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Syracuse Orange Blogger Awards

. . . . And the Syracuse Orange Blogger Awards roll on!

If you have not been following along -- and looking at some recent traffic logs you probably have not -- yesterday saw six awards given to very deserving (or for that matter undeserving) players and aspects of the Syracuse University basketball program.

Six more awards will be presented today. After reading the drivel below, be sure to stop by Orange Hoops at 5:00 PM for the day's next award: Best Sophomore.

Worst Moment
Given to that snippet in time when an individual's allegiance to Syracuse University is questioned and, likely, copious amounts of alcohol is consumed. Bonus points are awarded for unmitigated ineptitude and conduct that questions normative social behavior.

As with most moments of recollection concerning Orange basketball, it is exceedingly difficult to chose just one instance of hair-pulling frustration. However, we soldier on, and select the following:

Getting Back to '03
Nichols missed layup against Wichita State.
Sports Night with Howie Mansfield
2006 NCAA Selection Show.
Orange Hoops
When I realized that only one half of a bracket was left and neither Syracuse nor Louisville were yet on the board, I knew the unthinkable was about to occur, and the Orange were going to be snubbed from the NCAA.
Orange::44
March 11, 2007.

This momemt is less about Syracuse and more about the inherent disappoint with the lack of intelligence constituting the NCAA Selection Committee.

Runner-Up (1): Nichols' missed dunk/lay-up thing against Wichita State. If Nichols converts, Syracuse's season may have been totally different.

Runner-Up (2): Syracuse v. St. John's. Losing to St. John's is never acceptable, even if the game was in Madison Square Garden.
Cuse Country
Selection Sunday is probably going to win hands down, so I will vote for the last 10 minutes of the Louisville game, which I was watching on tape after coming home late from a long day -- my spirits had been confidently lifted by their first half play, only to come crashing down around me while all I could do was gape in horror at the screen (and fast-forward through the last two minutes or so).
Cuse Country
Being forced to listen to Doug Gottlieb yak on and on during my flight from Syracuse to NYC on Selection Sunday.
Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician
Coming home to see the end of the NCAA selection show and watch each bracket go by without Syracuse in it, finally noticing them on the bottom ticker in the NIT update. Stomach punch.
Consensus Winner
As if there was any question, Gary Walters' hateable decision to exclude Syracuse from the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament is the runaway winner.

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Syracuse Orange Blogger Awards

It is the Syracuse Orange Blogger Awards!

Sean -- the patriarch of the festival -- handed out the first award over on his blog, Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician. In case you did not notice, Andy Rautins hauled home the virtual hardware for "Most Surprising Player."

Favorite Boeheim Quote
Given for classic Boeheim social behavior. Extra points for condescending wit, general disdain, and an overall lack of desire to continue a conversation for longer than its initial genesis.

While Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim failed to put together another epic tirade of emotion as he did following Syracuse's miraculous defeat of Cincinnati in the Big East Tournament last year, 2006-2007 proved to be another terrific outing for the frequently callous Lyons native.

Most of the nominations for the Award this year related to Boeheim's post-NCAA snub commentary. Notable submissions include --

Ray Young of Orange Hoops:

If 10-6 in the Big East isn't good enough to be in, then I don't think we should be in the Big East. That's the way I look at it.
Sean of Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician and DutchHart of Getting Back to '03 thought the following response to a question asking whether Boeheim and NCAA Selection Committee Chairman Gary Walters would remain friends after Syracuse's exclusion from this year's Big Dance:

No comment.
Despite the wealth of material produced by Boeheim post-March 11th, some nominators went off the board with their selections. Howie Mansfield of Sports Night with Howie Mansfield fell in love with "Sentimental Boeheim" and chose this quote following the Orange's defeat to Clemson:

A week ago, we were tremendously disappointed. The players got ready. The players made a tremendous adjustment. They probably made a better adjustment than I did. They came into this tournament and they played.
Josh of Cuse Country, however, may have found the best quote of the 2006-2007 season. Answering a questions about how much Darryl Watkins' injury affected his play in the Northeastern game, Boeheim, with a straight face, had this to say:

Probably about as much as my haircut.
Jim Boeheim Sarcasm: Since 1976, making reporters wish they had assumed a real major in college.

Consensus Winner

The victor is not much of a surprise: Boeheim's many post-snub rantings. With such an historic error, Boeheim went into overdrive, attacking and pleading to anyone that would listen. It was a perfect storm, and Boeheim deserves credit for all of his efforts.

That's it for here. Be sure to pop over to Cuse Country at 2:00 PM for the next presentation -- The Great Uniform Debate. It is not so much an award as it is a state of mind.

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Celebrating the Pointless: Orange::44 Turns Two!

Eds. Note: The actual anniversary of this notebook's inception was March 12th. However, given the circumstances dictated by NCAA Selection Committee Chairman Gary Walters, the celebration has been postponed until this date.

