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Syracuse - Connecticut Postgame Blog Talk

Syracuse owns Connecticut in the Big East Tournament.
Kevin from TheUConnBlog was reporting for The Daily Campus, the UConn student paper, in Madison Square Garden last Thursday when Syracuse beat UConn in the second longest game in NCAA history. I asked him questions and he was nice enough to answer. Enjoy the postgame Q&A from a surprisingly not that bitter UConn homer.

1. Orange::44: You were there. Tell me what you thought and what your experience was like?

Kevin: Quite frankly, just about everything from the last two minutes of regulation onward blew my mind. I started the game in the north press box (which in MSG is up in the third tier of seats, near the Rangers' retired jerseys). By a stroke of luck - the Pitt Tribune-Review folks apparently packed up and left after the Panthers lost - there was an open seat in the front row of the press section courtside next to a buddy of mine. So I probably had the best seat in the house. Devendorf hit the 3 at the end of regulation about five feet from my face. It was tremendous, you know, except for Devendorf being a tool and all.

I recall thinking it was over when 'Cuse went up by seven late in regulation. I thought it was over when Devendorf's 3 went down (also, if you saw my face at that exact moment, I thought my life as a sports fan was over...I was ready to quit if Devo's shot counted). I thought it was over when UConn went up six in whatever OT that was. And I thought it was over when our freshman, Haralson, hit a turnaround 10-footer.

Everything else about the overtimes is just a blur. I only recalled the order in which things happened when I saw the highlights. The momentum shifts, the tenseness of every possession of the first five overtimes, the unbelievable effort from the players, the spectacular buzz in the crowd at the Garden; I've never seen or felt anything like it in sports.

I wish I were better with words, because this thing deserves a more eloquent description than I'm capable of giving. But more than anything else, that was an experience, and one I'll always be glad to have been a small part of.

2. Orange::44: Despite the loss, was that the best game you have ever witnessed?

Kevin: Easily. Most of my in-person sports memories involve one of my teams doing something well, like my high school team winning a championship or the Jets winning a playoff game back in '98. (I'm young, give me a break.) Historically, I've never seen a game even close to this good, and obviously I've never seen one that went so long.

3. Orange::44: What was your highlight of the night?

Kevin: Just one? Probably Kemba Walker's layup at the end of regulation, but I'm a sucker for buzzer beaters. If I weren't so biased, I'd probably say Rautins' tying 3 in whatever OT that was. That was clutch as hell.

If this were a normal game, I'd nominate any of Stanley Robinson's dunks.

4. Orange::44: What do you think was the reason Syracuse won this game?

Kevin: I think the game changed when Thabeet fouled out. It's not like he was doing a whole lot on offense (or that UConn was trying to get the ball to him in the second half and beyond), but once he went out, there was nobody to stop Jonny Flynn.

Flynn impressed the hell out of me. He got to the rim whenever he wanted to, he played 67 minutes, and once Thabeet went out, he could score or get to the line at will. That was huge, because UConn's halfcourt offense was pitiful all night. Flynn let Syracuse extend the game until UConn had nothing left.

5. Orange::44: How do you think this game will impact the seeding of both UConn and Syracuse?

Kevin: I think it's a great quality win for Syracuse and a quality loss for UConn. I don't see them moving UConn to a #2 seed for losing a 6-OT game to a top-20 team. Maybe this means UConn won't be in Boston, but OU and Pitt both lost to unranked teams yesterday. Wouldn't be shocked to see UConn drop in favor of Louisville or Michigan State, though.

As for the 'Cuse, my intuition is they should get a five seed right now. I checked Bracketology today and they're a six. Honestly, would anyone bet on Purdue or Florida State (two of Lunardi's five seeds) against Syracuse? Maybe that's a bad question to ask Syracuse fans, but I wouldn't.

6. Orange::44: Finally, is this the best game you have ever seen?

Kevin: Well, I'm loathe to call something the best ever 24 hours after the fact, like they did for the Super Bowl this year.

Kansas-Memphis was phenomenal, both games in the 2004 Final Four were pretty memorable. The '99 UConn-Duke game probably was the most tense game I'd ever seen. And UConn-George Mason was an epic Shakespearean tragedy played out on a basketball court which I'll always appreciate when I block out the pain. But last night's game had everything you could ever want (minus a UConn win, of course).

So, best game I've ever seen? I might need to get some more perspective before I can say that. It's in the top three.

So there you have it. Thanks to Kevin and the fine folks at TheUConnBlog for answering. Good luck to UConn in the NCAA Tournament. I’ll be back later with a wrap up of the Big East Tournament, as well as an NCAA Preview for Syracuse, and a peek at my bracket. I’m out of the home office as you know, so I’ll either be reporting from Hotlanta, or New Orleans. Still debating if we should say screw it and head to Miami.

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