1. Orange::44: Scottie Reynolds seems like he's been at Villanova forever. What kind of legacy do you see him having once he finally leaves school?
IBBW: It really depends on how this year shakes out. If we go back to the Final Four, he's in the conversation for greatest ever. If we win it all, he's absolutely the greatest to ever wear a 'Nova uniform. He's got a great shot at becoming the all-time leading scorer in school history (I think he's got it in the bag actually).
Really, he's been the rock of this program for the last 4 (okay fine, 9) years. After Ray, Foye and Lowry left there was a lot of uneasiness about what would happen to the program. His freshman/sophomores years both felt like they would be spent rebuilding, but he continually took us to the NCAA Tournament and beyond.
I think I'm in love with him.
2. Orange::44: How has your team managed to be so successful this season? Is Jay Wright doing something different or is it simply a matter of talent?
IBBW: A lot of it is just pure talent. You've got Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher, who you could argue are the top 1-2 combo in the country some nights. Pena has really stepped up his game and is filling Cunningham's role nicely, and Reggie Redding and Corey Stokes have been there too. Then you have the new guys, who have all been fabulous for freshman. Even Mouphtaou Yarou seems to finally be coming on.
Jay deserves his credit too though, as he's instilled an attitude amongst the team that 1. we're a team, not a bunch of players, and 2. your spot is not safe. That has led to a lot of the younger guys only getting 5-8 minutes a game, but they KILL themselves while they are out there. They know their role and they are good at it, because every one of them has gone through the doghouse phase it's felt like where their effort wasn't up to par.
3. Orange::44: Unlike Syracuse getting flack for LeMoyne beating them in a fake game, Villanova got beat in a real one by Temple in their home gym. Temple is a pretty good team this year, but it's still Temple. What happened?
IBBW: You son of a bitch, I knew you'd bring it up. Temple has turned into a pretty decent team this season, so it doesn't hurt as bad, and all 'Nova fans are accustomed to our one "what the hell?" OOC loss every year.
In that game, Temple (specifically Juan Fernandez) shot the friggan lights out and we couldn't shoot it in the ocean. They are a great defensive team, so I wasn't SHOCKED we didn't shoot well, but I was shocked at how they shot. That is really the story of the game. They would wind the clock down, hoist a 3, and bury it.
4. Orange::44: How will Villanova attack this revamped 2-3 Zone and do you think they will find success?
IBBW: I know you don't want to hear it, but we are one of the few teams that has consistently been able to beat your zone. I realize it is revamped, and I also realize that we don't have Dante Cunningham's automatic 12-15 footer anymore, which is a big issue.
Pena hasn't shown he can hit that foul-line jumper, but I think he's a smart enough player to do some damage in that area. And we're also going to need Corey Stokes and Taylor King to have great shooting nights. There will be stretches where we can't get it inside, so can we hit the jumpers? That's a big issue. Corey Fisher should be able to get by the top of that zone though, and he can cause havoc in the lane.
5. Orange::44: Who, besides Reynolds, will step up for Villanova and make an expected or unexpected impact on the game?
IBBW: As I just mentioned, Stokes and King will be huge. If we're going to win they need to hit some treys. Corey Fisher as well, because if he can get into the zone, he can get the bigs in foul trouble and finish as well. And lastly, Antonio Pena and Mouphtaou Yarou are going to need to deal with Jackson and Onuaku. They're a load. Pena needs help and Yarou looks like he cold be ready to play some D.
6. Orange::44: Finally, prediction time. How do you see this game playing out? Who do you see claiming the top spot in the league?
IBBW: My head says Syracuse. Playing too well right now, and The Dome is going to be insane (still pissed I'm not going). I think they'll be too much for us at their place. I can't believe we aren't playing twice this year. Seems like a crime.
But who would I be if I didn't pick my boys? Scottie adds to his legend and gets us back into the hunt for a #1 seed and gives us the inside track to the conference title. 'Nova squeaks one out 78-76.
Thanks to Chris for the time and answering the questions. The answers to his questions on his site are right here. Get your knowledge on folks.
But it wasn't The Boss that I was itching to listen to; for most long road trips, I make a special CD. This trip would be no different. This one was called "Hoya Hater Birthday 2010" and kicked off with a special podcast recorded the night before by Brian (of Orange::44), Sean (of Nunes/Magician), and Matt (of Hoya Suxa). Because what's a better way to get into the mood to hate the Hoyas than by listening to three of the best in the business talk about it?
