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Lacrosse Weekly - 3/30/10

Another solid day for Galloway between the pipes.
Syracuse's last game luckily ended with a win in overtime. While it was partly due to the bad weather in Geneva on Tuesday, and Syracuse running into an absolutely brilliant goalie's performance, Syracuse seemed to take a gritty Hobart team too lightly despite being ranked #3/2 and Hobart was unranked. There was a worry that Syracuse would do the same to Villanova, or even just play flat like at Hobart. Neither things happened. Syracuse came out and played a fantastic game in all facets under the Carrier Dome roof. Syracuse blows away Villanova in their very first Big East Conference game 20 to six.
Villanova actually started the day off by scoring first. But then Syracuse went on a three goal run. Villanova added another to keep it close before Syracuse added two more to finish the first quarter up 5-2. Syracuse then added two more goals before 'Nova scored again. The Orange scored twice again before Villanova added one. Then Syracuse scored with two seconds left at the half in another fantastic possession. Syracuse then scored five more goals in each quarter and limited 'Nova to one in each to finish up 20-6. Syracuse faced a fairly tough defense despite the score. Syracuse overcame defense by nifty passing from behind the cage, good ball movement, and of course scoring in unsettled situations. Additionally there were two sensational behind the back goals from Cody Jamieson and JoJo Marasco. Jamieson is quickly becoming a one man highlight reel and has the goal of the year and this magnificent goal. Marasco also hit the big behind the back goal streaking across the front of the crease. Syracuse was also brilliant in picking up groundballs and preventing easy shots on the goal. They dominated the face off X, time of possession, and doing the dirty work on the field, making it impossible for Villanova to keep up or even make a comeback.
Two Syracuse players had hat tricks. Both Jeremy Thompson and Stephen Keogh each had three goals. Additionally Thompson had five points on the day. JoJo Marasco had four assists and one goal, leading in assists and also earning five points on the day. Joel White continues to be one of the most valued Syracuse players, picking up six groundballs on the day. While Syracuse does not have a faceoff specialist this season, Jeremy Thompson continues to be excellent at the X, and as a bonus typically scores one from the faceoff. He won 7-9 on the day, while Gavin Jenkinson won 8-11. Additionally Josh Knight took his first faceoffs of the season and won 4-8. John Galloway had six saves on the day in the win, and Al Cavalieri, who played the entire fourth quarter, had one save.
Syracuse dominated Villanova in many statistical categories in this game. No surprises there. Syracuse shot 47 shots to 'Nova's 21. The big statistic of the day was Syracuse picked up 44 groundballs, while 'Nova only had 21. The Orange won 19/29 faceoffs, while the Wildcats only won 10/29. Villanova only managed to clear 19-26 due to the Syracuse ridding defense and great play from the midfield. Syracuse however was perfect on the day, clearing 21-21. Villanova was 1-4 on extra man opportunities on the day, and Syracuse was 1-2. Villanova had 12 saves among their two goalies that played, while Syracuse again had seven total. Finally, Villanova had 21 turnovers caused by tenacious Syracuse defense and rides, while Syracuse themselves only had 12. The complete box score can be found here.
Syracuse before this game found themselves still ranked #3 in the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll behind Virginia and North Carolina and still #2 in the Coaches Poll by one point ahead of North Carolina and behind Virginia. This is the same as the week before. As long as both Virginia, North Carolina, and Syracuse continue to win this will probably be the case. North Carolina is sitting impressively with a 9-0 record, while Virginia is #1 and also 9-0.
There were obviously some great games this past weekend. The notables are below, along with Big East member games in italics.
Saturday March 27:
Johns Hopkins 6 - Virginia 15
Rutgers 10 - Notre Dame 8
Duke 15 - Georgetown 10
Ohio State 10 - Quinnipiac 8
Princeton 7 - Yale 6
Bucknell 6 - Albany 7
Hofstra 9 - Massachusetts 11
Cornell 12 - Penn 6
Providence 9 - Siena 11
Hobart 5 - Fairfield 14
Jacksonville 17 - Robert Morris 18
St. John's 11 - Penn State 13
Maryland 7 - North Carolina 9
Navy 10 - Colgate 9 in OT
As always, the complete scoreboard can be found here at Inside Lacrosse.
Now, as we like to, let's take a look at the Big East Standings, as Villanova played their first ever Big East game. Sadly it was against Syracuse.
1. #3/2 Syracuse 6-1 (2-0)
2. ARV/ARV Rutgers 5-2 (1-0)
3. #10/13 Georgetown 4-3 (2-1)
4. #18 Notre Dame 5-3 (0-1)
4. #15/17 Villanova 5-3 (0-1)
6. St. John's 3-5 (0-1)
7. Providence 0-6 (0-1)
Pretty much every team in the conference is good except for Providence. Villanova found themselves ranked facing a great Syracuse team, but they are pretty good overall. Notre Dame is a good squad but have hit a skid as of recently. Georgetown is by all accounts good, but have not seemed to be able to win a big game this year to bring them to the upper tier of teams on the year. So far, halfway through Syracuse's season, it is their league to lose. Not that there is an automatic bid to the tournament on the line. Either way though, as Syracuse's mantra has been through the years: Winning takes care of itself.
Syracuse next faces Albany (1-6), a team that has been good the last few years, but have fallen on hard times as of late. The Great Danes' only win is over Bucknell, while they have losses against Massachusetts, Siena, and Denver. This should be another cake walk in the Carrier Dome for Syracuse, but again you can't look past them like Hobart. However, it should be a very easy game. Then it gets more difficult for Syracuse, heading to the Meadowlands to play Princeton again in the Big City Classic, Cornell in Ithaca, and Rutgers in New Jersey. This will not be an easy stretch for the Orange, but there should be some exciting lacrosse coming up. On the year it appears that Virginia, Syracuse, and North Carolina should find their way to Baltimore in May, but the battle for that fourth team seems to be wide open.

