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Scoop's Cousin Loves Campus D

A cheesesteak for a felony? Yeah I'm in.
This blog, by the simple nature of what I do, and the simple fact I am not a professional journalist, has mostly been and will always mostly be a reactionary space. This means that there is more commentating, editorializing, and analysis that strict reporting. We rarely break news because that is not the business we are in. This gives me the luxury to reflect and provide several storylines that are deeper than your average recap or point of interest. I’d like to think that the reason you read this blog is you appreciate the insight it gives you, maybe illuminates you to another point of view, or even that you just like my writing. That being said, I am very pleased that Scoop Jardine is not being investigated in a sexual assault, but rather the simple theft of food items. I was glad my sources got it wrong. I am glad that when I wrote my opinion on the subject that I was sure to say that this was by no means the accurate truth of the matter. Now we can move on and discuss what this means for all parties involved.

Now you know the story. Scoop’s cousin, Mr. Robert Washington, bought $115.65 worth of food from the Goldstein Student Center (delicious cheesesteaks there). Yes he knew about it, but he did not really participate in the act. While District Attorney William Fitzpatrick’s office (an office I have actually interned when I was an undergrad) has declined to prosecute Jardine, the university’s Judicial Board will be taking up the cause and filing discipline action sometime in the near future. This could be anything from game suspensions, repayment of the money, community service, or a combination therein.

While the process works, this allows comment on the bigger issue of athletes and the scrutiny therein. As you may have read in my analysis of the latest UConn incident here, I state the basic premise that any crime, no matter how minor, committed by an athlete is too much. Athletes are the face of any university, especially in Division I. As sad as it is, most people rate the worth of a schools name, save a Harvard or a Yale, on the success or notoriety of their sports programs. Syracuse has one of the best political science departments in the country, yet if the football team blows, my BA does not sound as good as it would if they were winning bowl games. The education is the same and top notch, yet it is somewhat diminished.

Athletes are under some of the most intense of public scrutiny. Much like celebrities though, I feel no sympathy towards this. In Axeman’s column here, he states that we should take it easy on Scoop because he is an 18 year old freshman who does not have life figured out yet. That is all well and good, but I have to disagree with Axe slightly here. The educational system expects high schoolers, ages 14-18, to act mature and sit in a class room without interruption for 40-80 minutes at a time. When you get to college, in exchange for more freedom you get more responsibility. Syracuse, much like other universities, expect you to conduct yourself like an adult. I, as a citizen living in that environment, also had this exact expectation. While I am not saying that Scoop had the obligation to, to use the term made popular by a certain video by Carmelo, “snitch”, it was still the right and just thing to do. Regardless of the practicality of the situation, it was still the right thing to do. The right thing was to speak up and say that that is not your ID, we should turn it into public safety or what not. Scoop chose to let the cousin order the food and eat it, thus he was implicated in the whole thing.

That being said, Scoop should feel very luck the District Attorney is declining to charge him with a crime. The Judicial Board process will take its course, and that should allow ample chance for Scoop to put this behind him in the future. Compared to some of the incidents that UConn players have been implicated in, this seems like jaywalking. I’m sure there will be a short suspension, community service, and probably restitution.

Moral of the story, right or wrong, athletes have more responsibility than the average college student. It is the way it works. You are treated like an adult once you get to college so you have to deliver. But there are far worse ways to not deliver. So for now we wait and watch a team struggle with seven players. After a scrappy win at DePaul and a nice win with Providence it will be interesting to see where this team can go from here. Your complete DePaul Postgame Reactions will be released tomorrow, including some Orangewomen news. Until next time, as always, thanks for reading.

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Nunes::44 - 1/29/08

Yeah, I know I'm awesome. Marcy agrees.

It is Tuesday, which means it is once again time for the latest installment of Nunes::44. Today Sean from Nunes/Magician and I talk about basketball, the conference, and the ladies. It is a cavalcade of sexy, sexy sports talk. This time, 100% gossip free!

1. Orange::44: Did you see anything from the Providence game that seems encouraging for this team?

Nunes: Your first mistake is assuming I saw the game at all. (Your second mistake? Trusting the Belgians...) The unfortunate reality of my situation is that I'm usually going off some kind of Internet stat broadcast and/or a live blog of a game and rely heavily on the thoughts of others such as yourself to fill me in on the details of the game. I guess I'm old fashioned but I'm still not ready to pay for online broadcasts of games either.

Anyway, at the end of the day the most encouraging thing about these guys is that they're not gonna give up for a second. Even with a depleted roster, little experience and a brutal schedule, there's no quit in them and that's appreciated (or at least should be). No one's laying down under the expectations or the excuses that are being presented to them. With the Big East the way it is right now, it's certainly not crazy to think that these guys can still quite a few games this year and they seem to be thinking the same thing.

2. Orange::44: On a scale of alright to heartbreaking, how do you rate the Georgetown game?

Nunes: Fairly heartbreaking. More heartbreaking at the time then it feels right now. At the time, it really felt like that win could have changed the entire course of the season. It would have given these guys a boatload of confidence and good feelings and could have been a springboard to the top of the conference. In reality, would that have happened? I'm not so sure. In a conference where one of the worst teams can beat one of the best any given day, that win may have had very short-term effects.

That said, it was effin' Georgetown and it would have been damn nice to beat them again. The good news is, when the Hoyas come to the Dome we're feeling like we can win that game, right? I certainly do. And if we can win that one, then it'll make the loss go down a lot smoother. I'll take a home-and-home split with a top ten team any day.

3. Orange::44: The Big East conference is crazy this season with everyone beating everyone. Who right now has the best Home Court Advantage and who is the team to beat in the Big East?

Nunes: It would seem that West Virginia has the best home court advantage right now, even despite losing to Georgetown on Saturday. It was their first loss at home (they lost to Oklahoma in Charleston) all season and they only lost by one to the #9 team in the nation. Otherwise, they've pretty much been handling business there and it looks (at least on TV) like a fairly intimidating arena.

The team to beat still has to be Georgetown. While Pitt and Marquette fade and Louisville and UConn climb, they're the only team that's been consistent all year atop the conference. Everyone is still measuring themselves against them and a win over the Hoyas has to be considered a huge upset for anyone in-conference right now.

Naturally, they will lose to St. John's Wednesday night.

4. Orange::44: The ladies and Coach Q defended their #24 and will jump in the polls. The will travel to Chicago to take on closely ranked DePaul. Do they have a chance? Are you convinced this team is the real deal and can hang with the elite teams in the conference?

Nunes: From what SUAthletics.com tells me, HELL YEAH! And from what I've seen, why not? They seem like they can hang with just about anybody and they're truly earned that ranking. I still stand by my prediction that they will have a killer season culminating in a slightly disappointing NCAA Tournament run due to lack of experience. But I'm rooting for them, God knows we'll need someone to root for in the post-season.

5. Orange::44: Who do you most want to see have their number retired for Syracuse?

Nunes: I always used to say that Carmelo brought us the championship but it's Gerry McNamara we'll be talking about 20 years from now and that was before his Big East Tournament clinic. Gerry epitomizes everything that you retire a number for. He was a leader and holds plenty of records for sure but Gerry became the face of the team while he was here. He was one of those guys who played four years but it felt like six. And even if his stats don't stand up in showcasing his greatness, you have a highlight reel a mile long that does.

I always said about Derek Jeter that if you just took his stats, Jeter is a borderline Hall of Famer at best. But when I ask you if Derek Jeter is a Hall of Famer, isn't it a no-brainer? Isn't Derek Jeter exactly the kind of player the Hall of Fame exists to memorialize? Whereas Eddie Murray and Andrew Dawson have nice stats, can you give me five great memories of them? Can you even think of two? Meanwhile, you can probably rattle off five, maybe even ten memorable plays that Jeter has made, no problem.