The copy below reflects what was to be published two weeks ago. As I neither have the desire nor time to change the prose already penned into my legal pad, it appears unabridged and, unfortunately, untimely. The single exception to this is a note below further illustrating this notebook's poor effect on Syracuse University athletics.


How important is the calendar date of March 12th? In a word, "indispensable." It may come as a surprise to many, but a lot of socially relevant stuff happened on this date in history. A sampling includes:

1664 - New Jersey became a British colony as King Charles II granted land in the New World to his brother James, the Duke of York;

1922 - Author Jack Kerouac is born;

1923 - Wrestler Mae Young is born;

1930 - Indian political and spiritual leader Mohandas K. Gandhi begins a 200-mile march to protest a British tax on salt;

1933 - Franklin Delano Roosevelt gives his first in a series of conscious-soothing fireside chats;

1938 - Anschluss: German troops occupy Austria creating the circumstances necessary for Germany's annexation of Austria the next day.

1946 - Liza Manelli born.

1947 - Former President Harry Truman announces his aptly-named Truman Doctrine;

1993 - Janet Reno sworn in as Attorney General (Janet Reno's Dance Party to premiere soon thereafter);

2002 - Homeland security chief Tom Ridge unveiled a color-coded system for terror warnings (orange, accordingly, not considered "good"); and

2005 - Orange:44 created and publishes first in a series of over 400 irrelevant essays.

The genesis of this blog was simple - to celebrate Syracuse's fourth Big East Tournament Championship. The layout of the notebook was markedly different and the prose, which is still a point of embarrassment, was just as simple as the blog's look:

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....
Eds. Note: For the record, Syracuse lost that contest against Georgetown. Big surprise, right?

Rather than relive many essays of note, it may be a more useful exercise to chronicle the number of terrible moments that have happened to Syracuse since this notebook's inception. It is no secret that since the onset of this site's occupation of internet real estate that there has been an unmitigated butterfly effect on Syracuse athletics. That effect, however, is not particularly desired:

  • Syracuse, in consecutive seasons, experienced first-round exits from the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship;


  • Syracuse experienced its worst season on the gridiron and failed to show any marketable signs of tangible improvement one year later;


  • Jim Boeheim suffered his worst loss ever in the Carrier Dome;


  • A first-round exit from the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship, the first such pre-Final Four sortie in 22 years; and


  • A historic snub from the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.


Eds. Note: For good measure, Georgetown's recent inclusion in the Final Four further promotes the notion that this blog is ruining the Syracuse experience.

Through all the travails, however, this exercise has been enjoyable. As a consequence, an announcement will be made in a few weeks regarding the future of this notebook. Orange::44 will not perish, but rather move into some new digs with an expansionary format and feel. The end result, at least theoretically, is to promote a new blog experience for the average Syracuse fan.

As always, to everyone that reads this mess on a somewhat frequent basis, Brian and I say "thank you." To everyone that we read on a somewhat frequent basis, "thank you."

It's Official: God Hates Syracuse



And you thought things couldn't get any worse.

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It's Kind of Like Shooting Old Yeller



My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.

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See Eric, it feels pretty good to win no matter where you are.
NIT Fever is sweeping the Orange Faithful. Setting the NIT Attendance record for the second round, 26,752 people were in the Dome for the Orange’s win over San Diego State (insert Anchorman reference here). I wish I could have watched it, but it was actually pretty cool listening to it on the radio as you could really hear and feel the crowd in the Carrier Dome excited about still seeing the team play.

Same great Syracuse taste as the turnovers were a problem for the Orange. 14 total spread evenly among the team were costly for the Orange in the first half. This was pretty much the status quo for a team that has had turnover problems all year. With a tough game against Clemson tomorrow night jumping off to a hot start and limiting turnovers will be keys for the Orange squad hoping to reach the garden again.

Except for turnovers the game seemed to be coming up Orange in every other category. Shooting, three point percentage, free throws, rebounding, assists all favored the Orange. This was not the key to the game however. The true key to the game was a 17 to 4 run to start the second half sparked by the record setting crowd in the Dome. This was monumental for a few reasons.

We (we being the members of this blog, other blogs, the student population, and the more educated fans of Syracuse) often criticize the fans of Syracuse for being too fair-weather, only caring about the team when they are good. I have always had a problem with fans, especially students, leaving games early for pretty much any reason. If you are a fan, win or lose, blowout or nail biter, I believe you should stay until the time expires. I have always believed “real fans stay the game”. My feelings on this have not changed. And in years of late I have had a real issue with fans bashing on the teams Syracuse has fielded. You are not always going to have a national championship. I realize this but it seems most Syracuse fans do not. That being said, it put my faith back in the people of Syracuse that a record crowd came out to see the Orange play in a game that could be easily labeled “just an NIT game”.