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You're doing alright. I'm really worried about Ricky.
And just like that... poof. Like Keyser Soze, the season has vanished. We went from losing to a Division 2 team across town, and being picked to finish sixth in the league, to winning the Big East regular season title and achieving a #1 ranking during the year. I'll get to the season later, but bracketing expectations and the like, this game was not good at all. Syracuse did not play their game and Butler was able to capitalize. The Orange go down thanks to Butler 63 to 59.
Syracuse started poorly, allowing Butler to get an 11-1 lead. Butler expanded their lead by capitalizing on Syracuse turnovers, bringing their biggest lead to 12. Finally Syracuse was able to get the ball inside to cut the lead to only ten points at the half. Syracuse took the lead with 13:29 to go in the game, but Syracuse was unable to create separation due to quick, ill advised three point attempts, turnovers, or a combination therein. Syracuse did manage to get a four point lead but lucky bounces on three point attempts and Syracuse committing unforced errors allowed Butler to get right back in. They ended up holding off Syracuse earning the four point victory over the Orange.
Syracuse's leading scorer was Wes Johnson. He had 17 points on a pretty good shooting day. He was 6-10 from the floor and 1-2 from three point range. He also made four of six free throws. Syracuse's size advantage also allowed him to pull down nine rebounds. While he had a good scoring day he was not as dominating as the previous tournament games he played in. He was unable to lift Syracuse on his back and score when Syracuse truly needed to. Maybe it was because he didn't receive the ball, maybe it was because he just didn't try to make a move. Either way he was unable to go that extra mile.
Andy Rautins added another 15 points from the floor. He shot four of eight from behind the arc and four of nine from the floor. He also added five rebounds, a couple of which led to Syracuse fast break opportunities. A lot of times he couldn't seem to get open off a screen as Butler was playing very good man defense. Andy found it tough to find room to shoot the ball, but when he did it usually went in, much like the previous games in the Tournament. Sadly he led the team in turnovers with five. However, because most of his turnovers came in the first half they probably didn't affect the game as much as other players in that way.
Scoop Jardine also had a good game off the bench again. He had 14 points on 5-13 shooing, 2-6 from distance. While he stroked the ball well from the floor inside the arc especially in transition, he took some ill advised shots from behind the line. Scoop did spur some necessary offense off the penetrating drive and kick.
Kris Joseph was the biggest disappointment for Syracuse in the Tournament and he was not great in this game either. He finished with six points on 2 on 3-8 shooting. He had seven rebounds and was good in transition for Syracuse, but overall was not an offensive force he had been all season.
Brandon Triche also went back to being anemic on the offensive end. He had three points on 1-3 shooting. He disappeared in this game, but was good for a rebound. Sadly he didn't help his assist to turnover ratio.
DaShonte Riley filled the defensive end well as expected. Although he did get beat once or twice by a more experienced center for Butler by giving him the inside edge to pivot around. He was again a huge liability on the offensive end, but his defense was good and for what he has played this year, the five minutes he was in were fine.
Syracuse once again led the other team in offense. Syracuse was 21-48 (43.8%) from the floor and 7-19 (36.8%) from three. Butler shot 21-52 (40.4%) and 6-24 (25%) respectively. Syracuse outrebounded Butler 33 to 27 which was expected. What was not expected was Syracuse's 18 turnovers versus only seven from Butler. This caused Butler to earn that ten point lead in the first half and allowed Butler, while Syracuse shot better, to keep a lead or stay in the game when
Syracuse briefly held their lead.
The story of this game is turnovers. While again Rautins led the team with five, Jackson and Johnson each had three of their own. Jackson's came at more critical times down the stretch. Jackson only earning four points on 2-5 shooting was also mind boggling. Arinze Onuaku was clearly more powerful and dependable in the low post all season, but this was easily Jackson's worst game in the last ten, maybe all season. He has been brilliant ever since a coming out party of sorts in the game against Florida.
The Syracuse defense was as good as it has been all season. It held Butler to 40.4% and only six three point baskets, as well as only 63 points. What Syracuse didn't do was score. Syracuse averages just above 80 points and the Butler defense was outstanding against Syracuse, interrupting passes, causing steals, and preventing anyone from getting really good open looks often.
Syracuse just didn't do what they do best. They didn't make enough threes and they didn't have a good enough presence in the paint. Worst of all they played sloppy like this was the third game in the season instead of the third game in the NCAA Tournament. Turnovers didn't help and part of that related to Syracuse never falling into a good rhythm in this game. They never did all game and Butler ends up surviving and advancing.
Syracuse's next game will now be next season and Orange Nation turns their complete focus to lacrosse again, a team that has a very real chance of earning their third National Championship in a row. We'll be back with a wrap up of this great basketball season we just witnessed, as well as continuing coverage of the lacrosse team. Additionally we will pause and pay proper respect to the big anniversary that this blog just enjoyed. Look for all of this and more next week. For now we root for West Virginia in the tournament, and I rest and rejuvenated by boozing heavily this weekend, adding degenerate gambling to the mix. If I'm not dead I'll be back next week.

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Syracuse students agree: No one wants the run to end.

Syracuse entered the Tournament losing two in a row. Then they went out and won two games in dominating fashion. Butler on the other hand has won 22 games in a row. They are a nice team that can put points on the board, but not like Syracuse can. They are a smaller team that is known to have a good zone offense, can shoot over a zone, and can slide into gaps to hit mid-range jump shots. Their star, guard/forward Gordon Hayward (15.2ppg, 8.3rpg) is a great player, however he is only shooting 28.2% from behind the arc and is only 1-10 from three in the Tournament. As a team they only shoot 34.6% from behind the arc. Syracuse, boasting the toughest three point defense in the Big East, will give problems to the shooters of Butler. Additionally, although Butler has found success against zone defenses this season, they have not come up against the toughest 2-3 Zone in the nation. That is indisputable. The real three point threat is Shelvin Mack (14.1ppg, 3.1apg) who is shooting 40% from behind the arc. If Syracuse can contain him, Syracuse should cruise in this game, it is as simple as that. Syracuse's inside game is far tougher, the length of players and sheer athleticism that Syracuse possesses over Butler should rule the day. Look for Syracuse and Butler to be close in the first half, but if Syracuse stays out of true foul trouble, this game should be won in the second. Syracuse over Butler to advance to the Elite 8 by 19. Here's hoping the sock magic continues.

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Lacrosse Weekly - 3/25/10

Syracuse in prime time? Undefeated.

Syracuse's win against Georgetown, especially after losing to them in basketball in the Big East Tournament and Syracuse lacrosse losing to Virginia, was just what the team needed to get back on track. But their next two games would be far from easy. They had to take on #7/8 Johns Hopkins at Homewood Field and play CNY rival Hobart in Geneva, both in big rivalry games. Two games later, Syracuse has two more wins against rivals. Syracuse, for the first time, wins four in a row versus Hopkins and wins back to back at Homewood and we get the Kraus-Simmons Trophy back, again.
We start at Hopkins, where the goal of 2010 happened (video here). Syracuse jumped out to a three goal lead early. At the half, Syracuse was up 5-1. Syracuse dominated faceoffs and time of possession, slowly working the clock. Syracuse also won the third quarter. They led 8-1 until Hopkins scored four in a row, two of which came in the fourth quarter. Hopkins came back to bring it within two, but Syracuse scored the final goal to win 10-7. SU's offensive dominance was partly due to their dominance at the faceoff X.
Syracuse's leading scorer was Max Bartig with three goals. Cody Jamieson had a fantastic goal in this one, also adding three assists to finish with four points. Jeremy Thompson won seven of ten from the face off X. Gavin Jenkinson also went seven of ten. Finally John Galloway had nine saves.
Additionally the statistics for the game are as follows:
Shots: Syracuse 37, Hopkins 26
Groundballs: Syracuse 36, Hopkin 25
Faceoffs: Syracuse 14/20, Hopkins 6/20
Clears: Syracuse 18/20, Hopkins 20/21
Extra Man: Syracuse 2/2, Hopkins 1/4
Saves: Syracuse 9, Hopkins 14
Turnovers: Syracuse 15, Hopkins 13
The complete Hopkins Box Score is here.
Next Syracuse took on a gritty Hobart team. Syracuse jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, and in the pouring rain it would take about 11 minutes before another goal. Hobart then tied it 1-1. Syracuse would then take a 2-1 lead when the first quarter ended. Then it was all Hobart in the second quarter, going up 5-2. Syracuse was plagued with bad passes and band turnovers. It also helped that Hobart's goalie Max Silberlicht had a career day and a masterful performance in goal. Syracuse won the third quarter scoring two to Hobart's one, but they still trailed 6-4. Syracuse finally tied it with 9:53 remaining. Then they took the lead with 5:08 to play. Then Hobart scored again with 1:04 remaining. Syracuse had a final possession but were stonewalled again, so the teams went to overtime. After a faceoff and an unsettled situation Hobart unwisely took a timeout. Syracuse ended up getting the ball back and scored with less than a minute remaining in overtime to win the game 9-8.
Four Syracuse players had two goals a piece. Jovan Miller, Chris Daniello, JoJo Marasco, and game winner Stephen Keogh all contributed a couple. Chris Daniello and JoJo Marasco notched the only two assists for Syracuse. Keogh also had five ground balls, leading the category. Jeremy Thompson was five of eight on the faceoffs, however Gavin Jenkinson was six of 13 from the X. Galloway also had seven saves.
Additionally the statistics for the game are as follows:
Shots: Syracuse 56, Hobart 24
Groundballs: Syracuse 31, Hobart 25
Faceoffs: Syracuse 11/21, Hobart 10/21
Clears: Syracuse 17/19, Hobart 18/27
Extra Man: Syracuse 0/5, Hobart 0/2
Saves: Syracuse 7, Hobart 23
Turnovers: Syracuse 13, Hobart 22
The complete Hobart Box Score can be found here.
Syracuse wins two more games and stays exactly where they were in the polls. Syracuse is #3 in the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll, while they are #2 in the Coaches Poll. Johns Hopkins drops to #12 in both after the loss.
There were a lot of lacrosse games this past week. Notable scores are below, while games involving Big East members are in italics.
Wednesday March 17:
Delaware 11 - Georgetown 13
Saturday March 20:
Rutgers 8 - Army 11
Denver 13 - Stony Brook 12
Ohio State 6 - Notre Dame 7 in OT
Vermont 7 - St. John's 8 in OT
Quinnipiac 9 - Hobart 7
Villanova 11 - Delaware 8
Penn 10 - Princeton 11 in OT
Sunday March 21:
Virginia 15 - Towson 10
Georgetown 14 - Providence 4
Drexel 11 - Albany 9
Tuesday March 23:
Massachusetts 11 - Brown 10
Cornell 12 - Stony Brook 9
Hofstra 13 - St. John's 4
Wednesday March 24:
Drexel 8 - Villanova 10
The complete Inside Lacrosse scoreboard can be found here.
Now let's look at the Big East Standings:
1. #3/2 Syracuse 5-1 (1-0)
2. #8/10 Georgetown 4-2 (2-1)
3. #11/13 Notre Dame 5-2 (0-0)
3. ARV/ARV Villanova 5-2 (0-0)
5. Rutgers 4-2 (0-0)
6. St. John's 3-4 (0-1)
7. Providence 0-5 (0-1)
Syracuse now has the weekend off and will take on Big East rival Villanova back in the Carrier Dome on Monday at 3:00pm. Syracuse has a good chance to pick up another win, but have to play better than they did against Hobart. That shouldn't be a problem as Syracuse beat Villanova 21-6 in 2008. However they are receiving some votes in polls and are 5-2 on the year. Should be a good one.

