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Syracuse - DePaul Preview

Syracuse students agree: Happy New Year and DePaul is awful.
Syracuse demolished Seton Hall at home in a revenge game from the year before. While Syracuse has had some sketchy history at DePaul, Syracuse beat DePaul in the Dome 107 to 59 last season. And being the #1 team in the nation doesn't hurt.
Syracuse finished their revenge with a crushing of the Hall in the Carrier Dome. But while it was notable that the scoring was spread around, and Fab Melo set a school record for blocks in a game with ten, it was the defense that reigned supreme. They held a Big East opponent to under 50. In the Big East, that is almost unheard of. Syracuse caused 23 turnovers. The defense for Syracuse is playing out of their mind. DePaul is currently 9-3. Of the nine wins, if any were impressive I'd note them here. They aren't. As a matter of fact, their strength of schedule is ranked 232nd. Only 22 teams in the nation have a worse SoS. Cleveland Melvin and Brandon Young are a nice pair of sophomores. Young a nice combo guard averaging 17.4ppg, and Melvin a forward leading the team with 18.5ppg. DePaul is not a good 3 point shooting team though. Shooting 34% as a team, none of their two big stars hit them frequently. So Syracuse will need to guard the inside of the zone. This is the biggest test of the season for DePaul, and they should be shell shocked. Syracuse should roll in another "true road game" but since Illinois is closer to Syracuse than North Carolina, this game is already downgraded to "neutral court". Either way, DePaul's students are still on break, not many people go to DePaul games anyway, and despite being hyped to play #1, DePaul is way overmatched in this game. Syracuse will roll in Chicago, beating DePaul by 28.
This game will be shown on ESPN 3, but also TWCS and SNY at 5:00pm EST. If you can stand the bloodbath while you're hungover on New Years Day. Always a fun day, like SU killing Notre Dame last season.

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Seton Hall - Syracuse Postgame OR Ass-Kicking

Look at the form on that jumper!
Wednesday night was the Big East opener for Syracuse.  Seton Hall, meanwhile, wasn't quite sure where it was.  Maybe it was stuck dreaming of that drubbing it gave Syracuse last January.  Maybe it was simply left in New Jersey.  Maybe, just maybe, Seton Hall isn't all that good.  At any rate, Syracuse played at a high level the entire game, and ended victorious, 75-49.
  • Syracuse never trailed in this game; and although it wasn't a good offensive game, it was good to see them put points on the board early and consistently.  Having a lead in Big East games -- especially early -- is the key to doing well in conference games.
  • The leading scorer for the Orange was, you guessed it, Kris Joseph Dion Waiters.  He scored 15 off the bench.  Kris Joseph had a whopping 0.  Zero.  None.  That's how good this team is.
  • Other important offensive play came from Brandon Triche (11 points), CJ Fair (9 points), James Southerland (8 points)... oh, and Fab Melo.
  • Here's Fab's line: 25 minutes, 6-of-9 for 12 points, seven rebounds, an assist, and 10 blocks.  That results in an unconventional double-double, and those 10 blocks set a new Syracuse record for blocks in a game.
  • To get that sort of effort, on both ends of the floor, from a kid with only a few years of basketball experience and a rather forgettable freshman year is just phenomenal.  And a huge testament to the hard work Fab has been putting in to get better.
  • For all the hype around Pirate center Herb Pope, Syracuse was able to neutralize him.  While grabbing nine rebounds, Pope was only able to score four points but, more importantly, coughed up the ball six times.
  • In all, Seton Hall turned the ball over 23 times -- and each player logging playing time (five starters & fine bench players) had at least one turnover.
  • On the turnover issue, Matt Glaude had a great post over on NunesMagician.com yesterday.  Check it out.
  • The Hall out-rebounded the Orange 39-37.  But, whatever.
  • Baye Keita only played nine minutes, but he made the most of them.  He was active, scored six points, pulled down two rebounds on the offensive end, and even had a block.
  • Baye was a good compliment to James Southerland, who also had solid play in his 17 minutes.
  • How intense is Michael Carter-Williams?  That kid is fearless.  He'd walk right into a gunfight with only a paperclip, and not be afraid to walk up to the sharpshooter and stick that paperclip in the shooter's eye.  I really don't know where I'm going with this analogy, other than to say he'll do whatever needs to be done, no questions asked.
  • Though walk-on Matt Tomaszewski made it in the game before the other walk-ons and logged two minutes in the game, he never got a chance to shoot the ball.  He remains a perfect 7-7 from three.
  • Yeah, that's right.  Walk-ons.  In a Big East game.  This does happen from time to time.
  • Announced attendance was 25,081.  That's great, especially considering it was a winter break game so the students weren't there.
  • Unfortunately, about 25,000 of those fans participated in the wave.  We really need to get that PSA out there again.
  • Revenge is sweet.
Now, I know this is Seton Hall, and they're not really that good, but it doesn't matter who you play.  You win the game.  Especially with it being the start of the conference slate, it's so much better to notch that first win and shoot to first place in the league standings.  Instead of, you know, last place.  Must be demoralizing to be down there with DePaul.  Oh yeah, DePaul.  We'll see you on Sunday!

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Seton Hall - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: The opening of the league is exciting.
Syracuse opens Big East play against Seton Hall. Normally that wouldn't be cause for alarm, except that the last time they visited the Carrier Dome they simply put a wallop on the Orange. Jeremy Hazell has graduated, leaving a lot of the points they scored in that game off the board. Should we still be worried?
It is the Big East after all. As the years have proven, it is certainly not unheard of to have an early upset in league play. Or late. Or in the middle. Either way, #1 Syracuse cannot be lazy in this game. Herb Pope returns, and when not fighting with Eric Devendorf, he is a very good low post player. He gets double-doubles and will probably be the leading rebounder in this game. He is also good at getting his own rebound and earning second chance points for himself. Fab Melo and Baye Moussa Kieta will have their hands full in trying to contain the leaner and more agile Pope (Protestants all fear this new Pope). While Hazell is gone, freshman Aaron Crosby is shooting 41.8% from behind the arc. And Fuquan Edwin adds 14ppg as well. This is a team that when taken lightly will burn you. But looking at their resume, their best win may be against Virginia Commonwealth. They have lost to Northwestern as their only loss, on neutral turf. And played the likes of Yale, Dayton, Wake Forrest, and Auburn. Their schedule doesn't impress me. Syracuse, having played #9 Florida, as well as NC State on the road, and the NIT in New York, is statistically a better scoring, rebounding, and assisting team. Not to mention that they are way deeper than the six to seven players Seton Hall uses regularly. Herb Pope will rebound like a beast, but the rest of the team will have to contend with offensive possessions against a 2-3 zone that they will not find as much success shooting over. On top of that, Syracuse is hungry for revenge from last season, is more capable of  big runs and transition baskets, and will not allow open shooters, nor are they as complacent as last year. This has the makings of a big win for the Orange to star their conference slate right. I think the Orange do win this game at home against the nuisance from New Jersey. I'm taking the Orange by 17.
This game will be broadcast in Upstate New York on TWCS and should be available elsewhere on SNY. It will also be shown on ESPN 3 (Watch ESPN) at 7:00pm. John and I will be in the Dome tonight so look for the occasional sassy tweet. Also, I apologize in advance to any readers from New Jersey, but you have to expect some Jersey slander when playing a team from there. It's the way Otto intended.