Soon after leaving the happy confines of Horseheads, I found myself one step closer to enemy territory, entering the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I couldn't help but think that someone with a Georgetown degree probably erected that sign. Getting deeper into Penn's Woods, I eventually found myself in Williamsport, the headquarters of Little League Baseball and the home of both a Subway and a McDonald's. This was clutch for me because I happened to have $5 in my wallet and a big appetite, along with a craving to have my first Shamrock Shake of the season. And so I had a wonderful birthday lunch consisting of a footlong Turkey & Ham, and a Shamrock Shake.
Reenergized, I continued on my way. Anyone who has ever made the trek through Pennsylvania knows that it goes on and on and on and on. So it was a very welcome sight to drive by this sign, entering Maryland. This was important for a number of reasons: I was no longer in PA; I was in an actual state; and I was almost to Washington! Oddly enough though, I was noticing that the farther south I drove, the more snow they had. Horseheads had a couple inches on the ground, but I get to Maryland and they have a couple feet!
Anyway, I eventually get into Washington, meet up with my friend Vicki, and hop on the Metro to head to the Verizon Center. For the first leg of our trip, we board the Orange Line. Unfortunately we have to transfer, but who do we bump into waiting for our next train at the transfer? The Congressional representative for Syracuse, Mr. Dan Maffei! And to his credit, he was wearing an orange tie and was also en route to the Verizon Center. Upon leaving the Metro, we walk to Clyde's, a bar next to the Verizon Center where the DC Alumni Club is having a pregame party. At the time I tweeted that there were ten thousand Cuse fans there. That may have been an exaggeration, but not by much. The entire place (huge, by the way), was completely packed with Cuse fans. And nearly everyone's wearing orange. And getting liquored up. It was certainly a great atmosphere to be in, especially when you're moments away from entering hostile territory against your most hated enemy. Strength in numbers always helps, which is why I was so happy to see the Clyde's crowd spill into the Verizon Center and virtually take over the place.
By the time we got into the concourse it was only a couple minutes until tip, so I made the executive decision to go right to my seat and wait until the under-16 timeout to get food and beer. On the way to my seat I hear a "Hey John" from behind me. I turn around to see Raymond, who I first met in New Orleans in 2003. More on this later. Anyway, I won't bore you with details of the game, but Syracuse got off to a hot start. There would be no spotting the Hoyas 14 points this go-around. At the first media timeout, I was back out to the concourse where I purchased a chicken sandwich and a Bud Light. 24oz. for $7.50. And I thought for about 30 seconds whether that was a better or worse deal than at the Carrier Dome. Then I figured out that 16oz. for $5 is the same. Though in the long run I gotta give the edge to the Verizon Center, since you can buy more beer at once.
So at halftime, Syracuse is up on the Hoyas 44-31. Just dominating the game. I like the position Syracuse has put itself in. Satisfied for the moment, I go get some more magic juice for the second half, and start having thoughts of how -- and when -- Syracuse would ruin the good thing they had going. I was never really able to pinpoint a how or a when, but I knew it would happen. And it did. Luckily thanks to Andy Rautins, the Orangemen never relinquished the lead they had since the opening tip. But I think all of Orange Nation inside the Verizon Center was standing and cheering the last 2 minutes of the game. And I'm sure a lot of the "Let's Go Orange!" chants were audible on TV. Just a great atmosphere to be in under those circumstances. Syracuse got to 75 points and I celebrated a fake Taco Time, and a few seconds later, celebrated a real victory over the Hoyas! I think we all just stood there and soaked it in: that Syracuse had beaten Georgetown in its own home, and had completed the season sweep! Clearly, it was time to go celebrate with some more adult beverages.
So we made our way to a bar near the Verizon Center, RFD. Lots of TVs including a bar upstairs. And virtually a sea of orange! I'm pretty sure all the Hoya fans went directly home after the game. So we're in there having a good time, and who to I run into again? Raymond. So how do I know him? Well, long story short, my first night in New Orleans for the Final Four in 2003 I get separated from my friends on Bourbon Street, and try to walk back to my hotel by myself. Let's just say I don't have all my wits about me, I get lost, and I get in a fight with some bushes. Well, Raymond and a friend of his happen to find me, are able to elicit important information from me (i.e. the hotel I'm staying at) and they help me walk there. It helped that they were staying at the same hotel. Evidently the whole walk home I kept saying "I just wanna go to my room!" I ran into him on Bourbon Street the next night, he filled in some gaps from the night before, and wanted me to say it again, "I just wanna go to my room!" From then on, I have run into Raymond in a number of places randomly, and he always puts in the request for me to say it. So anyway, back to the bar. We exchange pleasantries, he buys me a shot, and I continue with my evening. I met up with some other Syracuse friends and continued to enjoy the night.