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All the Help We Can Get

"Socks are for your feet, not your trumpet." - Tim McNamara, 2004
The TMac quote above has nothing to do with this article; there's another time and another blog post for that.
But still. Those socks? Those socks are magical socks, my friend. As Orange::44 is in the midst of a birthday celebration this month, I figured I would take this rather timely opportunity to tell not only a great Syracuse Basketball NCAA Tourney story, but one that pertains to Orange::44 founder Matt Glaude.
Imagine yourself in Boston for the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2003. Maybe some of you were there. I had the privilege to be there as a member of the Sour Sitrus Society -- the #1 basketball pep band in the land. I was also lucky enough to help some recent graduates of our fine university with a place to stay, i.e. my hotel room floor. One of those fortunate souls was one Matthew "Hoya Suxa" Glaude. Now, Matt likes to have a good time. And it's rare that he does anything half-assed. This weekend was no different. He painted the town orange.
Syracuse played in the first round against the Manhattan Jaspers, and won handily, 76-65. The game had been close in the first half, but Syracuse figured out Bobby Gonzales's squad and kept a safe lead in the latter minutes to secure the victory. That was Friday's game.
Sunday rolled around, and Syracuse was set to play the Oklahoma State Cowboys. If I said we had a quiet night in the previous night, I'd be lying. But still, Matt was able to get up at a respectable hour and make it to the game. In fact, he left a little earlier than I did, I think to find some breakfast. Gathering up my belongings to leave the room for the last time, I found a pair of socks that didn't belong to me. They're just socks, sure, but I figured I'd put them in my pocket and give them back to Matt at the game. Being in the band, we had to wear khaki pants, and cargo pants were in at the time, so throwing socks in my pocket was no big deal.
So I make my way onto the bus and arrive at the arena -- what was it, TD Garden at that time? I don't even remember. At any rate, I didn't meet up with Matt before the game, so the socks stayed in my pocket. Well, if anyone remembers that 2nd round matchup, Syracuse had a rough go of it. The Orangemen got off to an extremely slow start and were even down 17 points, but crawled and battled their way back to obtain a lead and be on top at the final buzzer. But I remember there being several times during that game where I thought to myself "Damn, this is it, we're done." It was one of those games. Typical of the Kardiac Kids that season. But this was different; this was the Tourney.
After the game, I missed meeting up with Matt, and so the socks came with me back to Syracuse. I don't know if I made the conscious recognition of it at that time, or whether it was the following weekend in Albany when I once again found the socks in my pocket that I decided "Let's go with it." I didn't wanna mess with anything that may have helped Syracuse win that game in Boston, and so the socks stayed in my pocket. Sweet Sixteen vs. Auburn. A final score of 79-78. As close as you can get. Syracuse led the entire game, but Auburn kept making it close. And keeping our heart rates near the hummingbird range.
In the Elite Eight game for the right to play in New Orleans at the Final Four, Syracuse and top-seeded Oklahoma faced off and battled for the first 12 minutes. And then, Syracuse pulled away and never looked back. The socks were still in my pocket, but this time we didn't need them to get us a burst of energy late in the game. But those socks were destined for the Big Easy.
All in all, those socks faired much better than I did down in New Orleans. I won't get into my own problems here, but hey, we all survived, better or worse, right? Anyway, I don't need to tell you the rest of that story. Syracuse beats Texas for the right to play in the National Championsip against Kansas. The Orangemen pull out to a huge lead on the Jayhawks, with Gerry virtually unconscious from beyond the arc. I'm so giddy at halftime that I'm almost speechless, as if I can't even fathom what's going on in front of me on the court. But in typical Syracuse form, they had to make a game out of it and let Kansas come back. Kansas starts picking apart the zone, Syracuse keeps missing from the line, and suddenly there's mere seconds left and we're nursing a three-point lead. But those socks are still in my pocket. Hakim Warrick teleports from the key over to the arc for The Block, and the rest is history. Syracuse wins the National Championship!
So naturally, I should have kept those socks in play all these years later. But I didn't. Like Jerry Seinfeld or the football jersey 44, they had to be retired while on top. OK, never mind the 44 thing. But anyway, I knew if I just kept those socks with me for every game, Syracuse would eventually lose and the socks would lose their mojo. So they went into a random bag of stuff, not to be forgotten, but to be out of the way.
Before leaving for Buffalo last weekend, I questioned whether it was time to pull the socks out of retirement and see if their magic could propel this team to Indy. Getting the go ahead from Matt, the socks were placed in my pocket as I watched the 1st round game against Vermont at Benchwarmers in Buffalo. Victory. They again came with me into the HSBC Arena on Sunday against Gonzaga. More like GONEzaga.
And so we approach this weekend's games. Tomorrow night, a matchup against Butler, and if that's a win, Saturday against Kansas State or Xavier. I won't be in Salt Lake City for the games, but you can bet your lucky stars I'll be watching on TV. And those socks, however smelly they may have gotten in seven years, will be in my pocket. Because, you know, Matt Glaude's 2003 socks > Arinze Onuaku.