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Not much for Coach to get that upset about.
Syracuse had just one more game before the Christmas break and the start of the Big East Conference. The Green Wave (wearing light blue) looked fairly sharp, but they were eventually overpowered. Syracuse cruised to a perfect non-conference record for the third year in a row.
Syracuse started this game going back and forth with Tulane for the lead for the first ten minutes. Then after gaining a slight lead, at about the same time they took the lead against NC State, Syracuse's offense exploded with just over six minutes to play in the first half. Then went on to keep the pressure and the walk ons were in before the final two minutes. Syracuse was your winner 80 to 61.
  • Dion Waiters led Syracuse in scoring with 15 points off the bench in 24 minutes of work. He was 6-12, 2-4 from the floor.
  • James Southerland, Rakeem Christmas, and Fab Melo each had five rebounds. The team had a total of 28, one shy of Tulane's total.
  • Kris Joseph, Scoop Jardine, Brandon Triche, and Michael Carter-Williams each had three assists. Syracuse had 16 total. That is double what Tulane had.
  • Waiters led the team with two steals. Syracuse finished with seven, keeping up with their average.
  • Syracuse impressively had 11 blocks in the game. Four came from Southerland.
  • Syracuse kept the turnover limit low, only having seven in the game. Melo had the most with three. Syracuse caused 11 for Tulane.
  • Syracuse shot the ball well, hitting 26-51 (51%) from the floor overall. The Syracuse defense held Tulane to just 34% (17-50).
  • The Orange hit 10-21(47.6%) from behind the arc. Tulane also did well hitting 7-16 (43.8%).
  • SU also did well at the free throw line in this game, hitting 18-22 (81.8%).
  • That Matt Tomaszewski, a walk on, can shoot that three ball huh? He is a perfect 7-7 on the year.
The Orange now are home to enjoy Christmas with their families and will be back in Syracuse next week to get ready for their first conference game. Seton Hall will be coming into the Dome to take on the Orange and you know they will want to really beat them after last season's game. Luckily Jeremy Hazell is no longer on the team. Sadly they are not coached by Bobby Gonzalez has been gone for too long.
On another note, we here at Orange::44 wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. We'll be back next week with the usual previews and coverage as Syracuse moves on to conference play.

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2011 Orange Football Report Card

Even Santa cries about this season.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or Happy Holidays to all our loyal readers.  The 2011 Syracuse football season was, overall, a disappointment.  A losing season.  No bowl game.  Regression in many aspects of the game.  After each game this season, Orange::44 has graded the offense, defense, special teams, and coaching.  Now that the season is over, it's time for the final report card, to see the final averages for the team.  Let's just say, this isn't something to take home to mom & dad, hang on the refrigerator, and get a bonus in your allowance or a special dinner at that fancy restaurant.
Offense
Season GPA: 1.693
I think the offense is the unit that regressed the most through the season.  Led by quarterback Ryan Nassib, the offense started as a solid C unit.  It was getting the job done, putting points on the board, winning games.  It all peaked with that monster win over West Virginia.  And then, well, the bottom fell out.  The once-accurate Nassib was now badly missing his targets; receivers weren't getting open; the line couldn't hold open the pocket.  It was bad.  Antwon Bailey had a good season and will be known for being a small but strong runner who could make something out of nothing.  But too often he was a non-factor in this offense; there were some games where his numbers were simply awful -- not because he didn't play well, but because he wasn't given the ball.  Nassib will be returning for his senior year, and the young receiving corps will have a chance to shine next year, but there are a lot of questions to be solved between now and September.  Does this offense have the ability to do well?
Defense
Season GPA: 1.803
It wasn't always pretty, but often times this defensive unit kept the team in the game.  We'll put it on the offense as to whether a win resulted or not.  Coming off a 2010 campaign where the defense was strong, veteran, and clearly the most dominant unit on the team, the 2011 version had younger players, and some key injuries.  Most damaging was losing Chandler Jones after the Wake Forest game.  He provided a nice spark for the line upon his return, and was constantly able to put pressure on opposing QBs.  Jones also had the uncanny ability to be all over the field, following the ball and making stops.  I'm too lazy to look up the stats, but he probably led the team in tackles.  Maybe he should teach the rest of the defense how to tackle, because they were awful.  Just awful.  It was Greg Robinson Era tackling for many games.  Pass coverage was soft too... as if we had seen that before in a prior administration.  At any rate, a healthier, more experienced defense should help out this team next year.  Especially if Chandler Jones sticks around.  We need more interceptions from him like the one he got in Pittsburgh to close out the season.
Special Teams
Season GPA: 2.026
In many ways, this was not a typical season for the Syracuse special teams unit.  Filling the boot of Rob Long proved to be an extremely difficult task.  As a result, Syracuse gave up some yards on the field position game that hurt the defense.  Field goals & extra points weren't the automatics we were generally used to.  Toledo game, anyone?  The one bright spot on this squad was the kick return unit.  Led by Kobena & Graham, you could often times count on a nice run back and a good starting position for the offense.  Again, whether the offense would do anything with it would be up to the offense.
Coaching
Season GPA: 1.803
We all expected more out of Doug Marrone and his staff.  Sure, we had all gotten used to his conservative play-calling, but we weren't content with it.  Especially when we saw him open up the playbook at the Pinstripe Bowl last year, we all thought, maybe, we'd see an exciting offense this year.  Not so much.  There was the occasional trickery, razzle-dazzle, whatever you wanna call it.  Flea flickers, WR passes, a new name for the Wildcat.  But that was all pretty rare.  Outside of the play-calling, coaching disappointed me with the lack of discipline on this team.  False starts, holding, personal fouls.  Sure, those things are done by the players, but the leadership, the discipline, the preparation, they all come from the coaching staff.  You take a look at some of the boneheaded things that happened at the last home game against Cincinnati, or the season finale at Pittsburgh; those were the actions of a team in week 1 or 2, not week 12.  We saw some players face suspensions for "violating team rules," and you have to wonder what was going on in that locker room.  Was there a lot of in-fighting?  A mutiny?  This doesn't seem like Doug Marrone's team.  Not the Doug Marrone who cleaned house when he was hired, getting players off the team who weren't willing to buy into his work ethic and his way of doing things.  I don't know what it is.  That's a coaching issue, a team issue, that Marrone needs to regain in the off season.  Otherwise, all the talent in the world isn't going to win a game on the field next season.
Overall
Season GPA: 1.831 (C/C-)
You crunch the numbers and you end up with a C/C- and you think to yourself, "Yeah, that sounds about right."  On the lower part of the curve, decent, but not good enough.  At the halfway point, this team was 4-2, and I said they were either the best 4-2 team in the country, or the worst 4-2 team in the country.  It ended up being the latter.  Other than the upset victory over West Virginia, the Orange lost every game of the second half of the season.  And you look back at those four wins, and you realize they were just good enough to win those games.  Two of them required overtime.  We'd all be singing a different tune about "just good enough" if that equated into six wins and a bowl berth.  But five, just not good enough.  2011 wasn't a total failure; it's simply another chapter in the Syracuse anthology currently being authored by Doug Marrone.  We just hope that, as the pages turn from 2011 to 2012, the narrative doesn't turn into a horror story.

