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Syracuse - Arkansas Preview

Syracuse students agree: An early test is never a bad thing.
Syracuse is a team that has been consistently good on the year. Granted  they haven't played any big time heavy teams, but they are very solid and have the talent to compete with any team in the nation. Arkansas is a team that historically loves to play fast. That is the case this year. They will run up and down the floor and will attempt to get easy buckets in transition and generally force the pace of play up so opponents make mistakes and rush shots on their offensive end, as well as turnover the ball under pressure. That might work for most teams, but Syracuse is accustomed to playing at a high pace, and relish it. BJ Young is the key for Arkansas, as he can score, averaging over 20 points a game this season. However, Arkansas as a team has trouble shooting the long ball (27.8%) so breaking the zone will be tough to do for the Razorbacks. On top of that, Syracuse is a team that can score. Having a poor defense doesn't bode well for Arkansas, who allowed a lot of points in losses to Arizona State and Wisconsin. That trend will continue for Syracuse. Despite the fact this game is on the road, Syracuse will play just fine. Syracuse wins this one over Arkansas in the SEC / Big East Challenge by 16. This game is on ESPN at 8:30pm this evening. 

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Doug Marrone: Bad Ass Coach
Syracuse didn't need another win, but it would have been nice just to finish the season, and their final Big East Football game with a win. Syracuse got off to another slow start, but came back to beat Temple and avenge their last game against each other ten years ago. Syracuse finishes off the Owls 38 to 20.
Syracuse, despite starting offensively slow, earned 24 first downs, converted 10-17 from third down, and 1-2 on fourth down. They earned 475 total yards, earning the majority on the ground. Ryan Nassib (16/28, 255yds, 1 TD, 0 INT) also had a slow start and really overthrew several balls, but settled down in the second half. The real stars were Jerome Smith, Prince-Tyson Gulley, and Adonis Ameen-Moore. They all ran the ball well, with Smith earning 96 yards, PTG gets 83 yards and a touchdown, and Ameen-Moore earned 57 yards with two touchdowns. A solid day from the offense all things considered. Despite the two fumbles that is.
Syracuse got burned early and often in the first half. And then on the first Temple drive in the second half. But Syracuse then did better on offense and that resulted in Syracuse's defense getting more rest and performing better in the second half. Keon Lyn earned two interceptions. One in garbage time, but the other resulted in putting the game out of reach for Temple. The defense looked unremarkable in the first half, but tightened up and managed to pressure the quarterback in the second half. Oh and it seemed they learned how to stop the run and tackle again. Refreshing.
Special Teams
Ross Krautman was 1/1 on field goals (26 yards) and hit five extra points. The kicking and punting games were good and coverage was good. No complaints here.
Syracuse had a high amount of penalties in this game, especially after having two games with a lower average number than they have earlier in the season. But, the halftime adjustment to run the ball more clearly worked well and Syracuse was able to dominate the scoring in the second half to put the game out of reach. I also like the calls when Syracuse went for it on fourth down that they made, despite only converting 1/2.
B (3.00)
While the game started off rough, and seemed to not get much better in the first half, Syracuse played a strong second half and the defense assured that Temple was done. Syracuse will now be guaranteed a winning season, and leave the Big East on a positive note. Orange::44 wishes those left behind well in their future endeavors.
Syracuse now just waits to find out what Bowl Game they will attend (Pinstripe). The Big East is done for Syracuse. It's been real. We're out.

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Princeton & Colgate Postgame Reactions

