Labels: Holidays Are Enjoyable
Coach Hopkins tells Mookie to shut the F^@# up. Scoop looks on, having heard this before.
Syracuse students agree: this is a good week to start beating Catholic schools
What a horrible six-day stretch for the University of Florida
* I apologise again for the missing deltas, however I didn't submit a ballot for week 13. Let's face it, it was last weekend that really counted though.
* Alabama retakes my #1 spot after beating up on Florida in the SEC Championship. Texas is #2 and Cincy stays in the spot behind that, just over TCU.
* USC drops out. Amen.
* Much like the BCS, we got #1 and #2 right. Anything after is pretty irrelevant at this point. We'll wait until some Bowls shake some of it out.
Think I'm a fool? Of course you do. Leave a comment then. We'll see you with the final ballot of the year after the Natty Championship.
This game was never close. Syracuse started by hitting three pointers and causing Maine turnovers. The Orange transition game was the best we have seen all season, with Syracuse earning a total of 28 assists of 41 field goals made. Additionally the 12 steals that Syracuse had helped spur the transition game as well. 14 blocks do not hurt either.
Syracuse shot an asinine 65.1% from the floor, only their second time shooting over 65% since 1996. Conversely, they held Maine to 26.5%, and held them to only 4 of 31 in the first half, and they only had 12 points at the break. While it is never really comfortable to watch a game like this, you have to be impressed with how well Syracuse plays as a team on both ends of the floor.
Syracuse’s leading scorer was Brandon Triche with 16 points in 16 minutes. He also had two assists and a steal. While he does not seem to be as good of a ball distributor as Jonny Flynn was, he is certainly a scorer of high talent, as he not only seemed to be in the right place at the right time to score easy on the fast break, but he drove to the basket with skill and ease against Maine.
Arinze Onuaku was the other starter in double digits with 12 points. He also had seven rebounds and three blocks. He dominated the Maine defense off the dribble or straight to the rack. He is clearly one of the best true centers in the nation. Also luckily, he only had to attempt one free throw.
Rick Jackson had eight assists and eight points. Similar to Onuaku, he had the moves off the dribble, and clearly in the off season has worked on his sky hook. While not known for creating opportunity for others, this game was the perfect example of how a good interior game will spur on outside shooting opportunity as Jackson would pass the ball to an open shooter when the defense collapsed in on him down low.
Andy Rautins also had eight points in this game and earned nine assists. His passing performance on the day was highlighted by a backwards pass from Triche to Rautins outside the arc and instead of pulling the trigger threw it to Wes Johnson to throw down the easy bucket. Very unselfish play from Rautins yet again.
Wesley Johnson only played 19 minutes in this game, therefore he only earned seven points, but it was a fun seven points to see. He continues to be the most talented player on this team and seems destined for draft day.
Four other players off the bench scored in double figures. Kris Joseph, Mookie Jones, Scoop Jardine, and James “Southie” Southerland scored 14, 12, ten, and ten points respectively. It seems that this is the most talented team Syracuse has seen top to bottom since some faithful year that I do not want to say for fear of jinxies. Needless to say this is a talented bunch, and for the first time since Josh Pace was on the team we have a reliable bench good for many points.
But it was not all sunshine and rainbows for the Syracuse Orange. They had 17 turnovers in this game, the same that Maine had. While this is fine for a blow out of this magnitude it cannot happen against better teams. Of course, that statistic is skewed because of the younger bench players and walk-ons getting in the game for several minutes.
Additionally, Maine had 13 steals, which was one more than Syracuse. Syracuse coughed up the ball an awful lot in that game, but again most of which came in the waning moments of the second half, when the kids were out there just trying to get their name in the box score.
All in all another stellar game and a fine bit of basketball for Syracuse. Now that just leaves Florida, the last truly tough game before the conference slate starts. We’ll see if Syracuse can defend its top ten rating, as well as the honor of the Big East conference. The way UConn is playing it looks like we’ll have to.