That's Gerry, he's our Jeter. Others may look at his stats and say "Eh, he's overrated." But we know better.

And let the record show I'm a Mets fan and loathe the Yankees. Just needed to make that clear.

6. Orange::44: Finally, the tennis team won a big match recently, volleyball is doing well, the ladies keep winning, and the lax teams look to be fairly good again. Are things looking up for Syracuse Athletics on the whole in the near future?

Nunes: If you look at SU Athletics over the last two years and eliminate the "money" sports (football, men's basketball, men's lax), SU Athletics is doing amazing. Like you said, v-ball is up, the field hockey team is coming off a huge year, the women's lax team just got picked to win the Big East, the women's b-ball team is on fire...

Hate to say it but in that regard, DOCTOR Gross has done a good job (or has at least been present while it happened and therefore receives credit). It would be very cool if one day soon SU could refer to itself in the same manner UCLA does, the home of champions. We're getting closer. For the casual SU fan it's a nice little bonus, something we can stick in our caps.

But let's face it, we'd so much rather see the football team play in January.
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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UConn Players Like Booze... Who Knew?

Here in my car, I get drunk when I want.
We have learned that the Jerome Dyson and Doug Wiggins were indefinitely suspended for having alcohol. ESPN.com and the Hartford Courant report that UConn Police (who I can say first hand are no joke) stopped the two gentlemen in a car with a bottle of cognac and a bottle of vodka. Of course, the two gentlemen are underage.

Wiggins was issued a summons for operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license and possession of alcohol by a minor, while Dyson was issued an infraction for possession.

As you may recall I commented on this story on Saturday, also linking you to the rap sheet of the UConn Athletic Department. The story originally stated that this suspension was not due to legal trouble. Um… well actually it is. Possessing alcohol as a minor and operating a motor vehicle while unlicensed are both crimes. A summons is a legal document. Once again, the UConn spin machine is trying to make it sound better than it is.

While the crime of underage alcohol possession is nothing major, alcohol is certainly not something to underage possess in a vehicle, let alone in a vehicle you are not suppose to be operating. Also, as a member of the basketball team, you are again supposed to hold yourself up to a higher standard than the average student. Is that fair? Absolutely. Athletes are the ones getting “paid” for their play with free educations, money for meals, the nicest apartments on campus, etc. For that fame, notoriety, and the privilege to play, you have to keep your nose clean. It is just that simple. For these players to do this, in such a stupid way, is ridiculous. They will most likely remain suspended until the legal side of the issue is resolved and then the university will most likely decide further judicial action. We will, as always, keep you posted with any further developments.

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You pass, I shoot. What's the problem?

Well this game really ticked me off. I come to the game, I get in my seat and am enjoying my BK Lounge in 309, and I realize that Scoop Jardine is not dressed in his uniform. I then sit through one of the most boring first halves of basketball I have seen all season. Syracuse then proceeds to blow a 12 point lead in the second half. I get the annoying lady that sits next to me in our section going nuts thinking she’s Jim Boeheim, as she always does. Finally the team pulls it out, but it was a bit too close for my comfort level. Not even my cookiewich could pacify me. Syracuse wins an important Big East contest, quite necessary for their tournament and Big East Tournament hopes, but this game definitely leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. I’ll address the Scoop Jardine situation, as I have received quite a few text messages and e-mails asking me if I know what is going on. First, to the recap.

Donte Greene was the leading scorer in this match. He earned 25 points and four rebounds. He also sank five of 13 from long range. One of the three pointers came out of a timeout in a designed play which left Greene open at the top of the key, which he nailed. He generally looked good on the floor, but I feel he truly was unable to take over the game as we have seen him do in the past. Greene has become a hot topic with my friends and I as to the status of his being on the team next season. My feeling is, especially if the team only gets an NIT birth, that Greene will be back for one more season. I mean, lord knows he could use it to polish his defense and round out his game. I have other friends who are convinced he will take the money and run. As I discussed with Axeman before the Villanova game, he has stated things like “when I come back next year…” and things of that nature. But we both have heard that kind of talk before from a certain freshman phenom. Granted though, that freshman helped win the National Championship and was named MOP. This is quite a different set of circumstances.

Paul Harris then was second in scoring for the Orange with 14 points. He also pulled down five rebounds. What I was most impressed with was his free throw shooting, as he made ten out of 13. For a team that has been less that stellar in the free throw department this season it was a breath of fresh air. He did turn the ball over six times however, and generally looked sloppy when dribbling. For being the next aforementioned freshman last year, he sure has not delivered as we were promised yet.

Kristof! “The Belgian Waffle” Ongenaet earned his first start, and frankly I was somewhat impressed. In his first start he only earned six points, but he pulled down eight rebounds, made two steals, and looks like the modern day basketball version of Rudy Ruettiger on the court. He always exhibits hustle and effort that any fan would want to see 100% of the time from their team. I like Kristof! and I hope he continues to play well in the expanded role as starter.

Flynn looked pedestrian as compared to the last few games he has played, but he still played well. He scored 12 points, five assists, four rebounds, and made five out of six free throw shots. All in all, a solid day that I cannot complain one bit about. I can complain about the four turnovers though.

This game saw some extended minutes with Rick Jackson on the floor. He also played well off the bench playing 17 minutes and earning seven points and eight rebounds. A solid day all around for Mr. Jackson.

Completely unrelated to the play of Syracuse, Providence has my new favorite “Tall Goofy White Guy” in the Big East. Ray Hall looked like someone took a leprechaun and stretched him to play basketball. He replaces the former Rutgers player Dan Waterstradt.

Arinze Onuaku, while not being a beacon of scoring this game, did contribute eight points, actually managing to hit four out of the five free throws he attempted. He also was an absolute beast on the boards as he pulled down 14 rebounds.

Speaking of boards, the team out rebounded Providence 43 to 27. Offensively, the team earned 14 rebounds, while Providence only had eight. This was an excellent performance by Syracuse to get rebounds, and Syracuse will need to continue, especially against the likes of Pittsburgh and Villanova.

The team, as I mentioned, improved upon its free throws as well. They hit 68% of their free throws, which was 25 out of 37. While that is still not fantastic, it is better than the measly 50% or so they earned the last time on the hardwood. They need to continue to make free throws down the stretch as they did this game, to ensure that teams cannot clime out of the deficit they are in and win over Syracuse.

The turnovers for Syracuse were asinine. They earned 22 in the game. Yeah, that is a lot. Paul Harris had six and Arinze Onuaku had five. Syracuse tried desperately to lose this game in the second half, but they did not. That is the only saving grace for this number, as Providence only had 13.

Syracuse’s defense again left much to be desired. I think it is less we have a terrible defense, as it is simply a lazy defense. When you implore a zone defense as Syracuse usually does, it is easy for a backdoor cut or a baseline pass to get behind the zone and get a good look at the basket. This means that especially Onuaku has to be aware of the players behind him and allow himself the ability to crash to the basket or intercept a pass. The zone is not supposed to be easy to pass through. This one is. Similarly, Syracuse often does not respect the three point shooters that other teams employ. Thus, we let a team like Providence, a team that dropped 14 three pointers on UConn, shoot three pointers. While it worked in the end, most teams that are of a higher caliper than Providence will make more of those baskets. This was illustrated in the UMass game you may recall. Therefore, Syracuse has to be more diligent and less lazy while on the defensive end.