The next day, I completed the governmental hat trick, visiting the White House, the Supreme Court, and the Capitol. I highly recommend doing all three. Just in case you've got a Georgetown education, here are photos of what each of the three buildings look like:
Now, hopefully I'll have a reason over the next several weeks to travel to other places besides Syracuse to watch them play basketball...
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
|Skate Expectations - Curling Team Tryouts - Colbert vs. Shuster|
Sadly for Shuster, before yesterday's match versus France in favor of alternate Chris Plys. USA subsequently won that match 4-3 by stealing a point in the 10th and final end. The reason was the bad performance of the US team in their first four games. Jason Smith, the Vice Skip, has been shooting brilliantly in the entire games and has taken to being the forth shooter and it paid off for the US against France.
The US Results so far are as follows:
Game 1: US* 5 v. Germany 7
Game 2: US* 5 v. Norway 6 (11 ends)
Game 3: US 6 v. Switzerland* 7 (11 ends)
Game 4: Denmark* 7 v. US 6 (11 ends)
Game 5: France* 3 v. US 4
And now we break down the levels of competition based on what we've seen so far into chances of making the medal rounds and talent:
Elite (Are in for the long haul. Will drink with you all night and end up at the diner stealing your bacon. Canadian bacon.)
Canada, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland
These teams are sitting pretty right now, as they are in the top four and are curling really well. Canada is on their home ice, Norway looks good, Sweden is just happy to be there, and Switzerland is indifferent. These teams are in control of their own destiny.
Game to watch for: Canada v. Great Britain Sunday Feb. 21 at 10:00pm EST.
Alright (Good for most of the night. They will drink for a while but will disappear without saying goodbye because their lady friend texted.)
Great Britain, Germany
Germany played a brilliant game against the US, and Great Britain is comprised of players from Scotland, the birthplace of the game, but have just come up short. These teams could get hot but are definitely on the bubble.
Game to watch for: Germany v. Great Britain Monday Feb. 22 at 10:00pm EST.
Not Good (Leaving early. Won't drink the shots you bought them and will sip the same beer for an hour while you plow ahead.)
China, France, Denmark, United States
The US has really had a disappointing route, losing three of their four games by simply missing routine or simple shots. China is relatively new at the sport, Denmark doesn't have cool pants and their only win was against a US team that failed to hit a final shot. France sucks at most things. These teams will really have to hope for the teams at the top to start sucking for them to even remotely have a chance.
Game to watch: The remaining US games.
Feb. 20 12:00pm EST v. Sweden
Feb. 21 5:00pm EST v. Great Britain
Feb. 22 12:00pm v. Canada
Feb. 23 10:00pm EST v. China
The ladies are not doing much better at 1-3, but they have a chance to move up more than the men do. Either way, it's exciting stuff. Enjoy the curling tweets, catch the curling fever (not an STD), and if you fancy, you too can own the lucky Norway curling pants, you can purchase them right here.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled SU sports analysis. For now. Lacrosse Weekly starts up soon. In the meanwhile, I was on Matt Mc's Sports Fix yesterday talking about the Georgetown game, so go here and download the podcast, or just click here.
So now to my opinion. Frankly I like these uniforms overall. They aren't that different from the last set of uniforms really. If anything, especially on the orange jerseys, they improved them by removing the grey accents on the shoulders. Basically they are just lighter and more breathable versions of what we already have. Seriously though, can we stop having so much grey? Orange, navy, and white should be all that we ever have on a uniform. A nice navy number outlined in white would be perfect on these jerseys. Other than that, I'm sold enough. What do you think?
UPDATE: To Illustrate my point, what do you think of this?
Rick Jackson was the leading scorer for the 'Cuse. He had some nifty moves in the post including some scoop shots when Gavin Edwards was defending him well. Jackson earned 15 points on 6-10 from the floor and 3-5 from the free throw line. He also pulled down seven rebounds and had three blocks. He was the player of the game without really making it obvious.
What was obvious was again the key play of Kris Joseph off the bench. He had 14 points on only 4-11 shooting, but he was a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line. The free throws were key as somehow no team has figured out the old "home run ball" inbound play.
