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Nunes::44 - 2/4/09

Nunes got up after some bad stretches like our basketball team.
Because I’m neck deep in probable cause, bad lineups, and trying to squeeze in that West Virginia game, I failed to post my usual weekly correspondence between Sean at Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician and myself. However, Sean was on the ball and sent this to me Tuesday evening. Thus he proved himself to be correct in terms of the WVU game. We dish about the basketball team, the job Marrone is doing, and of course the Big East. Enjoy.

1. Orange::44: Will Syracuse bounce back this week and beat West Virginia?

Nunes: Like I'm gonna say no? Of course they will! And by "of course" I mean "please God let them win cause this might be the last chance in a while.

The news that Arinze is still hurting and Rautins is going to "try" and play is disconcerting. We loved to talk about our depth earlier this season but all of a sudden we don't seem to have any. We need those two guys to be healthy. We can compete without them, maybe even win some games, but we won't have a chance long-term without all our guys healthy. We can't count on Jonny to drop 30 every night.

We have the game at home and the Mountaineers are very beatable. They seem to be in the same boat as us, beating the teams they're supposed to but struggling against the ones higher up. So perhaps the outcome of this game will let us know where we stand in a very meaningful way in the Big East.

We need the win. 6-4 in the conference right now is a helluva lot better than 5-5.

2. Orange::44: Looking ahead, how will Syracuse do in the four game stretch after West Virginia?

Nunes: The other reason we need the win against West Virginia is the upcoming schedule thereafter. At the #17 Villanova Fightin' Scottie Reynolds, At #1 UConn, Georgetown at home and finally #17 Villanova at home. It's a monster stretch, especially since Scottie and the Cats always give us fits. The Georgetown game will be an Eleven on the Vengeance Scale and UConn the the freakin' #1 team in the nation.

At this point, knowing what you know and having seen what you've seen out of SU so far, you gotta be happy if we come out of that 2-2. The smart money would be on a split with Nova and a win over the reeling Hoyas. If we could somehow shoehorn a 3rd win out of this, especially one over the mighty Huskies, well then justice would be restored. But I'm not holding my breath.

The good news is even if they go 1-3 through that stretch, they have three very winnable games after that. 11-7 or 10-8 are still not out of the question.

3. Orange::44: Does UConn really deserve the #1 ranking? I'm talking the men now.

Nunes: Eh, what's that saying? "Nobody knows nothing." They deserve it by default. They're the best team in the best conference in the country and they watched everyone else lose around them. Credit for being in the right place at the right time. Eventually, they'll lose and Dick Vitale will watch North Carolina or Duke regain their rightful place and feel whole again and life will go on.

They're a good team. But then again, so is Pitt. I'm looking forward to that game Feb. 16th.

4. Orange::44: What are your thoughts on the recruiting done by Marrone and his staff?

Nunes: Golf claps all around. I mean, when was the last time Syracuse had a recruiting off-season where the following things happened:

*We had so many decent quarterbacks interested in our program we are turning most of them away.
*Multiple players reneged on verbals to other Big East schools to come to SU.
*The #1 running back in the nation considered SU.
Even if Oku doesn't commit it was a banner recruiting period for the Orange. It almost doesn't matter who's actually coming. It's more about next year. Syracuse re-established itself in the Northeast and around the country as a place worth considering. Marrone's hiring of guys like Anselmo and Drayton look like strokes of genius that are only just starting to pay off.

SU probably won't have a high-ranking class this year, but I bet next year's class is going to be very, very good.

5. Orange::44: Very very early reactions, but will Syracuse win more than 3 games next season?

Nunes: I wrote a post a couple weeks ago about how SU can go to a bowl game in 2009. Now, I admit it's asking a lot but I feel like SU is going to be in a very good position to make a leap.

You cannot discount the New Coach Factor. Look at our first opponent of 2009, Minnesota. They went from 1-10 to 7-6 with a new coach who brought new enthusiasm into the program. It's not like the players were that different (Of course, it works conversely as well...Michigan). But I look at what Marrone wants to do on the field and the weapons he will have at his disposal and I see a great opportunity for a 3-9 team to overachieve and be 5-7 or even 6-6.

The Big East isn't going to be all that tough. No one really jumps out as a dominant team and pretty much everyone looks beatable on a given day. The OOC schedule is tough but Akron and Minnesota are beatable and I assume we'll fill that last slot with a 1-AA again.

By no means are we a sure thing but I'm confident we are at the very least a 4-5 win team.

6. Orange::44: Finally, what has been your favorite Big East game you have watched so far this season?

Nunes: I have to admit I don't watch much basketball that doesn't include Syracuse. In fact, I don't think I've watched ANY basketball that hasn't included the Orange this season. So I suppose my choice has to be the SU-Notre Dame game. SU pushed Harangody around, everyone contributed on offense and the Orange won big in front a ginormous Syracuse crowd. It was a proud day for SU fans and I only wish all our home games could be that way.
Editor’s Note: This is another installment in the ongoing collaboration between Orange::44 and Nunes/Magician. Usually every other Wednesday 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.
Additionally, the West Virginia Postgame Reactions will be posted sometime soon, but possibly not before Monday, as I will be traveling to the Villanova game. The same can be said for the latest Big East report.

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