And now the elephant in the room. Scoop Jardine was suspended indefinitely for “breaking university policies”. I absolutely hate when players are suspended for any reason on any team, and it makes it sting all the more when it is one of ours. I hold Syracuse up to a high academic and ethical standard. My degree is valuable to me and I hate to see it worth less because of the actions of stupid people. Did I have a little fun when I was an undergrad, and even an employee of Syracuse? You know it. Did I always obey the law? 99% of the time. Was it anything that would endanger myself or others in any way? Not one bit. All of that is merely an aside to the real issue. About a month ago an article appeared on Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician talking about the rumors of the players on Syracuse possibly committing a sexual assault. From what my sources in the Athletic Department are saying, this suspension is the direct result of an investigation of rape allegations. Now, my sources are fairly low level in the scheme of the Athletic Department, and there is a touch of hearsay involved. That being said, it seems to make sense to me, as the rumors have been floating around now for a good month, and the university or Jim Boeheim is fairly hush hush about the whole thing. Now I am not a legal expert, however I am in law school and understand the criminal justice system. That being said, in my opinion it is a little odd that after a month of that rumor being around that they are just now starting an investigation on it. I understand the position the university must take as they need to suspend anyone under investigation for a crime such as this. However, it is odd that the investigation would not commence sooner if they really thought there was validity to the claim. Anyway, I hope this is all moot and I am wrong about the entire thing. These are the rumors I am hearing from people within the department though. As Nunes/Magician stated so eloquently in that article though, I can write what I want and will not be held accountable. However, I try to have the most integrity I can get and so please do not take this information as the God’s honest truth. This is merely one of the many possibilities that it could be, and sadly, via some investigation on my part, what I believe to be the probable reason.

The Axeman has a complete recap of the game here, which has some good reaction to the game from the players. He, as a respected member of the media, cannot be a party to the rumor mill that we all like to be a part of, but I can afford to be as this is a blog as I previously mentioned, so do not expect anything that is not an absolute fact on his site. Therefore you should check out the recap, as well as this initial report of Scoop being suspended because the comments are off the chain.

Everything being said, Syracuse earned a win. A win at this point is good. A win was necessary and the team, when backed against the wall, responded and won a decent game. The next contest for the Orange has them traveling back to the site of the massacre of 2006. The DePaul Blue Devils will host Syracuse this Wednesday at 8:30pm. We should all hope the outcome this time around is better than the last. Remember, despite if the team wins or loses, and despite the actual Scoop situation, remember… at least we are not UConn.

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UConn Players Behave Badly, World Seems Right

I guess I'll have to steal some laptops to pass the time.
Breaking news from the world of Calhoun’s Convicts. ESPN.com and The Hartford Courant is reporting that Jim Calhoun has indefinitely suspended starting guard Jerome Dyson and bench player Doug Wiggins under the ever popular umbrella of “violating team rules”. Whatever happened, the university assures that it is not due to legal trouble or academic issues. Interesting.

As you may or may not know, UConn has a long and illustrious record of having players and coaches be on the wrong side of the criminal justice system. Matt Glaude famously chronicled that history here, quite possibly with the best mug shot in history. You also might remember the name Doug Wiggins. You know, when he was actually a St. John’s recruit that Calhoun stole.

From what it sounds like, with the university saying it was not a legal issue or academic issue, these kids just did something to really piss of Calhoun. To their credit that is a bold and daring move, to tick off the head coach of the Connecticut Huskies. I mean, the guy already can probably take a crap in a newspaper and leave it on your desk face down and he probably would not have anything happen to him in Storrs.

Dyson was averaging 14.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. He was playing an average of 29.6 minutes in the 18 games he played in for UConn. Wiggins was averaging 6.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.7 assists, averaging 19.7 minutes in 18 games. This is good news for any team playing UConn in the near future (minus Indiana). Dyson was a starter averaging 14 points which is not shabby for a starter. Wiggins' six or so points off the bench is also not bad for a player coming in. All in all, while this will be interesting to see if it really impacts the Huskies down the stretch, the big question is… what the hell did they say to Calhoun?

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Orange::44 Points The Crosshairs

Mike, were you talking to me? Him? Me? I can't tell where you are looking.
I have been a little behind on my internet browsing duties later, being out of town and all. However, my friend John pointed out this story done by our good friend over at State of the Orange. In it, he states the basic premise that the Carrier Dome Public Address Announcer, Michael Veley, is absolutely atrocious. I, like most people, completely agree.

The previous Dome announcer, Carl Eilenburg, while occasionally boring, was never a determent to the game. His smooth voice, that had been in the operation from the opening of the Carrier Dome, retired at the end of the lacrosse season in 2006. While Carl kept it simple, you always felt informed, and you felt that the game was enhanced and not hurt.

Now we get this tool bag with a googly eye who says “drilled and spilled” no less than 12 times during football, and says “duce for the ‘Cuse” about 17 times every basketball game. This guy, who had been terrible at marketing for the university, so much that he was removed from the position, was removed to "head the Sports Management Program". The guy that was so terrible as a member of the Athletic Department, was removed and given this job. He makes me want to listen to nails on a chalkboard. Just reading what this guy stated when he first got the job, especially related to the football team, just makes me angry in numerous ways.

My favorite memory of Veley involves him in the 2005-2006 basketball season, when he was sitting at the scorers table. Terrance Roberts was going after a loose ball heading for the sideline and he flew into the table and basically into the lap of Veley. Roberts surprised Veley who apparently was not paying attention. As a result of the collision Veley broke his pinky on one of his hands. It remains an inside joke among myself and my friends, most notably being done the best by Vito, a good friend of Orange::44. This incident further leading me to believe this guy has no clue what is going on.

All of these negative feelings, inspired by our good friend’s post, has motivated me to make the removal of Mike Veley, or at least some sort of acknowledgment on the part of the university admitting he is terrible, critical. This mission is still secondary to the primary mission that Orange::44 founder Matt Glaude outlined, to chronicle the daily disaster that is Syracuse Athletics. Mission A1 will now be the aforementioned goal. Mr. Excitement should not be the public address announcer, no more than Nancy Cantor should be the Chancellor. Therefore, until Veley is removed or some acknowledgment is made, I will do my best for each game I attend in person to outline what was so awful on his part. In each postgame reaction I will comment on something I find egregious, which there should be plenty to comment on. Stay tuned for the chronicling of the daily disaster, as well as the new mission I, and everyone out there, should undertake. There is strength in numbers my friends.

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Is it wrong I have so much irrational hate for Georgetown? Naaaaah!
I am back from my Syracuse Basketball weekend. Sadly, I am back with two losses, one of which was extremely exciting, thrilling, and heartbreaking. Although, the game was great, the outcome was not in favor of Syracuse so I had the saddest ride on public transportation I have probably ever had. Alas, there are some very good things to take away from this game. One thing is for sure, as I always say, there is nothing more HiDef than reality, and being there definitely brought me back to being in the Student Section or in the band going nuts during crunch time.

In yet another game, Jonny Flynn was the leading scorer. He earned 24 points, four of which were on shots from behind the arc. This kid played admirably against a team that was extremely difficult to penetrate against. While he did not become the hero of the day, he played well and gave it the old college try. Overall a good game from the kid.

Greene was next in scoring with 15 points and nine rebounds. Greene also scored three from long range. It was also refreshing for him to not be in foul trouble for the majority of the second half. I give Jim Burr and the crew credit for calling a true Big East game and sticking to the muggings. While I felt there were some calls that Georgetown got in terms of contact that Syracuse did not, it was fairly close on both sides and a very entertaining game as a result.

Arinze Onuaku had one of the best games of his career production wise versus the competition he was up against. Having the daunting task (although not too daunting in my opinion) of guarding and matching up against Roy Hibbert. He earned 12 points and 13 rebounds. He played and defended very well overall. I just wish he could hit some god damned free throws. His free throws could have really helped as he missed 4 out of the six he shot. Overall, a good game though.

Paul Harris only got seven points, but he was key on the boards. He earned ten rebounds and looked aggressive out there. He really came back from a terrible (self admitted) game against Villanova and played with a fire we have not seen from Paul in a few contests. He definitely kept us in the game.