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Tulane - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: The last non-conf. game can't be a letdown.
Syracuse faces their final non-conference foe before the start of the Big East. Hanging onto #1 and having a day off, Syracuse looks to earn another statement win before taking on old foes. Tulane completes the football/basketball combo pack of this season. Let's take a look.
Syracuse is a bigger, more talented team. Tulane has a lofty 11-1 record on the season so far. Their only loss is on the road at Wofford. Their most impressive win is a two point victory over Navy at Navy. Tulane simply does not play on the road. Freshman Ricky Tarrant can shoot the ball, but Syracuse will be bigger and rebound better. And chances are while Tarrant will get some open looks and knock down a few, it should go like Tuesday's game. Sorry it's quick, but tip is in 30 minutes and I'm picking the Orange by 28.
Syracuse will be shown on TWCS, SNY, and ESPN 3. Enjoy the show. I'm not in the Dome but I'll be out watching it with enjoyable people. Watch if you can.

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Postgame Reactions from NCState & Bucknell

It would be the tale of two games for Dion
Syracuse has now played two games as the #1 team in the country.  It's just become so commonplace around here that we at Orange::44 almost decided to just not talk about the games.  You know, because it's awesome to be #1 and you're expected to win and so what's the sense of talking about it?
I'm kidding, obviously.  Let's get to the recaps.
December 17 at North Carolina State
This game got extra hype for a few reasons.  First, it was the first game for Syracuse as the #1 team in the country.  Second, it was Syracuse's "first true road game."  You put those two together and you have a recipe for disaster, at least based on recently-crowned #1s losing in their next road game.  I don't know how much farther you  (or ESPN) would want to take the useless-stat/tenuous-connection train there, but I'm disembarking right now.  And with that said, Syracuse cruised to an 88-72 victory.
  • Early action saw NCState pull off to a slight lead.  Then, with 8:16 left in the first half and the Wolfpack ahead 29-23, Syracuse woke up.  The Orange rattled off 23 unanswered points over the next 6:49 before NCState scored again.
  • It was an awesome stretch, which saw the likes of James Southerland and Dion Waiters really step up and carry the team.
  • Syracuse then started the second half extremely flat, even allowing the Wolfpack to come back and tie the game.  Luckily, a run around the 8-minute mark put Syracuse ahead for good.
  • Syracuse shot 57% from the floor, including 44% from three.  NCState was 58%, including 50% from three.
  • The leading scorer for Syracuse was Waiters with 22 points.  He also had three assists, a steal, and a block.
  • Dion and Kris Joseph played a team-high 32 minutes, and Kris was right behind Dion with 21 points. Still though, this was Dion's game.
  • But how nice is it for Joseph to have a quiet game and score 21 points?
  • Syracuse was out-rebounded 26-24, but it was clearly the turnover ratio that allowed Syracuse to go on those runs and build leads; Syracuse forced 18 turnovers while only coughing up the ball eight times
  • Lots of Orange down in Raleigh, and they let themselves be heard.  If you were there, kudos to you!
December 20 vs. Bucknell
I'll be honest: nothing about this game, before it happened, excited me.  Other than it being an opportunity to see the #1 team in action in person (and since I had season tickets), I really didn't want to go to the game.  I just did because, well, that's what I do.  And the other "17,000" who also attended the game, I think, had the same mindset as I did.  They were just there.  That "enthusiasm" carried over to the players, who were just there too.  But they won, 80-61, because, well, that's what they do.
  • Maybe it's because we're used to seeing Dion dominate games, so we get disappointed when he doesn't.  He didn't in this game: just four points and two rebounds in ten minutes on the floor.
  • One pleasant surprise was Rakeem Christmas.  'Tis the season, I guess, because he scored the first seven points for Syracuse.  On the night, Christmas scored ten points, had five rebounds, and two blocks in 14 minutes.
  • Up until now, Christmas had been the token starter, who got the hook early and whose minutes never amounted to much.  Was he becoming last year's Fab Melo?  Would it make sense to continue letting him start, even if he'd soon be pulled?  Would the confidence gained by staying in the starting lineup all season translate into the progress we saw from Melo from last year to now?
  • The other starters who stepped up were Kris Joseph, with the team high 17 points, and Scoop Jardine, adding 14.  Solid effort from both of them.
  • CJ Fair and Michael Carter-Williams were clutch off the bench, especially do-it-all MCW.  Their development in these non-conference games is vital to solidifying the strength and depth of the bench, which will make this team so deadly in Big East games, and provide a huge advantage come NCAA Tourney time.
  • Not much else to mention about this game.  It was kind of boring.  A win is a win.
And so, one more game remains before the Christmas (here, I mean the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus Christ, not our starting freshman), as the Tulane Green Wave visits the Dome on Thursday night.  That game will wrap up a stretch of three games where Syracuse plays a team whose nickname doesn't end in S (Wolfpack and Bison).  Earlier this season, Syracuse played the Stanford Cardinal and the Marshall Thundering Herd.  In Big East play, we'll of course see the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and the St. John's Red Storm.  By season's end (pending postseason opponents), Syracuse sees seven teams lacking that S on the end of its name.  Useless stat, but interesting nonetheless.