I penned a postgame reaction earlier this season in which I asked what was worse, losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, or not even making the tournament. Having run the stretch of emotions from not being included in the field of 65 I have concluded that it is definitely not being included. That being said, however, I am actually just fine with the NIT Tournament. Yeah, it is the Not Invited Tournament. So what. The fans in the Dome did not care one bit, and I really did not listening on the radio either. I was excited by the calls, they plays, and just enjoying the fact we were still playing this late into March, despite the forum. If we can take but one thing away from this game, it is that the Orange faithful are still very present, and still very much a part of Orange Basketball.

I know my postgame reactions are usually fact and statistic driven, but I had to take this opportunity to reflect on a fan base that has seemed to do so much wrong this year do something that was so right. This is what makes college basketball, and college sports in general, a special thing.
The game against Clemson should be a great match. It is also nice to actually be able to watch it on a real network. Clemson’s postgame coverage will be reported live from New Mexico as I am heading for a little spring break getaway. Please don’t blame me if a couple words are unintelligible. I may be drunk/hung over. Now, if lacrosse could right the ship that would be great.
PS - Seriously, I haven't heard from Matt in over a week now. Even I'm getting worried. Somebody hold me.

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NIT Fever! Catch It!

Psst! I hear Gary Walters is gay. Gottlieb too.

Syracuse beat Southern Alabama on Wednesday in the Carrier Dome. It's nice to get out of the first round of some tournament. What will the future bring for the Orange? No one knows. However, one thing is certain. I picked Syracuse to win in the NIT pool I joined, along with eight out of ten alums. Who says the other tournament can't be fun? I assure you I'm not dead. Matt may have hung himself in his office a couple days ago, but I'm alive and well, just busy at work much like Matt. Now that we're out of the first round of the NIT I'll provide postgame coverage as I have all season, along with some editorials not involving the NCAA or the selection committee. I'm leaving that up to Matt, because let's face it, no one can do it better than him anyway. You stay positive out there in Orange Nation. We'll talk to you soon. Until then, enjoy some March Madness. I tried to avoid it and say screw that, but I filled out a bracket and tuned into some of the games. I sadly like college basketball too much to avoid it completely.
PS - WTF is the deal with our next game in the NIT being on ESPN U. Are you serious?!?

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Wag of the Finger: NCAA Selection Committee



Shame on you, Gary Walters.

Eds. Note: There is now in effect a 48-hour self-imposed moratorium on comments concerning Syracuse's unfathomable exclusion from the NCAA Tournament. The suspension started at approximately 7:00 PM last evening.

The reason for the moratorium is twofold. First, leveling unmitigated accusations at Gary Walters and his nine other incompetent colleagues would be both in poor taste and superficial. Second, structured rumination is the hallmark of first-rate commentary, and given the fact that this year's selection committee appears to have acted capriciously in its decisionmaking, this notebook will not replicate such results.

Material will appear on this notebook starting at 7:00 PM Tuesday evening. And if you thought I was a dog foaming at the mouth last year, you ain't seen nothing yet.

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Bright Lights, Big City

An extended essay may be necessary, but Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun and Syracuse legend Jim Boeheim summed up the next four days perfectly:
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim made history in the 2006 tournament when the Orange won it all as the ninth seed behind a remarkable week for senior guard Gerry McNamara. It was the first time a team took the title by winning four games, and it was Syracuse's fifth Big East championship and second in a row.

"New York is a crap shoot," Boeheim said. "Anyone can win there. We proved it last year as a No. 9 seed. Any of the 12 teams can conceivably win the tournament and I wouldn't put it past anybody. We did it last year and came in playing horribly. It's a tough tournament."

Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun is looking at the tournament as a chance for the inexperienced Huskies to salvage a tough season that started with a Top 25 ranking.

"Hopefully there's some toughness from the scar tissue we've built up and we'll have a chance to show that," he said. "Syracuse did it last year. They had four great days led by one of the best performances in Big East history and we need someone to do that. It's nice to have a fresh start."
It is the greatest four consecutive days of the year. And it all begins today.

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Orange in the Apple



Regional television is now relevant.

SportsNet New York To Televise Syracuse-Georgetown Beatdown

As the release from Inside Lacrosse illustrates:
Syracuse, NY - Time Warner Sports 26 in Syracuse will carry the Orange lacrosse doubleheader at Georgetown live on Saturday, March 10. The SU women’s team will play the Hoyas at 12:00 p.m. at Multi-Sport Field on Georgetown’s campus with the men’s game to follow at 2:45 p.m.

Both games are being televised on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore areas. Leif Elsmo will handle the play-by-play duties for both games. Kim Simons will be the analyst for the women’s game with Jack Emmer doing color for the men’s contest.

