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Orange::44 Joins The Podcast Age

Yes ladies, that really is my sexy voice.
Well, I figured it was time to pretend to be on the cutting edge again. My yearning to further enhance this blog, along with my nostalgia of my old radio show at Syracuse, has led me to record the first of what I hope will be many podcasts for Orange::44. Today we discuss Football, Basketball, Lacrosse, and some other small things that you will hopefully enjoy. My hope is that you will enjoy these audio experiences for the same reasons you like reading this site. Do not fret, I will continue to write articles in prose form, and that will remain the bulk of this endeavor. However, hopefully once a week, or possibly more, you will hear me relive my radio days and take to the microphone once again. Enjoy this first podcast, and try not to be too harsh. It has been a few years since my final radio show in the lowly WERW studios in the Schine Student Center. To download this podcast click here.









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Talking about football too early is the new lacrosse.
Over a week ago, the excellent Northwestern Football blog Late The Posts asked me some early questions due to our impending season kickoffs coming this August. That discussion can be found here. I returned the favor with some early questions of my own. While we will surely have some more upcoming correspondences leading up to the new college football season, we start with some basics about the Northwestern program. Enjoy the still way to early Northwestern coverage.

1. Orange::44: I know nothing about your recent recruiting class. What should I know?

LTP: Despite the fact it was picked 10th (of 11) by most "experts" I'm actually relatively pleased. It was a very unsexy class dominated by 5 offensive lineman - many the biggest (literally) recruits we've had. The headliners of the class are WR Martin Bayless who chose NU over Ohio State and Florida and Quentin Williams - a TE from Pittsburgh, PA. At Northwestern it is rare for a recruit to play right away so it is doubtful any of this class will make an instant impact.

2. Orange::44: In your questions you mentioned how Northwestern fans expect to beat Syracuse this coming season. What makes you think that besides the record of the team last season?

LTP: Unreal expectations. Most of us are like the sports reporters who look at the previous year's performance and make judgments off of that. That is why we expect to beat Syracuse. However, despite our 3 Big Ten titles since 1995, Cats fans are like Red Sox fans and expect the worst. Look no further than last year's embarrassing loss at home to Duke and the 2006 loss at HOME to UNH and you get a sense for our apprehension.

3. Orange::44: Northwestern finished last season with a final record of six and six and three and five in conference play. Is this about what Northwestern should achieve next year, or is their stock on the rise?

LTP: Expectations are very high in Evanston this year as we are senior-laden at the skill positions including QB, RB and WR. The key to our season will be our inexperienced offensive line and the maturation of QB CJ Bacher who has looked Heisman-esque in stretches ( a 2 game 10 TD near 1000 yard blitz) and freshmen-esque at times. If Bacher can control his INTs and Tyrell Sutton can finally stay healthy in the backfield 8-4 is the LEAST we're hoping for in 2008.

4. Orange::44: What is the one thing you like best about your program, and what do you dislike the most?

LPT: The underdog role and doing things the right way. We have no business beating Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State and the like, but we do (OK, Ohio State wins are very few and far between). We have 7400 students and the next closest Big Ten school is 20,000. Any NU kid in front of a camera makes most alums pretty proud and the consistent trait is the overachieving, under recruited kid.

The only major dislike I have is the lack of fan support - it is terrible. If we get 30,000 at home against Syracuse it would actually be considered a good crowd. Ryan Field holds 47,000 and only in 1995 and 1996 did we consistently pack the place. The other catch 22 is that Chicago is the largest alumni base for nearly every opponent so we are flooded with opposing fans.

5. Orange::44: Without predicting a win or a loss, how do you see these two teams matching up, and what should Syracuse fans look for in this Northwestern team?

LTP: I actually have no idea about the match-up. NU's biggest off season news was a bevy of new coaches including our defensive coordinator (Mike Hankwitz - we stole from Wisconsin) and Mick McCall at offensive coordinator (Bowling Green). You can count on an explosive offense - we play the spread and pass a ton. Defense is the huge question mark as we've been atrocious for a decade but Hankwitz has Wildcat Nation elated and expecting instant results. Our Achilles Heel in 2007 was our inability to score in the Red Zone. We led the Big Ten in offense but were near the bottom in scoring offense. Overall I'm expecting a tight game - we NEVER blow teams out.

6. Orange::44: Finally, how strong do you think the Big Ten (11) Conference will be overall next year, and what does an outsider think of the Big East Conference as a whole since the Big East Conference realignment.

LTP: I think the Big Ten will be "down" since they lost the bulk of the star power including Mike Hart, Mario Manningham, James Hardy and a slew of others. But, as Ohio State proved last year, the top of the Big Ten is rarely ever down - the Buckeyes rebuilding year landed them in the national championship. Michigan will be the most interesting team to watch - especially if they land Pryor.

As a kid who grew up in Big East country, I can tell you that the Big East gets no respect in Big Ten country. It is not a willful disdain, but rather a "now, which teams are in that conference again?" type of thing. The whole 16-team super basketball conference overshadows football especially considering DePaul, Marquette and Notre Dame get press in Chicago. Syracuse has great name recognition in Chicago and there are many alums here, so I expect a strong throng of Orange in Evanston.

Thanks to Lake The Posts for talking with me and we will have much more football coming at you very soon.

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Celebrate now, because it will be a different tune in the Dome.
I reported earlier this month about the UMass Lacrosse Team and how eight members of the team were suspended from the field for their alleged involvement with an off campus brawl in which they used lacrosse sticks as weapons. Well, now three students have been charged with a crime and have been removed as students of the university.

The Republican, via Masslive.com, reports that freshman Christopher R. Casey, sophomore Christian M. Haggerty and freshman Ryan T. Marcus are no longer enrolled at UMass. The three players have been charged with assault and battery and breaking and entering. All three students have pleaded not guilty.
The charges stem from a fight that broke out after an off-campus party on Feb. 1 at 304 North Pleasant Street in Amherst, Massachusetts. Now you know where the hot jam in Amherst is. Five other players remain suspended from the team, but will not be charged with a crime at this time. Those players are freshman Jay Lucas, freshman Alex Whitney, redshirt sophomore Jordan Hendry, junior Justin Kelleher, and junior Jim Connolly. These students could be reinstated to the lacrosse team, but for now remain suspended for violating team rules, most likely related to curfew.

Freshman Ryan Marcus, one of the players charged was a top 100 lacrosse recruit this year according to Inside Lacrosse. Jim Connolly, who is merely suspended from the team, was a preseason honorable mention All-American attackman. This, as previously stated, leaves UMass Lacrosse in a position of missing a top freshman who was destined to do great things on the field, as well as a top attackman in the nation. It is all due to the kids getting a little frisky one night in February. Stay tuned to even more law breaking news as it develops right here at Orange::44.

PS - UConn's Dyson is now off suspension, so look for him to return to the court only to be removed from it again sometime soon.
PPS - I watched the last two minutes of the Syracuse women's basketball game. They beat Georgetown by one point at home, avenging an earlier loss to them in DC earlier in the season. Congratulations to Coach Q and the ladies.