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Buffalo was a massive success for the Orange and their fans.
Syracuse entered the NCAA Tournament slightly slighted by the selection committee as Syracuse, one of the most consistent teams all season, dropped from a predicted third overall #1 seed to the forth. Additionally the comical selection folks decided to match Syracuse up with #16 Vermont, the team that knocked out the Orange posed for a nice run in 2005. But it didn't matter when either Vermont or #8 Gonzaga, Syracuse handled them both to advance to the Sweet 16 in Salt Lake City.
Vermont hit a three to start the game, but then Syracuse went on a 11-3 run. Then Syracuse didn't look back. Syracuse then jumped out to a 34-10 lead before Vermont went on two small runs to head into the half winning 37 to 25. Then Syracuse continued to grind at the smaller Vermont, as well as running their classic transition game. Syracuse's biggest lead was 27 in this game due to excellent shooting and all around good play. Syracuse ended up burying Vermont in a revenge game 79 to 56.
What was a much harder game on paper turned out to be anything but for the Orange in the second round. The 8th seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs beat #9 Florida State in the first round to take on the Orange, and this was a team that had solid inside presence, good outside shooting, and a dynamic player in Elias Harris, to challenge Syracuse in this game, especially with Arinze Onuaku out. Gonzaga's dream scenario occurred with Rick Jackson picking up three fouls with 8:58 remaining in the first half and having to sit out the rest of the half while mostly untested DaShonte Riley covered the middle of the zone. He did that well, and Syracuse cruised. Syracuse struggled initially with Gonzaga using several back door cuts and lobs. Additionally Harris and Robert Sacre were excellent in the paint for Gonzaga. The Zags man defense was also a problem for Syracuse as they were settling on an awful lot of jump shots which is not the real strength of the Syracuse team. However they all basically fell. Wes Johnson also had a career scoring day, finally proving that his shooting hand is 100% better and showing why he was the Big East Player of the Year. Everyone played well in this game and Syracuse had a 32 point lead in the second half before relaxing and allowing Gonzaga to get some easy looks inside with some passive defense to prevent more fouls. Syracuse still won big though, finishing ahead 87 to 65, winning by 22.
Wes Johnson was clearly the best player in Buffalo this weekend. He finished with a combined 49 points on 17-28 shooting. He also pulled down 20 rebounds as well. Johnson also hit and impressive 7-11 from beyond the arc. His performance against Gonzaga was masterful with 31 points and 14 rebounds on an 11-16 shooting day. It almost seemed at many points like anything he threw up was going to find the bottom of the net. Anytime he was open, which was surprisingly often, he drilled his shot. He was clearly the dominant player we saw him be for Syracuse in the non-conference, and he easily could have carried this team to victory in a closer match on Sunday.
Andy Rautins also had a good weekend. While he played well against Vermont going 4-9, 3-7 from long range, and earning 11 points and eight rebounds, and six assists, he played even better against Gonzaga. Rautins nailed 7-13 shots, and 5-9 for three. It was a masterful shooting performance, hitting some off of screens, some open, and some with a quick trigger. You could tell the entire Syracuse team was having a lot of fun on the floor.
The guards also had a good weekend. Both Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine had good tournament games. Scoop Jardine has been dependable all season and the Tournament was no different. Jarine had 14 points on 6-9 shooting in the Vermont game, including a pretty nifty crossover dribble to the hoop that resulted in an And-1 for Syracuse. He also added nine points and three assists on 4-6 shooting against Gonzaga. Triche broke out of a bit of a slump by added ten points on 3-8 shooting, 3-5 from behind the arc against Vermont and 13 points on 5-9, 2-5 shooting.
Overall the statistics from this weekend are more than you could have hoped for. Syracuse shot 54.5% against Vermont and 54.7% against Gonzaga. Subsequently Syracuse showed some good defense as well, only allowing Vermont to shoot 34.8% and Gonzaga to shoot 41.7%. Syracuse was also excellent from behind the arc. Against Vermont they shot 10-22 (45.5%) and 12-25 (48%) against Gonzaga. Syracuse also hit their free throws. They made 9-11 (81.8%) and 17-23 (73.9%) respectively. Additionally the led both games in rebounds with 34 and 36 for a total of 70 on the weekend, while both other teams had 27. Syracuse also assisted on 24 of 20 made field goals against Vermont and 17 of 29 against Gonzaga. Syracuse also had 12 steals and ten blocks on the weekend. Finally, Syracuse committed 16 turnovers against VT and 13 against Gonzaga, both times committing more than their opponent.
Syracuse next takes on #5 seed Butler in the West Regional in Salt Lake City. Onuaku is still questionable to play in that game, but it didn't seem to matter against Gonzaga that he didn't play. Either way Syracuse will prepare as they will actually head out there today. But first we have a lot of lacrosse action to cover. Turn back in tomorrow for Lacrosse Weekly, covering both the Hopkins game and the Hobart game tonight.
But first, some highlights from the weekend in Buffalo. Myself with Big Juli Boeheim on Friday night before the Vermont game.
Me with Mr. Peanut. A gentleman and a scholar.
And finally, myself and Orange::44 Correspondent John Brennan at the game on Sunday as we watched Syracuse dismantle Gonzaga. If Syracuse plays like this the rest of the tournament it will be a very good off season.

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#16 Vermont - #1 Syracuse NCAA Tournament Rd. 1 Preview

Syracuse students agree: This game is not negotiable.
It was five years ago. I was in the Sour Sitrus Society courtside in Worcester, Massachusetts. It was the NCAA Tournament and it was my senior year. Then some shit went down involving Vermont that I tend not to remember and/or have blocked out, watching as my own dreams of reaching "my" Final Four evaporate. I didn't go out, despite it being St. Patrick's Day. I sat in the hotel just staring at a wall for the remainder of the day. But that was five years ago. This is the 2010 NCAA Tournament. And the Syracuse Orange are a #1 seed. It's time for some revenge. Syracuse will have four scorers on the floor that average in double digits. Vermont only has three. Forward Marqus Blackley (17.4ppg, 9.4rpg), guard Maurice Joseph (14.1ppg, 1.1apg), and guard Evan Fjeld (10.6ppg, 6.1rpg). There is the sexy storyline between Maurice Joseph being the older brother of Kris Joseph. But let me be clear. This is Syracuse's game to lose. Vermont only shoots 32.1% from behind the arc. The key to beating a better team in the Tournament is good shooting and Vermont doesn't have it. Additionally Syracuse has the size, even with Arinze Onuaku being sidelined and the smaller lineup being played. Rick Jackson is an inch taller than Vermont's tallest player. Syracuse should have the rebounding edge in this game. But the true key is simply not forcing anything or letting the pressure get to them. Andy Rautins has committed five turnovers in the last two Syracuse games that happened to end in losses. Syracuse, and specifically Rautins and Brandon Triche need to take care of the basketball and feed the ball inside. If Syracuse does that, as well as avoid foul trouble, this game will be in cruise control by the ten minute mark of the second half. One final statistic: Vermont beat Maine twice this season by margins of eight points and 13 points. Syracuse beat Maine by a total of 46 points. You do the math. I think Syracuse wins this one by 16 and I can finally let go about my last game as a student at Syracuse University. I need this one fellas. We all do.

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Orange::44 Bracketology

It's time to dance!
It's March Madness again, so once again I publish my bracket choices for you all to make fun of. In the past I have submitted only one bracket for your approval, however this year I have made two sheets. The first is with Syracuse winning the National Championship, with a bit of some Big East homerism thrown in. The second below is a more realistic bracket with Syracuse losing to Kansas in the Final Four, and how it could unfold without the East Coast Bias in effect. However, both have virtually the same upsets with only minor tweaks here and there. In the top, main bracket the teams with orange next to them I have seen in person this season. The teams I blue I have watched on television at some point. Teams with nothing are probably automatic qualifiers that no one saw but students of that school. I only enter one pool for money and these are the two sheets I entered with my money where my mouth is. It's with a bunch of politicians, current and former Connecticut State workers, and lobbyists. Your CT government at work. TO THE BRACKETS!
Both brackets are the same on my sheet here. I have Kansas the winner heading to Indy. The Lehigh Mountain Hawks (Engineers!) will get destroyed by Kansas. I like UNLV against Northern Iowa. Despite the Aggies looking good this season Michigan State is just better so no upset there. Maryland will continue to be good as well. San Diego State is my first big upset pick, as I think Bruce Pearl's squad will just simply run out of good fortune. Georgetown will beat the Bobcats of Ohio. Oklahoma State will continue to be a fun, scrappy team to watch and should beat Georgia Tech. And THE Ohio State will also win as the 2 seed. Kansas will beat UNLV of course. Michigan State and Maryland should be a good game, but Vasquez will be better than the State defense. Maryland will advance to play Georgetown. That won't be a game. Okey State is gritty, but just not as talented as Ohio State. They will advance to play G'town. Kansas is too talented for Maryland and Georgetown will have the inside game working against Ohio State's shooters. It comes down to Georgetown and Kansas and Kansas will end Georgetown's improbable run.
The only difference in my SU bracket and the one below is the winner. I have KU coming out below, while I have West Virginia at the top. Texas will out power Wake Forrest, but will be done after taking the biggest fall of the season, only bigger than Connecticut. Temple will beat Cornell despite all that upset talk. Temple is one of the best teams in a good A-10 league and they'll beat the shooting of Cornell. Wisconsin is a tough team at home but not as much on the road. However they should get just by Temple to lose to Kentucky. Marquette was an interesting Big East team. They have been hot lately though and are tougher than several other lesser conference teams. I have they making the Sweet 16. New Mexico advances over Montana and loses to the tougher Marquette. Then I have Missouri pulling the upset over Clemson. Gotta call some upsets people. Then West Virginia making the Championship with Syracuse in the top, Kentucky below. I think West Virginia is tougher and their multiple defenses would confuse Kentucky. However Kentucky is talented so they could catch fire in shooting or dominate inside with Cousins. You decide.
In both brackets I have Duke making the Final Four from this bracket. This is an easy road for Duke so sadly they advance. Louisville, while they played well at the end of the year, will run into Duke's guard play and outside shooting, and will barely lose. They will beat Cal as the Pac-10 is an absolute joke. I'll be honest, didn't see Texas A&M or Utah State this season. No one is picking Utah State over A&M though so I'm sticking with it and the numbers. Siena is one of those trendy upset teams and Purdue's biggest scoring threat has been out for about a month now. I'm picking Siena for the one round upset to lose to A&M. Though my good friend from law school went to Old Dominion, I have to pick against Ol' Dirty here and go with the Big East and Notre Dame. Baylor is one of those difficult teams to pick as they were the fourth best team in the Big XII. I have them losing to Duke in the Sweet 16. I think Richmond and St. Mary's is a toss up as well. But I will go with St. Mary's for being 9-2 on the road versus Richmond's 7-6. They have the pleasure of losing to Villanova. While they haven't been great in a while, this bracket plays right into their hand as they should meet up with Duke in the Elite 8. Scottie Reynolds should get them there alone.
Syracuse advances out of this region in both of my brackets. Despite the injury to Arinze Onuaku they should make it through the first two rounds and have him back for the Sweet 16. Meanwhile they have favorable possible draws save for Pittsburgh looming. A lot of people are picking Florida State over Gonzaga, but I see Gonzaga just eeking one out to lose to Syracuse, despite the fact that it will be harder to beat Gonzaga for Syracuse than Florida State. I have UTEP as the 5/12 upset in my bracket. This is the biggest difference in my brackets. I have Vandy advancing in my main bracket advancing to take on Syracuse in the Sweet 16, where as in my second bracket I have Murray State beating Vandy in an upset in the first round and losing to UTEP. Then UTEP loses to Syracuse. In both I have Xavier beating Minny. I also have Pittsburgh advancing to the Sweet 16 because Pitt, despite losing in the BET, they were one of the top four in the league. I also have BYU over Florida. I just don't see them catching fire over a good shooting BYU team. And finally Kansas State should advance. Pittsburgh and K State should meet up in the Sweet 16 and Syracuse should confound K State with their zone defense. Teams in the Big XII just can't play well against that zone.
Final Four
In my main bracket I have Kansas meeting up against Syracuse again and West Virginia meeting up with Duke. In the second I still have Kansas and Syracuse, but then I have Kentucky and Duke. In one bracket I have Syracuse beating Kansas ala 2003. I like our team using the zone over Kansas again. They have pretty much one great player and the rest can shoot here and there, but I think we match up pretty favorably. In the next I have West Virginia using similar varying defenses and clutch shooting over Duke as they just have the shooting ability, which West Virginia can disrupt. Finally I have Syracuse beating West Virginia again in the National Championship. In the other I have Kansas just simply being the #1 team in the land and outplaying Syracuse like Georgetown did in the BET. Then I have Kentucky playing Duke and Kentucky showing that they are in fact a bunch of just talented freshmen. They lost to Duke, who gives Kansas a decent game, but Kansas walks away with the crown.
So there you have it. Click on the brackets to see them full size. We here at Orange::44 believe in being open and transparent with our calls, so we'll either be right or fail in the public eye. Either way we'll have our eye on Syracuse in the quest for another Championship.
Also, in case this floats your boat, my NIT bracket. There are already some differences from last night, but hey I didn't put too much thought into the NIT. Have fun UConn! Almost losing to Northeastern at home must have been pleasant.