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Bucknell - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: Home or away the Orange are here to stay... #1.
Syracuse performed admirably on the road in the hostile environment of NC State's faithful (well the 2/3 of the arena that was for NC State if you believe reports). Now they are back in the comfy Teflon covered confines of the Carrier Dome. Bucknell comes into town to take on the red hot, undefeated Orange.
The Bison come in at 7-4 on the season. A Patriot League member, this team is not going to scare Syracuse or their fans into thinking an upset could be brewing. While Bucknell has a nice pair of shooters in Bryson Johnson and Cameron Ayers. Ayres leads the team in scoring and hits over 50% from long range. Syracuse will have to find these shooters. The good news is that Syracuse is very good at perimeter defense. Actually better than they were last season. Johnson was a starter before an injury and sat out Bucknell's last game. He will play and will be a spark off the bench for the Bison. The person Syracuse really needs to watch is forward Mike Muscala. He averages 13 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Syracuse has struggled this season with easy passes to the baseline behind the back row of the zone. Muscala has good post moves and Fab Melo and Baye Moussa Kieta could find themselves in foul trouble if they are too aggressive in defending the paint. He could also provide a problem for the Orange in rebounding. However, Syracuse leads the nation in steals and turnover margin. Syracuse should run this team out of the building, especially if this game turns into a track meet with their depth. Syracuse should earn a big win in this one. Syracuse over Bucknell by 24.
This game will be nationally televised on ESPN U at 7:00pm. John will be back tonight with a big recap of the NC State and Bucknell games. There are only two chances to see Syracuse before the heart of the Big East starts. Enjoy the blowouts and low pressure games while you can.

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Syracuse - NC State Preview

Syracuse students agree: The national media are gonna hype up the road angle.
Syracuse is now the #1 team in the nation. While Syracuse has traveled away from the Carrier Dome to New York City, this will be their first true road game, heading to future ACC opponent NC State down in the heart of ACC country. Can Syracuse stay undefeated and #1?
The short answer is yes. Syracuse takes on an NC State team that isn't all that impressive. They beat teams like Elon and Morehead State and lost to Stanford and Vanderbilt. They have two good players. Their best shooter is guard Scott Wood, hitting 56.8% from behind the arc. He is their only long range threat however. They will need to get the ball to forward CJ Leslie, averaging 12.8 points and who is capable of playing either forward positions. With only one legitimate outside shooting threat, Syracuse will concentrate on covering Wood from outside the arc. That means that the ball will be passed into the interior, where Syracuse will swarm the ball and make it difficult for NC State to score. Leslie will get some interior scoring opportunities, but will find it difficult working against the zone, a defense NC State doesn't usually play against. Making it more difficult is that the zone will not be stretched too badly with no real outside threat. If Syracuse covers Wood well, and they are able to rebound the ball well, this will be an easy game for Syracuse despite the hyped up NC State fans and team gunning for #1. If Syracuse prevents second chance points and easy buckets for the Wolfpack, this game will be all Orange. I think they do win by 12.
This game will be on ESPN 2 at 6:30pm, a delightful national broadcast. It will be the last major non-conference opponent before the conference slate, so this will be a fun test before the Big East kicks into full gear. And it will be a preview of a fun conference match up in the hopefully near future. Enjoy this between your college bowl consumption.

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Orange::44's Bowl Pick'em

#AllTheOranges
It's Bowl time again for college football. While Syracuse isn't attending, that means we can't celebrate the litany of meaningless but fun college football matchups, leading up to a computer deciding the two best teams in America playing for a giant crystal football. Join John and I in the Orange::44 College Bowl Pick'em. See if you know more about college football than us. Hell you might. But I'm a Blogpoll Voter. You're supposed to lie to me and kiss my butt. Anyway, it's on Yahoo. The group ID # is 11186. Or hopefully you can just click this link here to join. No password needed, the group is open to the public. Invite your friends. No prizes involved but pride. Enjoy.
PS - First bowl is Saturday the 17th. Get your picks in before that.

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But It's Not About Money...

