of Clorox around 9:20 PM. And I found a cure for McNamania. It's called taking an IV of "freakin' unbelievable."

It was a perfect storm of defeat for the Orange today. Black Friday if there ever was one. I challenge any university on the planet to measure up to the day of defeat Syracuse University endured this evening. Just the most delicious offering of suffering I haven't seen since Dante's Inferno.

Not only was Orange basketball upset in the most ridiculous of overtime fashions, the lacrosse team managed to piddle away what was seen as an insurmountable lead against #1 ranked Johns Hopkins.

Hoops: It all came crashing down when Syracuse decided to commit more turnovers (24) than made field goals (23). Hakim Warrick led the way with 10 giveaways. Congratulations. Take your place at the front of the line to stab me in the face with a rusty spoon.

Incredible Moment: Vermont cruise missile T.J. Sorrentine decided to shoot from the parking lot and drilled the most ridiculous three pointer since Talik Brown graced the floor of Madison Square Garden. Honorable mention goes to the referee who T'd up Terrence Roberts. Those free throws were the difference maker in pushing the game into overtime. Way to use that impecible, or possibly imbecile, discretion.

Lacrosse: It all came crashing down when Syracuse dropped an early 7-1 advantage and Greg Peyser smoked the bean past Orange goalkeeper Jay Pfiefer in the overtime session. Pfiefer may have played his best game of the season to date, but Syracuse still couldn't manage to scrounge out enough offense to slip past the Jays.

Incredible Moment: Simply losing in overtime. That's two one-goal defeats in the last two outings. SU is now sitting at an abysmal 1-3 going into Princeton next week.

So, in case you're keeping score that's:
Heartbreaking Overtime Defeats: 2
Span of Heartbreaking Overtime Defeats: 20 minutes

Orange Nation - You are officially on suicide watch.

"I think everybody's disappointed," Desko said. "You'd like to see (the basketball team) play yourself. And there are many lacrosse fans that are basketball fans also who'd like to see both."

Lacrosse
SU is squaring off against the hated and top ranked Johns Hopkins Blue Jays tonight. Face-off is scheduled for 7PM in the Dome.

It'll be a Tewaaraton showdown. Maybe Kyle Harrison will actually make good use of his 24th year of eligibility.

In the Syracuse area, the game will be broadcast on ESPNRadio 1260AM. For those outside the Syracuse area and still wanting live coverage, Johns Hopkins is providing a webcast here. Or check out Laxpower's blow-by-blow feature.

[Aside: It appears as if WAER, as well as the SUAthletics webcast, will be broadcasting the basketball game.]

Here's Inside Lacrosse's preview.
And the Post-Standard story.
And, in the interest of equal time, the Baltimore Sun drivel.

Basketball
The Orange takes Vermont behind the maple syrup woodshed tonight. 7:10 PM tip. CBS-TV has the telecast.

Get your game-notes here. And check out the Vermont perspective.

Outside the Syracuse/Vermont broadcast net, the game can be followed here. Or listen live here. Or here. I'm also fairly certain that the Syracuse game will be the featured contest on Westwood One radio network tonight.

Check out all the ink from the Post-Standard today.
Surprisingly, there are even newspapers in Vermont. Who knew?
How does the mid-major guru feel about the Catamounts?
USA Today provides statistics in color. Glorious.

How does your bracket look?

That's it for today. Plopping my can on the couch for another ridiculous day of hoops.

Thursday Tidbits and Quick Hits

Hoops
From FoxSports:
Since 1985 -
No. 2 seeds have lost, on average, 5 percent of the time;
No. 3 seeds have lost 16 percent of the time;
No. 4 seeds have lost 20 percent of the time;
No. 5 seeds have lost 33 percent of the time;
No. 6 seeds have lost 30 percent of the time; and
No. 7 seeds have lost 40 percent of first-round games.

More trends. Be a dork, you know you want to.

Thursday NCAA Schedule

Know them before they're famous.

If you're heading to Worcester (may God have mercy on your soul), check out the Orange Friendzy and get your orange sticker.

In case you haven't gotten your fill on NCAA graduation rates...

Lacrosse
Johns Hopkins v. Syracuse game notes. (SU Athletic Department has yet to release their game notes. Not surprising. The game is only tomorrow!)

Football
This has nothing to do with Syracuse, but please pray for the good people in South Dakota.

General
More NCAA reform. [Insert oxymoron joke here.]

ESPN Town Hall Redux.

The Perfect Bracket

"Sanity calms, but madness is more interesting." - Bertrand Russell

"A little madness in the Spring Is wholesome even for the King." - Emily Dickinson

It's the eve of the tournament, and there's no better time to disclose the Bracket of Guarantee.

(As you can tell, I have the artistry of a lamb chop. Thank you, MS Paint.)

And if you haven't filled out a bracket yet, here's a general store of bracket outlets.

Notables
Keep up with the Madness.
Or here.
Sportsline Austin Coverage.
ESPN Austin Coverage.
ESPNU to broadcast live Men's Lacrosse NCAA tournament quaterfinal games.