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Lacrosse Weekly - 3/16/10

When any Syracuse team beats Georgetown we all win.
Syracuse had a tough week, just losing to big rival Virginia, thus swapping the #1 spot with Virginia. And after Syracuse lost to Georgetown in the Big East Tournament in New York City all of Orange Nation turned to Syracuse to deliver a win on the lacrosse field against Georegtown in Syracuse's first ever Big East conference game. Syracuse delivered beating the Hoyas 15 to 12.
Syracuse started the game off quickly, scoring with only one minute off the clock. However Georgetown roared back with two scores to take the 2-1 lead early in the game. Then Stephen Keogh went off scoring four in a row for Syracuse. Each team would then add another to end the first quarter with Syracuse up 6-3, as Syracuse scored with one second left on the clock in the quarter. Both teams then went back and forth in a hard fought second quarter before Syracuse took the scoring lead in the 2nd on a goal with second seconds remaining. Syracuse was ahead at the break 11-7. Then Georgetown took over in the second half, capitalizing on some bad passes from Syracuse, as well as failures to clear. Georgetown scoring twice were the only scores in the quarter. Syracuse again jumped off to a quick start in the 4th as Syracuse scored in ten seconds. Georgetown then scored the next two to put the Hoyas only down by one, but SU again came back. They scored the next three goals to put them up 15-11 before Georgetown scored the final goal of the game to finish behind 15-12.
Keogh, no surprise, was the game's leading scorer with five goals. Josh Amidon also had four of his own. He also had one assist to put both players at five points on the day. Chris Daniello, Jeremy Thompson, and Tim Desko each had two assists a piece. Thompson, along with Joel White had six ground balls a piece in this game. Two players covered the faceoffs in this game for Syracuse. Thompson was 7-16, while Gavin Jenkinson won 7-15. John Galloway in 60 minutes of work made 13 saves and allowed 12 goals.
Syracuse was once again outshot by their opponents like they were at Virginia. Georgetown took 39 shots, while Syracuse had 35. This was probably due to the possession time the Hoyas had in the third quarter. Syracuse scooped up 36 ground balls, while Georgetown had 23. Georgetown won more faceoffs than Syracuse in this one, winning 17-31. Georgetown cleared the ball just slightly better than Syracuse. The Hoyas cleared 9-13, while Syracuse cleared 13-21. Syracuse for the second game in a row really excelled in the extra man offense. Syracuse converted on 4-6, while Georgetown only scored 1-5. Galloway again had 13 saves, while Georgetown had 8. Finally Georgetown had 17 turnovers, while Syracuse had 21. The full box score is here.
Syracuse was ranked #1 before their tilt with rival Virginia, who was #2 at the time. Syracuse lost that game by a point in Virginia on a questionable restart that the referees later agreed was a mistake. That dropped them to #2 in both polls. After their match with #11/12 Georgetown Syracuse remained #2 in the Coaches Poll, while somehow they dropped to #3 in the Media Poll with Virginia getting 19 first place votes, and North Carolina earning 1. UNC jumps the Orange for the #2 spot. And that's off a win. I'm not going out on a big limb when I say it's Virginia and Syracuse, and then a gap, and then everyone else. Same as it usually is.
Here are some notable scores from the past week. Games involving a Big East conference member are in italics.
Saturday March 13:
Towson 8 - Maryland 12
Albany 6 - Ohio State 11
Virginia 12 - Cornell 4
Harvard 14 - Massachusetts 13
UMBC 5 - Princeton 10
Providence 2 - Quinnipiac 12
Penn State 4 - Rutgers 7
St. John's 4 - Drexel 11
Fairfield 10 - Notre Dame 8
Army 7 - Air Force 8
Duke 8 - Loyola 5
Villanova 7 - Penn 8
Canisius 5 - Denver 10
Monday March 15:
Penn 7 - Maryland 10
Tuesday March 16:
Providence 3 - Massachusetts 17
Denver 7 - Notre Dame 14
Congate 8 - Harvard 10
Vermont 7 - Virginia 18
Princeton 11 -North Carolina 12
Marist 9 - Rutgers 10
St. John's 6 - Stony Brook 21
The complete Inside Lacrosse Scoreboard can be found here.
Now let's take a look around the Big East for the standings:
1. #3/2 Syracuse 3-1 (1-0)
2. #10/9 Georgetown 2-2 (1-1)
3. NR/ARV Rutgers 4-1 (0-0)
4. #13 Notre Dame 4-2 (0-0)
5. Villanova 3-2 (0-0)
6. Providence 0-4 (0-0)
7. St. John's 2-3 (0-1)
#3/2 Syracuse will next travel to famed Homewood Field in Baltimore to take on rival # 8/7 Johns Hopkins (4-2) in a primetime match at 8:00pm on ESPN U. This one should be another great contest as Syracuse and Hopkins are one of the best rivalries in the sport. If Syracuse/Virginia is the SU/UConn of lacrosse, this is like playing Georgetown in basketball. This is the team we hate the most. Look for some big hits, some awesome goals, and some major lacrosse moves going on. Tune in if you can, between all this NCAA action. After all, Syracuse basketball doesn't play that day.

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Happy Fucking Birthday

On March 12, 2005, I started this little Internet rag. The initial posting was forgettable and genius at the same time:

There's Only One Thing Left To Do... Strut!