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Lacrosse Weekly (2/26/08) OR Time For A New Lax Season

Our boy DBren is a face off expert
Matt Glaude, the founder and my former partner in this endeavor is a lacrosse nut. He lived and breathed it while at Syracuse, and he carried that passion over to this notebook. That enthusiasm was brought to a feature known as Lacrosse Monday. Seeing as I am not Matt, and still should cover the lax beat, we start Orange::44’s brand new feature, creatively titled Lacrosse Weekly. This feature will be seen on this site every Tuesday, Wednesday, or maybe even Thursday. That is the genius of calling it Lacrosse Weekly. I just have to do it once a week on any day I choose. Nice! Anyway, to the lacrosse.

We start with the hometown heroes of the Orange. Syracuse won against an Army team that beat them just a year before, with a final score of 8 to 7. The complete box score is here. I will do some analysis but I just wanted to point out the fact I had to link it from the Army Athletics website because the box score on Syracuse’s site does not work. Excellent work guys.

Mike Leveille led the Orange in goals with four. Greg Niewieroski had the hat trick. The eighth and final goal came from Stephen Keogh. Leveille also led in the assist category with two, giving him six points on the day. Face off Specialist Danny Brennan won 12 out of 16 he took, as well as seven ground balls. Syracuse overall won 13 of 18 face off attempts.

Syracuse had 43 shots overall, which is huge compared to only 22 for Army. Limiting the shots of the opponents is key to a more successful season for Syracuse. This is huge that Syracuse was able to do it to a team not named Villanova. Army is a very capable team and the fact that Syracuse had such a stark difference in shots shows the team is not something to dismiss.

Syracuse also had 38 ground balls, which is also big compared to Army’s 23. Syracuse’s defense, being the big contentious point that needed improvement from last season, has shown massive improvement. This can be easily shown from this stat. Syracuse’s shifting on defense has greatly improved, the defensive packages conceived by Lelan Rogers have been working well, and Syracuse has been limiting shots on the goalie vastly as compared to last season.

Syracuse is looking good so far, and will have a real test at the 2008 Face Off Classic at 12:00pm on Saturday March 1st in Baltimore, Maryland. #7 Syracuse will take on #3 Virginia, a team that Syracuse lost to in the National Semi-Final Game in 2006, and a team that beat Syracuse last season in the same game by a score of 8 to 11. This is exactly the type of outcome that Syracuse continually had last season, much like with Army. This year the Army outcome was different, therefore logic would dictate that the Virginia game this season could be different as well.

The ladies, while I have not heard much about them this season, have put in two solid routings of their opponents, to have earned the new ranking of #4 in the nation. They beat Dartmouth on Sunday by a score of 18 to 5. The women's box score and recap is here from Insidelacrosse.com. Congratulations to the ladies and keep up the good work.

Back to the men, as there were a lot of notable games, and a few upsets:

#19 University of Maryland-Baltimore County was trounced by unranked Rutgers by a score of 13 to 4 on Sunday. A possible Big East team in the future, Rutgers dismantled an NCAA Tournament team of the last few years.

#10 Notre Dame also beat Penn State on Sunday by a score of 15 to 9.

#7 Maryland pulled the upset on #4 Georgetown by a score of 11 to 6. Maryland assents to the rank of #4 and Georgetown fell to #9.

#1 Hopkins handled the Great Danes of Albany (#12) by a score of ten to five.

#17 Loyola beat Maryland rival #14 Towson 13 to 8.

#3 Virginia squeaked by Stony Brook 15 to 13.

Other scores from Inside Lacrosse are found here. The new Inside Lacrosse rankings are here.
Next weekend with the 2008 Face Off Classic, the epicenter of college lacrosse will again be in Baltimore, Maryland. Stay tuned next week for more college lacrosse coverage. I just hope you don’t run into Marlo Stanfield while walking around the Inner Harbor. If you do, just let McNulty and Lester know you saw him running around. I doubt Marlo is a big lax fan though.

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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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That guy has somehow got to be cheating.

Games with Notre Dame usually go one of two ways with Syracuse. Either Syracuse’s 2-3 Zone defense works and Notre Dame shoots the ball lights out over it, or Syracuse 2-3 Zone works and Notre Dame can only make some of its shots and Syracuse wins. Sadly, the former happened this past Sunday. Notice how I never mentioned the penetrating offense of Notre Dame, or the true presence of the big man of Notre Dame, as they did not exist and Notre Dame cannot beat a 2-3 Zone. All they can do is shoot, shoot, shoot, and this time it worked.

“Do It All Paul” Harris had another great game. He had 22 points, 12 rebounds, and made seven of eight free throws. He also played all 40 minutes of the game. Paul Harris continues to be the player Syracuse needs to show up. When poor shooting plagues this team Paul still seems to find a way to score. Paul continues to be fast, powerful, and able to drive to the hoop on any given play. He also can make a three ball now and then. This kid remains the stud of the team.

The Arinze Onuaku we all know and love showed up in South Bend and he had 19 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks, and then he fouled out. You have to be impressed with the big fellow though, as he fought hard, got rebounds, and continued to try to make put backs when nothing was falling for Syracuse.

Jonny Flynn played another 40 minutes and he continues to get my vote for Big East Rookie of the Year. He got 17 points, six assists, and even blocked a shot. I feel like a broken record but Flynn continues to make great decisions and take good shots. He has the ability to head to the hoop almost at any moment, and really is an energizing factor for the Orange. Kudos to the kid.

Kristof! was not as impressive this time around, but he still contributed. He had 11 points, six rebounds, and three assists. He still loves to shoot the reverse lay up and it usually goes in, although he missed a couple in this game. Kristof! hit a huge three in the game though, and for that Kristof! gets another pass from me for middle of the road numbers.

Donte Greene was my Zero of the Game. He finished with five points and seven rebounds only making two of seven attempts. Simply awful.

Scoop Jardine looked good out on the floor again. He earned eight points and three assists in 23 minutes of work. Rick Jackson also added five points and four rebounds in his 14 minutes on the floor. Jackson better work hard in the Gym next year to get some floor minutes.

Syracuse simply killed Notre Dame on the boards. Syracuse earned 47 rebounds and 21 offensive boards, compared to Notre Dame’s 32 and 4. Syracuse had plenty of second and third chance looks at the basket and not many of them seemed to fall.

Speaking of baskets not falling, Syracuse only shot 40% from the floor. To really put this in perspective and make it sound way worst that it actually may have been, that is only 33 baskets out of 82 tries. Yeah, that seems like a shit show right? Especially compared to Notre Dame’s 55% shooting, oh yeah and 56% from three point land, that makes Syracuse look foolish.

Syracuse did at least limit turnovers in this contest, which helped keep them in the game. Syracuse only committed 11 turnovers, which is even better than the 13 Notre Dame committed.

Syracuse debuted their all navy uniforms. I had only seen these in the stores and had only seen a few people wear them around the Dome. I have to say, I did not hate them in action as much as I thought I would. But need I remind the viewing audience that navy is not one of the university’s official colors. As a matter of fact, there is only one… orange. All things considered, like I said I did not hate them on the floor. I think I probably hated them more on a hanger in the store than actually on the players. Picture below, courtesy of the Post Standard.

This was the only game Syracuse has been showcased on CBS this season, and thank god. These guys were more biased to Notre Dame than any Duke game I had watched on ESPN this year. I think that says a lot about how much I hated these announcers. I thought they were going to get on the floor and personally pat Kyle McAlarney on the back. It is fine to give a little love to the team that is winning. It is fine to praise a kid having the kind of day that McAlarney was having. But honestly, it was like beating up on the fat kid. Is it really cool to be bashing Syracuse when they are only playing with seven players, unranked and playing #21 on the road, and not shooting very well?

