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Twenty Is A Lot Of Orange::44 Magic

Troy would be pleased we honor him so much.
By now I don't have to tell you that you should be checking Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician on the regular. Hell, you probably go there first and then swing by over here if you have time. But it is another one of our weekly chats, and this time I answer some of Sean's questions about the basketball team, the current state of football, and seeing as I'm the lacrosse guy out of the two of us, what I thought about this year's squad. This time it is the 20th edition, which means that this is the 40th chat between our blogs. Kind of ridiculous. Enjoy getting some premium knowledge here.

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I'm just going to dance like I have my starting center in.

I hope you had a bad feeling about this game like I did as soon as I heard that Arinze Onuaku was not in the starting line up. You knew that this was going to be an uphill battle with half of the inside options this team has gone. Providence wins a tough one over the #15 Orange 100 to 94.

Jonny Flynn had a career high 35 points, with 12 for 22 shooting, four for nine from long range, and seven for seven from the free throw line. I mean this kid played his heart out for Syracuse, and you could tell he was having fun on the floor. He played all 40 minutes of course. One thing for sure is that he did not quit in the game at any point.

Eric Devendorf also played all 40 minutes. He scored 27 points and hit six of 13 three pointers. The big problem with Devendorf was he had nine turnovers. In comparison, the entire Providence team had only 11 turnovers. While the offense was there, he of course made some bad passes and got his pocket picked on a few occasions.

Rick Jackson had 14 points and ten rebounds in a good effort in the low post. He had some nifty moves in the paint and obviously rebounded well. Subsequently Syracuse had one more rebound than Providence. He did well for filling in for the injured Onuaku.

Kristof! made his way back into the starting line up. In his 16 minutes of play he earned six points, four rebounds, one assist, and one steal. He even did a timed play with Flynn in which he slammed the ball down after getting the pass. Niiiice.

Kris Joseph, the freshman, started for the first time, and he played like a freshman. He earned four points in 21 minutes of play. He also earned three rebounds and four fouls.

Paul Harris came off the bench and earned eight points and six rebounds. He played for 30 minutes and actually hit two of two from downtown. Paul played well, but he needs to take a more active role on offense. Than again, which Flynn and Devendorf chucking it up, how many touches could Paul really get?

Arinze Onuaku was obviously in pain on the floor and in 15 minutes of play he only got one rebound. Jim Boeheim at the half said he basically could not jump. Yeah, he probably just should not have played. But this was a big problem because there was not the dominant inside presence that we have had all year.

Syracuse clearly had too many turnovers. They finished with 21 points, while Providence only had 11. Additionally, Providence had 22 assists, while Syracuse had only 14.
One quick thing on the Providence students. A court rush? Really!? I mean, I know Syracuse was ranked #15, but smart Providence fans should realize that they were not playing #15 Syracuse. They were probably playing #35 Syracuse in all reality. With Rautins and Onuaku injured, this is not the powerhouse team that was advertised at #15. A court rush? Beat UConn at home and rush the court. But an injured Syracuse? Not buying it my friends.
Sadly the Syracuse defense was soft and mostly ineffective. Shooters had some open looks, it was easy to pass behind the zone for some easy buckets, and every time Syracuse needed a stop they could not seem to manage it. This team wanted to play more man defense, but with limited bodies it was pretty impossible. I get that part of it, but sadly these players should be better at the 2-3 Zone defense than they are. We are still Syracuse after all.

The good news is Syracuse actually hit their free throws making 16 of 20. Additionally Syracuse shot 48% from long range, making 12 of 25. Syracuse had their offense mostly working in this game. They were in a better rhythm and seemed to capitalize on most possessions. The ones they did not capitalize on, were important down the stretch. They actually closed the game to four points with less than a minute left, but just could not capitalize.

Really, I certainly do not like this loss, but Syracuse was not playing with a full toolbox. Onuaku really could not play, and Andy Rautins did not even make the trip from Syracuse. So I kind of feel good that this team really only playing with 5.5 players put up 94 points. Either way, this is the third loss in a row for the top 25 team, and this is a game that easily could damage their NCAA chances if they are on the bubble. Only time will tell, but at least now Syracuse has a week off to rest and heal before returning to the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome to take on West Virginia. Hopefully we will be ready to go then.
PS - Providence, your mascot is just a dude in a hood.

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The Big East Report: 1/20/09-1/27/09

The Hall notches their first win in a big way.
January 20
DePaul (0-6) v. South Florida (2-4)
61-70 F
This game was pretty tight all the way through, with USF only having a five point lead at the half. DePaul went on a 12-3 run to start the second half, but South Florida took the lead back with around seven minutes remaining and they would hold on to take the game. DePaul’s star, Dar Tucker, had 19 points and five rebounds, but that was nothing as USF’s Dominique Jones had 26 points and ten rebounds. USF simply out shot DePaul, but not by much.

January 21
#21 Villanova (2-3) v. #3 Connecticut (6-1) (at the XL Center in Hartford, CT)
83-89 F
This was a fun match up, as Connecticut and Villanova always have good games. This game was tied at the half, but UConn pulled off the six point victory. Villanova put up quite an effort with five players in double figures. Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds had 14 points and five assists, while Dwayne Anderson had 15 points and eight rebounds. Connecticut’s AJ Price had a ridiculous night though with 29 points, five rebounds, and five assists. He hit ten of 13, and four of six from downtown. Jeff Adrien also contributed 12 points and 14 rebounds in a big Connecticut win that was exciting until the end.

Louisville (5-0) v. Rutgers (0-6)
78-59 F
This was not even close to being a game. L’ville was up by 20 at the half on the back of Terrence Williams who had a game high 23 points, as well as 11 rebounds. Rutgers’ leading scorer was Mike Rosario who scored 21 points. The story of this game boils down to the Cardinals shooting 59.2% from the floor, while lowly Rutgers could only manage 38.6%. Hence, Rutgers still has not won a Big East game.

January 22
West Virginia (3-2) v. #14 Georgetown (3-3)
75-58 F
Georgetown suffered from a four minute scoring drought near the end of the first half. They also had their worst shooting performance of the season, only making 39.2% from the floor. That means that the Mountaineers were never in danger of losing this one in the second half. They made smart shots and expanded their lead. The ‘Eers leading scorer was Da'Sean Butler with 27 points and eight rebounds. Chris Wright led for the Hoyas with 13 points. Either way, Georgetown loses a big one at home at the hand of Huggins’ squad.

Providence (5-2) v. Seton Hall (0-6)
98-93 F/OT
This one went into bonus basketball. Providence got up in the first half, but then had a three minute scoring drought near the end of it. It was back in forth all second half ending in one last possession for the Hall in which they just could not drive on the Friars. Jeremy Hazell let the Hall with 30 points, hitting seven three pointers. Five, almost six, Friars were in double digits in scoring, led by Jeff Xavier with 20 points. Stat of the game; Providence took 42 free throws and made 31. Christ that is a lot.

Cincinnati (3-4) v. St. John’s (1-5) (at Carnesecca Arena in Jamaica, NY)
71-60 F
St. John’s had an 11 point lead at the half, resulting from a two minute drought. Then St. John’s decided to not score baskets. They only scored 21 points in the second half, while Cincy scored 43. This was the textbook definition of half time adjustments as Cincy came out firing. St. John’s only scored nine points in the last 13 minutes. Paris Horne scored 20 for the Red Storm, while Deonta Vaughn had 23 for Cincy. The stars did their jobs, but St. John’s fell flat in the second half.