Coming into Thursday, who would have thought that SU would hold 20-point advantages in each contest?

Just a super effort.

Now, if the lacrosse team can manhandle Georgetown out in California tonight, the cherry on the sundae will officially be laid.

... And Greg Rommel, the "Orange Fox", stormed the Southern California sand to deliver lacrosse liberty to the west coast masses....

Syracuse would go on to lose that lacrosse game to Georgetown. A mere six days later -- a day that would assume the moniker of "Black Friday" -- Syracuse would head out to Worcester, Massachusetts and take a Sorrentine right to the beanbag.

So, for the record: Six days of blogging; two horrendous Syracuse defeats.

Everything was coming up famous.

I'd like to say that things in the Orange Empire improved as this notebook trotted along, but that would be fairy tale fabrication. From the moment this blog assumed operation, Syracuse athletics went directly into the dumper. To wit:

  1. The Syracuse-Vermont fiasco.
  2. The hiring of Greg Robinson.
  3. The tenure of Greg Robinson.
  4. Gerry McNamara's traitorous groin.
  5. The lacrosse team failing to make its first Final Four in 22 years.
  6. And on, and on, and on . . . .

You're welcome, I guess. Now you know who has ruined your life for the last five years. Again, no need to thank me; the pleasure was all mine.

Anyway, I wrote Orange::44 for about a year and a half, and then took Brian aboard because I was studying for the bar exam. One thing lead to another and I started writing for Fanhouse, which ended in epic failure as A) I never gave a shit what I wrote about; and B) How could I believe in a platform that I didn't even want to read?

And, despite my blatant neglect toward it, Orange::44 persevered. There is something to be said about things that are "firsts": They are fucking impossible to kill. Even though I can neither confirm or deny that Orange::44 was the "first" anything, I claimed that it was the first fully-developed Syracuse blog and therefore it became bullet fucking proof.

And then I literally tried to kill it. I was sick of this blog. I even went as far as to tell Brian that I was shutting this thing down because I didn't want to write it anymore. He still wanted to write it (each man has his own vices, I suppose), so I passed the torch to him and I went on to write the most horrible piece of rubbish on the Internet.

Everybody wins, I guess. Except Georgetown. The Hoyas lose mightily.

And so we've come full circle. Syracuse will play Vermont on Friday -- another Friday game against the Catamounts?!? -- and I'll write something stupid on the Internet. I won't write it here, but it will be written somewhere.

And something will be written here, but I won't write it. That should be good enough; if it isn't, then I wish you a thousand dinosaur ass rapings.

- The Syracuse Blogfather (A.K.A, "The Glaude," "Hoya Suxa," et al.)

Alright guys, get back on the plane.

Well that sucked right? Frankly it didn't matter much. Syracuse still got a #1 Seed in the NCAA Tournament as I correctly stated, like everyone else, was a lock. But that still didn't take away from the fact that Syracuse hats losing to Georgetown. I mean, we had beat them twice before so it was fairly reasonable to expect to do it three times. However, despite what some experts think about teams, no matter what you are ranked or how good you are, the simple fact remains: In the Big East any rival can beat another. This time Georgetown beat Syracuse in the Big East Tournament 91 to 84.
Once the two teams decided to not miss every shot Syracuse played pretty well in the first half. They made shots, and Syracuse was able to get the ball inside for good looks in the low post. Syracuse was up at the half barely 40 to 30. Syracuse has lately demonstrated an inability to put teams away and that was evident in this game. In the second half Georgetown continued to dissect the zone, where Syracuse missed jump shots, and more disheartening, lay ups. While Georgetown scored at a regular clip in the second half, Syracuse had two significant scoring droughts that put Georgetown up. They didn't look back. On top of that, Arinze Onuaku went down with a knee injury. Syracuse failed to come back and they exited the Big East Tournament thanks to a tough Georgetown team and mostly Greg Monroe.
Big East player of the year Wes Johnson was Syracuse's leading scorer. He had 24 points on 10-17 shooting from the floor. He played well and hit shots from the floor except for when Syracuse really needed the help towards the end of the game. He also had seven rebounds, three steals, and two blocks.
Both Syracuse and Georgetown shot the ball well in this game. Georgetown shot just slightly better with 57.9% versus 54.2% from the floor. Syracuse was also outrebounded in this game 28-26. But the real statistic that hurt the Orange was Turnovers. They had 17 in this game to Georgetown's 11. While Syracuse made the tough shots from behind the arc (11-20, 55%), they missed several lay ups down the stretch. Scoop Jardine missed two as the time was ticking down, and Rick Jackson missed four. Additionally Johnson, although trying to do his best to bring Syracuse back, missed some highly contested jumpers along the baseline. Syracuse played in panic mode the last four minutes and it did not suit them well. Syracuse has to continue to score throughout a game and survive runs better against top teams.
Again this story was significant at the time, but really isn't overall save for the injury to Onuaku. All reports indicate it is a quad strain and is all but out for this weekend's NCAA games. He should be ready to go by the 3rd Round should Syracuse advance to the Sweet 16 and improves daily. However besides singing as a loss to Georgetown it isn't like we won two out of three against our arch rival this season.
The Big East Tournament
By now you know that West Virginia beat Georgetown for their first ever Big East Tournament Championship. Congrats to them and star player Da'Sean Butler for hitting two brutally massive shots to end games. He was simply brilliant, and very Gerry McNamara-esque in how clutch he happened to be on the floor of MSG. Good for them and I can't feel too bad as they played the best in New York and had never won it before. Plus they beat Georgetown, which is always good. I hope to watch them in person in the second round in Buffalo this coming Sunday.

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Programming Notes

The second best basketball tournament in the nation.
I've been too busy with real life, being mopey about losing to Georgetown, and making plans for the Big Dance to recap the past couple of days in the Tourney. However, Sunday and Monday we will catch you up will full recaps of the best conference in the country, as well as the standard postgame reactions from Georgeotown, some bracket analysis of Syracuse's road to be announced Sunday night, lacrosse news as Syracuse takes on Georgetown today, as well as a week long celebration all next week of Orange::44's 5th Anniversary, the oldest exclusively Syracuse blog on the internet. Big doings around here as we hunker down for a magical March run. So enjoy some green beer, watch Selection Sunday, and get ready for some cool shit going down from us very soon.

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Jimmy Boeheim Is Ready

Jimmy B, keeping it casual with Jason Hart as Casual Hoya would say.

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Syracuse students agree: A 3rd time would be a charm.
Between DePaul, South Florida, and Georgetown in the bracket leading up to Syracuse's first game in the Big East Tournament you knew it was going to end up being another classic match between rivals Syracuse and Georgetown. #8 seed #22 Georgetown takes on #1 seed #3 Syracuse in the first game of the Quarterfinals at high noon. This is what the Big East Tournament is all about. Great teams and rivals playing each other to stay in the big city. This game is far from a mystery however, not just because these two teams have played, but because they are one of three teams for Syracuse that they have played twice. Both teams know the gameplan going in. Syracuse will try to feed the ball inside for looks at the low post, as well as causing turnovers for baskets in transition. Georgetown will conversely slow the game down and try to get zone penetration to kick the ball out for good looks behind the 3 point line, or collapsing the defense so stud Greg Monroe gets a short, uncontested trip to the hoop. They will also try to slip behind the back line of the zone and get quick buckets and back door cuts. As you probably know, Syracuse ended up on top in the two previous contests this season by doing well the things Syracuse does well. But when it comes to rivalries and the Big East Tournament, rankings and records do not matter. It comes down to who executes. And no one has a better defense in the Big East than Syracuse. Additionally, no one shoots the ball better than Syracuse. Look for Andy Rautins to regain his shooting touch on the garden parkay floor. Additionally Syracuse should capitalize on points of turnovers and have the transition game working. If Syracuse can push the tempo, cause contested three point looks for Georgetown, and make it hard for Greg Monroe while staying out of foul trouble, Syracuse should earn a close but significant third win over Georgetown. Syracuse will have to rebound as well. Earning second chance looks, and boxing out Georgetown by rebounding off missed threes should happen. There are more stakes on the line between Hoya Suxa and The Casual Hoya, so this game has even more meaning. Syracuse needs to bounce back for confidence sake. Look for Syracuse to earn victory number three over Georgetown on the season in MSG by 12.