Wes Johnson had a decent game overall with 13 points and nine rebounds, but it was really the rebounding that was good in this game as his offense was not in prime form. He was 4-12 from the field. The nine rebounds tie for a team lead with Arinze Onuaku, who also added seven points in only 21 minutes of action. He did however have a game high six blocks from the floor. That is four more blocks in the game than conference leading blocker Gavin Edwards. Syracuse led in blocks with 12, while Connecticut, a team that has dominated the conference in blocks the last several years, had three. Syracuse also surprisingly led in rebounding by one with 38.
Andy Rautins and Scoop Jardine distributed the ball well in this game. They each had five assists for Syracuse, while Rautins added eight and Jardine added seven points. Syracuse finished with 17 assists versus UConn's 13. Rautins and Jardine also combined for only five turnovers. Syracuse finished with 20, which was part of the reason UConn almost won this game and came back from a big deficit. Connecticut had 15, while also earning 13 steals.
Syracuse shot their lowest field goal percentage of the season with 42.6% (23-54) from the floor. It does make sense as the league's best defense started shutting down Syracuse in the second half. They did shoot better than Connecticut however, probably putting Syracuse head of UConn in field goal defense. They shot 38.8% (26-67) from the floor. It was basically a wash in three point baskets however. Syracuse was 3-13 (23.1%), while UConn got 4-16(25%). Syracuse really shot their free throws well in this one however, far better than against Cincinnati. They made 23-28 (82.1%), while Connecticut made only 11-17 (64.7%).
Now onto the controversy. The applicable NCAA rules are as follows: Rule 5, Section 10, Art. 4 states: “The game clock and shot clock, if running, shall be stopped when an official grants a coach’s or player’s visual or oral request for a time out." Rule 5, Section 12, Art. 1 adds: “No timeouts shall be granted unless there is a player control by the requesting team." Also Rule 5, Section 13, Art. 1 says: “A timeout shall be granted and charged after a player or head coach makes a visual or oral request and when a player of that team is in control of the ball." In summary, it basically says that if the clock is moving the official stops it by granting a time out if a coach or player verbally or physically signals for one and that the team calling the time out has to possess the ball. Simple stuff that any college basketball fan is probably aware of. After studying the tape (because in person I had no clue how a timeout was called) it clearly shows that Jim Boeheim signals for a time out when the ball is possessed by Jardine before making his move to the basket in the lane. Referee John Cahill then signals for the time out to be granted, however this was after Jardine made the move to the basketball and subsequently lost the ball. This is irrelevant however if Boeheim signaled for the time out and Cahill grants it, be it when Jardine actually had the ball or not. It is very similar to the situation in football that happens quite frequently when a coach on a sideline calls a time out before the snap, but because the referee has to signal and run in to stop the play, sometimes the other team snaps the ball first. The time out is still valid and that time is then put back on the clock. The exact same thing happened here. Cahill and the other referees looked at the tape, determined when Boeheim actually called the time out, and adjusted the time accordingly. Despite the fact that Cahill was, for one reason or another, delayed in actually granting the time out, he still knew that Boeheim had called it when Jardine possessed the ball, making it a valid time out, and further supporting this by adding the time back on the clock. Additionally, if you notice in watching the tape, Cahill waves his arms in the "no shot" motion. Meaning that the time out was called before the ball left his hand and before his "shot" at the hoop. Hopefully this should put your mind at ease because despite all of that, UConn would have lost anyway. Jerome Dyson missed a three pointer that Kris Joseph rebounded and was subsequently fouled. Additionally, the inexperienced Majok caused an intentional foul by shoving rather than making it look like he was trying to strip the ball. Syracuse would have won either way, but the time out was also proper.
Despite how tight this was at the end this was another win for Syracuse, making it even sweeter that it was over rival UConn. Sadly Jim Calhoun wasn't there, but I guess you cannot have everything in life. Syracuse will take this one, streak alive, home court defended, and look to do the same as Louisville comes to town on Valentine's Day. Hopefully next time however, they do not squander a big lead, giving me unnecessary stress at the end of another big game. Despite the fact that UConn is floundering this year does not mean I want to dismantle them any less. I can never stand losing to Connecticut.
As for our little t-shirt contest, the teams combined for a total score of 139 points. Guesser "Mike" hit this perfectly on the head. Then there were two guesses of 138, however one guessed closer to Andy Rautins point total, therefore our second and final winner of this round is "OrangemenNotOrange". Would you too kindly e-mail me via the address on the sidebar to claim your prize. Sizes will be granted based on first come, first serve. Congratulations to the winners! If you didn't win this round, don't fret. We'll have another set of shirts to give away next week.
PS - Jerome Dyson and Kemba Walker are slightly underrated. Stanley Robinson is probably correctly rated. Gavin Edwards... substantially overrated.