Frankly, I consider this game a huge motivator for the team. Honestly, they only lost the game 87 to 94. When a kid made 9 three point shots, and the team combined for 14, and Syracuse only loses by seven, that is not bad at all. This is not a bad loss, it was not a blow out, and it was hardly awful. Hopefully Syracuse can not be motivated to turn this into a win against Pitt and/or Marquette at home. Oh yeah, and Seton Hall in Jersey.

This game was not bad to watch, but you knew they were not going to pull this one out. When you do not make easy put backs and lay ups, well it will not be a good night. Syracuse kept the game close, but really Syracuse had no business doing so. Thus, I chalk this one up to moral victory and we move on to Saturday versus Pittsburgh in the Carrier Dome. Hopefully, Syracuse can take it to Dixon’s squad and get a desperately needed win for the NCAA Tournament resume. Tomorrow we have a new Nunes::44, as well as some other tid bits that you will surely enjoy mulling over. Until then, remember that Notre Dame cannot take over the college basketball world because God created whiskey. And honestly, whiskey is awesome.

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Friday Linkables? Yes Please!

Sometimes you have to hand off a little responsibility to Nunes.

It is another Friday, which means that there is not much going on in terms of Syracuse or breaking news in the Big East, save for the occasional law breaker. Therefore we have a special Friday treat for you. Over at Troy Nunes is An Absolute Magician is the latest edition of Orange::44 Is An Absolute Magician. I know it is not a Tuesday, but we figured we would save it for when we were not all still hung up on the Georgetown win or the Louisville loss.

Also, if you are craving some more videos related to Syracuse, the new website Reel Sports Fan, a website with all user uploaded content started by a Syracuse alumnus, has a lot of ‘Cuse related videos, including some from the folks at Citrus TV on campus. Included this week is a preview of the Notre Dame basketball contest on Sunday at 2:00pm on CBS. Check out the Syracuse video page here and enjoy a solid weekend of ‘Cuse sports. If lacrosse is your thing #8 Syracuse will host Army at 3:30pm in the Carrier Dome on Sunday as well. Plenty of Syracuse sports to mull over this weekend so enjoy. I will be back with complete postgame coverage of both contests on Sunday night or Monday. Also, look for some more football coverage with our friends from the Northwestern blog Lake the Posts. Stay tuned and see if the Basketball team can end the current home win streak of Notre Dame.

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L'Ville Football Player Tries to Start Own Car RamRod

I was jonesing for a Hersey Bar.
Just when I think the off season shenanigans cool off, Louisville goes and makes my evening. With Leather via The Chard Chronicle via WHAS11.com reports (be sure to look at the picture on With Leather) that Louisville senior cornerback Rod Council has been arrested for armed robbery in Tennessee stemming from an incident in North Carolina.

Mr. Council apparently entered a convenience store at around 4:15 in the morning and pulled a 9mm Uzi on the clerk, the only person in the store. He then demanded all the money, the clerk's cell phone, then drove away in a silver Chevrolet Impala. The vehicle was later spotted in Tennessee where he was detained until authorities from NC could pick up the suspect.

Rocco Gasparro, assistant sports information director, released this statement on behalf of the university:

“We were informed today that senior cornerback Rod Council was arrested early this morning. Based upon the information we received, Rod Council has been permanently dismissed from our team immediately. We do not tolerate that type of behavior in our football program. Fortunately, no innocent bystanders were injured or harmed in the process.”

Card Chronicle states that had he not been arrested, and put in a quality senior season, he most likely would have been drafted high in the 2009 NFL draft. This can only be good for Syracuse’s changes at back to back wins against the Cardinals.

Very interesting. So this kid decides I’m going to get an Uzi, go to a store, and get some pocket change. Solid. Goodbye football career, goodbye freedom, and goodbye tight ass. Of course, the suspect is innocent until proven guilty. However, it sounds like this young man’s lawyer has their work cut out for them. Of course, I would throw the book at him, but that is just because I want to be a prosecutor, I am a hard ass, and I watch an awful lot of Law & Order.

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Last I checked, making a T with your hands means I want a Time Out.
It is one of the worst feelings. After having a huge upset, where the team plays like a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament against #8 Georgetown, the team goes to Kentucky and plays terribly. Seeing as I spent a lot of time covering last weekend and random bits of things in the last couple of days, I really did not want to mull over this loss anymore. Therefore, much like the USF game, I will be to the point and a touch brief with this postgame.

Arinze Onuaku had another huge game with 16 points and eight rebounds in 33 minutes of play. His defense also limited Dave Padgett, about two screws away from being the man with bionic legs, to only one point. If he keeps it up, he very well may be the Big East most improved player. That idiot AJ Price will probably get it though if UConn keeps winning. Paul Harris deserves a mention for that as well.

Greene was one for ten from long range and three for 15 overall. He finished with nine points and a dreadful offensive performance. He somewhat made up for it with 12 rebounds, but that is small consolation when you need to finish the game with more points than the other team and not more rebounds to win.

Harris had 13 points and played fairly well considering no one could make a jump shot. He also earned three rebounds and went seven of nine from the line.

Flynn actually sat down for one minutes snapping his streak of games played without a break. He earned eight points and three assists. He still is making good decisions and looks good when slicing the lane. This kid right now should be Big East Rookie of the Year.

Kristof had zero points but I still like him for his defense and rebounding. He earned seven rebounds, and three offensive rebounds. I agree with Russ at The Three Idiots that he is a pretty underrated passer as well.

Scoop played 12 minutes, but did not really contribute offensively. Jackson still has trouble finishing and needs to put on some pounds of muscle to be truly great. That ends the contributions from people on the bench.

Truth be told, as much as the announcers made a big deal about it, the team did really look out of gas within the last four minutes. It looks like playing all the minutes is not really a problem unless they are playing in the always tough Saturday to Monday situation. This concerns me for a possible Big East Tournament run, as you play back to back days and games. The bench could very well be a big problem, especially if we need to win two or three games to make the NCAA Tournament.

This team shot extremely poor compared to the last few games (29%). Syracuse also did not manage to score above 60 points. The team also made only two of twenty three point attempts. This was just pitiful and sad to watch. As a matter of fact, not gonna lie, I became super snatchy while watching this game.

While the zone defense looked pretty good, it just never feels like Syracuse caught any breaks when it comes to the point in the game when they need a big rebound, and the same can be said for the last few games even when playing well.

The team at least made their free throws. They made 16 of 22 for 73%.

This team was severely and outrageously outrebounded. Louisville had 53 defensive rebounds and 19 offensive. Syracuse respectively had 34 and eight. That is a stark difference and it had a big reason the outcome of the game went to L’ville. Not good my friends.

Really, when it came down to it, the team could not hit the ocean from a boat, and they could not stop anything in the last couple of minutes. So I was not surprised that this game was well in the bag before the final minute.

After the Georgetown win I think a possible NIT bid is almost certain at the minimum. The Orange still have a chance at an NCAA bid with their remaining schedule, but they need another big win. Otherwise, this was not a pleasant game to watch and it made me upset especially after seeing the Georgetown game and knowing that this team can play very well. A win this Sunday versus Notre Dame will go a long way in stating the case for Syracuse to reach March Madness. We can only wait and see what team will show up, until then we have some Orange::44/Magician coming soon, and some more football talk with our friends at Lake The Posts. Stay tunes and enjoy your week off from the frustrating hoops victories that we mention on the clock above.