Speaking of rebounds, would you have expected Syracuse to outrebound Georgetown? Not this guy. Nevertheless, they did in fact earn 38 rebounds, compared to Georgetown’s 29. Similarly, on the offensive glass, Syracuse amassed 16, while Georgetown only got three. This is immensely encouraging for Syracuse, as Syracuse has occasionally been outrebounded by teams half its size. It seems the kids can step when needed.

One thing, I have to say, that Syracuse does extremely well is inbound plays for quick scores. On more than one occasion during the game Syracuse would pass it in to a player off a screen near the basket and they would get an easy jump shot or a lay up. Frankly, it is really cool when they do this, and shows the level of strategy that Jim Boeheim puts into his job. Great stuff.

Syracuse limited its turnovers to 13, only six in the first half. This is also encouraging for Syracuse as they have turned the ball over quite a bit in the last few contests. This time they played with much more poise and control. Donte Greene was the biggest problem with six, and Scoop Jardine had four of his one. Either way, the team overall did much better with turning the ball over.

Syracuse had an atrocious day from the line though. They only managed nine of eighteen; 50%. Worst of all, there were missed free throws in the overtime period, which just killed us. If you get fouled in overtime or late in a game, if you do not convert free throws, it might as well be a turnover. In fact, I am for my friend Jayme’s proposal of counting two missed free throws as a turnover. Either way, we did not convert many down the stretch. Georgetown did, managing ten of 14 for 71%. It cost us. Most likely the game.

These kids need to learn, and soon, if you are having an off night on shooting, stop taking shots. It is easier said than done, but really if Donte Greene is not on, he should be trying to drive inside or draw defenders and make passes, not chucking the ball up and have the team fail to grab a rebound. It does no good for anyone.

I also feel the defense was not too good during the game. Georgetown got a few easy looks inside, and they were uncontested from beyond the arc most of the time. Granted, this is mostly part of the strategy of the 2-3 Zone. You allow your opponent to live or die by the three. That is fine, but in the first half, when John Wallace friggin lights it up from long distance, it is possibly time for Flynn to step up and put a hand in his face even remotely near the three point line. Just a thought.

Scoop Jardine was virtually dead weight out there. He managed zero points and one assist. Kudos to you sir. You played your worst game against the best team. Just what inspires confidence. Kristof, in contrast, I thought played a hell of a game off the bench. Kristof’s energy seemed to be off the chart compared to Scoop’s, and even when he is not scoring or rebounding, you just feel like he is contributing positively with his hustle. It might be time for Boeheim to consider a little role reversal and give Kristof!, The Belgian Waffle, a look at the starting job.

Why dwell on the negative however. That game was one of the best college basketball matches I have seen all season. It is just unfortunate that Syracuse could not pull one out of the old awesome basket and give the visiting fans (yes, there were quite a few, some my classmates) a big win on Big Monday. We next face a Providence team that beat UConn recently on Sunday at 2:00pm in the Carrier Dome. I will be there hoping that from now until then they have learned how to shoot a free throw.
Also of note is another installment of Orange::44 Is An Absolute Magician on Nunes/Magician. He asked the hard questions, and I gave the answers as best as I could. I’m sure you will enjoy that as always.

Special thanks and hat tips to everyone who made my extended weekend travels great. Notable, big shout outs to my fellow fans with me in 309, John, Ben, and Matt, Brent Axe for being very cool to a blogger he did not have to give the time of day to, my travel partner down to DC Erin, my gracious hosts Jen and Kristen, my good friend and colleague Jason, and all my other friends who I saw along the way. Also, excellent timing to former Sitrus drummer Tom for pulling out “Hey Brian, what time is it?” as soon as the overtime ended. To which I, of course replied, “It’s 9:11”. He the responded “… and Georgetown still sucks!” How true sir. How true.

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Props to the Ladies

One awesome basketball team at SU? Done.

Congratulations to the SU Orange women’s basketball team. For the first time they are ranked, with a #24 next to their name. Coach Q has done a great job and it is about time the ladies got some recognition. I’ll be back later tonight/early tomorrow with my Georgetown postgame coverage, as depressing a read as it might be. Until then, congratulations again to the women.

PS – Can’t the webmaster or someone at the Athletic Department do something about this?


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The Axeman agrees, you should be getting you some Orange::44.
Greetings from the Nation’s Capital, Washington, DC. Well, technically I’m currently at my friend's in Alexandria, Virginia, but you get the idea. I did not anticipate having the opportunity to write up the Villanova game this early, but I am stealing a wireless internet signal and have a little time out of my busy travels. One thing is for sure, this Villanova game was very entertaining, and really Syracuse had a shot to win it until about a minute and a half remaining. With the largest crowd watching a game so far this year, all in all it was a pleasant Saturday afternoon in Syracuse… minus the outcome.

Again Jonny Flynn led the Orange in scoring. He earned 23 points and four assists. He also limited his turnovers to one for the game, a vast improvement over his previous few games. Sadly though, Flynn only managed to make one out of the seven shots he took from long range. More on this later.

Scoop Jardine contributed 15 points, four rebounds, and made six of the six free throw attempts he had. He did this all before fouling out late in the second half. Scoop got a little frisky at times, however he displayed what I had dubbed for Josh Pace “swashbuckling/pirate” skills. What I mean is that Pace had the ability to hit that little floater in the lane and seemingly steal points that he had no business earning in the first place. Scoop displayed some of that by cutting the lane, either on purpose with an isolation, or with a lapse in defense, and seeming hitting a little floater or shot with three men surrounding. These shots seemed impossible, but sure enough they went in. While he is not there yet, Scoop will be a solid “glue guy” in the upcoming seasons.

Clearly when Donte Greene was in the game he was an offensive spark. He a added 12 points and four rebounds. Alas, foul trouble kept Mr. Greene on the bench for most of the second half. The fifth foul he received was quite possibly one of the worst calls made all season. Thus, with significant minutes remaining in the game, our biggest phenom was on the bench for good. Again, when he played he was usually very effective and sometimes dazzling on the offensive end.

Arinze Onuaku contributed a double-double with ten and ten, but he was not as effective as he could have been. With the outside shot suspect at most times, and Syracuse seemingly finding it difficult to penetrate the lane, the team needed to rely on its lumbering big man in the post. While he was successful at converting at times, other times he failed to make strong and decisive moves to the basket. In a close game, especially with a ranked opponent, as well as a team that likes to employ more guards than your local bank branch, your low post man should be your bread and butter and the option considered first. Sadly, ill advised shots and rushed penetrations with some blown screens mixed in were first options. While it was not his worst game of the year, a stronger performance would have helped in this case. Even more so however, more attention to feeding him the ball would have been preferred as well.

Kristof! “The Belgian Waffle” Ongenaet had an interesting 18 minutes off the bench in this game. I am now convinced that Kristof! is Gerry McNamara without the three point shot. What I mean is that he demonstrates the same toughness and scrappy play that made Gerry one of the most beloved players in Syracuse lore. He fought hard for every rebound, diving on the floor, attempting steals, and playing a solid game on the defensive and rebounding fronts. He managed six rebounds in a game where in the last six contests against ‘Nova, the winner was the one that had more rebounds. Thus, rebounds were important. He got some. Sadly though, Kristof!’s poor offensive production (one point this game off a free throw) really hurts the Orange if we are in need of points above all. Still, I like him and his game and will continue to see if he can impress me in the near future.

Syracuse managed nine blocked shots, four from Mr. Harris. He actually managed to chase down Scottie Reynolds and block his shot off the backboard. It was simply amazing to watch and let us hope this kind of defense where we block several shots continues to help the Orange.

In a game where the teams shot identically from the floor with field goal percentages of 40%, this game came down to rebounds and second chance points. Villanova seemed to have several open looks from long range and mid range. They even had some very easy buckets from the baseline. This doomed the Orange as ‘Nova seemed very capable of passing the ball in a manner that could easily defeat the famed 2-3. Having chances to shoot after earning an offensive board also helped Villanova.