Today, Bobby Davis and Mike Lang filed a civil lawsuit against Syracuse University and Jim Boeheim for defamation. It was one of those "Well we're really not surprised because anything can and will happen in this case" moments. And when this whole Bernie Fine thing broke -- still less than four weeks ago -- many were concerned about Jim Boeheim's comments and assertions to the press. The concerns haven't resulted in criminal liability for Boeheim or a firing by the University, but we've now seen Boeheim dragged into a courtroom. Him, before Fine, who may never see a courtroom in this case.
First, the suit itself. It was filed in New York County's Supreme Court. If you've seen an episode of the original Law & Order, this is the same court Jack McCoy prosecuted his cases. While the Boeheim lawsuit will obviously be in the civil part, not the criminal part, let's not lose the bigger picture here; this is Manhattan. This is a state suit under state law, so any county in New York has jurisdiction over this case. The specific county in which the suit is filed is the issue of venue, and by choosing Manhattan over Onondaga County, Davis & Lang (i.e. their attorney) is making a deliberate choice. Let's face it: money in Manhattan is a lot different than it is in Syracuse. The jury pool is the county of the lawsuit; think about who lives in Onondaga County versus who lives in New York County. Certainly not an indictment on what type of person lives in Onondaga County; they're regular people who understand regular things. But the type of people living in New York County are not farmers, are not blue collar workers, are not teachers, are not social workers, are not bank tellers, are not ... well, you get the picture. They're CEOs, bankers, lawyers, socialites, actors. You might say the now-infamous 1% lives there. You're gonna get a bigger jury verdict from a Manhattan jury than an Onondaga jury. No doubt Jim Boeheim & Syracuse University will be moving for a change of venue in the near future.
The lawsuit itself is for defamation. Defamation is a civil cause of action for damage caused by untrue statements being published. Slander and libel are two forms of defamation. The suit basically alleges Boeheim went to the press with false information about Davis & Lang -- by calling them liars and saying they came forward for money -- and that they have suffered damages as a result. The legal questions here will be: did Boeheim act intentionally or recklessly in making the assertions about the truthfulness & motivations of Davis & Lang? Did Davis & Lang actually suffer damage? Was that damage caused by Boeheim's assertions?
As I've mentioned on twitter, many times before today and again today, Boeheim said what he said when he said it because be believed it to be true based on the information he knew at the time. He knew these allegations about Bernie Fine had been brought several years ago about alleged acts in the 1980s & 1990s. He knew the police never brought charges against Fine. He knew the University investigated it. He knew that nobody brought to the attention of investigators could corroborate Davis' story. And he knew that the Jerry Sandusky story at Penn State had just recently broke. It was within that context of knowledge that Boeheim said what he said. When his context of knowledge changed -- i.e. with the Laurie Fine tape -- Boeheim backed off his earlier comments and, in an emotional press conference following the Florida game, offered an apology. If this case ever gets to a jury, that jury will have to examine Boeheim's words over the course of the past less than four weeks, and determine whether he knew or disregarded evidence in making his assertions about the accusers lying and being in this for money. They'll also have to weigh his First Amendment right to freedom of speech -- his right to express his opinion. Were his words assertions of truth, or expressions of opinion? That's a blurry, gray line.
Not to be lost on this development of a lawsuit is who the attorney at the forefront is: Gloria Allred. I'll be nice and not say anything about her, other than to say her reputation precedes her. Now, she was merely the speakinghead at today's press conference. At this point, she's not even the attorney of record on the case, because she's not licensed to practice in New York. According to the last page of the lawsuit, she will be filing for admission pro hac vice, which means that she will ask to be permitted to practice in NY for purposes of this case, with the assistance of NYS bar admitted counsel. I'm sure that will be approved, but Gloria Allred is not on this case for her courtroom prowess. She's on this case for things like today: the public face of the case.
In terms of where the case goes from here, we're at step #1. An index number has been purchased in the County Clerk's office in NY County. That allows the plaintiffs to file their suit with the Court. They then have to acquire jurisdiction over the defendants Syracuse University and Jim Boeheim by effectuating service of the complaint upon each of them. The attorneys will then file answers, demands for discovery, motions, depositions, etc. That can take months or even years. A settlement could happen at any time, but I honestly don't see a settlement coming anytime soon. The stakes are too high on both sides; I mean, it's Gloria Allred for Christ sakes! This whole thing really jumped up several levels with Allred's involvement.
What can ultimately happen if there's a finding of liability? The suit asks for special, compensatory, and punitive damages. Special & compensatory damages are designed to make the plaintiff whole, to put him back in his prior position and compensate him for the damage inflicted by the defendant. In a personal injury case this can be rather easy to figure out: medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earnings if unable to work again, etc. In a defamation suit, these damages are much more speculative. It'll be interesting to see exactly what is claimed by Davis & Lang outside of the "difficulty to now work in the Syracuse community and even to leave their homes." Punitive damages are those assessed to punish the defendant, severe enough to change their behavior. Most famously is the fight over punitive damages in the Exxon-Valdez case. 22 years later, that fight still rages.
We're obviously on day one of a civil suit that will go on for weeks, months, or even years. A lot can happen. If the last few weeks is any indication of what's to come, a lot WILL happen. What we can't deny is that the dynamic, the conversation has now changed. I know personally, I have gone from disbelief of the allegations against Bernie Fine, to recognition that Bobby Davis is probably a victim, to now having the belief that, yeah, this is all about the money, even if Bobby Davis is a victim. The sad thing is, I don't even get the impression from Bobby Davis that he wants it to be about the money. I truly think he just wants Bernie Fine to not abuse children. But he's gotten so caught up in bringing his story forward, so caught up with Mark Schwarz, and now so caught up with Gloria Allred, that he's just going along with what people are telling him to do. Which, unfortunately, may have been what got him wrapped up with Bernie Fine in the first place.

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You've earned that smile Dion.
After taking on a Marshall team, and only winning by four points, George Washington made their way into town. Syracuse's defense has been solid, but their offense sputtered out at the end of the game against Marshall. That never happened on Saturday against GW.
Syracuse started the game on a 7-0 run and never looked back. They were never in danger of losing this game one bit. Their largest lead of the game was the winning margin. Leading by 20 points at the half up 45-25, they expanded their lead, continuing their good defense and shooting the ball well. They ended up the winner 85 to 50.
  • Dion Waiters was the leading scorer in the game with 19 points. He went 8-11 and had five rebounds, four assists, and six steals.
  • The leading rebounder was Kris Joseph with eight rebounds. He also led the starters with nine points.
  • Michael Carter- Williams led the team in assists with 8. He also had five points in 18 minutes of play.
  • Fab Melo again led the team in blocks with three.
  • Syracuse had eight turnovers as a team. It's always good when Syracuse has less than ten turnovers. They forced 18.
  • Syracuse did not lead in rebounding, but that's mostly because they allowed a lot of offensive rebounding for GW. Syracuse had 34 to GW's 39.
  • Syracuse shot the ball very well, hitting 50% of their shots overall and 26.7 from behind the arc (4-15). Something fantastic was Syracuse making 17-19 from the free throw line (89.5%) GW hit 30.6%, 16.7%, and 56.3% respectively.
Syracuse next travels on Saturday to NC State to play a true road game in the non-conference schedule. They also assumed the #1 ranking, elevating that game to national television on ESPN 2. In the meantime, we will wrap up the football season and in general hope to have a quiet week. That would be a nice thing for a change after the past few weeks.

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George Washington - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: We all thought GW was in the Colonial Athletic League.
Syracuse on paper is a much deeper, more talented team than George Washington. But George Washington will surprise Syracuse in terms of how good at shooting the ball from outside of the arc they are. Far more consistent than Marshall, Syracuse will have to account more for the shooters of GW in the zone. At least Syracuse has had a lot of practice rotating to cover shooters in the zone. The match up of the game will be Syracuse's offense versus the GW defense. GW will use MANTOMAN, 1-3-1, and 2-3 defenses. If Syracuse finds themselves in a scoring drought, Syracuse will be in trouble in this game. Syracuse has seen the 1-3-1 defense before when they played Coach Beilein first at West Virginia and now at Michigan, and they saw a bit of zone earlier this season. However, if Syracuse settles for less than ideal jump shots, Syracuse could be in a situation where they are not scoring but GW is. Syracuse's offense, despite the end of the Marshall game, has been solid this season. I'm picking Syracuse over GW by 14.
This game is on TWCS and SNY starting at 7:00pm this evening. Because of that, TWCS and SNY will carry the usual postgame coverage which is always entertaining. Enjoy your weekend. We'll wrap it all up next week. No football anymore, which is a good thing right now.