1. Orange::44: Syracuse finished their football campaign with a loss at UConn. This game was up and down. Thoughts?
Nunes: It was a weirdly reminiscent game from the season-ending loss to Cincinnati two years ago. The Orange looked as good as they've looked all season on offense, scored a lot of points but gave up a ton more points on defense. It would have been the perfect way to end the season if we could have won (five wins, hurt UConn's bowl chances) but the season ended about the way it should have. We're just not there yet...but we're on our way.
Plus, the antics at the end confirmed that we're going to have a bona fide rivalry on our hands. I hope the Big East continues to have Syracuse schedule Rutgers and UConn late in the season because as the Orange improve, those games are going to become big rivalries.
2. Orange::44: Satisfied with Marrone at the helm?
Nunes: From the standpoint of a first-season package, he did a tremendous job. He showed all the signs of being a first-year head coach at times but I think Marrone has us going in the right direction and I have faith in his desire to do whatever it takes to make SU a winner again. The defections and quitting has been disconcerting but I think it's a short-term effect of a coach who is fiercely loyal to "his guys." For better or worse. I fully expect the Orange to improve from here on out and be back in a bowl game within two years, if not next year.
3. Orange::44: There were recently some staff changes made by Marrone. Agree? If not, who would you have kept or fired?
Nunes: Tough to agree or disagree since we know so little of the internal goings-on. It sounds like Derrick Jackson was just kept around to maintain the status quo for Arthur Jones. As for Elizondo, not sure what else he could have done with that unit, especially once Williams quit. And as for Spence, if it's true that Marrone took over playcalling duties in the last two games, the two games that happen to be SU's best offensive performances of the season, then I completely understand the move.
I think Marrone has an extremely clear vision of how the team should run, especially offensively. He's not going to waste time with anyone who doesn't fit that design.
4. Orange::44: Basketball keeps rolling. Is it even fair playing Colgate and Columbia right now?
Nunes: Sure doesn't seem like it. And to be honest, I'm not even sure it's fair to Syracuse. The Orange actually lose RPI ranking because of these games. I know Jimmy likes them because it gives the team a chance to gel, work out the kinks and get bench experience. But I wonder if there's one too many of them on the schedule. It's easy to complain about that stuff in a year like this and not a year when the team is struggling and needs every W it can muster, but I would like to see more semi-interesting games soon. That Colgate game was downright boring, Wes Johnson dunks or not.
5. Orange::44: It is still very early, but do you think Wes Johnson is really a one and done?
Nunes: I have to think so. I mean, he's six games into the season and he's already projected to be a top seven lottery pick. Jonny Flynn jumped for less. Donte Greene jumped for WAY less. We're past the point of expecting these guys to stay at SU and play for free when they've got guaranteed millions staring them in the face. I think a smart Syracuse fan accepts that Wes is going pro, appreciates him for this season and what comes of it and then in the off chance that he returns for another year, we can all cream our pants in excitement.
6. Orange::44: Besides Johnson, who impresses you the most on the hardwood so far this season?
Nunes: To be honest I've been impressed at some point by just about everybody. Andy Rautins just continues to become a better all-around player and not just a three-ball shooter. Scoop Jardine has improved leaps and bounds and Brandon Triche has proven he can come right in and lead the offense. Kris Joseph may be the forgotten guy because he gets overshadowed so much but he's really proving himself this season and setting himself up to be a leader next year. I'd like to see more rebounds come from the big men but Rick Jackson and AO have performed well otherwise.
7. Orange::44: Finally, The BCS sucks. It's no mystery. I've laid out my plan for fixing it. What is your solution?
Nunes: Obviously a playoff is the answer. I know most folks go with 8 teams but I would actually go with 6. When you think about it, anyone past the top six teams in the nation probably doesn’t deserve to play for the national title to begin with. So I would give the No. 1 and No. 2 teams a bye and then play out from there. That's five games, which could all be hosted by the BCS bowls followed by a title game. Then for everyone else you just do the usual bowl system to appease the old guard. Everybody wins.