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Are You Sort Of Maybe Ready For A Little Football?

It is a little early, but why not, right?

I know it is a little early to discuss football yet, but the fine folks over at Lake The Posts, an excellent Northwestern football blog, asked me some questions last week, and they posted my answers on their site here. Later this week we will have some early football coverage with them answering my questions. I know we are neck deep in basketball and now lacrosse, but check out their site and check out my answers to start your mouth watering for a football season that should be better than the last.

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I attract the batshit insane.
It seems that UConn just cannot catch a break lately when it comes to negative incidents. At least this time it is not because of something a player has done. A man from Vernon, Connecticut, only 20 minutes from the UConn campus in Storrs, saw fit to e-mail junior guard Tahirah Williams on the women’s basketball team. That is all well and good, but not when you say crazy things.

ESPN.com reports that Gary Peoples, 28, will face second-degree harassment charges. 11 counts of it. Williams contacted the police when he sent an e-mail from Peoples saying he wanted to move to Canada with her and start a family. Peoples is a solid citizen, having a record of assault on a police officer, drunken driving, possession of narcotics and possession of marijuana.

Moral of the story, there is always a down side. Sure your team might be ranked #1 again, but it always comes with a price. And ladies out there, no matter how bad your love life, remember it is not as bad as you may think.

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The Weekend Roundup OR Lax is Back!

The ladies needed support, so they got these folks.

Yeah there was that Georgetown game that happened. Yes, that was awesome. But there was more going on than just a men’s game this past weekend. For me, it was Sitrus Alumni Weekend, and it also happened to be a rarely seen three game weekend. I also attended the women’s basketball game and the season opener for the lacrosse team. Both teams are ranked which means you knew you were going to see some cool stuff, and sure enough the people in attendance did. First we start with the ladies.

Erica Morrow continues to lead the Orange with scoring as she dropped 19 on Notre Dame. She continues to be excellent on the floor for the orange. While I will not bore you with further details of this game, Syracuse had this game close with a superior team and was in the game until about a minute remaining. But really, I did not come for the basketball or the excellent sportsmanship. I came to heckle and we surely did. I, along with several of my closest college friends showed up, some in more clothes than others, and we proceeded to implement the Orange::44 Guide to Heckling Women’s Games. Vito, resident MXT was on hand and he continued to heckle like he never left. My good friend Jayme and I, who helped me assemble the guide, we were in rare form. Being that it was alumni weekend I got to do various alumni activities which included returning to my old habit of running the flags at the under four time out. I also got to visit with Brent Axe of The Axeman Bloggeth on Syracuse.com again. It is always good to talk some shop and I am glad he noticed my supreme flag carrying ability. Also, the picture above is full of professional hecklers and it was nice to see them go all out. From left to right; RJ, Jon, Scott, Jeff, and Watson. You might remember Scott from football season with a bag on his head. It was an excellent afternoon.

But the real game I went to see for the game itself was the opening game of the #9 Syracuse lacrosse team. They took on Villanova at home in a potential future Big East Conference game. Syracuse got off to an early start. Syracuse finished the first quarter up ten goals to zero. The big news of the game was that John Galloway started in goal over Pete Coluccini, and he made some great saves. Attackman Kenny Nims had a game high six goals. Yes that was SIX goals. Next was Dan Hardy wearing #22 with a hat trick. Mike Leveille led the assist category with four, and Danny Brennan led in ground balls with 11. He also went earned 17 of 23 face offs. Syracuse finished the game ahead of Villanova with a 21 to 6 victory. Syracuse is now 1-0 on the season, and has jumped from nine to eight in the polls.

Really, the offense looked off the chain and the defense looked much improved. Galloway looked good in goal, and Coluccini looked good in the second half, but really I think Galloway is the guy right now. This team will not be tested next week most likely, but Army could be tough so they cannot look past that team to the next game. As long as this team remains motivated and focused they can take on the big teams in the country and be competitive. Really, anything less than a return to the Final Four will be a disappointment I think, so the Orange need to remain ever vigilant so they do not lapse in judgment.

All in all it was an excellent weekend. I want to thank all the friends I saw for making it excellent. I especially wish to thank Anthony, Jayme, Vito, Erin and Melissa (OGMG). Enjoy the picture below of Vito. He really enjoys women’s basketball. The Louisville postgame will be out either later today or tomorrow. Sadly the outcome was not as good as Georgetown. Stay tuned and enjoy some lax action, as chances are they will win more games than the football team this season.

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That about sums up the game nicely.
Folks, I hope that you got to see this game, because it does not get much better than Saturday afternoon if you are a Syracuse basketball fan. If you are a Georgetown fan, your weekend did not go as you had planned. Also, for the four bus loads of people that arrived from DC to enjoy the game at the Carrier Dome, you really had a bad day. This is clearly the biggest win of the season, the sixth win in a row versus Georgetown in the Carrier Dome, and the second year in a row that Georgetown has been ranked, Syracuse was not, and Georgetown has lost in the Dome to a very loud, excited crowd.

Paul Harris, who all of a sudden is now “Do It All Paul”, was the leading scorer for Syracuse. Despite three HUGE mental errors in the last three minutes of the game, he still had an excellent game. He lead the team with 22 points, he had eight rebounds, and made 11 of 14 free throws, four of which, were key in the last minute of the game. Paul Harris has averaged 22 points in his last four games and has really come into his own lately. As long as he continues to produce and continue to work on his ball handling and limiting mistakes, he will be an invaluable resource to Syracuse this season and next season.

Donte Greene was second in scoring, and the simple fact of the matter is that when you shoot 16 shots from three point range some of them will go in. Four of them did, and when they fell, they fell at key moments where the crowd could not be silenced by anything Georgetown did. Greene has been a poor shooter the last five games, but I’ll take the “go big or go home” shooting attitude of Greene when he continues to take good shots, despite the fact they do not go in. He finished with 18 points in 39 minutes.

Flynn continues to play all 40 minutes, making good decisions along the way. He earned 17 points, nine assists, and made all eight of his free throws. Flynn has grown up a lot since the kid that made seven turnovers early in the season. He has stepped up admirably for Devendorf and continues to make outstanding decisions and passes, as well as demonstrate the ability to slice through the lane and take the ball to the hoop. If I could have a beer with one member of the team, besides Kristof!, it would clearly be Flynn.

Onuaku finally put in a game that is worthy of his talent level. The game plan early, as you may have heard on ESPN like 432,562 times during the game, was to have Onuaku go right at Hibbert and it clearly worked. Arinze came out early and sent Hibbert to the bench early in the first half with two fouls. Had Onuaku not fouled out with 3:50 remaining on the clock I am convinced that the final score would not have been as close as it was. He finished with 13 points, five rebounds, and he was good in this game. Apparently my friend John needs to say he sucks more on this blog if he turns around and performs as well as he did on Saturday.

Kristof! had an excellent game. This was not on the offensive end, although he did have three points. Rather, he got the job done on the defensive end, helping cover the fast and accurate guards of Georgetown, and seeming to always be in the position to get a rebound. He earned eight rebounds, three assists, and played 28 minutes. Kristof! continues to be one of my favorite “tall, white, and goofy looking” players of the 2007-2008 season.