The Blue Jays Are Coming!


Failure is success if we learn from it. - Malcolm S. Forbes

Sitting at 1-2 for the first time since, well, a time that shouldn't be remembered, Syracuse has a tremendous share of learning ahead of it. If the Orange has any chance at clipping the wings of the soaring Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (3-0) this weekend, becoming academic at the offensive end of the field is an absoulte necessity.

Offense
At this point in the early season, Syracuse is averaging 9 goals per game. While not a paltry number to scoff at, it stands in stark contrast to the 13+ goals per game Desko's unit was dropping on the opposition last season. While not a newsflash of any sorts, playing without Mike Powell has had a noticeable residual effect.

Entering the season, it was expected that the offense's learning curve would be pronounced considering only Brian Crockett was returning on attack. However, it was unexpected that the teams young guns would have so much trouble converting in settled situations. Syracuse has always been infested with finishers around the cage. Those finishers, this season, it seems have been on hiatus.

Mike Leveille has been a mild disappoint at this juncture of the season, accumulating a mere 3 points (3G, 0A). Jarrett Park, a former New York State Player of the Year, following the suit of Leveille has only contributed 2 points to the struggling offense (1G, 1A). If the Orange has any chance of sliding by Hopkins, Leveille, Park, and the underrated Greg Rommel (5G, 1A) must convert when given the opportunity. Hopkins is yielding a mere 5.67 goals to their opposition, which means that Syracuse will be under the gun to push the ball past Jesse Schwartzman.

What this team may need is a shot in the arm in offensive style. A return to the Run 'n Gun of the Roy Simmons, Jr. era. With so much youth running on offense this season, playing a settled game of offense may be asking too much of this group. Getting the ball up and down the field in an attempt to create some unsettled situations may allow that strangling Hopkins close defense to loosen up. Any chance at getting some free looks at the cage will ultimately be a great advantage for Syracuse.

Defense
Not terrible. Not terrific.

That's been the story of the Syracuse defense all season long. The senior unit of the rebuilding Orange has had its share of shining moments. It's a shame that those moments have been buttressed with stretches of stone-cold, boneheaded play. Giving up 8.5 goals per game is not acceptable for a unit that is laden with seasoned veterans. If this pace keeps up, Syracuse could walk the trail that Virginia traversed last season.

Hopkins trots out offensive machines left and right. Kyle Harrison (4G, 5A), Greg Peyser (6G, 1A), and Kyle Barrie (3G, 2A) are as potent a triumverate as anyone in the country. Throw in Jake Byrne and Peter LeSueur and the Jays are as unstoppable as they come. Harrison is one of the great creators with the ball in his cross, and will surely give fits to Ditzell, Panarelli, and Company.

Whether or not SU employs a zone or a man defense is really unimportant. Hopkins is going to score, and they are going to score often. What is important is the implementation of a proper slide package to keep Hopkins from dodging out of the inverted offense. The Blue Jays are attempting about 13 more shots on goal than their opponent, and if Syracuse can jar the ball loose and corral some groundballs via some vicious slides, Pietramala's crew will be infinitely less effective.

Miscellaneous
Hopkins is 39-3 in its last 42 regular season contests.
Hopkins is outworking their opponents to a 81-57 advantage in groundballs; Syracuse is losing the groundball game 114-99.
Syracuse is winning 55% of face-offs; Hopkins is taking them at a 65% clip.

Prediction: Hopkins - 17 Syracuse - 7

This is not the matchup Syracuse needs at this point in the season. Hopkins has looked weary through the early season, but a trip to the Dome should wake up the Jays. JHU is probably the most talented team in the country, and despite their inability to win a national championship (last victory: 1987), are always destroyers during the regular season.

The question is not how Syracuse performs in this game. Rather, it's going to be how they pull themselves together at 1-3 to head to Princeton the following week to take on a sputterring Tiger squad.

brackets, Brackets, BRACKETS!

There's nothing quite like the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. For just about a month, everyone is allowed to confuse dumb luck with prognostication precision. It's just the way the madness goes. In every bracket pool, there are three types of players: Who Gives a Damn Guy, Chalk Guy, and Everyone Else.

Everyone Else Guy
This is straightforward. He's the most prevalent participant in the pool. Wise to his selections and confident in his bracket, he takes wins and losses on an even keel. Usually never wins the entire kit and kabootle, but he's not in the pool not for the cash. Rather, Everyone Else Guy fills out the bracket so he has a pseudo-TV Guide for his must-see game watching.

Chalk Guy
This guy usually comes in two brands: "I Want To Win" and "What's Basketball?". The former is usually strapped for cash and desparately needs the $40 minimum payoff. The latter is usually the kid that was good at math and science, but deficient in social and motor skills. Either way, these two guys have little desire in the 5/12 upset, and usually will bemoan why the SWAC even bothers fielding a representative.

Who Gives A Damn Guy
This guy is usually a target for my murderous rage. If this guy got hit by a bus, I'd chuckle and steal his watch. Then I'd shtup his wife.