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Bernie Fine: No NY Prosecution

Today, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick held a 50-minute press conference to announce basically what we all already knew: that Bernie Fine could not be prosecuted under New York State law for the alleged crimes committed against Bobby Davis and Mike Lang. If that's all that could be gleaned from that presser, then we clearly have a grandstanding DA who, not to be forgotten, is an elected official and therefore, a politician. But after watching the presser, I gained a lot more information, a lot more insight, and actually have some respect for how he handled things (today, at least).
First, I highly recommend that you visit your favorite news site to view the entire press conference, or at least the highlights, if you haven't already done so. Information is the key, and as we have found, people who comment or criticize without having enough information do more harm than good. To begin the presser, Fitzpatrick does a good job of describing the timeline of events concerning the allegations: who knew what, when they knew it, and what was done about it. He states the facts. He doesn't pass judgment or say anyone did the wrong thing. He simply says "this is how it all unfolded." He then goes into some greater detail about how the situation has been handled since ESPN went public with the story back on November 17. I assume we all have a pretty good idea of the story from there.
Some important things I've learned from Fitzpatrick's press conference:
  • He believes the accusations brought forth by Davis and Lang; he says that had the allegations came forth within the statute of limitations, he no doubt would have prosecuted Fine. He further explains that had he been made aware of the allegations (and the tape) in 2002, 2003, 2005, he would have initiated an investigations (certainly similar to what has transpired over the last few weeks) to attempt to uncover other potential victims.
  • The previously identified "Victim #4" is no victim at all; there is no credibility to his accusations.
  • There are potentially several issues with the allegations brought forth by the third accuser, Zach Tomaselli. The DA's office is in possession of travel records and school attendance records which he will be turning over to Fine's defense counsel as "Brady material." I'll explain that below.
  • The conduct alleged by Davis and Lang fall under "Sexual abuse in the third degree," which is a Class B misdemeanor in NY. More on that below.
  • While he thinks ESPN, the Post-Standard, the Syracuse Police, and Syracuse University all could have (and probably should have) acted differently when information was disclosed to them all those years ago, they did not act wrong or certainly not illegally. There was no evidence of any institutional failure or cover-up.
  • He certainly thinks the law firm investigation in 2005, at the request of SU, was wholly inadequate; but that the university and its employees (i.e. Nancy Cantor and Jim Boeheim) acted appropriately in relying upon that investigation's findings. Of course, now knowing that that investigation was "inadequate" and didn't have enough information, has caused those officials to reevaluate how they view the case and that those more recent revelations have resulted in an appropriate change in tone and message.
"Brady material" -- music to the ears of a defense attorney, and quite frankly, an important cornerstone of our criminal justice system. This is a term that emerged from a 1963 Supreme Court of the United States case, Brady v. Maryland, which held that the prosecution in a criminal action has an affirmative, constitutional duty to protect the due process rights of the accused by turning over to the defense any evidence which may be viewed as "exculpatory" -- that is to say, could be potentially helpful to the defense. To really simplify it, here's an extreme example: 18-year-old black man, 6'4" tall weighing 300lbs. is arrested and charged with armed robbery of a liquor store. Through its investigation, the police or prosecution come upon surveillance video showing that the person robbing the liquor store is actually a frail, 70-year-old white woman barely reaching 5'2" and 115lbs. The prosecution has a duty to turn that surveillance video over to the defense. Sure, an extreme example, but that should be quite illustrative of what is "Brady material."
The Brady material here seems to include travel records and attendance records. I'm assuming (though Fitzpatrick deferred any further comment on the issue to the US Attorney) that the travel records indicate Tomaselli didn't travel with the team and wasn't registered at the Pittsburgh hotel, and that he was in fact in school on the dates in question. Such evidence is obviously useful to the defense in essentially proving that these actions alleged by Tomaselli could not have happened; or at the very least, can serve as an attack on his credibility. Now, we know Tomaselli has been anything but shy in talking to the media (or posting on his facebook), and he has already responded to this Brady material. Believe him and his cover-up/manipulation of evidence claims or not, it is what it is; the US Attorney will make its own credibility determination and will decide whether he has enough credible evidence to proceed with a Federal prosecution.
But, the more appalling consequence (in my opinion) with these apparent holes in Tomaselli's story is that several search warrants were issued, evidently using Tomaselli's sworn statements. Now, I haven't seen the search warrant, and I haven't seen the search warrant application, so I don't know exactly what's in it and what basis the judge used to grant the search warrants. But if Tomaselli's credibility is at issue, this could cause serious issues with the validity of the search warrants. Should the dominoes continue to fall in that direction, there's a chance that the warrants could be ruled invalid, and any evidence seized as a result could be inadmissible in a prosecution. That's extreme and a lot of hypothesizing at this point, and it would only be as a result of a finding that there was not probable cause for the court to issue the warrant. So, I won't speculate any more on that until I see the warrant application.
"Sexual abuse in the third degree" - the crime that Fitzpatrick believes was committed by Fine against Davis & Lang. From the statute (Penal Law section 130.55): "A person is guilty of sexual abuse in the third degree when he or she subjects another person to sexual contact without the latter's consent." Sexual contact is "any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person for the purpose of gratifying sexual desire of either party." Obviously sex abuse 3rd is a catch-all charge for which anything from fondling to rape could fit; however, with conduct such as rape (which requires penetration) has its own separate charges, one can assume that fondling is the only thing being alleged here. That's consistent with what Bobby Davis and Mike Lang have publicly stated. Sex abuse 3rd, being a B misdemeanor, only carries a maximum 3-month sentence, 1-year probation, fines, and surcharges. More importantly, however, a conviction of this crime requires registration with the Sex Offender Registry -- so, if convicted, Fine would be a registered sex offender. Obviously here, with no state prosecution, there will be no state conviction and, no sex offender registration. We'll have to see what the Feds do.
So where does this leave us? Essentially in the same position we were in before Fitzpatrick's presser this morning. We're more knowledgeable, sure, but nothing about the situation has changed. The Feds still need to decide what, if anything, to charge Fine with, and take further action from there. Jim Boeheim, Nancy Cantor, and the SU community seem to be vindicated and given a vote of confidence by the DA. Maybe that will put to rest the National Media's push for more accountability by Boeheim, and calls for his resignation or firing to be silenced.
If Davis and Lang truly are victims of Fine, they don't get their day in court. They don't get "justice." The statute of limitations is what it is, and it exists for a reason. If the legislature of NY thinks that needs to be reexamined, then the legislature needs to act on that and change it. I can say from a defense standpoint, statutes of limitation are important because it prevents allegations of crimes from the distant past from ruining someone's life; evidence is old or non-existent, memories are faded or wrong, and it's much more difficult to get a fair trial based on old allegations. But, it's the province of the legislature to reexamine that and do what it sees fit so that justice, both to alleged victims and to the accused, is at the forefront of our criminal justice system.

