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Nunes::44 - 4/30/09

Troy would love to do a US tour with Doug Marrone.
It’s Wednesday, which means it is time to exchange valuable knowledge with my cohort Sean at Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician. Today we talk about Jim Boeheim’s comments, Doug Marrone’s barnstorming, the team's expectations, a little lacrosse, and dinner plans when time machines are made. Enjoy.

1. Orange::44: Weigh in on Jim Boeheim's comments about his former players and his current explanations. Do you think he is back tracking or were they initially misunderstood?

Nunes: I guess I'm willing to give Jimmy the benefit of the doubt. If he's telling the truth, then Andy Katz was putting words into his mouth by specifically saying "Brandon Triche" as the next point guard of SU basketball. But I find it hard to believe that Katz would blatantly fudge quotes and if the quotes are real, there's no other way to read the "I'll take Wes Johnson over Paul Harris" comments than face value.

Whether he said it or not, Jim's obviously in clarification mode. He did a mini-press tour the other day and Katz clarified the statements in his blog which means Boeheim must have contacted him and asked him to. He didn't change any of the quotes though.

I get the sense Jim is emotionally done with Paul Harris and Eric Devendorf. He probably doesn't like the way Paul Harris has handled the situation, and I can see his point if so, and he seems ready to let go of Devo and his baggage. He may have let his emotions get the better of him in this instance. Still, that's not the kind of comments you want to see coming from your coach. One day that could be you getting thrown under the bus, out of context or not.

2. Orange::44: Marrone is taking the US by storm. Your thoughts on this PR tour of the nation and what do you think will be accomplished by it if anything?

Nunes: It's a fantastic idea. Doug Marrone's Q rating is through the roof right now for Orange fans and he's barely done anything. It's the perfect time to parade him around the Northeast (and LA) to Syracuse alumni hotspots and get the fans some face time with our apparent savior.

Marrone clearly has no problem schmoozing with the fans and his likeability and desire to turn Syracuse into a competent program are commodities SU needs to be taking advantage of. He's an ambassador for the university and the program, which is what a high profile college coach needs to be.

Now, can you imagine if they had done this with Greggers last year? Would people have even showed up? (For the free food...yes).

3. Orange::44: Give me your expectations for the SU Football team next year. Do you think they will achieve them or not, and either way are you alright with it being that it is Marrone's first year?

Call me crazy but I expect Syracuse to finally make good on the Quest for Toronto and play in the International Bowl next season. I've said before on my site that this past season's Syracuse team was more talented than their record indicated. They were so poorly coached, they lost games they never should have. Inversely, I believe the team will be so much better coached this year that it will win them an extra game or two.

And if you think this sounds crazy, look at our first opponent of the year, Minnesota. From 1-11 two seasons ago to 7-6 and a bowl game last year. Never underestimate the power of a good coach.

All of that said, if the team ends up going 2-10, I'm not going to hate on Marrone, unless he's somehow revealed to be Greggers-esque, which I highly doubt. Marrone has the luxury of a free pass this year...though he's probably the last person to rest on that.

4. Orange::44: Lacrosse is back in the top spot in both polls. Do you see them rolling over Colgate and earning the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament?

If Syracuse lacrosse was a person, it would have a look on it's face right now that says "I have no idea how I got here but I'll take it." Syracuse hasn't been overly impressive most of the year but when it matters, they've won games. That more than I can say about Johns Hopkins. NCAA Lacrosse seems to value many things above just winning games but the Orange have done what has been asked of them.

Currently the Orange are #1 in both polls but even with a win over Colgate, which I think they will get, won't guarantee anything just yet. Duke has made a late-season surge that has catapulted them to the top of the lacrosse world. They've beaten Virginia twice, won the ACC Tournament, and have more RPI Top 20 wins than anyone by a mile. Their SOS is through the roof and, unlike Johns Hopkins, they've won the tough games too. I'm willing to bet the Blue Devils end up getting the #1 seed.

That leaves Syracuse and Virginia to battle it out for the #2 seed and head-to-head the Cavaliers hold the advantage. So despite the fact that the Orange are #1 in both polls, there's a decent chance they could be the #3 seed when the Tourney starts.

Detractors of the Big East Conference formation in lacrosse might point to this as a reason the re-alignment is a bad idea. The Orange's SOS might take a further hit next season if upstart programs like Providence and St. John's don't improve in a hurry and the ACC is a veritable SOS Candyland. SU's schedule can't compete with that...yet.

5. Orange::44: Do you think that SU will win another National Championship this season? Why or why not?

Nunes: I think the Orange have all of the tools necessary to get them back to the Final Four. Unfortunately, I don't think all the pieces are in place for the team to survive a gauntlet that includes Virginia, Princeton and Duke unscathed.

Defensively, the Orange can play with anyone in the country. Goalie John Galloway is the wild card. He's had some brilliant games, like last week's UMass win. At times, he's disappeared altogether and seemed overpowered. The Orange are going to need him to string together four great games against four elite teams and I just don't know if he can do that.

It's the offense that concerns me the most, and that's not something you hear often about Syracuse lacrosse. In almost every game this season the Orange have completely disappeared for a quarter or more. That they leave themselves enough time to right the ship and pull out the win has been a mixture of pure talent and a little bit of luck. The Orange can't afford an off-quarter in the playoffs. Teams that do that get eaten alive. It's one thing to have to come back against Albany. It's another to have to do it against Virginia in the Final Four spotlight.

6. Orange::44: Finally, what SU athlete would you want to sit down and have dinner with? Name a current player and one that has moved on.

Nunes: Great question. If we're talking about a current player, I think I'm gonna go with Andrew Robinson. Not a flashy pick and he's obviously not one of the superstars of Syracuse, but he just seems like a cool guy. Would love to pick his brain about the Greg Robinson Era and find out if he's really cool with the move. Plus, I think I can take him in the inevitable post-meal dart game.

As for a former player, how could I not go with Ernie Davis? I'd love to know the real him and see what he honestly felt and thought about his time at Syracuse. I know the glossy version that it told that paints him into a God-like creature, but I'd just like to have met the actual man. And, I'm pretty sure he would pay. Ernie was cool like that.

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 excellent Nunes/Magician articles as always and stay tuned to Orange::44 for complete postgame coverage from every Syracuse game.

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