Rick Jackson, while about 20 pounds of muscle away from being an outstanding center in college basketball, had the defensive game of his life. With Onuaku in foul trouble, Jackson came in and was a force in the middle of the zone. The stat sheet does not reflect his contributions with three blocked shots, two points, and four rebounds in his 15 minutes of play. He looked fresh, alert, and stoked to be on the floor and he played well.

Scoop looked decent as well, taking the ball to the tin at one point with a reverse lay-up that seemed like a circus shot, but it went in. Good for scoop. Hopefully he can get a few more minutes under his belt before the end of the year.

Syracuse blew up in the first half, at one point leading by 21 points. Syracuse shot 42% from the floor in the first half compared to Georgetown’s 30%. The real stark facts though are that Syracuse had 16 points in the paint, 12 fast break points, and 18 points off turnovers. Georgetown had two, zero, and zero points respectively. Syracuse only had five turnovers in the first half compared to Georgetown’s 12. It is tough to say if this was because of nerves of the players, the crowd noise getting to them, or they simply did not show up to play, but Syracuse took advantage accordingly.

Syracuse overall shot 44.4% from the floor (insert “44” here). They made 24 of 54 attempts. The big number stat for this game, especially down the stretch, was the free throw percentage. Syracuse made 23 of 28 free throw attempts, for an 82% outing. Outstanding day for Syracuse from the free throw line, as they really kept this game out of reach for Georgetown. The notable participant was Harris trying to make up for his three boneheaded plays towards the end of the second half.

Syracuse overall only had 11 turnovers compared to Georgetown’s 14. Harris had four, but a couple of these were not really his fault due to him being double teamed at the top of the key. This is good as Syracuse blew up in the turnover category as of late. Syracuse again had seven blocked shots, led by Jackson. Syracuse also had seven steals with Ongenaet, Onuaku, and Flynn earning two.

Rebounding was also huge for the Orange this game. Kristof!, as I stated earlier, always seemed to be in the right place under the basket and worked hard and fought for a lot of contested rebounds, being rewarded with the ball. Syracuse had 32 defensive rebounds compared to Georgetown’s 23.

The defense was really the key in this game. Even when Syracuse was not scoring points in the first five minutes of the game they were still causing turnovers and contesting every Georgetown shot. The Syracuse 2-3 Zone looked immaculate as Georgetown struggled to find ways to beat it, failing most of the time. Especially with Hibbert on the bench Georgetown could not pass the ball well in the zone and had trouble penetrating. The zone shifted and moved very well and the defense has not been better all year. If you were teaching a clinic on zone defense a video of this game would have to be included.

Syracuse beat their rival, who happened to be ranked eighth in the nation. This led to a court rush, which I called with about 12 minutes remaining in the game. I said that if we won, no matter the score, Syracuse students would storm the floor and they did. Now I am usually only for advocating the court rush in big time situations. Matt Glaude, my former compatriot and founder of this blog, wrote his proposed legislation governing acceptable and unacceptable court rush moments, and based on that article the court rush was justified. It was a major upset over a rival team. However, when you rush the court you have to be safe, and according to Axeman it was not. That is unacceptable. The only acceptable shenanigan in my opinion is stealing the possession arrow. That is simply because it would be awesome to have that in your living room. Other than that, all you can do is take some pictures, maybe slap five to a player, and jump up and down with your buddies. So be careful out there kids. Enjoy the video below of the court rush as I saw it from section 309. Also, we got a little love from Storming The Floor, who have a similar discussion .



All in all, the Georgetown experience was solid. I have to say it was as good as any game I have seen in the Dome. There was some debauchery, some laughs, and an outstanding game to watch, if you wear orange that is. I would like to thank Hope, Abby, and John, my roommates for the weekend. Thanks to Vito for finally getting me my media guide, Bailey Heaps from The Hoya for interviewing me about the rivalry, and finally Orange::44 reader Meredith for sending me the picture below of her and her friends inspired after reading the blog to make the awesome sign. She is the one on the left. Within a day I will have a complete weekend wrap up, as well as the Louisville game reactions. Unfortunately we could not pull off the big win on Big Monday, but we shall see what the ‘Cuse can do in Indiana. Until next time, your mother is a Hoya… and Georgetown still sucks!

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Time To See What The Orange Can Do

Maybe the SI curse will finally get Hibbert.
This is the weekend for one of the biggest rivalry games in college basketball. So of course, yours truly was asked by the Georgetown student newspaper The Hoya about some of my thoughts on the entire affair. The story appears here. Enjoy the article, enjoy the game, and I’ll see you in the Dome. Go Orange!

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X = awesome or hilarious phrase and/or picture.
Happy Valentine's Day (or night). What better time to put out a women's basketball article. This Saturday, our #24/21 ranked Syracuse women’s team will take on #16/17 Notre Dame in the Carrier Dome. For those of you not a former member of the Sour Sitrus Society Pep Band, it also happens to be alumni weekend for us. What does that mean, you ask? Well, it means that a bunch of professional women’s basketball hecklers will come out of retirement to come down and see the newly “good” team take on a dreaded Big East rival, all the while heckling the junk out of the Irish. While we are professionals with hours of game experience, you may want to join in a little heckling of your own. It is important, especially at women’s games because everyone can hear everything you say, to know what you are doing. Therefore, this guide should help you achieve your desired level of jerkitude. As a wise friend once said, you have to be smart to be an a-hole.

Method: Calling Players Fat, AKA “Who Wants A Pork Chop?”
Morality Meter: You have to bracket a lot of your moral standards to use this one properly.
How To: Simply call a player fat. Be creative and come up with a way to call players fat where they do not realize you called them fat until they think about it for a few seconds. The optimal time to use this method is when they are about to take their first free throw. Also, when they are running down the court and appear slightly winded is another. Also, anytime a player is wearing a UConn jersey.
Results: They no doubt will have their free throws affected. Also, there will be a general drop in self esteem.
Conclusion: If you are willing to go all out, this is the method for you. You will no doubt be labeled a jerk, but if that is simply par for the course for you, do you really care? This one is tried and true, so if you want to be “that guy”, then have at it Hoss.

Method: The Fake Date
Morality Meter: This one is not very offensive, so you can keep your high ground.
How To: Simply have a dialogue with a player about how you will take them out after the game. I usually like to use Faegan’s.
Results: This generally does not do much but further get you into a player’s head. It is more fun for you being asinine that really trying to distract.
Conclusion: This one is just a lot of fun. You basically are just belligerent for no reason. You are going to go to Faegan’s most likely after the game anyway, so why not make a hilarious story about how you want Dianna Taurasi to come too.

Method: I Saw The Sign
Morality Meter: It depends on how creative or offensive you want to make it.
How To: Simply think of a funny and/or awesome sign and then create it. Try to make it team or player specific for extra emphasis.
Results: Not only will you get in the player’s or coach’s heads, but you could even find your way on TV if it is being broadcast.
Conclusion: This allows even the most passive fan to publicly heckle, usually without even saying a word. My best example of this was we played UConn during the 2003-2004 season. I made a poster with Pat Summit’s head saying “I’m better than you”. I flashed this at Geno Auriemma as he excited the locker room before the game and he just about died laughing. After the game, his assistant coach said that the entire UConn staff had a good chuckle. Of course, this is still my favorite sign. Not my most hilarious, but still very true.

