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Nunes::44 - 3/11/09

Nunes broke some ankles in his day.
Just a couple hours before Syracuse takes on Seton Hall, Sean from Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician got in his answers for the week, talking about seeding in both tournaments, how that Marquette win went, as well as other fun things. So you should check it out.

1. Orange::44: Closing thoughts on the Marquette contest?

Nunes: A nice reminder that this is not last year's Syracuse squad. This is a team that will win tough games and gut its way out of rough patches when it has to. I have no illusions about this Marquette team and how we caught them without their best player, but it was further proof that showed this SU team might not be great...but they're pretty good.

We won't be able to hang with the elite teams on a consistent basis and ultimately that will be our downfall. But we can hang with any second-tier team in the nation. And there's a lot more of the latter than the former.

2. Orange::44: Was this season successful in your mind and what criteria would you judge that by?

Nunes: At times it didn't feel like it but this season has to be considered a big success.

We accomplished our main objective...making it back to the NCAAs. We finished with a great overall record and we did it against a tougher schedule that usual. We finished with a very respectable record in the toughest conference in the country. We played through some injuries and a couple player funks and finished the season strong. And we have the chance to be a top-five seed. At worst we'll be a six-seed and you won't hear many complaints from SU fans regardless.

Sure, I would have loved to have beaten Louisville, UConn or Pitt at least once. But it doesn't seem right to hold it against this team for the moment.

Now, if we lose in the first round of the NCAAs that will be disappointing. No matter what, you never expect to see SU do that. If we lose in the second round, it will probably also be a bit of a bummer. If we can make it to the Sweet Sixteen, I think that's where everyone will feel completely fine with the season as a whole. And anything past that is gravy.

3. Orange::44: How do you think Syracuse will do in New York and what would you like them to do or not do?

Nunes: Well, I write this just hours before our game with Seton Hall so don't hold it against me if we've already lost by the time you read this...but I think we'll win one and lose one...and that's fine. Believe me, I'd rather not lose to UConn. But I just don't think we're on their level this year. At least, we haven't played like it.

Much like getting to the Sweet Sixteen in the NCAAs would be fantastic, if we could get to the BET semis but no further, that would be a huge boost for the team. It would put us over the edge for a five seed and give us the knowledge that we can beat an elite team on any given day.

4. Orange::44: What seed would you like to see Syracuse have in the NCAA Tournament and what realistically do you see the committee putting them as?

Nunes: I think Syracuse has earned a five-seed. Despite all of the negatives that come with that number known for being upset, I think 23-wins, 11-conference-wins and wins over Kansas, Memphis and Florida is a good-enough resume to warrant that.

If SU beats Seton Hall and loses to UConn, I think we're probably going to get a six-seed. I think the committee will hold it against the second-tier Big East teams when they give Louisville, UConn, Pitt and Villanova very high seeds. They'll want to spread the wealth after that. Just a thought.

If we can win two or three games, we're a lock for a five seed with the possibility of a four. But I wouldn't hold your breath.

5. Orange::44: So Oku finally made a choice and stuck with Tennessee. Does this effect you one way or the other?

Nunes: Not really. I think we've known for a long time that he wasn't coming to Syracuse. I'm willing to bet SU was off the table a lot sooner than it was intimated anyway. The value of the Oku situation is that he put us back in the national recruiting discussion. It made people wonder about this new staff up in Syracuse that could suddenly compete with the Tennessees and Auburns of the world. Syracuse is going to be a great recruiting school within the next 1-2 years, I think it's obvious. But I'm also biased, so, you know.

6. Orange::44: If you could change one thing about the Big East Tournament what would it be and why?

Nunes: Go back to the way it was. I mean, it's cute that DePaul got that win over Cincy and all. And it's nice that they let St. John's in the building. But really, what good can come of it? Is it really in the best interest of the conference to have a #15 or #16 seed run the table one day? If DePaul went on a magical run and won the Big East Tournament, wouldn't that ultimately cheapen the conference as a whole?

There was nothing wrong with the way it was. And I think the idea that you have to fight just to make the tourney is a valid in-season battle to bring back. I guess they make more money this way, although you wouldn't think so from all the empty seats, but it just feels like a waste of time to me.

7. Orange::44: Finally, for the regular season who is your best player in the Big East and who is your most overrated player?

Nunes: Best player, I probably have to go with DeJuan Blair. I think Thabeet is a monster and a game-changer but you can't deny that Blair owned him both times they played.

Most overrated? Harangody? Great players rarely let their teams sink the way Notre Dame did. They put the team on their backs for at least a little while...

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.

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