January 24
#3 Connecticut (7-1) v. #19 Notre Dame (3-4)
69-61 F
This was the biggest weekend match up. Notre Dame had won 45 times out of the last 45 games in the Joyce Center. After Saturday, that streak was snapped as UConn managed to outshoot Notre Dame 44.7% to 32.9%. Luke Harangody had a nice 24 points shooting fade away jumpers right over Thabeet. He only scored nine points and 11 rebounds. UConn chucked up a lot of three pointers that missed, only going six of 18, but they had a critical stretch along with a 13 to one run in the latter part of the second half to secure the Huskies victory. Jerome Dyson led UConn with 15 points and nine rebounds.

#21 Villanova (3-3) v. South Florida (2-5)
70-61 F
Late game scoring droughts are the theme of this week, as Villanova failed to score for around a three minute stretch late in the game and USF closed this already close game. But Villanova was clutch down the stretch and made their free throws. Dante Cunningham let the Wildcats with 14 points and eight rebounds, while USF’s Augustus Gilchrist led all scorers with 18 points and seven rebounds. ‘Nova shot 44%, while USF only managed 35.2% from the floor.

DePaul (0-7) v. #10 Marquette (6-0)
70-79 F
After about four and a half minutes in the first half Marquette took the lead and did not give it back. They led 48 to 34 at the half, and while they only finished up by nine, they were clearly the better team on the floor. Marquette led as much as 15, but DePaul played tough in the second half to lost only by nine. Jerel McNeal led with 21 points and had six steals for Marquette, while Dar Tucker had 18 points for DePaul.

Rutgers (0-7) v. St. John’s (2-5) (at Carnesecca Arena in Jamaica, NY)
59-70 F
St. John’s took the lead three minutes in and Rutgers battled back to close it to three in the last few minutes of the game. However, Rutgers failed to score within about the last three minutes and therefore had no chance to close the game. Paris Horne had 27 points for St. John’s, going 12 of 13 from the floor. Mike Rosario led for Rutgers with 16 points and five steals. Rutgers remains completely in the Big East.

January 25
#4 Pittsburgh (6-1) v. West Virginia (3-3)
79-67 F
This game was back and forth until 15:11 remaining in the second half when Pittsburgh took a lead with a pair of Sam Young free throws and flew to the finish. Four Pitt players had 11 points or more, with Sam Young earning 22. Da'Sean Butler had 21 points and six rebounds, but with WVU only shooting 41.1% to Pitt’s 53.6%, Pitt runs away with this one in the second half.

#14 Georgetown (3-4) v. Seton Hall (1-6)
60-65 F
WOOOOW. Seton Hall picks up their first win a HUGE upset of #14 Georgetown in New Jersey. This is the first win against a ranked opponent for Bobby Gonzalez. This game was tight all the way through but Georgetown faltered in shooting down the stretch, and the Hall players played smart basketball and got good shots. Greg Monroe had 17 for the Hoyas, but Hall’s Jeremy Hazell had 23 points and seven rebounds to lead Seton Hall to get their first Big East win against a big time team.

#12 Louisville (6-0) v. #8 Syracuse (5-3)
67-57 F
My postgame reactions here.
January 26
#8 Marquette (7-0) v. #22 Notre Dame (3-5)
71-64 F
Now that the flood gates are open, apparently everyone can win at South Bend. But to be honest, Marquette is a very good team. Notre Dame only scored three points in the last 2:15, which pretty much doomed them though. Luke Harangody contributed a whopping 29 points and 17 rebounds, but Marquette’s Jerel McNeal had 27 points. Three other Marquette players had 13 points or more as well. Marquette also limited Notre Dame to 36.4% from the floor, while they shot 43.1%. Marquette was just too good for Notre Dame at home.

Weekly Awards
Team of the week: Connecticut (Honorable mention to Marquette)

Player of the Week: Jerel McNeal

Best Game of the Week: January 24th – Connecticut v. Notre Dame

Worst Game of the Week: January 21st – Louisville v. Rutgers

Kudos of the Week: Seton Hall for getting their first Big East win in beating #14 Georgetown at home.

Shame of the Week: St. John’s for giving up an 11 point half time lead to let Cincinnati win on the road.

Editor’s Note: The Big East Report is a recap and summary of the week that was in the Big East. It runs every Tuesday or Wednesday right here at Orange::44. Got an idea you want seen on the Big East Report? Send an e-mail along to syracuseorange44@gmail.com.

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Syracuse - Providence Preview

Syracuse students agree: Players being injured are not helpful to the team.
Providence is one of those teams that is a mystery. They win some marginal games, but they couldn’t put away Marquette at home. They have lost the big games, but won the games they were supposed to in the conference. This team does have some talent, but they just can’t seem to get over the hump to beat an elite team in the Big East. Their playmaker is Weyinmi Efejuku, who is averaging 13.4ppg and 4.0rpg. He also shoots 36.7% from long range. But this team has lost to some inferior teams like Northeastern and St. Mary’s. They also recently had to take Seton Hall into overtime. Providence has no answer for Onuaku inside, and if he plays he will surely give Providence fits. Devendorf also should be ready to go and if he is shooting well Syracuse should cruise. Andy Rautins did not make the trip with his sore ankle, so that will be a blow for this team. While this game will be close, unless Providence comes out red hot, this should be a W for Syracuse. Orange by 12.
Look for the new Big East Report later today.

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Jonathan Xavier is in Quite a Pickle

I dislike referees too sometimes, but I've never broken the law for it.
This notebook typically chronicles the legal squabbles that fellow players in the Big East, and the teams Syracuse plays. Rarely is it relevant or even gratifying to discuss a player’s brother’s legal trouble. But in the rare case of Providence player Jeff Xavier, his brother is certainly of note after he walked on the court during the Marquette v. Providence game over a week ago.

ESPN.com is reporting that Jonathan Xavier, the brother of Jeff Xavier, has been held in a county jail for potentially violating terms of his probation after he was charged with disorderly conduct (or as we call it a DisCon) for walking on the Dunkin’ Donuts Center court on January 17th. Jonathan Xavier appeared in court today and pled not guilty to the charge, and $10,000 bail was set for this specific charge. A probation hearing has been scheduled for February 10th to decide if he did in fact violate his probation. In 2005 Xavier pled no contest to three separate drug charges and only served eight months, and the balance of a six year sentence was suspended. If found guilty of violating his probation he could serve the balance of that six year sentence.

This is the aftermath in which Jeff Xavier took an inadvertent elbow in the Marquette game and his brother was livid that no foul was called. He then came down from his seat, stepped over the Providence bench, and then stepped in the paint to yell at the referee. He was then escorted off the court by security and arrested. Providence has said that they will step up security at “The Dunk” by posting more security personnel, and police officers behind the player’s bench.

Either way, this is a sad situation for both Jonathan Xavier, but more specifically Jeff. Obviously a big term of probation is staying out of trouble, and heading on a court during a game in any capacity is not doing so. Frankly this is an easy case for the prosecution as they have the video tape of the game. This is most assuredly a violation of his probation and Jonathan Xavier will be lucky to avoid doing that remaining six year sentence (more like around 3.5 years with good behavior, I’m not exactly sure the Rhode Island rules for calculating good time). No lawyer would have any argument because it is right there in stunning high definition for the fact finder to see. I just hope that this does not serve as too much of a distraction on Jeff Xavier and the rest of the Providence team that did nothing wrong but simply play in a tough Big East game.

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Well crap is crap, and that was crap.
Well this was a big stinker. Syracuse deeded to go 2-2 in this critical four game stretch, hopefully winning the games at home. Sadly, that was not the case as the Orange came into Sunday’s game flat and, although they were in the game for most of it, they could not keep the lead or get it back in the end. Syracuse fell to Louisville for the first time in the Carrier Dome 57 to 67.

Eric Devendorf was the leading scorer for the Orange. He had 20 points off the bench. His key contribution was hitting a good three at the end of the game, but more importantly he hit seven of nine free throws. He had a pretty good game, but he only made three of eight three point baskets. With Andy Rautins out of the game we needed him to shoot better and he did not.