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Yeah, we didn't like it either Doug.
Syracuse was 5-2 after beating then #15 West Virginia. A team that would later go on to win the Big East and play in the BCS Bowl for the league. Syracuse then proceeded to lose their last five games and not become bowl eligible. It is with that bitterness that we fill out the grades for the final game, knowing that we were probably going to lose this game anyway.
Offense
D
Syracuse should have won this game looking at the final statistics. They had as many first downs as Pitt (20), converted third downs better (6-13), had more total yards (345) and led in time of possession. But Syracuse committed six turnovers, four of which were due to Ryan Nassib (23/32, 225yds, 1 TD, 2 INT) fumbling two balls, and throwing two picks. The most costly being in the final drive (with two timeouts and 3 minutes to go) fumbling right into a Pitt defender's hand for an easy scoop and score. Despite SU having 120 rush yards, Antwon Bailey never got loose and wasn't even the leading rusher on the team. Five losses, five games without touchdowns. Just saying. Either way, turnovers and empty possessions against a beatable Pitt team (Broken Record) led to another loss.
Defense
C
The defense wasn't even close to any receiver on Pittsburgh's first play. An easy score as someone didn't follow their assignment. Overall though, the Syracuse defense bent but never really broke. They gave up some ridiculously long plays that had they turned around when the receiver slowed should have been easily defended. Giving up big plays is one thing if you get burned. But because you just covered a receiver poorly is another matter. This happened all too often in the game. Syracuse's run defense was stout however. A refreshing change from the last few games, especially Louisville and USF. And Chandler Jones had the defensive highlight of the day, and maybe his career with a pick and a nice run back. All in all, Syracuse was very beatable if all Pitt did was pass the ball. The defense did just enough though, where Syracuse probably could have won had they not turned the ball over so much on offense.
Special Teams
D
Playing from behind never helps. Thanks for fumbling the opening kickoff to give Pittsburgh easy field position. The defense didn't help you, but just giving away the ball really doesn't help. Additionally, they gave Pitt pretty good field position for several of their drives. Ross Krautman was perfect on field goals and extra points, and Jonathan Fisher was good on punting. But the muffing of a ball is the worst special team offense ever.
Coaching
D
Syracuse is down two scores in the fourth quarter. What does Syracuse do on offense? Take 9:30 to go down and score a field goal. A small sense of urgency that late in a football game when playing from behind would be encouraging to see. The play calling in this game was bad on offense. While the turnovers were the players failure of executing on the field, Syracuse then needed to score more points. The offensive play calling, weather ahead or behind never changes. That cannot be the case. You have to adjust your strategies depending on the situations in game that are presented to you. Taking that much time on a drive in the 4th quarter should never happen unless you are ahead. Period.
GPA
D+ (1.25)
While it is no surprise that Syracuse could have won this game, it is definitely no surprise that they lost. Turnovers and a really bad start to the game helped contribute. But no set of circumstances aligned for Syracuse to retake this lead or have enough time to attempt to do so. It will be a long off season and changes in staff and players will occur. For now, this is a bitter end for the seniors departing for bigger and better things.
Intangibles
A+ to Hines Field. One of the better NFL stadiums and a great place to watch a college football game. Good food and all the condiments I could ever want. All hail the Condiment King.
A+ to those Pitt Bloggers out there that were very welcoming, along with Pitt fans in general. They are a more pleasant bunch of football fans in the Big East in my experience.
We'll be back by the weekend with a season recap and final grades for the football team. After that it's all basketball until February. Look for an Orange::44 Lawdog update on the Bernie Fine case later tonight as well.

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Some hairy moments but the results were all good.
Syracuse's last two games were a bit uncertain. While Virginia Tech and Stanford were decent tests, none would be as tough as #9 Florida and CUSA contender Marshall. Syracuse was your winner in both however.
Against #9 Florida, Syracuse would face a talented shooting team. The zone begs for teams to take a lot of three point shots and Florida took 26. They made nine, which kept the game closer than it otherwise would have been. Syracuse had only a four point lead at the half, but Syracuse strong defense helped propel Syracuse to the lead, along with Scoop Jardine hitting some key shots down the stretch. Syracuse held on to win 72 to 68.
  • Brandon Triche was the leading scorer in this game, hitting 5-13 and 1-4 respectively from the floor. His big strength in the game was getting to the free throw line, hitting 9-9.
  • At this point it's unsurprising that CJ Fair is a great rebounder. He was the leading rebounder for Syracuse, pulling down 11.
  • Scoop Jardine led the team with four turnovers, but he did have seven assists. He also shot 6-10 from the floor, and again provided the keys to the win in the final minutes.
  • Rakeem Christmas only spent two minutes in the game and finished with 0 points. This is something to keep an eye on when the competition rises even more.
  • Syracuse caused 20 turnovers for Florida. That obviously helped Syracuse earn transition points and help either get or keep Syracuse ahead of Florida.
  • Syracuse shot 40.6% from the floor, 17.6% from three, and 81% from the free throw line. Florida led in the first two categories, something that typically doesn't happen in a win.
  • Syracuse had 10 steals and four blocks. They also had 14 turnovers. That is still double digits, but it was 6 less than Florida.
Syracuse next took on Marshall in a game that Syracuse never trailed. While the score ended up closer than it probably should have been, Syracuse was never really in danger of losing the game as Marshall couldn't hit the ocean from a boat for the majority of the game. They were 0-16 on three point attempts until they made their first. Syracuse's offense did stall at the end of the game as well, which didn't help. At times it seemed there was a cap on the basket. Either way, Syracuse was your winner 62 to 56.
  • Dion Waiters was your leading scorer off the bench with 15 points, hitting 4-7 from the floor and 7-8 from the free throw line.
  • Kris Joseph was the leading scorer for the starters, earning 11 points. He was 2-3 from behind the arc. Joeseph was also the leading rebounder for Syracuse with eight.
  • Scoop Jardine against led Syracuse with four assists. He also had three steals, also leading the team.
  • Fab Melo had four blocks in this game, further proving his better defensive prowess.
  • Syracuse again caused a lot of turnovers with 19. Syracuse's defense was active and stout and everyone on Syracuse does in fact work hard at their defense, which is refreshing to see.
  • Syracuse shot only 41.5% from the floor. They looked dreadful at times towards the end of the game on offense. Syracuse shot 27.3% from behind the arc. Syracuse also was only 65.2% from behind the arc. Syracuse amazingly led in the first two categories over Marshall however, limiting them to 33.8% and 20.8% respectively.
Syracuse next takes on George Washington from the Atlantic 10 on Saturday at noon. Despite being #3 and 9-0 Syracuse can always improve. They have few valuable tune ups left before the Big East slate, so hopefully Syracuse will continue to improve. The last five minutes of this game were not too pleasant. Neither are losses.