The Orange women are 1-2 and will host Binghamton at the Dome on Tuesday, March 6 at 7:00 p.m. The men’s team is also 1-2 after losing consecutive games to Army and Virginia.

Even though the release does not indicate that SNY will carry the SU-GU contest, the regional sports network will in fact show the game. As the network's website notes, SNY will carry the game live at 3:00 and rebroadcast the tilt at 8:00 PM.

Eds. Note: The Syracuse-Georgetown game is slated to face-off at 2:45. Thus, the SNY broadcast is likely to commence at that time rather than 3:00, consequently preempting its competition highlights of the FIVB Women's World Championship. Condolences to all the women's volleyball fans who were hoping to see six-foot women not spike the ball.

This broadcast continues SNY's infatuation with the Syracuse Orange. Throughout the basketball season, SNY has televised, albeit on tape delay, Syracuse Sidelines, a magazine show produced by Time Warner Sports 26. In addition, the network has consistently carried Syracuse's ESPN Regional contests during its basketball campaign.

Overall, the network has become a haven for Orange enthusiasts living and working in the greater New York metropolitan area. The tradition is expected to continue next Saturday when Johns Hopkins travels to the Carrier Dome to face Syracuse in a St. Patrick's Day showdown set to be televised by Time Warner Sports 26.

Update: SNY will broadcast the Syracuse-Johns Hopkins game on March 17, 2007. The game, however, will be shown on delay at 11:00 PM because the network is airing the Hockey East Tournament Championship starting at 2:00 PM.

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Brother v. Brother III



Fighting for basketball dominance.
And a mother's love
.

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Good Guys 8, Bad Guys 11



The offense is broken.
The man-up unit is pointless.
The schedule isn't getting any easier.
Basically, it's officially time to freak out.

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Flag We Love... Navy???

At least they won't be pink and green.
As reported yesterday in the rag tag publication The Daily Orange, as well as on Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician, Syracuse will be debuting new basketball uniforms either during the Big East Tournament or the NCAA Tournament. I thought I’d weigh in on the issue, because frankly, I know things and stuff… and I’m bored at work on a Friday.

Obviously at this point no one but Nike and probably Darryl Gross, maybe Jim Boeheim, knows what these new uniforms look like. Simply based on sheer conjecture I will determine if the uniform change is a good idea or not. My vote is yes and no.

It’s always good when technology advances something (save the whole Cyberdyne scenario from the Terminator movies). If my jersey can pull sweat off my body that is pretty sweet. If I spill something on my clothes but it just falls off like water on the hood of a freshly waxed Buick then even better. But form needs to follow function in a basketball uniform. If it looks like crap then no one cares if it can wick moisture away.

Which brings is to what they will look like. “SU's home jerseys will be white with ‘Orange’ written across the chest in orange lettering and the orange road jerseys will feature ‘Syracuse’ across the chest in white lettering.” I don’t think I’m a fan of the Orange across the chest. It harkens back to the days of yesteryear when the said Orangemen in script across the chest. As so many have complained before, we are not a fruit and we are more then just a color. I’m very proud of Syracuse, even if our nickname is Orange, but frankly I identify more with Syracuse than Orange. I think most alumni would agree, and probably even current students.

The football jerseys that came out for the 2005 campaign by Nike were retro. I can’t help but envision some earlier jerseys the team wore from the 80’s and 90’s. The boys above probably would have loved the jerseys of today, but I think they would still appreciate the current uniform better than Nike trying to make us look old school.

As for the silver lettering, I’m not quite sold, but I like it better than the navy that we currently have. In 2003 and 2004, the last two years of the (what I’ve dubbed) championship jersey, the letters were block and white and were clearly visible and classy looking. If the silver lettering can look just as good as those jerseys did I will be fine with the sliver.

The university can not… I repeat CAN NOT do an all navy uniform. This will not only look horrific, but will go against the traditions of the university. I know other teams use the navy jersey such as the softball team. However, navy blue is not an official color of the university. Orange is only the official color (and we are one of the few universities that only have one official color). Navy is merely the unofficial accent color, and it is described as such in everything related to Syracuse. Just say no to all navy blue.

One more point about superstition. I’m a big believer in superstition when it comes to postseason tournaments. When I was an undergrad traveling with the team I would always wear the same belt, pants, etc. once the tournament started (yes I changed my socks and underwear… that is just gross if you don’t). Debuting a new uniform in a postseason tournament is a bad idea and will clearly affect the likeability of the new uniforms if we do terrible when debuting in them. If Nike was smart they would wait until the start of next season. Unless the team runs the table I doubt they will be selling too many of the new uniforms until next fall anyway.

Will these uniforms be hideous? Only time or Nike will tell. But Nunes/Magic is right. They did make the Oregon Ducks football jerseys and those are the gold standard for terrible uniforms.

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