Jonny Flynn was the next scorer with 12 points, four assists, and 6-6 on free throws. Flynn for half of the game managed to slice the lane and get to the hoop, but against the taller, more physical Louisville team, he found himself hitting the deck on several occasions. He also, I believe, played selfishly and tried to finish to the hoop instead of penetrating and kicking back to an open Andy Rautins or a cutting Harris or Jackson. Either way, when you are driving on the baseline, you end up under the basket picking up your dribble, and there are three much taller gentlemen around you, it will probably be a turnover.

Arinze Onuaku had 11 points and nine rebounds. He made five of six baskets, and actually made one of three free throws. However, he was not active on defense enough in this game and frequently lost track of the Louisville players and allowed an easy pass behind the zone from the top of the key for an easy bucket. He also did not take nearly enough shots in this game.

Harris and Jackson had six and three points, as well as eight and nine rebounds respectively. Not dynamic nights for these two players, and thus a proximate cause of Syracuse ending up with the lower number on the scoreboard. Either way, Harris played well pulling down necessary rebounds and hit a couple of jump shots. Jackson was pretty inactive in this game, although he played decent defense against the big boys of Louisville. Harris did contribute this before the game though. Thanks YouTube!


Andy Rautins finished with three points on 1-6 shooting from long range. He then went down after receiving a pass from Flynn in which he rolled his ankle. I’ll be honest, it was gruesome to watch in person. I thought he tore the ACL on his right knee after being injured in his other knee the previous year. But it turns out he just sprained his ankle badly, as he did not return, and from what it looked like the team doctor said, he probably immediately left the Dome for the hospital. Updates will be provided when they are available.

Either way, this was a terrible game to watch from start to finish. You could tell that this Syracuse team was flat and not in a rhythm offensively. This team never had control of the game, and although they got the lead or had it tied late in this game, they just could never get going. Two offensive fouls in a row on Eric Devendorf, and then two possessions in which Syracuse could not score, finished this game for Syracuse.

Syracuse shot poorly, making 18-51 (35.3%), and from long range only 4-16 (25%). They did actually manage to hit some free throws, basically because Flynn and Devendorf took most of them. They hit 17-24 (70.8%).l Either way, again this game was not an offensive benchmark for Syracuse.

The biggest question coming out of this game is can this team be clutch? Has this team been able to be clutch since Demetris Nichols left? Other than when Flynn hit a big three in the Kansas game to send it to overtime, have we seen any moment like that in a game? There have been a few critical moments, but Syracuse just has not seemed to overtake them. This team had a chance at this game, and they seemed uninspired, uncoached, and seemed to not have a clue at the end of the game. Boeheim and this team should feel embarrassed at it. The game management, shooting, and game plan was poor.

Syracuse now has to move on from here and beat Providence on the road Wednesday. They then have a week off and face West Virginia, a team that beat Georgetown in DC, at home in the Dome. This team needs to get their act together and continue winning big games, instead of coming out forgetting how to shoot the ball. These next games should get them back on track, but it could spiral them further down. Time will tell.

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Louisville - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: Patino will look like a Mobster.

This is probably the toughest game so far to preview. Louisville is currently undefeated in the conference at 5-0 and overall has a record of 14-3. This team is dangerous and they were all but out of it for the Pittsburgh game, and within the last three minutes, on expert shooting, they were able to beat #1 Pittsburgh. They are lead in scoring by Earl Clark with 14ppg and 8.9rpg. Also, Samardo Samuels averages 13.7ppg and Terrence Williams is averaging 13.4ppg and 9.3rpg. Syracuse will have to make smart shots, use their possessions well, and get both offensive and defensive rebounds to beat this L’ville team. They can push the tempo or kill in the half court set. It all depends on what defense Jim Boeheim selects and how effective it is. Onuaku and Jackson will have to box out to eliminate this Cardinal threat. Because we are playing in the Carrier Dome, Syracuse by seven.

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The Orange-Out Paradigm

These kids have the right idea.
Let me start by saying I am ALL FOR an Orange-Out on February 14th versus Georgetown in the Carrier Dome. I give Nunes/Magician commenter “SUFAN4LIFE34” credit on getting the idea going here. I also give a lot of the credit to the SU Blogisphere for embracing this idea and the fine folks at orangeoutthedome.com for getting organized enough to put together a nice little website. I will be wearing my orange Syracuse jersey with an orange shirt underneath. Rest assured if the weather was warmer I would be wearing my orange sneakers. Hell, I probably will even wear my orange “gameday” boxers. I am for this and think it will be great and intimidating to the Hoyas and the Hoya faithful.

That being said, how sad is it that we need an Orange-Out to prompt fans to wear orange? The answer is pretty fucking sad. For the record Syracuse only has one official color, and that is orange. Navy, by definition, is the UNOFFICIAL accent color of the university. White is obviously necessary for home or away jerseys in every sport, but it is not even an unofficial color of the university. Certainly what should never, although frequently, be worn in the Carrier Dome includes but is not limited to; flannel, denim shirts, green, yellow, whatever the hell Scoop wears, pink, hula skirts, or any combination therein. I equate this kind of fan behavior to be just as bad as leaving before the end of a game. My overall point however, is that you should be wearing orange to every game anyway. We are the Syracuse Orange after all. Our mascot is an orange. You yell “Go Orange!” You chant “Let’s Go Orange!” How is this something that is not glaringly apparent to do at a Syracuse game?

Maybe I’m just a spoiled guy for having gone to Syracuse. I guess I just assume that every Syracuse fan has a minimum of 20% orange Syracuse items. However, is it that crazy to assume every fan has at least one orange shirt of some kind? Maybe a jersey. Maybe a pull over. Something. Anything. If this isn’t the case, then I’ll admit I’m wrong and will issue a small and brief apology, but from talking with fellow alumni in recent days, it seems that wearing orange should all but be a given to a home game.

I hope this does not seem like I am making this an “Alumni v. Fan” debate either, because I most certainly am not. The Syracuse community is a necessary and valid part of the fan base, and this team is something that the overall community feels pride and ownership over. That is great. The point is though, that you should come to the games properly attired.

I commend the idea and the organizers behind the fan mobilizing movement that is the Orange-Out. Anytime that the Syracuse fan base can come together in any manner is a positive for the school and the team. My point is, it shouldn’t take something like this for you to wear orange to a game and cheer for the team. It is the least you can do when those kids are out there doing their best for your entertainment and pleasure. Feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think about the Orange-Out. I hope the Dome is chalk full of orange as Syracuse redeems itself over the often hated Georgetown Hoyas. As always… GO ORANGE!

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Nunes::44 - 1/21/09

Troy could have been guarded by DeJuan Blair and still scored 46 points against Pitt.
It's Wednesday, so that means that I asked Sean over at Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician some questions and he sends me the answers. Seeing as we are neck deep in Big East Basketball action we focus on that and the roller coaster that this stretch of games have been.

1. Orange::44: This team is a roller coaster between home and away games these days. Is this a problem, or does it just go with the territory in this league.

Nunes: It's so tough to say if:

A) We're THAT team that plays well at home but can't win on the road.
B) Everyone in the conference is going to have a very tough time on the road.
C) We just got caught napping twice.

If we played Pitt and Georgetown in Syracuse, they would have been very different games. But as much as enjoyed an overwhelming home-court advantage against Notre Dame, so did they. That's the nature of the Big East. Everyone plays in a smothering arena with loud fans and a crazy atmosphere (except St. John's). And especially now that we're good again, people get up to see their team beat us. There's no fighting it. Whether or not this team can eventually break through to win a tough Big East road game...I don't know.