If you're not familiar with this jamoke, he's the guy who picks Wisconsin-Milwaukee over Alabama and you have to hear about it for the next week to 72 years. He usually enters about 5 sheets into the pool just to make ridiculous selections. His percentage of overall correct picks is usually just under 20%, but he'd make you think he was Nostradamus. He was probably abused by his step-father as a youngster.

Anyways, here's a smorgasbord of bracket material. I would call this the syllabus for Bracketology 101, but then I'd have to commit seppuku.

Roadmap to Brackets
Viewable
Downloadable
ESPN Tournament Challenge
CBS Sportsline Bracket Manager
CBS Sporstline Bracket Challenge
Yahoo
CNNSI
Sporting News Bracket Blast

Other Stuff
Face Paint
Nerd Factor Seeding
Finalfour.net
Other Junk

Welcome to Worcester!

Dollah twenty-five, please. - Adam Sandler



Not exactly a perfect draw for the Orange, but considering the field of land mines that is the Syracuse bracket, a relatively workable region.

Aside: North Carolina, Villanova, Connecticut, Kansas, Florida, Wisconsin, N.C. State, Charlotte... That is one bloddy bracket. If the "Group of Death" tag, often used in reference to an incredibly strong World Cup soccer pool, is to be used in a basketball context, it's certainly applicable here.

Vermont is not a team to be taken lightly. Taylor Coppenrath and T.J. Sorrentine are a dynamite tandem. A poor-man's Warrick/McNamara, if you will. But even clad in rags, their offensive ability is far from deficient.

Star Watch
Coppenrath is a load in the middle to control, combining an effective inside game with a respectable outside presence. He was abysmal last season against Emeka Okafor & Company in the NCAA 1st Round, but that performance is not indicative of what Coppenrath is capable of. He has the size and ability to play in the NBA, and with this being his last go 'round in the Green and Gold, he should put it all out on the floor. Averages over 25 points per game and almost 9 rebounds per outing.

Sorrentine is a prototypical outside bomber holding the America East record for 3-point field goals converted with 340+. This season, he connected on almost 41% of his triple tries. He has the ability to penetrate (120+ assists on the season), but often lurks for jump shots on Coppenrath kick-outs. Was the America East player of the year in 2001-2002 and was able to dump 19 on Connecticut last season.

In all but one game this season (v. Maine), either Sorrentine or Coppenrath has led the squad in scoring. Incidentally, neither Sorrentine nor Coppenrath played in that matchup versus the Black Bears.

What to Watch For
Vermont has seen some quality competition this season giving Kansas a worthy battle in November. With this in mind, playing the Syracuse jerseys should have little effect on this senior laden squad.

The marquee matchup will be Warrick v. Coppenrath. If Warrick can dominate on the offensive end, the game will be the Orange's to lose. In the 2-3 zone, Coppenrath should be smothered with double teams of the size and strength that he hasn't seen in the America East. Watkins and Forth will have to be very aggressive inside, pushing Coppenrath around and making him earn his shots. If Coppenrath can be contained, the head of Brennan's dragon will virtually be detached.

If Coppenrath is neutralized in the middle (which isn't too much of a stretch to consider when referencing the job SU did on Connecticut's front line in NYC this past weekend), a large portion of the scoring load will fall on Sorrentine. And considering how streaky a team relying on the 3 can be (see: West Virginia), Vermont will be fighting an uphill battle.

For SU, the key, as always, is to get Gerry rolling. Nobody plays quite like McNamara when he's focused. Creating offense not only with his shot but also off the dribble will bring confidence to a sometimes enigmatic Orange attack.

Miscellaneous
The Charlotte pod will be a tough ticket with Duke and North Carolina placed there, but don't discount the difficulty of obtaining a Worcester ticket. With Syracuse, Connecticut and Vermont all within driving distance, it wouldn't be surprising to see the pod sold out with some serious scalping going down.

Is Kyle Cieplicki (Vermont guard - #14) related to Syracuse women's basketball coach Keith Cieplicki? Keith used to coach over in the Green Mountain state....

The tournament committee seems to love potential second round SU matchups. Last year, SU faced off with 2002 champion Maryland. This season, a potential matchup with 2000 champion Michigan State.

Speaking of Michigan State, sweet revenge for the Orange may be in store. The Sweet 16 matchup in 2000 that saw SU and MSU square off took place in Auburn Hills, a short drive from MSU's East Lansing home. Now MSU must come east, to face SU in a decidedly pro-Orange environment.

If you're from out of town, here's a list of things to do in Worcester: Wish that you weren't in Worcester; laugh at people who live in Worcester; smell the odor that is Worcester.

There's Only One Thing Left To Do... Strut!

Coming into Thursday, who would have thought that SU would hold 20-point advantages in each contest?

Just a super effort.

Now, if the lacrosse team can manhandle Georgetown out in California tonight, the cherry on the sundae will officially be laid.

... And Greg Rommel, the "Orange Fox", stormed the Southern California sand to deliver lacrosse liberty to the west coast masses....


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