Turnovers were also bad. Syracuse had 19, which is high even for them. In and of itself, this is not so bad because Villanova also had nineteen, but it was when they occurred that really hurt Syracuse. In the second half, every time Syracuse managed to gain some momentum they would make a costly turnover, errant pass, and even just a terrible decision. It really cost the team the chance to get back in the game. I knew this would haunt them in a game against a good team and sure enough here it was.

The foul situation was asinine as Tim Higgins reasserted himself as the worst referee in the business. Jim Burr gave him a run for his money, but Timmy “Gotta Get Your TV Time” Higgins came back and was in rare form. If you watched the game you know exactly what I am talking about. If you did not watch, feel lucky you were not subjected to the clinic on how not to call a Big East game. As a former referee myself I know how hard it is. People have taken swings at me (thanks every SU frat), I have been called names, and threatened in all sorts of ways. It is part of the gig and you know what you get when you sign up. This is why I value a good referee crew and enjoy the technical nuances and fine ballet that a quality reffed game is. This was none of that. When simple officiating fundamentals are violated and basic rules (TRAVELING) are ignored, it calls into question the integrity of the game. That is something that there should never be a question about. Thanks Tim. When you come back you’ll be hearing me from 309.

Our poor long range shooting again caused us problems. Much like the West Virginia game, this was not good at all. The team only shot 19%, managing to make three of 16 attempts. Jonny Flynn thought he was God’s gift as he chucked it up seven times, only finding the net once. Again the absence of Devendorf and Rautins has reared its ugly head as Syracuse looked pretty stinko from behind the arc.

With free throws being pretty high for Syracuse at 77%, and the team only missing six, that number really did not affect the outcome of the game. What did affect the outcome was fouling Scottie Reynolds, as he made nine of his ten attempts. The same numbers also apply to Corey Fisher coming off the bench for ‘Nova. Clearly when we fouled, we fouled the guys that could make the shots, down the stretch at least. It is a damn good thing that Georgetown is not great at free throws.

It seems, as many bloggers have put it, Syracuse was who we thought they were. A young team that is not going to win many big games this season. There is always next year right?

The Three Idiots have a great write up of the Villanova highlighting our photogenic friend Timmy Higgins, with a great picture from a Pittsburgh of the Oakland Zoo down at “The Pete” giving him the business. It is totally worth a read for the picture alone. In other, cooler blogging news, I had the opportunity to meet and chat with Brent Axe, The Axeman on Syracuse.com before the Villanova game, as illustrated by the above photo. He was very nice and it was a lot of fun talking about different teams, sharing some stories, and wrapping about this whole blogging thing. He is the professional, so if you are not checking out his stuff you are doing a disserve to yourself as a fan. His write up for the Villanova game is here, so check it out. He confirms that we really meet and I did not creepily photoshop the picture above. He wants me to write more articles so I might have to put aside the law books a few more times per week than I already do, and yes, section 309 is just fine. Also, there is not a conspiracy... or is there?

All in all, a nice Friday and Saturday in Syracuse. Now it is onto a much tougher opponent in Georgetown, the hated long time rival of Syracuse. We bested them last year in our own house, so now it is time to take it to DC and reclaim the Verizon Center. I will do my best to be a belligerent fan and help cheer on our team. You be sure to do your part and tell your favorite Georgetown alumni GFY and that their mother is a Hoya. Proudly proclaim that you are a “Hoya Destroya”. I will be at the game tomorrow, and in travel/back to school mode on Tuesday, but expect a recap of the G’Town throw down on Wednesday. Until then, it is almost game time… and Georgetown still sucks!

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Kristof! got owie. I go sit on bench again.
Syracuse got just what it needed. After a dreadful loss down in Morgantown Syracuse bounced back with a big win at home, though it was against the worst team in the conference. Syracuse’s offensive woes were helped and the two freshmen (yeah, you know which two) got back to work as they combined for 43 of Syracuse’s 81 points. For now, all is right in the land of Orange.

We start with the smiling Jonny Flynn, who bounced back from an 11 point outing at West Virginia with 24 points, five rebounds, and four assists. The kid found his game again as he also hit two out of three shots from three point land.

Donte Greene was next behind Jonny with 19 points and four rebounds. This is also an improvement of his ten measly points from last game. His shot seemed to improve from the last game as he made seven field goals out of 15 tries. He also seemed to have vastly improved shot selection over the previous contest. Than again, it is not like Syracuse was ever trailing in this game.

It was also nice to see more than seven names in the Box Score. Finally, some walkons got to play a little more as this game really was never in doubt. That rest for the starters will hopefully pay dividends for ‘Cuse on Saturday.

Turnovers were again an issue, and against such a terrible Big East team, it is a travesty that Syracuse earned 17 and more than Rutgers. Flynn and Harris were the big winners with four each. I have said it all year. You know the drill.

Free throws were again up as well. The team made 62% of their shots. That would be 13 of 21. As my friend Stef would say, yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Anything above 55% is a moral victory for the team at this point.

We again saw a low scoring night for Arinze Onuaku, only managing nine points. While normally this would be poorly reflective of the offensive night as going inside has become a big part of Syracuse’s game plan with the injury to Devendorf, but I believe in this game it was simply due to the hot hands of Greene and especially Flynn.

This was a nice game, and a good win overall. But, it was supposed to be. This was like the Buffalo game of the football season. Sad if we lost, just fine if we won. There was nothing spectacular in this game, and certainly based on the competition, no major inferences about how the team will due this Saturday against Villanova can be made. A hearty good job to the team though.

Big long weekend coming up for the Orange as Syracuse will face #21 Villanova Saturday at home, and then travel to DC to take on #6 Georgetown at the Verizon Center. If Roy Hibbert hits a three to win the game I am officially selling the rest of my season tickets. I will be at both games as I mentioned before so expect a mega blog recap coming in the middle of next week.

Before I go, my good friend Sean At Nunes/Magician sent me an e-mail which had the link to the Axeman’s latest recap. In his Rutgers article he gives a quote from Donte Greene himself who comments on my video of him playing the drums with the Sour Sitrus Society after the women’s Louisville game. He had this to say:
"(laughs). Yeah, I was at a girl's game. The band has been asking me to
come play the drums, because I played it one time at practice and shocked
everybody. So I went over during the girl's game and played it, and it made it
on YouTube. I have been playing the drums since I was in elementary school. I
played for my church. Since basketball really got going for me in high school, I
kinda stopped playing, but it was fun to go out there and play."

Pretty cool stuff. It is really cool to know Donte has seen it. Now if only he would read the blog. Hat Tip to Nunes/Magician and The Axeman. Hopefully I’ll be seeing Axe in person before the ‘Nova game this Saturday before we see an excellent Big East matchup. Until next week remember that somewhere right this second Buzz Shaw is drinking a beer, remembering the good times.

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Nunes::44 - 1/15/08

So many Nunes pictures, so few highlights.
It is that time once again, to collaborate with our good friend over at Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician. Sean has some witty and informative answers as always so let’s get down to it.

1. Orange::44: The team had a couple bad, bad losses. Your thoughts on what needs fixing?

Nunes: Unfortunately, there's a couple things that just can't be fixed. The lack of experience when the pressure is on or when a hostile crowd is in your face is huge. To be honest, I'm not so sure we ever even had that to begin with, considering Devendorf would have to be the "cool and calm" voice during those times. I'm also beginning to think we just don't have the bodies underneath to really match up in the Big East. We're going to get beat up down there more and more...sombody get Kristof! a protein shake.

What can be fixed? How bout patience? We've seen how these guys can play when the game is close or they're winning. The game comes to them for the most part. But once they get in a hole, they tend to freak. Someone (Jonny) just needs to make a decision that they are going to control the tempo of the game as a floor leader, which is a lot different than trying to make something happen as a floor leader.