Editor’s Note: This is another installment in the ongoing collaboration between Orange::44 and Nunes/Magician. Usually every other week 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.
Inside Lacrosse has released the lists for the Big East. It is impressive. Syracuse of course takes the top spot in the seven team conference. The list is as follows:
2. Notre Dame
6. St. John’s
The traditional teams are right up there. Notre Dame and Georgetown, while Villanova made the tournament last year and is up and coming. Rutgers is also traditionally a decent college lacrosse team. Then it is St. John’s and Providence rounding up the last two slots. These are the freshest programs so it makes sense they are at the bottom. But Syracuse is far and away the favorite for the league and a stunning upset by any of the other teams on Syracuse will be a year making victory. Especially since Syracuse will start in one of the top two spots on the national rankings.
Syracuse also has six players selected as all-conference. The coaches’ have selected:
A Cody Jamieson Sr. Syracuse
A Stephen Keogh Jr. Syracuse
M Josh Amidon Jr. Syracuse
M Andrew Brancaccio Sr. Georgetown
M Justin Pennington Sr. Rutgers
FO Nolan Vihlen So. Villanova
SSDM Jovan Miller Jr. Syracuse
LSM Joel White Jr. Syracuse
D John Lade Jr. Syracuse
D Sam Barnes Sr. Notre Dame
D Barney Ehrmann Sr. Georgetown
G Scott Rodgers Sr. Notre Dame
Notably, Cody Jamieson who had the game winning shot from last year’s National Championship game makes an appearance. He has the chance to become a legendary player in orange, even though this will be his last season and he only played in a handful of games last year. It’s simple; get back to the National Championship. Josh Amidon will most likely be the key to a good Syracuse clearing game. He is an excellent midfielder and he will score some, but more likely will facilitate scoring and the transition game. Joel White should be even better, and he was the best long stick midfielder in the nation last season. Jovan Miller was good last year, and he should be better, but if he can find more opportunity to split dodge and get good looks, he will have far better stats this season.
Moral of the story, the team will be great, and they should have no trouble going undefeated in the league this season. The only shock might be against Notre Dame, but every other team, if Syracuse goes in ready to play, will be easy fodder for this Syracuse team. And with an automatic bid on the line, it will be interesting to see how desperate some teams get to make the 16 team tournament. Keep in mind that the top four teams will be making the Big East Tournament, and that will be hosted in the Carrier Dome. As always, stay tuned to Orange::44 for all your Syracuse and NCAA lacrosse news, as well as complete tournament and weekly coverage. We try and sometimes succeed to do it better than most.
Syracuse established good shooting early, jumping off to a 9-3 start. Then Syracuse took it to the inside game, dishing to Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku. Finally, the transition game earned some good buckets, including a ridiculous one handed slam alley-oop from Scoop Jardine to Wes Johnson. This team was rolling from the start and did not let off the gas.
Wes Johnson led the team with 19 points and nine rebounds. He was 8-10 from the floor and 3-4 from three in 23 minutes of action. He is simply spectacular, and although we have not seen him in a Big East game yet, it is quite possible that this player is a one and done. I believe this more and more as each game occurs.
Arinze Onuaku was the only other starter to earn double digits in the scoring column. He finished with 12 points on 6-7 shooting. He had some dominating post moves against the smaller and less talented Colgate. Brilliant.
While he did not score too many points, Rick Jackson had some good shots and did a lot in the zone defense. He had six points, but more importantly had eight rebounds and four blocks. Sadly he led the team with four turnovers.
Andy Rautins had a hot start, and finished 3-5 on the day with nine points, but he played very well on the floor. He racked up eight assists and four steals. He continues to be a floor leader and an example for the defense.
Brandon Triche also played pretty well. In 19 minutes of work he had nine points, three rebounds, five assists, and a block. He occasionally makes an errant or bad pass, but otherwise he plays like a veteran.