2. Orange::44: How great was that Notre Dame game?

Nunes: What a ridiculous atmosphere. I know that a recruit or two were at the game...and how could they possibly not want to come here after that? Major kudos to all the SU fans who showed up and showed up with energy and excitement. Of course, the bar is set high now for every Big East home game. I expect to see 25K+ for Louisville and pretty much every home game from here on out. Look at what happened at G'town and Pitt...the fans made an impact. And so did we against Notre Dame. So we need to keep it up.

Big thumbs up to Otto's Army for making it look like I was watching the most important game in SU history every time the camera did a close-up on the student section. Gold star for the day. Or, should I say Orange star?

No, I'll stick with Gold star.

3. Orange::44: We lost to both Georgetown and Pittsburgh on the road. What caused this? Were they just in a tough stretch and on minimal rest, or is there some deeper issue going on here?

Nunes: First...both of those teams are really good. That should always be kept in mind here. Losing on the road to two of the best teams in the conference isn't the end of the world.

But the way the team lost is a concern. They got out-played and man-handled in both instances. That swagger from the earlier part of the year seemed to disappear. Maybe that's what it comes down to. This team needs to feel like they deserve to win those games. It didn't feel that way, especially towards the end.

We can't let ourselves be pushed around and we're better than that. Flynn, Devo, Harris and AO are as tough as any other combo in the conference. They've all shown it at times and in these instances they need to put the team on their backs. And once they've softened the underbelly, kick it out to Andy and let him take care of the rest.

4. Orange::44: Free throws have been a point of contention this year. What are your thoughts? Do you think we should just lay off the criticism, or will they cost us a game at some point?

Nunes: Really, it's all on Arinze. We're not horrible otherwise, just not great. Fine, I can live with that. But Arinze is atrocious from the line. And if there's any one guy who needs to be good, it's him. Because, and I know this is a broken record, he's going to cost us a game in the future with his poor free throw shooting. Yes, other factors will be involved, but there will come a time when we need AO to make a shot...and he won't.

I don't know what you can say other than practice, practice, practice. I'm sure he is. I'm sure AO isn't going home thinking he's a great free-throw shooter. He knows he stinks. So he's working on it. Not much else we can ask for at this point, except to see improvement soon.
Italic
5. Orange::44: DeJuan Blair manhandled Syracuse Monday night. Is he the best big man in the league right now or is it someone else? Also, how much of a poor sport was he after that game?

Nunes: I haven't seen all of them but of the ones I have seen, he's the best one. I put him above Harangody because I feel like Blair can single-handedly win a game for Pitt if he needs to and I don't think Luke is that guy. Blair absolutely dominated AO last night, a recurring theme for our big man, and I don't know if there's any adjustments we can make for next time to stop him other than Hack-A-Blair.

I don't know if it's them or us but people love to stick it to us. Seemed that way in the Georgetown game (for more obvious reasons) and it seemed so with Blair. Are we big trash-talkers or something?

6. Orange::44: was #1 until Louisville beat them. Marquette is undefeated in league play. UConn has only lost one game and is ranked #3. Who is the team to beat right now in the Big East?

Nunes: I still think it's Pitt. You'll see Marquette and UConn and everyone else start to even out in the W-L column soon and I expect to see Pitt remain near the top followed by UConn, Louisville and Georgetown. Right now you have to put us in the "2nd tier" of SU, Notre Dame, Villanova and Marquette. But all of this could change within the next couple days. Such is the Big East. By the time you say who you think is better than the others, they've lost and someone else has taken their place.

7. Orange::44: Finally, after we have played a bunch of Big East games, go out on a limb and predict how they will finish in the league and how they will do in the Big East Tournament (you will not be held accountable for wrong answers come March)

Nunes: I'm going to say that the Orange are looking at an 11-7 Big East season and they'll end up as the #6 seed in the BET. They'll make it to the Quarterfinals before losing and find themselves in the NCAA Tournament as a #4 seed based on the toughness of their schedule and their quality wins. Mark it down. NOW.

Of course, if they do better than 11-7, forget I said anything.

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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The Big East Report: 1/13/09-1/19/09

Number One goes down.
This was a huge week in the Big East. There were some big games and some exciting moments.

January 14
South Florida (1-3) v. #1 Pittsburgh (4-0)
62-75 F
This game actually was moderately close for it being Pittsburgh and South Florida. Pitt pulled away in the second half though as Tyrell Biggs had 16 points and DeJuan Blair had 13 points and 18 rebounds. Levance Fields also contributed with 13 assists. South Florida’s Dominique Jones and Augustus Gilchrist each had 22 points a piece, but it was not enough to overtake Pitt’s dominating ball skills.

Rutgers (0-5) v. Cincinnati (1-3)
59-71 F
Poor Rutgers. Cincinnati had about an eight minute scoring drought in the first half, in which Rutgers led 36 to 29 at the break. But Cincinnati would come back and take the lead with 15:23 remaining in the game and they never gave it back. Cincinnati outscored the Scarlet Knights 42 to 23 in the second half. Cincy’s Deonta Vaughn led the way in scoring with 24 points, as well as earning eight rebounds in 37 minutes of play. Rutgers had four players in double digits scoring, and shot the ball better than Cincinnati overall, but it was not enough for Rutgers to get a Big East win. The Bearcats get their first.

#8 Syracuse (4-1) v. #12 Georgetown (3-2)
74-88 F
My postgame reactions here.

January 15
#4 Connecticut (4-1) v. St. John’s (1-3) (at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY)
67-55 F
UConn led by just one point at the half. It was close until about 16 minutes remaining and that is when Connecticut pulled away. Paris Horne of St. John’s did his part by leading all scorers with 24 points on nine of 13 shooting. Kemba Walker led the Huskies with 21 points, while Hasheem Thabeet had ten points, eight rebounds and five blocks. Jeff Adrien had 17 points and 11 rebounds. This game was closer than UConn would have liked though. St. John’s had a real shot here.

January 17

#1 Pittsburgh (4-1) v. #20 Louisville (4-0)
63-69 F
This was the showcase game of the week. This was a very tight game until about three minutes to go. I thought when Sam Young had a huge windmill dunk as the game winded down it was over. But upon the back of some clutch shooting from Louisville, they were able to overtake Pitt and win the game. Terrence Williams led Louisville’s scorers with 20 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Jermaine Dixon was the Panthers leading scorer with 19 points. DeJuan Blair was held to nine points but he did have ten rebounds. This was a very entertaining game and the #1 team in the nation ended their undefeated streak, as well as their stint at the top of the poll.

#14 Marquette (5-0) v. Providence (3-2)
91-82 F
Providence led this game until about 3:27 remaining when Marquette got up and finished ahead of the Friars. Marquette’s Lazar Hayward and Jerel McNeal finished with 25 points a piece, and Wesley Matthews had 22 points. For Providence, Marshon Brooks led scoring off the bench with 21 points. The story of this game however, is when Providence’s Jeff Xavier took an elbow late in the game. No foul was called on the play. The video seems to indicate it was a totally incidental elbow as he was defending the ball. During another players foul shots, Xavier’s brother Jonathan climbed over the bench and on the court, giving some words to the referee about how he thought there should have been a foul. He of course was escorted out and I assume arrested for trespass. Bizarre scene in the Big East as Marquette continues to roll along in the conference.

Cincinnati (2-3) v. DePaul (0-5)
59-55 F
It seems Cincinnati suffers from extreme scoreless droughts. This time it happened down the stretch and allowed DePaul to close a 15 point game down to two points. DePaul just could not close the game and win their first Big East game. Deonta Vaughn again led the Bearcats with 18 points, while Will Walker finished with 17 points for DePaul. This was a squeaker, but still not that great of a game in this conference.