Method: Dribble, Pass, Shot
Morality Meter: Very low, this should not offend anyone. Not even the super sensitive athletic department.
How To: Simply pick a possession where the arena is fairly quiet, usually coming out of a time out or a substitution, and the other team is in bounding at their end. Then just say dribble when they dribble, pass when they pass, or shot when they shoot.
Results: This can really mess with a player’s confidence and rhythm.
Conclusion: This one is easy to do, and is a lot of fun as you get a whole group to participate. Just hope they miss the shot because if they make it, the home fans look like a bunch of jackasses.

Method: The Target
Morality Meter: Moderate to high, depending on how far you want to take it. Generally singling out a player by name will cause you to be moderately offensive.
How To: Pick a player, usually the star or best player on a team, and keep on riding them the entire game. Chant their name when they have the ball. Talk to them on in bounds. Pretty much keep on them at any point, especially if they are shooting a free throw or they miss an easy basket.
Results: Good players are good players, so they may still blow up for 25 points, or they may have an off night and your team rocks it. Usually the players are a bit rattled though. A good suggestion to hedge your bet is to pick the sixth player, the first off the bench. In case she forgets why she is not starting it is good to remind her by reciting her career stats if you can. Nothing annoys someone at the line quite like being told from the back row that "your free throw percentage just dropped below 62%." This requires a little research and preparation, but it is usually worth the effort. Dianna Taurasi and I have had some fun with this one in the past.
Conclusion: Despite the outcome, which can really help rattle a star player, or make a less that great player be even worse, it is simply a blast to do. Remember, you usually get out what you put in.

Method: Calling Players Ugly, AKA "Hurry Up, Ugly"
Morality Meter: This is not at all offensive if you are deaf. However, if you can hear it, it is pretty darn offensive. It is safe to say your Grandmother would not approve.
How To: Simply call a player ugly. You will nearly be tossed out of the game. I strongly recommend that you pick the hottest girl on the team to target so you can defend your action as blatant sarcasm. If you actually pick someone you would not sleep with after five car bombs, you risk getting beaten outside the Dome by all the away team's fans (who, in my day, used to outnumber the home fans).
Results: The “hot girl” on ‘Nova a few years ago only earned four points. This one is tried and true.
Conclusion: If you are willing to go all out, then clearly you are ready to implement this one. Plus, if you do not care what other people think about you, boom goes the dynamite.

Method: Whasername?
Morality Meter: This will not hurt your street cred with anyone normally, but it could get you in trouble if you pick a foreign name.
How To: Pick a player whose last name offers the most potential pronunciations. Now, try all of them out loud. Insert phrases like "Did they botch your birth certificate?" or "Can I buy a vowel?" If you decide it is time to get kicked out of the Dome, inquire to said player if "ICE knows you're here." This tactic usually works best during the quietest parts of the game, since your jokes require a good five to seven seconds and impeccable diction.
Results: You are pretty much just getting in the players head, or at least giving the home crowd something to chuckle about. Because you know everyone's thinking "Shricalarkasi? Hey, Johnny... who the hell is that?"
Conclusion: This one is pretty much just about being ridiculous. It is a lot of fun to see how terribly you can mispronounce the ladies’ names.
So there you have it. Your starter guide to starting stuff at a women’s game. Just remember to be creative, because no one likes an unfunny jerk. If you are a loyal reader of this blog, and decide to come out this Saturday, be sure to stop over and say hello. Perhaps we can team up and heckle the daylights out of the ladies from Notre Dame. Hat Tip and thanks to my former Sitrus partner in crime Jayme for helping me compile some of these tried and true heckling methods. He was the Mac to my Hak in heckling for many years, and for that I am grateful. Look for a complete weekend wrap up on Sunday or Monday, including postgame coverage from both the men’s and women’s basketball games, and some season opening lacrosse coverage. Until then, enjoy your heckling and be responsible. Wait… scratch that… enjoy being irresponsible.

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Forget Lax Sticks, Try A Glass Bottle

Forget drinking a Blue Moon around this guy.
The University of Cincinnati has the newest member of the fraternity of Big East athletes to be arrested for something. This time, BONUS, it is a felony. The Enquirer out of Cincinnati is reporting that University of Cincinnati offensive lineman Trevor Canfield has been charged with felonious assault.

It seems Mr. Canfield took it upon himself to hit another citizen over the head with a glass bottle. No more details were released about the incident, and of course he has been suspended by Brian Kelly.

He did not even spend a day in jail before getting bailed out of the pokey. Ah well. He will be back in court for arraignment on February 26th. Canfield started all 13 games for the Bearcats last season and he was a second-team All-Big East selection last season. Meanwhile, the justice system will turn and Canfield will have his chance to plead his case. Of course, he is innocent until proven guilty. Stay tuned for more felonious blogging by this guy. Of course I would represent myself, or get our good friend and loyal reader John to join the defense team for a modest retainer of course. Hat Tip to Sean at Nunes/Magician for the linkable. He knows I love this legal trouble nonsense.

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Once in a while I managed to score in this game.

So, I will be honest. I had an awful day. This team losing to f’ing South Florida really did not help. At least I could not watch this game. As this was the last game to be broadcast regionally, I will be at or watch each remaining game on the Syracuse schedule. That being said, let us take a look at the FUBAR in Florida.

You can see the box score from ESPN.com here. Let us just skip to some analysis in bullet point style to save me time an aggravation:

- Syracuse allowed a team that they significantly out rebounded against at home manhandle them inside on the boards. This is not indicative of the teams that have outrebounded the shorter teams in the Big East, such as Villanova.

- Syracuse went back to their old ways of committing more turnovers than the other team. Syracuse had 16, while USF had 14.

- Syracuse’s free throw percentage dipped below 70% again and they ended up going 15 of 24 for a total percentage of 62.5. Not good, especially against a team you should have killed again.

- The defense let Dominique Jones explode for 29 points. That is a smack in the face compared to the reasonable 23 he earned the last time.

- Onuaku was ineffective on the inside compared to his last outing versus South Florida. What happened to our dominate center?

-Greene still cannot make a three point basket to save his life lately. In the last four games he has made only five out of 25. In this game he went zero for three. This should scream “stay one more year”. He also had a team high six turnovers. Awesome.

- Syracuse was down 24 to 38 at the half. I mean Christ.

- Scoop returned to see significant minutes, clocking in 37 minutes. He earned ten points and seven assists during that time. Not bad for your first real game back son.

- Flynn again played all 40 minutes, which is still just fine by me. He earned 16 points and six assists. Another solid day for the kid.

- The Paul Harris Express keeps rolling along. He earned 14 points, six assists, and six rebounds.

-Rick Jackson blocked five shots. It is about time Syracuse had some more blocks since the departure of Hakim Warrick and Jeremy McNeal.
Despite the fact that Jim Boeheim says this USF team is a good team, they are not. Syracuse is now even in the league at .500 and will need to win against Georgetown, Louisville, and Notre Dame to seek an at large NCAA bid. Do not count this Syracuse squad out as I am not, and neither are the experts, but this has to demoralize the squad. Syracuse next plays Georgetown at noon in the Carrier Dome next Saturday. I will be there to cheer on my squad and say the most belligerent anti-Georgetown things I can think of. Until next time, ask yourself, why does Georgetown love to collect the kids of players and coaches that were way better then they ever will be?

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Nunes::44 - 2/12/08

Sometimes you just end up on your ass, right Troy?