Our buddy AEM over at Cuse Chronicles kept saying that freshmen always hit a wall and I think that may just be the case. It's understandable that their wall includes road games in the Big East and as much I expect the team to adjust, learn and grow, those kinds of games aren't going to get any easier.

2. Orange::44: So is there no shot at the tourney now or is it too early to panic?

Nunes: I wouldn't say there's no shot at the tourney for the simple reason that the Big East is proving to be an "any given night" kind of conference this year. It's certainly foreseeable that someone is going to make a run in the BET and play their way into the NCAA tournament. Unfortunately, that works both ways and on "any given night" someone else from the Big East can beat Syracuse as well.

Honestly, I don't think anything would shock me, short of this team suddenly going on a 10-game winning streak. My expectations are certainly tempered though. A week ago I would have told you I was pretty confident we were looking like a tourney team. Now? I'd say we're on the outside looking in and it's up to us to prove we belong. A great RPI doesn't mean much if you don't win the games.

So my answer is...we're nowhere near a lock for the tourney but I don't think panic is the right word for our situation. Concern, not just for this year but for next year, makes more sense.

3. Orange::44: Who at this point in the year is the best and worst team in the Big East Conference?

Nunes: Well, according to the standings its 8-8 Cincy and 7-8 DePaul, who are ahead of 9 teams with double-digit wins. WTF.

I would have said Georgetown before last night but right this minute I'll say Marquette. They have the best body of work overall this season, with wins over Wisconsin, Oklahoma State, Providence, Seton Hall and Notre Dame. That win over Seton Hall was one of those "no business" games where the team clearly wasn't supposed to win due to their own poor evening but grinded it out anyway, a good sign. They lost a close one to Duke and any SU fan will tell you that loss at West Virginia is understandable. Are they a great team? Could they beat Pittsburgh and Georgetown straight-up? Not sure yet but I think they're done the most so far.

Worst team? Gotta be Rutgers. I think it's fair to ask of each Big East team that, unless you share a state with another Big East team, you should be the best team in your geographic region. I'll let Providence slide cause Rhode Island is really, really good. Anyone who knows Jersey and Jersey colleges knows Rutgers has no excuse for not being the best team in the state year in and year out. Yet here they are, 8-9 with losses to NJ schools St. Peters and Rider. Fech. Already 0-4 in the conference, this is about to get even uglier for the Knights. Let's hope the Orange don't trap themselves against them on Wednesday.

4. Orange::44: What do you think of Gary Gait's Laxapalooza?

Nunes: What took everyone so long? Why hasn't Syracuse been positioning itself as a cradle of lacrosse for years with events like this? Why doesn't it host NCAA tournament games or try to host the Final Four (which may be a longshot but still...)? Even before Gait became a coach here SU should have been doing events with its alumni to keep the local fans excited, interested and proud of SU's rich lacrosse tradition.

Seriously, you shouldn't be able to pick up a lacrosse stick in Central New York without it coming with a SU-related coupon or news about an event like this. We love to kid the good DOCTOR but this is finally a good idea.

One question though...where's MiniKISS???

5. Orange::44: What is the team you want to see lose the most, especially when not playing Syracuse?

Nunes: Is it cliché to say Duke? I know everyone hated Duke growing up (especially when I grew up in the late 80's/early 90's) but for me it went even deeper. My best friend was a Duke fan and he was so ridiculously obnoxious about them in that way friends can be about their teams (see any current Boston fan). The fact that they were also so good only made me hate them even more.

I know people say that Yankee haters really want the Yankees to be good so they can hate them more but I don't believe that. As far as I'm concerned, I want them to go 0-162. But with Duke, I kinda do feel that way. It doesn't feel right unless Duke is a #2 seed losing in the Sweet 16 to a mid-major. That's become a new special treat for me and I'm looking forward to seeing that again soon.

If you're looking for a Big East team...UConn. Obviously.

6. Orange::44: Finally, how about that ladies? They lost against Pittsburgh, but bounced back. Do they have a shot against Connecticut or is it all just a sweet, sweet pipe dream?

Nunes: Here's how this season is gonna play out. They're going to lose to all the teams they're supposed to lose to (UConn, Rutgers, DePaul, Notre Dame) but they're going to beat all the teams they're supposed to at the same time. They're officially in that middle ground where a team is suddenly good but doesn't have the experience or the "it" to hang with the big girls just yet. I'm seeing a 20-9 regular season that gets them in the tourney, in which they make it to the second round before meeting an opponent they're just not on the same level with yet. It will be a great season and a huge sign for next year when we'll really be able to start setting the tone in the conference and winning some of those big games.

Of course, if they end up in the Final Four...disregard.
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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Just call me Preston Shumpert today.
What a difference a week makes. Last week we see the team house USF at home, as well as a struggling St. John’s team. This week, we see the team even it up in the Big East in a bad way, with losses to Cincinnati and West Virginia. In the first ever meeting between Jim Boeheim and Bob Huggins, BAC wins over IQ. The Orange are in a desperate state, as no fan can look at this team and see them competing against the elite Big East teams.

I will take us on the journey of disappointment that happened in Morgantown, but as always I start with the few good things. First, despite the overall impressions, our leading scorer was Arinze Onuaku. He earned 15 points, made seven of 12 free throw attempts, and pulled down seven rebounds. While these numbers are good, the overall performance of Onuaku was far from the performance we saw during the St. John’s game. That is the short list of praise from this affair.

Syracuse again shot well from the free throw line, making 14 of 20, earning 70%. This is again a good sign, as keeping the percentage way above 50% is a good help to the team in the Big East slate.

After those, the box score gets much dimmer. Harris, Flynn, and Greene each had 12, 11, and ten points respectively. Only Greene managed a double-double, with ten points and ten rebounds. Unfortunately Syracuse had a terrible day shooting the ball. Overall, they shot 41.5% overall, but really the story is the poor shooting in the first half. Syracuse only made seven of 23 field goal attempts, for an equivalent of 30.4%. Compared to the 14 field goals West Virginia made in the first half, the 15 point halftime deficit was too much to ask the Orange to overcome.

Syracuse could never seem to get in the shooting rhythm from the outside either, and this was led by poor shooting and shot selection from Donte Greene. Greene only made two out of eight attempts from beyond the arc. Greene, seemingly in a panic over the scoring deficit, would dribble down or receive a pass and take a rushed and poor shot. This led to his poor shooting, making three of 12 field goals. Sadly, he played like a true freshman.

Similarly, there was poor shooting in the frontcourt as well. Syracuse seemed to have an inability, especially in the first half, to feed the ball inside for easy or even just easier shots. Onuaku seemed to be missing some easy shots in the first half early on, and failed to achieve any sort of rhythm on the offensive end.

Turnovers were again a big concern. Overall there were 19 turnovers for Syracuse, while West Virginia only had 11. Syracuse seemed to just keep turning the ball over or not score constantly in this game. Jonny Flynn had six, while Paul Harris contributed five. Sloppy play from the Orange. This is something we have seen with them on the road in the Big East for two games now. It is a good thing we are heading home this Wednesday.

The bench was again a problem for the Orange. With only seven players really seeing the floor, this means that the starters will be asked to contribute more meaningful minutes. Unfortunately, this also means leaving in players that may be having a poor shooting night will be on the floor longer. It was good to see “The Belgian Waffle” Kristof Ongenaet play 19 minutes off the bench, as well as Rick Jackson contribute 14 minutes. Sadly the two only contributed for nine points in all that time. This meant that Greene continued to remain on the floor shooting so poorly.