South Florida (1-4) v. West Virginia (2-2)
59-62 F
South Florida playing tough on the road. Interesting. WVU led by 14 at the half, but USF outscored West Virginia 39 to 28, almost pulling the game out, but they could not. The Mountaineers were able to hit enough free throws down the stretch so that Dominique Jones couldn’t spoil their party. He finished with 35 points and eight rebounds however. WVU was led by Da'Sean Butler, who had 27 points of his own.

#13 Notre Dame (3-3) v. #8 Syracuse (5-1)
74-93 F
My postgame reactions here.

January 18
Seton Hall (0-5) v. #4 Connecticut (5-1) (at the XL Center in Hartford, CT)
61-76 F
UConn took the lead just after the 15 minute mark in the first half and would expand the differential after that. The led 46 to 22 at the half and maintained it by their stars making baskets and the big men getting rebounds. UConn’s A.J. Price had 23 points, Hasheem Thabeet had 15 points and 17 rebounds, and Jeff Adrien had 13 points and 12 rebounds. That is quite a lot of fire power. Jeremy Hazell had 20 points for The Hall, but with only two players in double figures they just could not keep up with the U of Conn.

St. John’s (1-4) v. #22 Villanova (2-2) (at The Pavilion in Villanova, PA)
57-76 F
Villanova never trailed in this game. St. John’s was outscored at the half 44 to 27. Villanova shot 58.8% from the floor, while St. John’s only made 38.6% of their shots. With that kind of performing it is no mystery what the outcome would be. Four Villanova players attained double figures, with Dante Cunningham leading with 17 points. D.J. Kennedy had 18 points for St. John’s, but poor offense doomed St. John’s from the start.

January 19
Cincinnati (2-4) v. Providence (4-2)
63-72 F
Providence led by a slim three point at the half. Then Cincinnati had the game tied at 38 with 14:37 remaining in the second half. But Providence then pulled away and finished with a nine point finish. Mike Williams finished with 21 points for Cincy. Providence had four scorers in double digits, led by Randall Hanke with 15 points. Providence defended their home despite only making three of 20 three point attempts.

#8 Syracuse (5-2) v. #4 Pittsburgh (5-1)
60-78 F
My postgame reactions here.

Weekly Awards
Team of the week: Louisville

Player of the Week: Deonta Vaughn

Best Game of the Week: January 17th – Pittsburgh v. Louisville

Worst Game of the Week: January 17th – Cincinnati v. DePaul

Kudos of the Week: Cincinnati for picking up their first two conference wins.
Shame of the Week: Tie between West Virginia for barely beating South Florida by three on their home court and DePaul for not managing to beat Cincinnati at home, losing by only four.

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Sleep: That's Where I'm A Viking!

Dreams are about the only place safe for Greg in Syracuse these days.
A good friend of mine, Casie, was flying on Delta Airlines Flight 5147 from Hancock International Airport in Syracuse to Atlanta, Georgia, on January 17th when she noticed a familiar salt and peppery head in the seat in front of her. That’s right, the one and only Greg Robinson. He connected from somewhere in Atlanta to another destination. Who knows where? My friend lost sight of him as he caught his next flight. One could assume it was to any number of schools, apparently interested in his defensive coordinating skills that were oh so evident over his time at Syracuse. There was no first class on this plane so Greg was back with the good citizens of Syracuse. Either way, a good candid picture of Greg dreaming. You know sleep is where he is the all time winningest football coach in the history of Syracuse.

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How many times do I have to say it. Shave those sideburns Mattingly... I mean Rick.
Syracuse gets a big win at home, and granted they were only on a day of rest, but then they lay a stinker at Pittsburgh. They kept it close and had the lead in the first at different points, but the second half was all Pittsburgh as Syracuse loses to the #4 team in the nation in “The Pete” 78 to 60.

Andy Rautins was Syracuse’s biggest scorer, with 17 points, two rebounds, two assists, and two steals. He hit five of 12 long range shot, and had that tough defense he showed against Notre Dame with a couple good reads and intercepted passes. He was the best player on the floor for Syracuse for offense and defense as well, as he was always a presence in the face of whoever he was guarding.

Jonny Flynn was the only other Syracuse player in double figures. He earned 12 points, seven assists, and four rebounds. Flynn also made six of nine free throws, which is far better than Onuaku fared. Flynn tried to do too much though, as he only made three of 14 shots and zero of five three point shots. Yes, Jonny Flynn is human after all.

Rick Jackson and Paul Harris each finished with nine points and four and five rebounds respectively. Jackson had a decent game down low, but he should have had a few more trips to the free throw line. He was mobbed every time he went to the hoop. While he hit some tough shots in this game, as well as the ND game, sometimes he still just does not bring it with the force needed. Harris also had a nice game, and he even hit a long range basket. He could have done more to rebound though as Pitt had two or three chances usually during their possessions.

Arinze Onuaku had only eight points and nine rebounds. He looked gassed on the floor and seemed to be very passive on defense when Pittsburgh was passing and rotating the ball well. He matched up on DeJuan Blair, but Blair and the Pitt team certainly guarded Onuaku better than the Notre Dame squad. He managed to miss all five of his free throw attempts as well. Not the game we wanted from the big man.

Eric Devendorf also had a lackluster day off the bench. He managed five points, one assist, and led the team with four turnovers.

This team had a very hard time penetrating in the lane against Pittsburgh. It also had trouble passing out of the double team on the low post players. Syracuse made 23-55 field goals (41.8%) and only 7-20 three pointers (35%). Conversely Pittsburgh shot 53.3% and 33%. While Pittsburgh was not that great at free throws (52.9%), Syracuse was dreadful at it (43.8), including that 0-5 performance from Onuaku.

Now that being said, Syracuse found it impossible to come back against both Pittsburgh and the referees. While Tim Higgins did not necessarily “screw them hardcore” like he usually does, this referee crew seemed to swallow their whistles when it came to Syracuse being on the offensive end trying to go to the hoop against the Pitt players. Similarly, if Paul Harris is going to get a technical foul for the jibba jab, then DeJuan Blair deserved one as well for talking the entire game, and acted like a poor winner at the end of the game.

Either way, Syracuse was not ready to play, did not come out with energy, and decided to give up on defense at the end of the second half. They have several days now to chew this loss over and prepare for Louisville, who through the transitive property, is the new #1 team in the nation. This would be a great win to have, as that means Syracuse went 2-2 in this tough stretch. However, Syracuse needs to learn how to play on the road, because playing like this every time will not beat even the likes of Providence, and certainly not a UConn or a Villanova.

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Yeah, throw some elbows at him.
Syracuse owns Notre Dame in 2008-2009. The simple fact of the matter is that Notre Dame, ranked #12/13 in the nation, is a good team with one of the best players and one of the best shooters in the Big East. And Syracuse just took them to the woodshed. Syracuse snaps a three game losing streak to Notre Dame by a big win at home 93 to 74.

Syracuse’s leading scorer was the big man down low Arinze Onuaku. Everyone knew after a sup-par performance at Georgetown, as well as having Luke Harangody in the building, he had to have a big game and he delivered. He finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, and four blocks. He even managed to go coast to coast, dribbling the whole way while his face said “OH SHIT” the whole time. His defense was also excellent, making Harangody settle for fade away jump shots instead of easy buckets around the hoop.

Rick Jackson also decided to show up to the big game as well. He got 14 points, ten rebounds, and three huge blocks. He played inspired and guarded Harangody tough while Onuaku was on the bench. He also had his jump hook and a nice touch off the glass working. He earned his second career double-double.

Jonny Flynn finished with 17 points, including hitting some ridiculously high arching three pointers. He also had nine assists in a game that you could tell he was fired up to play in. He had three turnovers and drove on the baseline looking for a kick back a few too many times because of the size of Notre Dame, but he played a great game overall and is clearly still a blast to watch.

