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More Postgame Reaction

Thank god you didn't eat at the Dinosaur!
The start of the Orange 2007 Big East Campaign was an interesting one. It perfectly illustrates the dichotomy of the Orange this season, possibly every season. Syracuse seems to have one half that they play to or beyond expectation and one half that they play well below expectation.

Let’s start with the bad news. The deepness of the bench was a problem last night. Only seven Syracuse players saw action. That is pretty much because those seven were the only ones that could actually play. Nichols did another excellent job of hitting mid range jump shots and swashbuckling points in the paint like he has all season, however he only shot one for five from behind the arc. This, behind a Pittsburgh team that seemed to be shooting lights out from that distance certainly did not help.

Another negative point that Matt mentioned was the disappearing act of Josh Wright. Although Devendorf seemed to play fairly well in the second half, dissecting the Pitt defense, as well as being very entertaining television, he made his share of terrible shots and demonstrated moments of absolutely atrocious decision making. He is a sophomore and should have put that mostly behind him by now. So where was Josh Wright who played adequately? I suppose the next game will be a good indication of where the lineup and he stands.

Andy Rautins and Paul Harris failed to hit cash money bling from behind the arc as well. Rautins went two for six and Harris was zero for one. Rautins contributed six points, while Harris added six. This is unacceptable for these two players. Harris should crash the boards and cut the lane, while Rautins has to provide a consistent outside shooting threat to take some heat off of Nichols. Nichols can not be the only consistent scoring threat and still have a great offense.

Onto the good. The team out rebounded Pittsburgh by one. We had only 11 turnovers. We shot 90% from the free throw line. These are all encouraging things. While being able to shoot free throws is traditionally a point of drama for Syracuse, this was refreshing. The bigger point, however, is that we out rebounded the #10 team in the nation with one of the top big men in the conference. This means that Darryl Watkins is progressing nicely this season, considering he could not defend against a cold last year.

Being able to contain and score against the solid low post players of the conference is a must in such a physical and talented league. The biggest positive we can take from this game is that Syracuse, when pushed by the challenge of a team that, on paper, seems head and shoulders above, we can respond. The team did not win this time, but I have a feeling there will be some quality home wins and a few road ones as well.

To touch upon the referees for a moment. I agree with Matt in that it certainly is not the referees in this game that determined the outcome. As a former basketball referee I can say that I have experience making calls and can spot a good call from a bad one. Nothing really outraged me last night. Sure, there were some non-calls, and a few blown out of bounds calls. These things happen. None were so egregious that they truly changed the outcome. Frankly, they called a pretty loose game, which made the game much more enjoyable to watch. Otherwise, they would have called every little foul on Devendorf when he inevitably bumps the player he is guarding. As my good friend Jayme says, let the kids play. I will always say this about referees in the Big East though; if there is major contact in driving to the hoop it is either a block, or a charge, but not nothing.

Mike Jones, I don’t know if you know this, but you go to Syracuse. If you play well in the following years you get drafted. Why don’t you wait it out, seeing as you are a freshman, and then show your stuff. I don’t want a guy on my team that doesn’t like a challenge or has a little common sense and patience. Goodbye and peace out. Matt said Louie, but say hi to DeShaun Williams for me.

I don’t know either if Kendall intentionally elbowed Roberts in the face, but if he did shit is going to go down if these two teams meet in the league tournament again. From the replay it looked accidental though, for what it is worth.

All in all, I was please with the effort, just not the result. The team just needs to be consistent in offense and not allow teams to get behind the zone and in the paint without being absolutely confounded with Syracuse players. Marquette will be a good road test and hopefully this team can build upon the things they did well against Pittsburgh and move forward and progress like all of Jim Boeheim’s teams do. I didn’t throw anything at my television for this game, but there is always next time.

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