So where does this leave us? Does it mean that we will simply just be terrible on the road and good in the Dome? I’m beginning to think so. That, or we have to presume the even more dismal thought that Syracuse is simply in the bottom eight of the conference this season, and we will not beat any of the “good” teams in the conference this year. Clearly, with Rutgers being so awful this season and with the game at home, Wednesday’s game should not be a big hassle (although I guess we cannot assume anything from now on), however, Saturday’s game against Villanova should be a real test of this theory. Currently with Villanova ranked #21, this game would qualify as a good test of the home/away theory, or even the worse scenario. This is because if we are going to beat a decent team that is ranked it should be at home. Frankly, I think the win over Villanova is a must for the March resume.

If we continue down this utter collapse of offense in the next few games I will surely have to write a post completely addressing this concern and the implications for March. However, the Orange may win both of their games this week, then take that momentum into Washington to take on the Hoyas. I think that will be gauged based on the ‘Nova game though. Once again, the dapper Jay Wright will determine the fate of the Orange.

Currently though, I am crushed at this 20 point loss to the Mountaineers of West Virginia and the Huggy Bear. It is enough to make any Orange fan that is an alcoholic drink again. It almost parallels this season’s start to The Wire, with Det. Jimmy McNulty so fed up and frustrated with the institution he loves and works with that it drives him to drink again after being sober for a year. Because of that frustration I will most likely be doing some of my best blogging work in the upcoming months, as nothing breeds good work for me more than frustration over the franchise. I will again not be able to view the Rutgers game this Wednesday due to class, but will do my best to get the information to provide some analysis. I will also be again reporting live from the Carrier Dome this Saturday for the Villanova game. Additionally, I will be making the long trek directly from Syracuse and road trip down to the Baltimore/DC area to see Syracuse take on Georgetown on the 21st. Look for an exciting chronicle of that trip in the middle of next week (maybe a sexy new video), as well as the ‘Nova wrap up then. Until next time, try to stay positive, and remember that we cannot be this bad all the time.

PS – Damn you Pittsnogle! Wherever you are.

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Nick Lachey doesn't got shit on me.
Apparently whenever I watch a game they do well. For instance, I went to the games over winter break and we did well. We had season lows for turnovers, and Onuaku blew up on offense and rebounds. When I have class and cannot watch the game because of class like this past Wednesday, well things do not appear to go as well. Apparently I cannot do an article that highlights our two basketball teams after they have wins as well, beacuse clearly they will both lose the next game.

I did not watch this game at all because I cannot get the ESPN regional games (which is ridiculous because I am in the northeast), so therefore I believe it is unfair to really give a good game recap, but I do have some thoughts.

First, the team for the first time all year, shot very well from the free throw line. They shot 75%, making 18 of 24. This is a vast improvement, and a jump by about 20% in their free throws. If they continue to get better from the line then the liability of losing because of missed free throws, as well as one of my biggest concerns about this team, will evaporate.

They also committed fewer turnovers than Cincinnati. This game the Orange only had 14, and Greene improved by only committing three. This is again a good sign of the orange in conference play.

Sadly, Onuaku had a poor game only managing three points and five rebounds. This, I believe, was one of the biggest reasons we lost. The last few games Syracuse has dominated the boards and the low post. This game exposed the potential weakness of that game plan, as if rebounds are not easy to come by, and points from the big men down low are scarce, it will be a long day for Syracuse.

Speaking of rebounds, we were severely less successful than the Bearcats at earning them. They achieved 38 rebounds and 17 offensive boards to our 29 and 11 respectively. This is a terrible effort and most likely contributed to the demise of Syracuse’s unbeaten conference streak.

I will give some love to Harris and Greene who had good games, but overall the team did not appear to look good at all.

Syracuse will have to improve its rebounding and regain its offensive rhythm in the frontcourt if Syracuse will hope to build upon its successes. Now the kids know what it is like to play in a hostile environment in the Big East, and hopefully will not be rattled by the sight of burning furniture tomorrow. It will be interesting to see the first ever match up between Jim Boeheim and Bob Huggins. I will have postgame coverage on the West Virginia affair tomorrow evening. Until then, decide who you wanted to lose more, UConn or Georgetown. I couldn’t even decide myself. However, if you saw the ending of that game, you now cannot wait to see how Hibbert does against Syracuse this time around, as he has been terrible against the Orange his entire career.

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I just wanna do something special for all the ladies in the Orange.
(Is that possible?)
There were a lot of doings on campus this weekend. Because I was still on vacation, and happen to have my season tix for the gentlemen, I of course made the trip from my hometown northeast to Syracuse. It was an enjoyable Saturday for Syracuse sports, and the first time in a while that Syracuse men and women had a win on the same day. First to the men.

Donte Greene was again the leading scorer for the team. He amassed 21 points and nine rebounds. He also hit three out of six shots from long range and played 35 minutes. Greene, while adept at playing the drums and great at scoring, more than occasionally gets lazy on defense. That is my only complaint from Greene. Of course, defense does not matter in the NBA, but perhaps he will stay around for another year to learn some.

Paul Harris had another heck of a game with yet another double-double. He earned 20 points and 13 rebounds. He looked good cutting to the basket, but more importantly hitting mid-range jump shots. The most underrated skill a college basketball player possesses in my opinion is a quality mid range jump shot. Especially when the majority of players these days either shoot the long ball or play the low post, and not both. It is such a game changing aspect of a player’s game. Paul worked on it and now has a legitimate mid range threat.

Arinze Onuaku also had a nice game with 16 points and 12 rebounds. He continues to really impress near the basket. His rebounding, but more specifically his offensive rebounding and tip ability really contributes to the offense and overall quality of Syracuse’s game. He continues to be a beast down low and clearly manhandled South Florida’s big men.

Syracuse was big on the boards against USF. The won the rebounding battle 48 to 31. This is huge against a Big East team. USF may be one of the weaker teams in the conference, but they are certainly taller and more athletic than say a Cornell team. This gives hope for the rest of the Big East games.

Another great stat is the fact that Syracuse blocked nine shots with Harris and Greene each blocking three. This is a great stat as Syracuse has not blocked that many shots per game in the last few seasons. Also, only one seems to be memorable in the least. I’m alright with that last fact. Anyway, with a big time shot blocking team like UConn on the schedule, it is good to block a few of our own.

The bad news is that Syracuse, for the first time in a couple games, had more than ten turnovers. They actually had 15, Greene earning six of those. By comparison, USF only had 12. This is the first game in a few that Syracuse had more turnovers than their competition. While this in and of itself is not a reason to panic, Donte Greene earning six by himself is. Greene needs to be committed to not making lazy mistakes, or being too confident in his own abilities. This kind of behavior will no doubt catch up with him in a major Big East game if this continues.

Free throws were again only around the mid 50’s again. This time the team earned 58%, going 14 of 24. That is ten points that the team could use in a closer game as I have said all year. I keep hoping free throws will be improving as the season progresses, and although the percentage is up from the last couple games, it is not enough to matter in a close affair. Luckily Georgetown is way worse at free throws.

Three of our starters played 35 minutes or above in this game. Boeheim used only two bench players. This could be a problem if a referee crew decides to call a tight game. With the recent departure of Mike Williams from the team the question of bench depth again creeps into the collective mind of Orange Nation. I hope “The Belgian Waffle” (I am so making this catch on), Kristof Ongenaet, will have some more quality, productive minutes for the Orange to help this problem.

Other than a few problems, Syracuse played a nice game against USF to remain one of the three unbeaten teams in Big East play. Speaking of unbeaten in Big East play, how about the ladies?

Chandrea Jones led Syracuse in scoring with 20 points. The junior also added seven out of ten free throws, and hit a three pointer. This girl took it hard to the basket and generally looked like an elite women’s basketball player.

Nicole Michael, a sophomore, contributed her fourth double-double of the season earning fifteen points and 11 rebounds. She also happened to go three for three from long range.