Paul Harris had 15 points, ten rebounds, and five assists. He played well overall, including hitting a three pointer unchallenged from the corner. Harris did however settle for a poor jump shot six feet from the basket when he had a clear lane to the basket. Not sure why he made such a choice, but what not. He also received a technical for pulling up on the rim, even though Kyle McAlarney was under him. Ridiculous.

Andy Rautins had ten points off a four for eight shooting night. Two of those field goals were three pointers, but really his services were not needed as much as usual in this game because the inside game was working perfectly. He did have three excellent steals with active defense and he looked good out on the floor.

Eric Devendorf had 16 points off the bench, as well as three assists and three rebounds. He took several long range two point baskets that were from the top of the key with his toes on the line. His shooting was a nice lift when the team was not scoring inside, and he is again a much needed asset off the bench.

Mike Brey needs to wear a shirt and tie like every other coach in a suit. Turtle necks are for mothers and people of questionable sexual orientation.

Syracuse shot extremely well from the floor. They hit 37-67 (55.2%) from the floor and 7-20 (35%) from long range. They were dreadful from the free throw line as per usual though, making only 12 of 20 (60%). Syracuse held Notre Dame to shooting 27-76 (35.5%) and specifically Luke Harangody to 9-28 (32.1%). This was solid defense for a lackluster squad that went down to DC.

It is hard to nit pick this game as it was quite awesome to watch. Syracuse basically erased their bad performance in Washington by defending their home court. They then have to travel to Pittsburgh to take on the #4 Pitt Panthers. Meanwhile, for a couple days, they can enjoy this.

However, in the meanwhile, enjoy this picture captured off the DVR of a famous blogger and radio host for dropping some info about me during the DePaul game. Haha.

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Syracuse - Pittsburgh Preview

Syracuse students agree: "The Pete" is hopefully still open.
This is a Big Game on Big Monday. Not B1G Monday anymore, but a Big Monday none the less. Syracuse will now face #4 Pittsburgh in the Petersen Event Center, a building that Syracuse first opened a few years ago by handing Pittsburgh their first loss there. Since then, they have only lost eight more games at home in that arena. This is, other than the Carrier Dome, the toughest place to play in the conference, especially with the Oakland Zoo right near the court. Pittsburgh implements a three guard look, with Sam Young and DeJuan Blair as the men down low, earning 18.4 and 14.3 points per game respectively. Blair is also pulling down 12.8rpg as well. Do not count out Levance Fields in the backcourt either. This will not be an easy game, but if the Syracuse team from Saturday shows up in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the city of Pittsburgh, then this will be a classic Big East game. Simply because this game is on the road I regretfully am picking against my beloved Orange, but keep in mind that I think on a neutral court this game could be a coin flip. I’m going with the Panthers by 12. Regretfully.

Look for both my Notre Dame and Pittsburgh postgame reactions tonight or early tomorrow.

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Notre Dame - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: Harangody is one big, ugly dude.
Syracuse just lost a devastating game to Georgetown in DC. Now Syracuse is back in the Carrier Dome to try and enact revenge against Notre Dame, who scorched their own nets in a ridiculous shooting performance from Kyle McAlarney. Syracuse enters this game still as the #8 team in the nation, while Notre Dame is currently #12/13. With an overall record of 12-4 and 3-2 in conference, this team on paper may not seem as good as Syracuse, but this is a team that is very dangerous. They have the inside presence of the best scorer in the league, Luke Harangody. He averages 24.8ppg and 12.7rpg. He can go inside or hit a 15 foot jumper no problem. And Kyle McAlarney is Notre Dame’s delinquent shooter. He averages 16.6ppg and is shooting 47.9% from behind the arc. This is a dangerous and daunting team that bent Syracuse over last year and showed them where the wild goose goes. But this is in the Carrier Dome, the crowd will be immense, and Arinze Onuaku has traditionally matched up will with Harangody. Look for Syracuse to find their own shooting spurt and watch Andy Rautins go toe to toe with McAlarney in who can burn down the place. Syracuse should have the edge in this one, simply because of the crowd. If they rebound well and do not allow easy shots from McAlarney due to their improved man-to-man defense this season, Syracuse should see a big home court victory. I'll be out of the home office and at this game so they better not stink. Syracuse over Notre Dame by nine.

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Syracuse - Georgetown Postgame Reactions OR God Dammit

Hey, maybe if we could not suck ass out there it would be sunshine and rainbows.
Syracuse put up a decent effort against the #12 Georgetown, but it turns out they decided to play lights fuckin’ out against their old foe Syracuse. Meanwhile, Arinze Onuaku decided to clank a dunk early and the team decided to miss lay ups. Syracuse lost this one 88 to 74, but that is generous compared to how both teams looked in the first half.

The leading scorer for the Orange was Eric Devendorf off the bench. He earned 20 points, mostly off 4-7 shooting from long distance. At times he looked in control and brilliant, but occasionally, much like the rest of the team, he looked like a buffoon with no clue what he was doing. Either way, it was a solid game from him, and besides Jonny Flynn, he probably played the most composed on the floor.

Rick Jackson had a good night stat wise, as he earned 17 points of mostly dunks and tip ins. He made eight of ten shots he took and pulled down seven rebounds. However he committed four turnovers in his 26 minutes, making stupid passes and simply just letting his pocket get picked. While he has improved leaps and bounds, maybe he just isn’t solid in big game play. He also went 1-8 on free throws. How anyone can manage that at this level I have no idea.

Jonny Flynn had 14 points, making fade away jumpers and hitting two three pointers. He generally looked good, handling the rock and earning nine assists. Flynn was definitely not the problem in this game for the Orange.

Paul Harris, my X Factor before the game, held up his end of the bargain, pulling down 11 rebounds and earning 15 points the hard way. He also made 5-6 on free throws, which is a refreshing change. Paul also played a nice game, and clearly had the best all around game.

Arinze Onuaku played poorly on the offensive end of the court. He only managed six points, but did also pull down 11 rebounds. He missed several lay ups and actually only attempted six field goals in the whole game. A disappointing day for the big man.

Andy Rautins had zero points, but you really cannot blame him as he injured his left knee by banging it on the court, and he did not return. This injury was strictly a contusion, which I know from personal experience, hurts like hell when you bang a knee. He only played nine minutes, and seeing as this game was over after the first half, Jim Boeheim wisely sat him the rest of the game.

Overall, the team shot poorly, while everything Georgetown threw up seemed to go in. Georgetown shot 59.3% from the floor and 57.1% from the three point line. Syracuse shot a measly 47.5% and 37.5% respectively. It is no mystery that the three point shooting was low with Rautins out, but the field goal percentage was very low for this team.

After the Kristof! mega foul that occurred, and the ensuing technical and intentional foul call, you could clearly see Boeheim mouthing “That’s bullshit Karl! What are you calling there?!” to Referee Karl Hess. Excellent.

While the defense could have been better, Georgetown executed screens to perfection, and really it is awful hard to guard against almost perfect shooting by the Hoyas. I have to tip my hat to them as they came out to play and tore it up, practically lighting their nets on fire. Syracuse heads home to now take on #13 Notre Dame in the Carrier Dome at 12:00pm on ESPN. Hopefully the team can bounce back from this loss, and with Andy in the line up, do some damage to a solid Notre Dame team that destroyed them by shooting lights out in South Bend last season.

Come to think of it, even though I am a Republican, I might have to blame this guy for the loss.

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Someone Check On Matt...

This can't be good.
Matt Glaude over at Hoya Suxa seems to have momentarily lost it and gone over the deep end, driven by last night’s loss. Hopefully we’ll find him, wake him up, give him some scotch to get over the hangover, and get him back in top shape. I’ll have my postgame reactions later today.