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2010 Big East Tournament - Second Round Recap

And the basketball kept on a rollin'.
Day two of the Big East Tournament has concluded. And it ended about like we though. The higher seeds all advanced because they are more talented. And despite some absolutely gritty performances some outstanding basketball games will be in store for the quarterfinals tomorrow.
Game 5: #9 South Florida v. #8 Georgetown
This was another low scoring first half, as there were only 15 total points scored after six full minutes of play. Both teams had their inside games working in this one but, as I said yesterday, jump shots would be an issue for USF. And they were. South Florida was 1-10 from behind the arc. Greg Monroe was working hard and making baskets as Georgetown continued to feed him down low. Georgetown led at the half 31-19 before going on to beat USF by a 20 point margin, 69-49. USF's Dominique Jones continued to play well, earning 21 points, five rebounds, and four assists. The scoring was a little more spread out for Georgetown as both Greg Monroe and Jason Clark had 16 points. Monroe also had eight rebounds. Georgetown shot the ball well on the day, finishing 45.8% from the floor, while USF finished shooting 29.1% USF finishing their BET run probably just on the wrong side of the NCAA bubble.
Nexe Game #8 Georgetown v. #1 Syracuse 12:00pm EST (ESPN)
Game 6: #13 St. John's v. #5 Marquette
St. John's looked badly overmatched in the first half but somehow managed to only be down to Marquette 27-17 at the half. Both teams did not shoot particularly well. However while Marquette pounded the ball inside with Lazar Hayward, and had some solid shooting from others, St. John's shot around 70% from the floor for a good portion of the second half which spurred a comeback. Marquette had a 14 point lead they saw dwindle to a four point deficit in favor of the Red Storm. However big time three point shooting from Marquette tied it up again and free throws iced the game for the 'Quette as they survive and advance. They won a close one 57 to 55. DJ Kennedy and Sean Evans both had 12 points each for St. John's. However Lazar Hayward had the game high 20 points and nine rebounds for Marquette. Marquette ended up shooting 52.5% from the floor and they hit 10-18 (55.6%) from behind the arc, while St. John's shot 43.1% and 20% respectively from the floor. St. John's did own the boards however in what could be Coach Norm Roberts last game at the helm of St. John's, despite all of his players being behind him. This was the tenth time in a row that Marquette as beaten St. John's.
Next Game: #5 Marquette v. #4 Villanova 2:00pm EST (ESPN)
Game 7: #10 Seton Hall v. #7 Notre Dame
Luke Harangody had sat out a few games before their last game of the season in which he played only around 11 minutes. He played 24 minutes off the bench in this one and had a sensational game. All the intangables went Notre Dame's way as errant bounces and scrappy plays all usually resulted in points for Notre Dame. They were up at the half 28-21. Notre Dame continued to shoot consistently and only allowed Seton Hall within nine in the second half after their biggest lead of 16 in the game. Seton Hall displayed some questionable defense on occasions, allowing Notre Dame free looks in the lane. They finished on top 68 to 56. Jeremy Hazell finished with a Hall high 15 points on 5-16 shooting and five rebounds. Notre Dame's Harangody led all scorers with 20 points, adding ten rebounds and looking like he was never injured. Seton Hall only shot 24.5% from the floor in this one, while Notre Dame shot 52.7%. Both teams shot poorly from behind the arc with the Hall making 2-16 and ND making 3-12. This should make Seton Hall's chances at an NCAA bid unlikely, but they sre still on the bubble with no bad losses and some quality wins.
Next Game: #7 Notre Dame v. #2 Pittsburgh 7:00pm EST (ESPN)
Game 8: #11 Cincinnati v. #6 Louisville
This was the best game of the day. Both teams started jacking up three pointers early and often, but Louisville's managed to hit and hit often. Cincinnati also only shot 28% from the floor in the first half, which was pretty ugly as well. Much like Notre Dame, it seemed like everything was going Louisville's way in terms of loose balls and broken plays. They led at the half 41-32. Louisville's Edgar Sosa finished the first half with six points, and started the second half with five. He played very well in thie game and gave the 'Ville some dagger moments in this game. However Cincy came back and tied the game with about 13 minutes to go. Then Cincy outhustled L'ville and got the ball inside. But the key for Cincinnati was offensive rebounds, of which they had 20 in the game. They got the ball inside and took the lead with everything going their way. Louisville made it interesting by hitting a three with 9.7 seconds left, but Cincy finishes on top in the big upset. They finish on top 69-66. Edgar Sosa was outstanding for L'ville, scoring a game high 28 points on 10-16, 5-6 shooting. Yancy Gates led Cincy with 16 points. L'ville out shot Cincinnati 44.4% to 34.7%. The Cards also owned the long ball, shooting 10-18 (55.6%), while Cincy only shot 4-18 (22.2%). Rebounds were again the key statistic for Cincy, as they outrebounded Louisville 46 to 29. Louisville is done but should be in the tournament, while Cincy rolls on in the upset victory.
Next Game: #11 Cincinnati v. #3 West Virginia 9:00pm EST (ESPN)
Some very entertaining games on the day as there were some unexpectedly close games and some very entertaining plays. Now the Big East will feature games with the top four teams in the league and most likely some excellent basketball that is even better than today.

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Day one ended about as expected.

The first day of the Big East Tournament ended and just like that, the better seeds advanced. Well, all the better seeds that is except Connecticut. But we'll get to that. The second round is set, so let's catch you up.
Game 1: #9 South Florida v. #16 DePaul
This game was never close after there was a 2-2 tie. South Florida then jumped out on top and finished the first half ahead 30-15. While USF struggled to score in the first part of the second half, South Florida stayed in control and finished with the win 58-49. Both Will Walker of DePaul and Dominique Jones of USF scored 20 points. Jones also added nine rebounds, four assists, and four steals. USF shot 43.3% from the floor, while DePaul continued their losing ways by shooting 29.9%. Interestingly enough, while DePaul hit 6-25 (24%) from behind the arc, USF went 0-8 from the floor. Literally none of USF's baskets were jump shots. For them to beat Georgetown they will have to get it done besides exclusively in the paint.
Next Game: #9 South Florida v. #8 Georgetown 12:00pm EST (ESPN)
Game 2: #12 Connecticut v. #13 St. John's
They say basketball is a game of runs, and UConn suffered at the hands of several that St. John's had. UConn couldn't seem to get a lot of shots fall, especially from behind the arc. St. John's was up 35-22 at the half, and finished fairly strong in the second as well, to end up beating Connecticut 73-51. St. John's Sean Evans had a game high 19 points and ten rebounds. Connecticut chose not to play some of their biggest stars in the second half for extended stretches. Additionally, not only did they play apathetically when in, but looked even worse while sitting on the bench. Although UConn positioned themselves in decent position to make a run at an NCAA bid, they most definitely gave it up in this game, and are firmly off the bubble.
Next Game: #13 St. John's v. #5 Marquette 2:00pm EST (ESPN)
Game 3: #10 Seton Hall v. #15 Providence
In what I predicted would be the best game of the first round, Seton Hall jumped out to a huge lead, only to see that lead evaporate in the second half. In a game which Providence considered defense optional, the Hall was ahead 55-39 at the half. But SHU failed to keep scoring consistently in the second half. Providence made a good run to close the deficit to five points with 22 seconds remaining. Providence outscored the Hall 67-54 in the second half, but Providence failed to bring it closer than three. The Hall escaped after blowing a 29 point lead 109-106. Jamine Peterson had a game high 38 points and 16 rebounds. Herb Pope was Seton Hall's leading player with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Despite the second half collapse, Seton Hall shot 53.7% on the day, as they head to the second round.
Next Game: #10 Seton Hall v. #7 Notre Dame 7:00pm EST (ESPN)
Game 4: #11 Cincinnati v. #14 Rutgers
In the day's sloppiest game, Cincinnati and Rutgers actually played a close one. It was far from a pleasure to watch though. This game went back and forth, as Rutgers had only a one point lead at the half. Then Cincy was able to get some breathing room on the back of some hot shooting. However, Rutgers closed the gap at the end of the game with good shooting from Mike Rosario who tied the game with just over 15 seconds to go. Then Cincy's Lance Stephenson drove in the lane and was fouled with 1.8 seconds left. He made the first to put them up one, and then wisely missed the second on purpose so that Rutgers wouldn't have time to run down any further and get a good look at the basket. Cincinnati escapes with a one point victory 69-68. Mike Rosario of Rutgers led all scorers with 28 points. Also Rutger's Jonathan Mitchell had 15 points and led their team with ten rebounds. Cincinnati's Lance Stephenson and Jaquon Parker each had 13 points, while Ibrahima Thomas had 13 rebounds for their team. Rutgers actually shot better on the day making 43.1%, while Cincy shot 37.7%. Cincinnati pulled away with a huge rebounding advantage 44 to 28.
Next Game: #11 Cincinnati v. #6 Louisville 9:00pm EST (ESPN)
Hopefully the second round will provide more exciting and competitive basketball games. Anything has to be better when you get rid of a few bottom teams right? The basketball continues from New York at noon.