It is that time of the week again to go deep into analysis of the alma mater with our friend Sean over at Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician. I believe this week I asked exceptionally tough questions and Sean responded accordingly. Enjoy the awesomeness that is bloggers uniting. Sean just needs to get some Lax knowledge and he’ll be all set.

1. Orange::44: After seeing the recruiting class Syracuse has attracted and signed, are you convinced better days are ahead for the program, despite who may be at the helm?

Nunes: From where I'm sitting, this was a pretty impressive recruiting class. It wouldn't have been impressive if we went 10-2 but we're 2-10 and we somehow managed to get some pretty solid players. That said, the reason we all think this class is really good is based on the opinions of a couple people. It's all theory.

In speaking with out friend AEM, he made a really good point in that we got some quality recruits at some key positions but we really didn't diminish any holes in some very key areas. Not that you recruit and expect sudden impact (least not SU), but I'm not sure how many of these guys will be making an impact on the field in 2008.

So in that roundabout way, my answer is that I do feel good about the progress of SU football, but I'm not sold that we're suddenly a bowl team cause Tom Lemming thinks we did a decent job recruiting.

2. Orange::44: Syracuse dropped a close game to Connecticut at home last week. Looking past the South Florida game for a moment, how do you think Syracuse will do against Georgetown this coming weekend?

Nunes: Isn't looking past South Florida just the kind of thing that gets us into trouble? Assuming (and that's a tall order in the Big East), we beat South Florida Wednesday, I'm feeling so-so about the G'town game. The Hoyas are playing with some extremely bruised egos right now. They almost lost to SU, they did lose to Louisville and then they scammed a win over Villanova. The luster is off and Georgetown looks beatable. Enter a frisky Orange team that knows it can hang with them. As far as I can tell, all signs point to...Georgetown whupping us.

I don't know, I guess it just feels like a trap. I'll stop talking now.

3. Orange::44: The ladies bounced back against Marquette at home. How do you see them playing out the remainder of their schedule?

Nunes: Short of playing UConn and Rutgers, I expect them to win every game they play at this point. I'm not saying they will but I think this team has done enough to prove they are more than a cute little storyline. They're a legit team to be reckoned with in the Big East Tournament and they should be fairly dangerous in the NCAA Tournament. Right now, it's all about acting like they've been there before and not letting the new experiences get the better of them. They can't play like they've earned anything, they've got to keep playing with that chip on their shoulder. And I think future Big East Coach of the Year Quentin Hillsman knows what he's doing. Get that man an extension!

4. Orange::44: Bracketology currently has Syracuse in the tournament as a 12 seed. Does this sound about right, or if not what do you think it will be?

Nunes: Yeah, cause to be honest I don't really think they deserve to be in at this point. Subjectively, what have they done really from an NCAA resume standpoint? Sure we've played some great teams but our best wins are Washington (13-11) and free-falling Villanova (14-9). Virginia is in the dumps so that win is null and void.

That said, Syracuse has every opportunity to earn their way in. They seem to be getting the benefit of the doubt at the moment thanks to a strong RPI but they need a signature win. Georgetown game anyone? That's the first of four-straight games against ranked teams. Honestly, SU has to go 2-2 in that stretch and then win out against Seton Hall and Marquette in order to be in a position to make the tourney as far as I'm concerned. Even then, it's gonna take at least two BE wins to seal the deal.

5. Orange::44: The ladies are listed as a six seed. Same question.

Nunes: At first it sounded low but then I thought about it and it makes sense. I think it's perfect for them. It's not too high that they get full of themselves and its not too low that they're looking at a #1 or #2 in the second round. It's just right.

6. Orange::44: Lacrosse season starts this Sunday against Villanova. What do you see is the biggest strength and weakness of this squad?

Nunes: What a horrible, horrible question. I know NOTHING of the strengths and weaknesses of the Orange lax team. I'm so fair-weather.

What I do know is that their schedule, which is almost always tough, is downright brutal this year. It makes me chuckle when opponents of SU joining the Big East Conference for lax note how the Orange will lose some of their strength of schedule. Meanwhile, even if the Orange traded in 4 ranked teams for rivals, they'd still have a ridiculously tough season ahead.
What is it about Syracuse in any sport that when they need to rebuild they schedule hard? Always gotta do this the hard way.

7. Orange::44: Finally, it is admittedly early to ask this question, but what would be your highlight of this basketball season if you had to pick today?

Nunes: If I had to pick one moment that sticks out to me, it would have to be The Paul Harris Incident. Paul Harris' admission after the Villanova loss. Harris just came out and said he didn't bring it, and furthermore he insinuated that he lost his heart for the game. It was a gutsy and honest moment that really let us into the mind of this kid and the pressure he's under. Ever since, he's been a new player. A weight was lifted and he finally found hid place on the court and in the offense. Simply, he seemed to rediscover his love for the game and it showed. It's been a pleasure to watch him since. Now, for the rest of them...

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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Georgetown/Connecticut: Who Ya Got?

Both are so hatable, but there can be only one.
Georgetown and Connecticut. G’town and UConn. Georgetown University and the University of Connecticut. No matter how you say it, if you are a Syracuse fan or alumni you dislike both of them. Some would say hate them. There are many reasons why you should as well. It is not exactly like their fans go out of their way to make you feel welcome at an away game. But then again, neither do ours. So what is it exactly about these schools? I mentioned during my UConn postgame coverage that I hate losing to UConn far more. But just in general, on an average day, who do you, or better yet who should you hate more?
We first analyze Georgetown. This is the rivalry that helped make the Big East Conference what it is today. It was also one of the premier coaching rivalries in the nation. Back in the 70’s and 80’s Jim Boeheim and John Thompson would battle for hardwood supremacy. Now, it is his kid’s turn. Lifetime, the Orange best the series 42 games to 36. But this rivalry is deeper then wins and losses. This is about two institutions.
Syracuse and Georgetown, above all else, are universities. The two schools and their respective alumni respect the institution's academic reputations. They are both top tier schools, both have very good programs, and both are aware of their good reputations. However, Georgetown suffers from the Beltway ego. It is hard not to be a touch modest when your school is located in the middle of Upstate New York. There is an air of superiority when it comes to someone from Georgetown. It is similar to that of a Yale or Harvard. No one likes that. There are even a few rational students at Georgetown that detest it too I suppose.
Then there are the games. There was the famous last game in Manley Field House where the elder Thompson proclaimed over the loudspeaker “Manley Field House is now closed”. There were the Craig Esherick years where Syracuse owned G’town, especially during the 2003 season where Syracuse beat them three times in the season. Now there is GTIII at the helm for the resurging Hoyas. Does this mean they are just as hatable as ever? Absolutely. But does that mean they deserve more wrath than the Huskey’s? Let us explore.
This rivalry is, without a doubt, the most intense for both schools. I mean it is not every decade you beat your rival in a tournament when they have a number one ranking. This game also features two hall of fame coaches going at it, trying to give each other’s team the business. These feelings of distaste does not come from the attitude about the institution, but really it comes from the feeling that they do not operate by the rules.
Just in the past month I have recounted the many instances in which someone related to University of Connecticut Athletics has either violated the law, violated school policy, or even just simply violated societal norms. Despite all else, people and institutions need to operate within the standards and practices of the group or industry they belong to. UConn, despite what they may say, has not really abided by this over the years. As the show Damages would say, there is a stink about the program. Actions always speek louder than words.
Syracuse leads this series 48 to 34. But that is irrelevant. What matters is the stinging win in MSG, the fact that they beat us before our NCAA run in 2003 and we beat them before theirs in 2004, and that most people hate to lose to this team more than any other Syracuse plays. The surly Jim Calhoun does not make UConn any less hatable.
So where does this leave who is more hatable? Oh you know. When it comes down to it, the face of a team, and the quality of the competition is what matters. UConn over the last five years has been better than Georgetown. Similarly, as John Thompson was the big rival in the 80’s, Jim Calhoun is that rival now. I should have known that my opinion of the team Syracuse wants to beat the most would stay the same despite the return of Georgetown. Syracuse fans hate UConn. Similarly, I have never been treated by opposing fans as terribly as I have with UConn folks.
So there you have it. Looking at it strictly by the facts, you have to hate Connecticut more. Maybe you have some personal experiences that makes you hate Georgetown more, but frankly you probably have 20 that go with UConn. For all the reasons above, you need to hate UConn the most. Let the UConn anonymous posts begin. Who knows, if it insults my intelligence you may find your quote on the side of the blog.