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Syracuse - Georgetown Preview OR Hate The Hoyas

Syracuse students agree: This is one of the two biggest games of the year.

This is not an ordinary preview. Similarly, that is the clear result of tonight’s game not being just an ordinary game. In its simplest description, it is just a rivalry game in the Big East Conference, but we all know we are not viewing any average rivalry game. While North Carolina/Duke seems to be the focus of most media attention when it comes to NCAA Basketball rivalries, fans of Syracuse, Georgetown, the Big East, and knowledgeable basketball fans know that this Georgetown/Syracuse rivalry is something more. This is a game with meaning, not only in the Big East, but in the College Basketball world as a whole. A clear victory tonight would insure that Syracuse is back, and back on the right track to the NCAA Tournament. It would also prove that Syracuse is deserving of a top ten ranking.

Numbers be damned though. This is the case of two teams taking the floor in the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. In the “Phone Booth”. These two teams will attack each other from all angles, with two veteran coaches leading their respective teams in a mix of hatred and talent. This may be the most meaningful Syracuse/Georgetown game, in terms of status and power rankings, that there has been in the last ten years. Hoya Paranoia is sweeping ‘Cuse fans as we want to dismantle this hated rival inside the beltway.

DaJuan Summers is the best player on the team, averaging 14.7ppg, and a three point percentage of 44.9%. Freshman center Greg Monroe also managed to take over the Providence game for them, and get a W. The good news is that Syracuse is perfect on the road this year, including wins over Florida and Kansas in Kansas City. This will be a match up between the #8 and the #12 teams in the nation, so it will be a great game for sure.

However, as a Certified Hoya Hater, I find myself right back in that rabid fan place getting extremely hyped up about this game. Sadly, due to the fact it is a Wednesday, this will be the first game at Georgetown since 2004 I will be missing. But I know, much like last year, that the Verizon Center will be packed with Syracuse alumni cheering loudly for the Orange. Chants of “Your Mother’s A Hoya”, “Hoya Destroya”, and now a favorite “Hoya Suxa” will surely echo from Orange faithful. One thing is for sure, Syracuse needs to emerge victorious from this game to avenge the loss there last year, as well as truly earn and secure their top ten ranking. Georgetown has won the last two games at home against Syracuse, but those are the only two losses in the series for Syracuse in the last ten games. I’m calling Syracuse over Georgetown by seven, with the X Factor being if Paul Harris is effective in rebounding in this game. Take a page from the good Syracuse alumni below, and join in hating on Georgetown. Start here.

It's 2:45pm... and Georgetown still sucks!

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The Big East Report: 1/6/09-1/12/09

Having the #1 team in the country is bad ass.
January 6
#17 Villanova (1-1) v. Seton Hall (0-3)
89-85 F/OT
Yes, Seton Hall managed to defend its home court admirably. Jeremy Hazell hit a ridiculous banking three point basket before the end of regulation to tie the game to send them to overtime. But it was Scottie Reynolds 40 points that ruled the day. Seton Hall was outscored in overtime 13 points to nine. Seton Hall just could not hack it with the better team on the floor in the end. A for effort though.

#5 Connecticut (2-1) v. #22 West Virginia (1-1)
61-55 F
UConn’s Jeff Adrien led all scorers in the game with 17 points as UConn was the more physical team on the floor. UConn’s Stanley Robinson pulled down 15 rebounds, while Hasheem Thabeet earned 13 points and 13 rebounds. The second half proved to be WVU’s undoing as they only managed to shoot 25% from the floor. UConn outlasted West Virginia in a game that was fairly close the entire game. Connecticut had the statistics to back up the win in this case though.

January 7
#21 Louisville (1-0) v. South Florida (0-2)
71-57 F
Louisville used a big run in the middle of the first half to spur on a lead that they would not relinquish against South Florida. Earl Clark of L’ville had 22 points and nine rebounds in a day when he shot 18 baskets. Meanwhile five bench players for USF earned zero points. It is not that hard to figure out that if you do not score you will not win the game. Louisville looked good opening their Big East schedule against the only Big East team with an overall record below .500.

#15 Marquette (3-0) v. Rutgers (0-3)
81-76 F
This was the first epic and almost tragic collapse in the Big East this season. Marquette was leading by as much as 21 in the second half, but they only won by five as Rutgers clawed and scratched their way back in this game at home. Four of the five Marquette starters, led by Wesley Matthews 23 points, were in double figures. Rutgers’ Mike Rosario had 22 of his own though. But it was not enough for Rutgers to overtake the deficit that Marquette had built up.

Providence (3-0) v. Cincinnati (0-2)
87-79 F
Weyinmi Efejuku (a funny name all star) led Providence in scoring with 18, mostly because of his 11-14 performance from the free throw line. There was a balanced attack from Providence as they made 12-24 three point shots. However Cincinnati would not just go away as they cut their deficit latter part of the second half to two. But Providence eventually pulled away, leaving Cincinnati without a win.

DePaul (0-3) v. #9 Syracuse (3-0)
68-85 F
My postgame reactions here.

January 10
#21 Louisville (2-0) v. #17 Villanova (1-2)
61-60 F
Easily the weekend’s best game. Scottie Reynolds drops only 11 in this contest, but he looked great doing it with an amazing spin move into a reverse lay up, getting the And 1. Louisville had a scare in that Villanova came back to take the lead, but Villanova could not capitalize on the several chances they had to win this game, with two free throws that could have put them ahead, or then getting the possession with less than five seconds left and getting a great pass inside, only to miss a lay up and several tip ins. Louisville escaped in this game.

# 22 West Virginia (1-2) v. #15 Marquette (4-0)
53-75 F
Jerel McNeal was the all star for Marquette as he made 26 points and earned three big steals to give Marquette a huge advantage in the second half. Marquette outscored WVU 46-22 in the second half as everything was clicking for Marquette. Both McNeal and Dominic James played all 40 minutes for Marquette. De’Sean Butler had 16 for West Virginia, but it was all Marquette in the second half, at one point going on an 11-0 run.

Providence (3-1) v, #10 Georgetown (2-2)
75-82 F
Providence had a three point lead at the half and an unblemished Big East record heading into this game. But it was too much G’town in the second half, as at one point they had 13 unanswered points. It was freshman center Greg Monroe spurring the second half action as he had 13 points and eight assists. Austin Freemen led the Hoyas in scoring with 18 points. Georgetown wins their 25th straight game against an unranked opponent at home.

Seton Hall (0-4) v. #13 Notre Dame (3-1)
79-88 F
This game was close and very entertaining for the majority of the game. Eugene Harvey put in some solid heroics for Seton Hall, giving them 21 points on the road. Kyle McAlarney also had a great day giving ND 18 points in 40 minutes. But once again the show was Luke Harangody going inside and hitting long two point jumpers for the Irish. He finished with 30 points and 16 boards, giving him his 12th double-double of the season and his second career game with 30 points and 15 or more rebounds. Notre Dame pulled away in this one right around the Under 8 timeout.

#5 Connecticut (3-1) v. Cincinnati (0-3)
81-72 F
Connecticut never trailed, but the Bearcats made it interesting for most of the game. Connecticut’s players were just too much for Cincy though. Jeff Adrien earned 13 points and 12 rebounds for his 38th career double-double, the most among active players in the league. Hasheem Thabeet had only eight points, but they were mostly rim rattling dunks inside. AJ Price also contributed, making 5-8 from long range and contributing at total of 22 points. Deonta Vaughn of Cincy added 19, but the Huskies 58% shooting from the floor let UConn to stay perfect on the road.