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2010 Big East Tournament Preview

Live from New York, it's some great basketball.
The regular season is done. The seeds are set. The teams are heading back to Madison Square Garden for the most exciting and greatest conference postseason tournament. The bracket is all set, so dive in with me won't you?
First Round - Tuesday March 9th
Game 1: #9 South Florida v. #16 DePaul 12:00pm EST (ESPN 2)
Game 2: #12 Connecticut v. #13 St. John's 2:00pm EST (ESPN 2)
Game 3: #10 Seton Hall v. #15 Providence 7:00pm EST (ESPN U)
Game 4: #11 Cincinnati v. #14 Rutgers 9:00pm EST (ESPN U)
Second Round - Wednesday March 10th
Game 5: Winner of South Florida/DePaul v. #8 Georgetown 12:00pm EST (ESPN)
Game 6: Winner of Connecticut/St. John's v. #5 Marquette 2:00pm EST (ESPN)
Game 7: Winner of Seton Hall/Providence v. #7 Notre Dame 7:00pm EST (ESPN)
Game 8: Winner of Cincinnati/ Rutgers v. #6 Louisville 9:00pm EST (ESPN)
Quarterfinals - Thursday March 11th
Game 9: Winner of Game 5 v. #1 Syracuse 12:00pm EST (ESPN)
Game 10: Winner of Game 6 v. #4 Villanova 2:00pm EST (ESPN)
Game 11: Winner of Game 7 v. #2 Pittsburgh 7:00pm EST (ESPN)
Game 12: Winner of Game 8 v. #3 West Virginia 9:00pm (ESPN)
Semifinals - Friday March 12th
Game 13: Winner of Game 9 v. Winner of Game 10 7:00pm EST (ESPN)
Game 14: Winner of Game 11 v. Winner of Game 12 9:00pm EST (ESPN)
Championship - Saturday March 13th
Championship: Winner of Game 13 v. Winner of Game 14 9:00pm EST (ESPN)
Best First Round Matchup: #10 Seton Hall v. #15 Providence
Seton Hall has surprisingly crept out of the bottom four slots in the league on the back of Jeremy Hazell and Herb Pope. Providence is by all accounts a decent team with good shooters but they have lost their last ten games. However it took a last second shot for Pittsburgh to beat them. If they can play smart and take good shots they have a chance to beat Seton hall. This is a rematch of the two team's last game of the season in which Seton Hall won by 12 points. Can Providence pull the upset and avenge their last loss to get some momentum to end their season? We'll find out.
Best Potential Second Round Matchup: #9 South Florida v. #8 Georgetown
South Florida shocked Georgetown in their only meeting this season in DC. USF won 72-64, right off of G'town's throttling of Duke in front of the President. USF is probably in the NCAA Tournament, but another win over Georgetown would solidify their chances, while Georgetown would like to avenge that earlier embarrassment on their home floor. Plus these two teams are pretty even, so it should be a good game regardless.
Best Potential Quarterfinal Matches: #8 Georgetown v. #1 Syracuse OR #5 Marquette v. #4 Villanova
Syracuse has the potential to sweep Georgetown for three games. They accomplished this back in 2004. One of the hardest things to do is beat a team three times during a season, and Syracuse has the potential to do it with Georgetown, their most hated rival. Georgetown almost made an epic comeback in DC to almost beat Syracuse, so you know they'd love another shot at them.
Marquette lost to Villanova twice this season, but each time it was only by two points. Although Marquette lost in overtime in their last game of the season to Notre Dame, they are still 8-2 in their last ten. They are playing well and could get over the Villanova hump. Meanwhile, Villanova got beat in their last game of the season so winning their first game in NY will be good for their confidence. Plus Villanova is always exciting in Madison Square Garden. This could be another great game between these two schools.
Best Potential Semifinial Matchup: #3 West Virginia v. #2 Pittsburgh
The Backyard Brawl produced two great and dramatic games this year. In their first meeting in Morgantown, Pittsburgh walked away with a big victory despite the rowdy hometown fans throwing things on the court and hitting a Pitt assistant with a quarter in his face. In Pittsburgh, West Virginia had a big lead, but Pittsburgh came roaring back to tie the game, sending it to overtime a total of three times before the game was decided. A third time could and should be another epic in the making.
Best Potential Championship Matchup: #1 Syracuse v. #2 Pittsburgh
Syracuse was the best team in the Big East. Pittsburgh was one of the two teams that beat them this season. Pittsburgh, much like Syracuse, came from obscurity this season and rose to the top of the conference. Syracuse is dying for a chance to beat a team that beat them earlier, while Pittsburgh wants to get another Big East Championship and some momentum heading into the NCAA Tournament. Plus these two teams have provided some great Big East Tournament games and Championships. If both these teams manage to make it to Saturday it should be a fun one to watch.
Players To Watch For:
#1 Syracuse - Andy Rautins and Wes Johnson
By now you know that Wes Johnson can be an absolute superstar on the floor. He is good for a couple massive slam dunks per game. But he can also shoot the ball if he is 100%. He'll draw much of the attention in the Garden. Andy Rautins is Syracuse's sharpshooter. He carried Syracuse through that magical 6 OT game last season, and if anyone has a chance to catch some MSG magic, it will be Rautins.
#2 Pittsburgh - Ashton Gibbs
He has been a spark and a vast improvement from last year to this year for Pittsburgh. He drilled a long three to win the game for Pitt against Providence and clinch the double bye for his team. This is a guy that can do damage behind the arc or in the lane for Pitt.
#3 West Virginia - Da'Sean Butler
He is the leading scorer on one of the toughest team in the league. He is a sharpshooter and has the ability to carry his team, and in crunch time he can certainly drain threes in a pressure situation.
#4 Villanova - Scottie Reynolds
The sure bet for Big East Player of the Year, Scottie can do it all. He can score, pass, shoot, and is dazzling to watch on occasion. He makes Villanova dangerous in any game they play.
#5 Marquette - Lazar Hayward
He scores 18 points a game in a Marquette team that could catch fire in New York, as they have a decent chance to get to Friday night.
#7 Notre Dame - Luke Harangody
He's been sidelined lately with an ankle injury, but he played limited minutes in their last game on Saturday. He could get back to form in the Big East and get back to scoring 23 plus points a game.
#8 Georgetown - Greg Monroe
He is probably the most talented big man in the league. He can score in the low post practically at will if not defended by an experienced center. He will keep Georgetown in a game or he can bury a team from the paint.
#9 South Florida - Dominique Jones
He is the second leading scorer in the conference and can score from anywhere on the floor. He has snuck under the radar because his team has been up and down, but they are poised to make it to the NCAA Tournament and he can do damage in this tournament as well.
I think the Championship will come down to Syracuse v. West Virginia on Saturday night, with Syracuse earning another tight win in a classic in New York City. I think Syracuse will win the Big East Championship by five points and the Most Valuable Player of the tournament will be Andy Rautins.
So there you have it, your complete guide and preview to the Big East Tournament. Stay tuned everyday right here at Orange::44 for total coverage of every game in the Garden. The Big East has a good chance of getting a record nine or ten teams in the NCAA Tournament this year, and there will probably be a few upsets along the way, so it should be pretty exciting. If you're interested in odds, Ken Pomeroy has crunched the numbers for you in a great article here. Tune in because every game should be entertaining. Well, maybe not if in involves DePaul.

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