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Vito agrees, UConn... U SUCK!
There are moments that make being a fan outstanding. They are few and far between, which is why they are so special. They make you feel it was worth spending the money on a ticket. It is a moment you could remember for the rest of your life, or even tell your kids about. More often than not though, it is a snide comment you say to an opposing fan after a win, or a hearty better luck next time if you take the high road, which can also reward you as a fan. It can even be just a close game you enjoyed watching. Either way, I had a moment on the New York City Subway this past weekend. I was wearing my Syracuse hat, when about 60 feet down the platform I hear “U… C… O… N… N… UConn UConn UConn.” I look up, and see a guy smiling at me. His buddy asked if I attended Syracuse, to which I nodded. I then heard the first guy say “Go UConn!” All I said was “We’ll see on Wednesday.” We had a close one with a lot of thrills, but mostly disappointment as Syracuse loses a close one, 61 to 63.

Paul Harris was the lead scorer for the Orange, earning 24 points, 11 rebounds, and he made seven out of eight free throws. He had some outstanding plays on the day. One of which was, during one of his four steals, going the length of the court and slamming the ball with authority. Paul has easily been the best thing the Orange has got going for them the last two games, and there does not seem to be an end for him in the near future.

Jonny Flynn was the second leading scorer with 20 points, and seemingly the only one that could shoot the ball. Flynn made four out of seven from three point land, and also dished the ball five times. Jonny again played all 40 minutes of the contest, and when you earn a point every two minutes you are not doing too bad at all. He continued to look energized and ready to play despite playing so much. Flynn easily is the most important player currently on the team and will continue to be as long as he is the only true guard Syracuse plays.

Donte Greene had eight points, but really if there was ever a game to show why he should stay in college another year, this was that game. Greene shot two for 15 from the floor and one for eight from long range. While the vast majority of these shots were not bad to take, they still did not find the bottom of the hoop. This would have been an average game for Harris or Onuaku, and a fantastic game for Jackson or Ongenaet, but for Greene it was a terrible game.

Onuaku contributed six points and six rebounds. Initially the game plan needed to be penetrating, going right at Thabeet, and making him pick up fouls. This plan quickly had to change after penetration proved really ineffective. Onuaku generally was ineffective in every aspect of the game. Unlike Villanova where he drew defenders and rebounded, as well as made some great outlet passes, he simply was a big non-factor in this contest.

Kristof! Ongenaet earned three points, four rebounds, and three assists. He also was a pretty big non-factor in this game. His scrappy play just earned him one steal. He also seemed to be really afraid of shooting and seemed to have lost that confidence he earned at Villanova. Sad to say, but I did not like Kristof!’s performance in this game.

Syracuse, for the first time in a few games, committed less turnovers that the competition. Syracuse had eight, while UConn had 12. Kristof! was the big winner with 3. If you would have told me that Syracuse was going to have less turnovers than the competition and earn eight points in the last two minutes I would have assumed they were going to win. I would have been wrong, but this is a good sign for the Orange in the future.

Syracuse shot the ball very well from the charity stripe. They made 11 of 14 for 77% success. This will be very important as Syraucse needs every point they can get.

Aaaaaaaaand the highlights end. Scoop Jardine came in, and as Jay-Z would say, “grand opening, grand closing”. In one minutes of play he earned one rebound and committed one turnover, then he sat on the bench again.

Syracuse lost the rebounding battle. Connecticut had 35 rebounds and 9 offensive rebounds, while Syracuse had 30 and 9. Connecticut on the season was not a great rebounding team, but since their Indiana game they have really crashed the boards well, and second chance points and rebounds helped Connecticut win the game. Syracuse will have to recover and get back on the right track in Tampa if they hope to have a strong finish in the conference.

Syracuse shot the ball extremely poor in this game. While I thought one team was going to have a poor shooting night, I did not think it would be the home team. Syracuse only earned 22 out of 59 field goal attempts, for a total of 37%. This is the worst performance for the team in a while. Syracuse in the second half, from the 8:30 mark until 3:48, did not earn a single point. This allowed UConn to not only take the lead, but take a serious lead. One that I am convinced Syracuse would have overcome had time not run out. But that is the way it goes. Had Syracuse shot the ball better in that stretch, things probably would have been vastly different.

Blocked shots had a lot to do with Syracuse’s scoring drought. Hasheem Thabeet had seven blocks alone, and after that he did not even need anymore as Syracuse was timid to penetrate the lane or baseline. Thus, resulted in more outside shooting with nothing dropping for Syracuse. Seeming everything fell for UConn. Sometimes that is the way it goes.

The Three Idiots' Champ penned a fantastic article citing a big reason why Syracuse fans hate the Huskies. He strikes a chord with me, as I know exactly where he is coming from. I have a vast and experienced history with the University of Connecticut on many levels, and without going into it, let’s just say I have taken my share of abuse. I absolutely HATE losing to Connecticut. I can even stomach a Georgetown loss, but not Connecticut. The elder John Thompson could come down from the box, coach the team to a win, piss on the court, and call me an asshole and I still would not be as pissed as a loss to Connecticut. Frankly, if I did it over, and I was a touch drunker, I should have socked that dude in the subway.

Nick of the blog Nick’s 2 Cents recaps all of the Syracuse/UConn games he has been to. If only he was in MSG in 2006 as I was, my personal favorite. Beating a #1 team is great. Beating the #1 team, which is also your rival, in MSG; priceless. It is interesting to see how the rivalry has evolved over the past few seasons. While it was the end of an era for him, it is fun following it from 1997 until today.

The Orange have a week off to think about this loss before traveling to Florida to take on USF at home. I sadly will not be joining them, but I will enjoy the week off to use my time in writing some new articles versus game reactions. First up, Georgetown or UConn: who do you hate more? Yes I just said I hate losing to UConn more. But I hate them both. I need to sort out my feelings. You will be part of the journey. Until next time, remember that Jim Calhoun’s wife looks like the crypt keeper compared to Juli.

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I Am Magician

Magical on the field and the interweb.
Congratulations to Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician for all the nominations of the College Football Blogger Awards. He has continually produced quality material throughout the year and has earned all he has received thus far. Which makes me proud to alert you to yet another installment of Orange::44 is an Absolute Magician, now on his site. Check it out as he asked even harder questions to me this week about the basketball team, the Big East, and more. Enjoy that, plus all of his other great articles.

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