South Florida (1-2) v. DePaul (0-4)
80-58 F
After taking the lead at the start of the game with two points, DePaul then relinquished it and never had a chance of getting it back. Mac Koshwal, the center for DePaul, had a nice game inside with 18 points. But USF’s Dominique Jones had 22 points and eight rebounds, and Chris Howard had 12 points in ten assists. The team’s 41.2% from long range helped as well. USF wins this one convincingly, despite being the only team in the Big East still below .500.

#9 Syracuse (4-0) v. Rutgers (0-4)
82-66 F
My postgame reactions here.

January 11
St. John’s (1-2) v. #1 Pittsburgh (3-0)
67-90 F
DeJuan Blair was clearly the best player on the floor in this game in Pittsburgh’s first ever game as a #1 team. He had 23 points and 15 rebounds. Jermaine Dixon had 17 for the Panthers. SJU’s DJ Kennedy had 18 points in 40 minutes of work, but Pittsburgh was just too talented for the Red Storm, as they opened up the second half with a 17-6 run. That lifted them away as they cruised to a victory, ensuring that they keep that #1 for a little while longer.

January 12
#13 Notre Dame (3-2) v. #20 Louisville (3-0)
73-87 F/OT
This was a very entertaining game until the tip of overtime. Louisville then earned its biggest margin of victory in overtime in the history of the program. Luke Harangody had 28 points and 13 rebounds, but was held scoreless in the overtime period. He looked great on the floor though, making a ton of jumpers away from the basket. Kyle McAlarney also had 19 points, with 5-6 shooting from long range. However, Terrence Williams had 24 points and Samardo Samuels had 18 for Louisville. Terrence Williams looked phenomenal in overtime with some excellent moves in the paint. Louisville wins a huge game and remains unbeaten in league play.

Weekly Awards
Team of the week: Louisville

Player of the Week: Jeff Adrien

Best Game of the Week: January 10th - Louisville v. Villanova

Worst Game of the Week: January 7th - Providence v. Cincinnati

Kudos of the Week: Seton Hall for not giving up in games and fighting until the end.

Shame of the Week: Tie between DePaul for letting South Florida, a team with an overall record below .500, beat you at home, and Luke Harangody for scoring exactly zero points in overtime for his team against Louisville.

That was the past week in the Big East. It should get much more exciting this week with lots of juicy Top 25 matches occurring. Stay tuned for all the drama and heartbreak, as well as the thrill of victory.

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I think I'm gonna get myself a T.
It’s no mystery that the Rutgers Athletic Center (The RAC) is a tough place to play. But seeing as Syracuse was ranked #9, everyone expected Syracuse to pull the game off. Sure enough they did as they outscored Rutgers in the second half 43 to 28. Syracuse pulled out a conference win at the RAC in convincing fashion 82-66.

This was a game in which Paul Harris exploded on the scoreboard with 26 points, with the help of Jonny Flynn’s masterful passes. This was the Niagara Falls Show, along with the Paul Harris Hour, and the Jonny Flynn Experience. Harris also picked up an enjoyable technical foul by hanging on the rim after a dunk that was completely unnecessary. That’s some fun stuff. You can tell this team loves playing together.

Onuaku also had a big night inside with 19 points, five rebounds, and a block before fouling out. He was the catalyst in the first half that really kept this team in the game and eventually helped them keep the lead before half time.

Both Eric Devendorf and Jonny Flynn had 15 points, and Flynn was just shy of a triple double with seven rebounds and nine assists. He had one hell of a game, probably Flynn’s best all around game of the season. Just in time for the real heavy games.

The team shot very well in this game, making 61.1% of their field goals. They also shot 33.3% from beyond the arc. Free throws were about the same, earning 63.6% from the line in this game.

Kristof! must have shot one too many missed reverse lay ups because he played not one minute in this game. Such a shame.

Clearly the team is looking prime to take on Georgetown. You’ll have a more complete postgame reaction from me from now on as my semester is now firing on all cylinders. Until next time, remember that rarely does something good come out of New Jersey. This is one.

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Nice to see the kids having fun out there.
DePaul was easily the beat game Syracuse has played as a total team so far this year. Six players saw double figures in a superb shooting effort from the team. Syracuse ended up winning this one big 85 to 68.

Andy Rautins was the key to this game again, as he went 5-10 from long range and ended up with 17 points overall in 32 minutes on the floor. Andy found a way to get open, and even when he was not open, he still managed to put the ball in the circle. Andy may be one of the best shooters in the Big East, and certainly has asserted himself as the best pure shooter on the team.

Every starter attained double figures in scoring, with Harris and Onuaku earning 14 points, Flynn with 12, and Jackson with 11. Eric Devendorf was the sixth player, earning 13 off the bench. All the shooters looked good in this game.

This game saw the walk ons coming in fairly early in the second half, but none of this is why you’re reading this. You want to know the story. And this game was such a victory and happened a week ago, I’m surprised you didn’t skip right to here.

I’m referring to Axeman’s report that I feel running the flags during the Under 4 timeout in the second half. It’s true. I took a dive right before I was going to hand off the flag to the cheerleader. As you can see from the picture below I am capable of running the flags. I used to run the big flag every game for two years between 2003-2005, as well as several times before that. The key difference between then and last Wednesday (besides a few years) was the fact that, as you notice in the picture, I had sneakers on and it was the old track floor, where as the other day I had winter boots on and there are now blue tiles down to protect the field turf. My inch soled boots slipped between the tiles and I had no where to go but down. Eh what are you going to do. I got right up, got a hug from Otto and some high fives, and that is that.

Now, I am not one to tell people what to say on the internet. I’ll leave that up to Donnie Webb. But for the record, I do not believe there is a video, I am not a girl, the guy in front of me was taller than me so if we take the same steps he’s going to go farther, and for what it is worth I was still a pretty good player. I had fun, escaped with a few scrapes, and that is about it.

The team looked great, but the team needed to because a loss at this point in the season would be detrimental to the team because of the murderer’s row starting with Georgetown. Hopefully the team will do well, and continue to kill in the conference.

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BlogPoll Final Standings

RankTeamDelta
1Florida --
2Texas 1
3Southern Cal 2
4Utah 4
5Oklahoma 3
6Alabama 2
7Penn State 1
8TCU 3
9Ohio State 1
10Oregon 5
11Texas Tech 4
12Boise State 3
13Georgia 5
14Mississippi 9
15Virginia Tech 7
16Cincinnati 4
17Oklahoma State 4
18Michigan State 4
19Missouri 5
20Florida State 6
21Oregon State 4
22West Virginia 4
23Georgia Tech 6
24Iowa 2
25Brigham Young 9

Dropped Out: Pittsburgh (#19), Ball State (#20), Northwestern (#21).
*Pittsburgh laid the big zero in their bowl game. Ball state lost big to unranked Tulsa. Sadly lovable Northwestern lost to Missouri. They all drop out and finish unranked in my poll.
*West Virginia, having had an excellent comeback for the Big East, appears, as well as Iowa and Florida State.
*Obviously Florida finishes #1. I had them #1 previously. Texas finishes at #2 after winning their bowl game. I still think it should have been Florida versus Texas for the championship. Then, following their big Rose Bowl win over PSU, USC finishes in third. I hate that though A because they played no one all year, they get to play basically at home, and then they bitch about things. Real nice USC. Try not going to a Bowl Game sometime. Asses.
* Most teams if they were highly ranked before and they lost only fall a few pegs because they did have actual tough bowl matchups. I'm willing to take a look at some though, as the middle of the poll has a lot of bowl losers hanging out.
*Utah finished fourth in my poll, only because I think the three teams above them would win heads up. However, Utah should be congratulated for going undefeated and being a non-BCS party crasher.
What did you think?
Also, later today will be my DePaul and Rutgers postgame reactions, as well as my much anticipated side of the story.

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