Scoop Jardine didn’t score much, but he had eight assists in 19 minutes on the floor. Similarly, Mookie Jones didn’t hit most of his shots, only going 4-9 in 17 minutes, but he finished with ten points. Finally, Kris Joseph and James Southerland each had ten points off the bench.
The team took care of the ball well in this game, as compared to other games this season, only amassing ten turnovers total. Colgate had 16. Additionally Syracuse shot the ball really well, making 39-68 from the floor, for 57.4%. They also made 11-27 from behind the arc, making 40.7%. Colgate made 36.4% and 33.3% respectively.
The sad part is this game was painful to watch. Syracuse had this game from the beginning and you just kind of felt sorry for Colgate. They were not even close to the level of Syracuse and it was just a ridiculous beatdown. Thanks for stopping by and letting us kick your ass. Thank goodness a big game versus Florida is coming next week to tide the fan base over until the conference slate starts. Either way, this is a nice win and probably the best we have seen this team play in terms of shooting.
Greg Paulus (24/32, 296yds, 2 TD, 0 INT) played an excellent game for Syracuse, keeping them in drives when he could. He still had some happy feet, but generally made good decisions. Who did not make great decisions was Ryan Nassib (7/9, 64yds, 1 TD, 0 INT). While his numbers are good for the plays that were called for him, he was not making good decisions as he was sacked several times to kill SU drives when he didn’t need to be. Who was good again was Delone Carter (20car, 102yds, 5.1avg, 1 TD) who earned another 100 yard game and finished the season with over 1,000 yards on the season. Not to be lost in Paulus’ and Carter’s games was the excellent play of Alec Lemon (9rec, 140yds, 15.6avg, 1 TD). He obviously had a career day and looked like that other WR that quit earlier in the year. Additionally Marcus Sales had a nice day with seven catches for 89 yards. Syracuse led in time of possession, first downs, and total yards. They also did well in third down conversions for the game with 6-14. The play calling was also good, save for the continued runs up the middle.
Overall the defense played alright in this game, but they gave up big plays. None bigger than the end of each halves. Syracuse let UConn earn a big reception that set up a touchdown before the end of the first half, then allowed a touchdown as the clock ticked away as Randy Edsall had the game well in hand but decided to pour it on. The best rush defense in the league gave up 204 yards, and generally looked unprepared. They were simply beat on blocks, which is unacceptable. There isn’t much more to say accept that they were unable to pressure the quarterback and were manhandled up front. Not the best performance, but seeing as UConn is a slightly more talented team it wasn’t too out of the ordinary.
Syracuse could never get ahead in this game because of the massive special teams failings of this squad. It started on the first punt when Syracuse punted into the wind and gave UConn primo field position for an easy score to start their day. Then they gave up a kick return for a touchdown. Additionally Ryan LICHTENSTEIN missed a field goal. SU also failed to get good field position like they had been in previous games this year. On top of that Syracuse called for a fair catch on a punt on the four yard line. One of the stupidest moves I have seen by a special teams player in the history me watching the sport. Just an abysmal day for special teams. Again.
Honestly the game plan was again just fine. The players just didn’t execute and the wind was a bitch. Not too much more to say than that. Based on the recent firings, if the rumor is true that Marrone was calling the offensive plays he’s earned my respect. Considering that the team was averaging 21 points and all of a sudden put up numbers in the 30’s is just more evidence that the right coach can make all the difference.
This game ended about the way it should have. Syracuse was playing in bad weather, they have never won at Rentschler, and critical errors absolutely sunk a chance for a comeback. About half the team played well, the other half barely showed up. Considering that there were like 58 people on the team though, I guess it was about as well as they could do though. So I will take this one and wait. Wait for next year for even more improvement. It’s all we can do at this point. There could have been worse ways to end a season.
Coming next week we will have a full rap up of the season, including the final report card and final grades for the semester. For now, we have basketball and lacrosse. For now, that is enough. For now.