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Nunes::44 - 2/26/08

Easy there big boy, you'll get to answer the questions.
It is Tuesday, which means our good friend Sean over at Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician and I slug questions back and forth at each other. This week it was my turn to ask, so we get Nunes’ answers. Generally I ask hard questions, so this week is no exception. Enjoy your Weekly Nunes/Orange::44 crossover episode. It’s just like when Law & Order would be on Homicide and vice versa. Only a lot more orange and sadly without Jerry Orbach.

1. Orange::44: Yeah, we lost to Notre Dame, but when one guy hits nine three point shots, and the team overall has 14, we really had no business staying in this game. Still, was this loss demoralizing, or encouraging that we kept it so close with a hot shooting team?

Nunes: I think it’s demoralizing because of what it said about our ability to learn from past mistakes. Jimmy B knew going in that when Notre Dame beats us, it's with the three. So naturally, if ND has a hot hand we need to adjust. We never really did. I don't think it’s because Boeheim didn't realize this, I think its because he doesn't trust the team to step out of its comfort zone and play a different brand of defense.

I think it exposed a huge lack of faith on the part of the coaches in the players to go man-to-man or change up their tactics. That's scary for a team that needs to scratch, claw and do anything it can to make it into the tournament.

Instead of saying "beat us if you can", SU is saying "just break our zone and we've got nothing else."

2. Orange::44: Looking at this team, how do you think we will finish out the regular season?

Nunes: If there's anything predictable about a Syracuse basketball team, it's that they're unpredictable. How else do you explain a team that has lost four of five yet the only win was over the #10 team in the nation? It's a daunting last three games for sure. Pittsburgh is reeling but they're still a very capable team. Seton Hall would look a lot less scary if it weren't on the road (Orange are 2-6 on the road in the BE). And Marquette is playing for a bye in the BET so they'll be ready to go.

My honest, unbiased answer is that they will lose 2 out of 3, finish the season 18-13 (8-10), know they have no shot at the NCAA Tournament, get Pitt or West Virginia in the first round and probably not make it out of that game. Then it's off to the NIT again.

My biased, unabashed homeristic answer is that they will win 2 out of 3, finish the season 19-12 (9-9), beat Cincy in the first round of the BET but lose in the second round, narrowly missing the NCAA Tournament yet again.

Either way, it probably doesn't end pretty. God, that South Florida loss really sucked.

3. Orange::44: You appear to be on the Women's Lax beat until they get to the BET, at which point I am sure to take over again. How are they going to do this year, especially with that fancy new head coach?

Nunes: I'm just keeping the seat warm for you. Honestly, all I know is what the Internet and box scores tell me but what they tell me is that we have a legitimate juggernaut on our hands. Coming off a fantastic season when they were beaten in the playoffs by eventual champ Northwestern, they brought in the living legend and the team seems to have responded by stepping it up a notch themselves. Only two games in they've crushed an inferior team and demoralized a ranked team. We'll know exactly what they're made of after this weekend when they take on #2 Virginia. A demonstrative win there and you have to make the case that they are one of the best teams in the country.

Not said often but, DOC Gross, nice job.

4. Orange:44: The Men's Lacrosse team beat Army. Will they keep going against the murder's row they now face, or will they falter?

Nunes: While they won last weekend, the SU team didn't exactly put all of last year's ghosts to rest. They did prove they are more resilient, but coming back against Army is not the same as coming back against Virginia. Or Georgetown. Or Johns Hopkins. I don't see the SU team winning out, I think there's still a few bugs that need to be worked out. But even if they lose two, even all three of these games, I see this year's team being better for it come season-end.

Plus, thanks to the biased and wacky ranking systems in lacrosse, even if they lost all three, SU would still only drop to like #15.

5. Orange::44: Speaking of early football predictions, the schedule is out. Counting Crows references aside, are we going to be better this year than the last?

Nunes: Round Here, I think the word is that we're going to be better in August And Everything After. I don't know what Mr. Jones on the street thinks but you have to figure the team doesn't want another Long December. (Okay, I'm done).

Offensively, I expect good things. Andrew has a full season under his belt, Mike Williams is a legit threat and he's going to have some young help on the other side of the field. There's going to be a big time showdown for the RB position in practice, a good problem to have. Hopefully someone will emerge for real. As usual, it'll rest on the O-line to actually allow any of this to happen.

Like you said in the last go-round, I think the Big East will be down this year so it will be a great chance for SU to start their climb back up to mediocrity. Northwestern is winnable, Akron is winnable, Northeastern (please God) is as close to a sure thing as we're gonna get. In the Big East I expect us to be competitive with UConn and Louisville at least as well. I'm holding steady at 5-7 until further notice.

6. Orange::44: We are almost at the end of the basketball season. What was the biggest surprise for you in the Big East this season, and what was your favorite game to watch with Syracuse or any team?

Nunes: The biggest surprise is probably the switcheroo at the top of the conference. Early on, it looked like a three-team race between G'town, Pitt and Marquette. Now, it's still a race that involved G'town, but Louisville, UConn and Notre Dame are in the driver's seats for byes. With the start that L'ville and UConn had, its impressive that they were able to turn their seasons around so quickly, and in the middle of Big East games no less.

I didn't get to actually watch too many games this year and usually when I watched SU, they lost (natch). No game really stands out as an amazing game that I watched this season but I appreciate the Georgetown win which I watched via the scoreboard on my Sirius radio. I had no sound, no knowledge of what was going on, only the back-and-forth updates on the screen. It was thrilling, in a "what the hell is going on???" kind of way.

Still wish I could have watched it though.

7. Orange::44: Finally, who is the most overrated team in the Big East and why?

Nunes: I think it has to be Georgetown. They are extremely beatable, as proven by Syracuse and I think they are benefiting from an early-season ranking. All three conference losses have come on the road so that doesn't bode well for the Big East Tournament and beyond for them. I wouldn't be surprised at all if they lost early in the BET, but that might also have to do with the balance up top of the conference.
I see the Big East getting quite a few teams in the NCAAs but I don't know if I see anyone who can make a clear run to the Final Four. Hopefully, someone establishes themselves in the BET.
Editor’s Note: This is another installment in the ongoing collaboration between Orange::44 and Nunes/Magician. Every other Tuesday Nunes::44 will appear here, while the following week Orange::44/Magician will appear on his site. Until then, enjoy Nunes/Magician articles and stay tuned to Orange::44 for complete postgame coverage from every Syracuse game.

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4 Responses to “Nunes::44 - 2/26/08”

  1. # Anonymous Vito

    The Seton Hall game may be techinically on the road, but the "Seton Hall Sell Out" leads me to believe that Orange fans are going to turn the Prudential Center into Madison Square Garden West. I'll make an early prediction and say it will be at least 65/35 Cuse fans. On paper, the road win (hopefully) is the only thing that matters to the selection committee in this case. Those same odds apply to the chance of there being a knife fight after the game in the streets of Newark, NJ.  

  2. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    Ah yes. Nothing like a good ol' fashioned knife fight in the street.  

  3. # Blogger John

    Knife fight? Count me in!  

  4. # Blogger MariusJanulisForThree

    I was thinking that the sell out is probably due to SU fans in the area. God knows Seton Hall fans aren't that motivated.  

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