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Marshall - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: There won't be a letdown after Florida, right?
After beating #9 Florida on Friday Syracuse faces a lesser known team in Marshall, but one that has the potential of winning Conference USA. Syracuse held onto a lead in the second half against Florida thanks to great play from both Scoop Jardine and Brandon Triche. Additionally Syracuse caused turnovers out of the zone and earned transition points. Marshall is a big pick-and-roll team, but that should be negated by the zone defense. The question will be if Marshall is having a good shooting night. Marshall has players, like DeAndre Kane (15.8ppg) that is a very capable scorer, including from long range. However, Marshall is also inconsistent. You have to assume they will be on a good amount however. Syracuse will again need to stretch the zone. The key in this game will be rebounding. Much more than Florida and Virginia Tech, Marshall has a better ability to crash the glass and get second chance points. Syracuse must limit that and again spur their offense in transition from their defense. If Syracuse can do this, it will not matter what kind of shooting night either team has. Syracuse will find ways to score inside, but Marshall will have trouble. Unless they are shooting lights out, or getting those easy second change points near the basket, Syracuse will run away with this game in the second half. Look for the Orange to be your winner and stay undefeated by 13.
This game is on TWCS and SNY, so if you're local you should be able to watch this game. Syracuse should avoid the letdown and continue their streak of non-conference wins. We'll be back tonight for a combined Florida/Marshall wrap up, and we'll cover the Pitt Football game before John and I say goodbye to the 2011 football season.

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BlogPoll 2011 - Week 15 (Regular Season Finale)

*LSU remains #1. Alabama drops to #3 in being idle, with Oklahoma State taking the #2 spot.
*Houston you let me down. They drop 13.
*Goodbye 5 loss Auburn. Southern Miss is in.
*Clemson jumps after beating VTech in the ACC Championship.
Anything wonky leave a comment. The next ballot will come after all the bowls. I'm assuming.

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Cue The Crying Child...

For the final time in 2011, the crying children have been cued.

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Pittsburgh Quick Predictions

Yeah we're both leaving. So what.
Syracuse is at their lowest point of the season. Needing one more win to be bowl eligible. One more game on the schedule. And it's not looking good.
Tino Sunsari looked like crap last season. That is until he played Syracuse. I have a feeling he's going to look like Tom Brady on Saturday. The Syracuse defense is weak. The offense hasn't been able to execute. Unless the offense wakes up this game is already done. Syracuse should have rolled last week and they looked awful. Chandler Jones was about the only good player on defense last weekend. That will probably be the case this weekend. No preview necessary. Pitt will roll 37 to 17.
This game is on ESPN 2 nationally at noon. I'll be there with John. The tickets were free and I'm not one to turn down a road trip. Look for me Saturday night downtown. I'll be in the Pens jersey #66.

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Florida - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: A top 10 matchup in December is AWESOME!
#4/3 Syracuse and #10/9 Florida have met before. In the 2008-2009 Season they played in the CBE classic in Kansas (winning 89-83), and again in Tampa in the 2009-2010 sesaon (winning 85-73). Syracuse shot the ball extremely well in the last few games, both in the paint, but especially behind the arc. While Eastern Michigan was playing a lot of zone defense, that should not be the case with Florida. Look for Syracuse to run a lot of their usual sets to get the ball inside or an open shot. Both sets of guards are pretty even in their abilities to score. The difference in this game will be what happens inside the paint. Obviously Rick Jackson is not on the team anymore, but Fab Melo has improved as of late, along with Rakeem Christmas. Florida's starting power forward Erik Murphy is out with an injury. If Florida finds it easy to get the ball in the paint and score they will be in a good position for the upset. Syracuse should have the rebounding advantage which will help Syracuse pull away in the second half of this game however. Syracuse is just too talented and far deeper than Florida. I'm picking the Orange by 9.
This game is on ESPN at 7pm. Sadly I'll be in Pittsburgh so I'll either be trying to watch this on my phone, or I'll be in a bar in the Steel City. I wish we were in the Carrier Dome, but for the last football game, we'll manage. And hopefully Syracuse will do their part to win the Big East / SEC Challenge.

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Cincinnati - Syrscuse Postgame Reactions OR Bleh!

Doug and Nate were losers last Saturday. Like all of us.
I'm out of the home office the rest of the weekend at Pittsburgh, to maybe see if Syracuse could get a bowl berth. WVU did their part tonight. Cincy could help tomorrow. But really Syracuse needs to beat Pitt. So before we head down there, let's analyze what happened last Saturday. Crap, but lets press on.
Offense
D
Ryan Nassib (19/38, 203yds, 1 TD, 1 INT) had a mediocre day with field performance. While he did the job late in the game past the point when it would have mattered, he didn't convert third downs and despite one obligatory shot down the field that missed, no pass was really thrown for more than ten yards. Antwon Bailey did everything but score and ran hard, which was a bright spot overall. But was caught behind the line on too many occasions. 373 total yards isn't bad, and 22 first downs is good, but 4-15 on third downs is just bad.
Defense
D
I never played football in high school. I barely dabbled with it on Friday afternoons back in college. I'm convinced I could lead a touchdown drive against the Syracuse defense by passing on the secondary. Cincinnati sure did. And they had a backup QB in. They scored only 3 points the week before against Rutgers. Syracuse went to 2 OT's against Rutgers. Syracuse's defense allowed 30 points. Regression is awesome. Injuries don't help either.
Special Teams
C-
While the kicking and punting and field goal units were solid, coverage is still a joke. No further analysis needed.
Coaching
C-
You would think with OC Nathaniel Hackett now on the sideline that the offensive play calling would not only be better and sharper, but more smoothly delivered. While there were no issues in the players knowing what plays to run (except for some of the receiver routes), the play calling was probably the most conservative of the season. You see the results. As for Scott Shaffer and the secondary, this was one of their worst games.
GPA
D+ (1.35)
Syracuse managed more first downs, more overall yards, and equal amount of possession time, and still managed to lost badly. This game was within 2 scores with plenty of time in the 4th quarter but the defense couldn't stop anyone. And even after causing Cincy to punt, they could never capitalize and had empty possessions. You can't win a game that way.
Syracuse plays this Saturday for the possibility to play one more game this season. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN 2 at 12pm. Syracuse would become bowl eligible with a win. I'm not holding my breath sadly. But an upset is always possible. We're gonna skip the recap of the Eastern Michigan game, with apologies to Coach Murphy. We'll preview the big basketball game later today, along with the football Saturday and be back next week to wrap it all up.

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