This game started out rough, much like many of the Syracuse women’s games I have been to over the years. At one point they were down seven to 17. However, by the half they had amassed a two point lead. In the second half they easily cruised to a 79 to 56 point victory. This team fights hard, scraps for balls, can rebound, and most certainly can shoot from long range, as they 53% from long range, going nine for 17. This was a very good game for the women, and a statement game entering the Big East that they will not be pushed around. Their next big test comes in Pittsburgh tonight. Pittsburgh is 26th in votes, one spot in front of the Orange. Their next home game however, is the Connecticut UConn Huskies. They head to the Dome to play Syracuse on Tuesday January 15th. Look for that to be the real litmus test for the Orange early on in the Big East slate.

It was a very good weekend for Syracuse basketball. All things considered, it was probably one of the most important weekends Syracuse has had in a while. Both basketball programs earned quality wins in the conference early in the slate. This momentum is important and hopefully both teams can capitalize on it and continue their winning ways. The men will play Cincinnati away from the Dome. They head on the road and play outside of New York State. It will be interesting to see how they respond to a hostile crowd in the Big East for the first time. Until then, I’m back at school doing work again, which means I’ll be in my regular routines of writing on a more regular basis, as well as starting back up with regular Nunes/Magician collaborations starting next Tuesday. If you are a real person and had a short vacation anyway I’m sorry. If you are an undergrad and still have a week left, screw you. If you are my friend Alex, and a loyal reader of Orange::44, as well as one of the fine folks I attended the UConn football game with, you will greatly appreciate this video that got some love from Nunes/Magician the other day. I must have been talking to other people with this tomfoolery went down. Enjoy!

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Back to the Grind

I apologies for the lack of the weekend wrap up. My spring semester is about to begin and obligations are obligations. Vacation is over and it is time to get back to work. I promise a full weekend post, including the South Florida AND Louisville game coming tonight. Yes that is right, a post involving our vote getting ladies. Until then, enjoy my video that is the buzz of the internets. Sometimes it pays to be in the right place at the right time. However, sometimes it pays to be in the band, or know band people. Why not right? Donte Greene does.

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The Taj Train is Leaving the Station

At least we'll always have Louisville.
It has been reported that Taj Smith will elect to forgo his last year of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft. While this will no doubt impact the wide receiver core next season, it is interesting to see if this is the right move for a 25 year old such as myself. So, with the analysis hat on, I will explore the pros and cons of Taj leaving for him and the team.
Taj Smith Leaving – Pros
Could be drafted high.
Has a lot of athletic ability.
Earns a lot of runs after the catch.
A dependable receiver.
Could be a solid third or fourth option for an NFL Quarterback.
Will have already earned his degree.
Will possibly not suffer another losing season.
Has awesome hair for the NFL.
Cash Money Bling.

Taj Smith Leaving – Cons
Probably will not be invited to the NFL Combine.
Could remain undrafted.
Could be cut if he does make a squad.
Will miss out on another year to get better.
There is nothing like college.
His stats are not all that amazing.
Not in the same league as elite receivers of the NFL.
Probably not in the top five of receivers even in the Big East.
No other opportunity to take Beer & Wine Appreciation.
Had been diagnosed with the dropsies on a few occasions.

Impact on Syracuse – Pros
Allows younger players to step up.
Gets rid of an injury prone receiver.
Syracuse graduation rate is improved by him leaving.
Good recruiting tool to put another player from Syracuse in the NFL.
The sooner he gets paid, the sooner he can donate to the school.
The wide receiver core is solid enough without him.
Taj has had the dropsies on occasion.

Impact on Syracuse – Cons
We lose an excellent option at wide receiver.
There is the loss of one of Robinson’s favorite targets.
Does ‘Cuse no good to have another former player cut from an NFL team.
Wide receiver core losing veteran who could help younger players.
Wide receiver core not solid enough to lose such a target.
Just to give you some perspective, here are Taj Smith’s career statistics at Syracuse:Receptions: 56, Yards: 1049, Average: 18.8, TD: 8, Fumbles: 0.
Note: Taj Smith sat out over half the 2006 Season with a collar bone injury.
So you can decide for yourself if Taj leaving is a good move for him or Syracuse. Personally, I get the sense that he has done all he wants to do at Syracuse and is mentally ready to attempt to progress to the next level. If he makes it remains to be determined. I also think that Syracuse is deep enough at the wide receiver position that they should be alright in this area. I do want to wish him the best of luck, and if he does become successful in the NFL, remind him that Syracuse could always use some extra cash.

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I get so excited when we have a center than can score points.
Welcome to the Big East. In case you have not stopped by in a while, last night’s game against St. John’s was a good refresher. This is simply because last night’s game would have made Mike Vick smile, as it was a dog fight (ooo, too soon?). This was basically two teams smacking each other until time expired. However, we saw some inspired performances from Syracuse as the Orange gain their first win in the conference.

First, we start with the big man down low. Arinze Onuaku had a career day, and no better time than the start of the Big East. He went 11 for 15 earning 23 points. He also gained 13 rebounds. I guess I should call him out more often (I’ll fill you in on this later if you are unfamiliar with what I am referencing). The man was a force in the paint and he is really bringing up the field goal percentage on the team. While he was lazy on defense at times, he more than made up for it with his impressive attacks on the basket. Even Jim Boeheim agrees that they have not had a big man this good since Otis Hill. You had to love Hopkins getting fired up on the sideline about the big man as well.

Donte Greene also had an excellent day from the floor. He hit four of eight three point shots, went eight of 15 total, and earned 22 points. Although he was in foul trouble the majority of the second half, no doubt when he was on the floor he had the ability to take over a game and made the defense change its game plan. Plus he does some pretty awesome things. See my video below.


Jonny Flynn also had a great night. He earned 14 points, and also contributed seven assists, as well as making seven of ten free throws. Those seven assists also were dazzling.

Now it is time to get to the nitty gritty. Paul Harris, after looking great in the last contest, was very lackluster. He only earned three out of eight field goal attempts and only got eight points. He did manage seven assists however, and some of them were also dazzling. Therefore, even if he manages to be underachieving at offense, he still manages to contribute while on the floor.

Turnovers were not a massive issue, as for the second game in a row the team only managed ten. However, some of them came at really bad times, and three or four of them were really bad. Paul Harris was the biggest offender with six. It is imperative to limit these turnovers in Big East games.

What is more imperative, however, is to shoot better than 55% from the charity stripe. The team missed 14 points worth of free throws. This would have easily put this game out of reach by the Under Four time out in the second half had the shots been made. Jim Boeheim made it a point to state in his press conference that free throws needed to improve. I guarantee that Jim Calhoun will just go and hack at our guys that cannot make free throws consistently and make Syracuse earn it from the line. We could possibly not, and lose to an inferior Big East opponent.

Also, if you watched the game, the thought that the defense was uninspired and lazy may have crossed your mind. I found the team, especially in the second half, not hustling back on defense, being lazy in the zone assignments, and leaving people wide open from beyond the arc. I hope, to this point, the team was reprimanded by Boeheim and the staff. This team cannot afford to have lazy and poor efforts on the defensive end. Especially since this team is not known for its brick wall defense.

All in all, a nice game to start the Big East slate. We will take on a surprising South Florida team this Saturday at noon at home. This team upset Rutgers by a decent margin so it will be interesting to see how the team gets ready for them. In reference to the Onuaku comment earlier, my latest discussion with Sean over at Nunes/Magician is up. In one of my answers I called Onuaku the LVP so far… but not really. If you read what I wrote you would understand. Also be sure to check out the comment section on the article. The main point is now added to the side of my site in the “This About Sums It Up” section. Then Sean and some other quality Syracuse bloggers came to my defense. It helps when people actually read what you write before they start calling you an idiot. Enjoy the latest Orange::44 Is An Absolute Magician at Nunes/Magician, and Sean will be back over at my site with another episode of Nunes::44. Until Saturday, stay cool, and shovel off that driveway to practice your own free throw shot.

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