My swank view for the Colgate game

The students had left campus, people had gone home to their families, but the Syracuse basketball team had some business to take care of the night before Thanksgiving. This Wednesday night showdown in the Carrier Dome featured the Princeton Tigers facing off against the Syracuse Orange, which typically is a rivalry lacrosse matchup instead of basketball non-conference game. Still, Syracuse did what it does against the Tigers, played consistent ball, and won 73-53.
  • If there's a good way to work "hot hand" into a cool nickname for James Southerland, we need to do it. The guy's been shooting lights out this season, and Wednesday night against Princeton was no exception. He led the Orange in points with 22 on 7-11 shooting, including 4-6 from beyond the arc and 4-4 at the foul line.
  • James was one of five Orangemen in double digit scoring, along with CJ Fair (12), and Rakeem Christmas, Brandon Triche, and Michael Carter-Williams each with 10.
  • Overall, Syracuse shot 47.4% from the field, including 31.3% from three. A rather pedestrian effort that ends up being overwhelming against an inferior opponent.
  • While the Orange has experience and depth, its freshman showed how tough the college game can be. DaJuan Coleman often times looked lost on the court. In 16 minutes he scored seven points and grabbed six rebounds, but he often times found himself out of position, not understanding how the play was developing. I don't mention this to be unfairly critical -- it's clear he has a lot of talent and will be a great college player. He just has a lot to learn. A lot of experience to get, which obviously will only come with playing more. He'll get there.
  • He's probably got Fab Melo talent & ability, if not better. Considering he's leagues ahead of where Fab was when Fab was a freshman, I think it's safe to say that I don't be commenting on Coleman's greenness for too long.
  • Trevor Cooney, another freshman (albeit redshirt) had a bad night. The praise we heaped on him last week isn't here now; Trevor had an 0-for night with no points. Though his only stat in nine minutes was one steal, I can still say I like him defensively at the top of the zone. Let's just hope that shooting performances like this are few and far between.
  • Syracuse failed to reach the vaunted 75-point Taco Time, but really, who cares as long as the W goes in the record books?
  • Princeton's Clay Wilson had the hot hand for the Tigers. Off the bench he scored 15 points -- all on 3-pointers.
  • Aside from the lack of points, what really hurt the Tigers was their turnovers. 24 to be exact. And in a game where Syracuse has only 13, you can probably guess who won the game.
  • Credit also needs to go to the Syracuse defense, which not only created those 24 turnovers, but also had 19 steals and five blocks. Solid effort.
  • A lot has already been written about this elsewhere, but let me say a few things about Jim Boeheim's postgame comments on conference realignment. Obviously for the people who characterized it as Boeheim "going off on conference realignment" don't get Jim Boeheim: the dry humor, the sarcasm, the blase attitude. But was there some truth to what he said? Of course. Everyone will be better off the sooner this is all settled. Syracuse agreed to jump to the ACC because that was seen as a stable conference. Instability and uncertainty is what causes schools to jump; so when everyone knows this will all end up with 16-team conferences, the sooner that can happen the better off everyone will be.
After taming the Tigers and enjoying Thanksgiving, the Syracuse Orange then faced a Sunday afternoon game against long-time rival Colgate. In a series that dates back to 1902 and is without a Colgate victory since 1962, the Orange had to do what they've been doing: beat the Raiders. The game started slow, with Colgate sticking with Syracuse to an early 11-11 tie. But then Syracuse turned up the intensity, really started hitting shots, and pulled away big time in the second half, ultimately ending with an 87-51 victory.
  • James Southerland. See also, above. How can you not like how he's playing? I've always liked his shot, but the confidence he has behind it this season is just stunning. James is largely responsible for Syracuse pulling away from that 11-11 tie, and it was his outside shooting that did it.
  • For the day, James was 7-12 for 18 points, including 4-9 from three. He's clearly positioning himself as the team's 6th man, and could win awards at the end of the season if this continues.
  • Before moving on to more scoring stats, let's look at how this team scored. Chance are, if a basket was made, Michael Carter-Williams had his hand in making it happen. MCW had 13 of Syracuse's 18 assists. Quite an impressive and unselfish performance from your guard. It did come at the sacrifice of points, as Michael only had eight. But hey, make it easy for your teammates to score, and I'll take an eight-point performance any day.
  • In addition to Southerland, MCW helped get Brandon Triche (15), DaJuan Coleman (12) and Rakeem Christmas (10) into double digit scoring.
  • Though Brandon has had his ups and downs in games this season, his overall game numbers are staying rather consistent. I've mentioned in other posts that his consistency on the floor is what will make him a team leader, and as long as he's staying consistent in his contributions, this team will do great things. So please, Brandon, please keep proving me right.
  • Christmas was virtually a non-factor in the first part of this game, so it was nice to see him step it up and end with 10 points and a rebound short of a double-double.
  • Solid effort from Coleman, as he's improving with each game. 12 points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes is nice. He seemed a little hesitant early on, but gained some confidence and really started asserting himself, especially when he could get the ball inside. Lots of credit to MCW on that.
  • Trevor Cooney with another bad shooting game. No made three-pointers on seven attempts, only five points, and two steals.
  • I'm not too worried about Cooney, though. This team's not relying on him for offense, so if it's just that he's in a slump right now, he'll bust out whenever he busts out and the team will be fine. He can be a good spark off the bench. But it's the defense I like. Once he can consistently get things going on both ends of the court, he'll be a force to be reckoned with.
  • Colgate had no players in double-digit scoring. However, they did have some good shooters. As a team they made nine three-pointers, many from NBA-range or deeper. A couple shots impressed me, and I'm dressed in orange!
  • A solid rebounding effort by the Orange, winning the battle 43-32. That's a little shocking to me, considering they seemed to be employing a swat first, grab second mentality. Many times I found myself asking why they don't just grab the ball off a missed shot, especially when they had the size advantage. What do I know though? I'm just a 5'11.5" white guy.
The students and student-athletes are now back to class, and the basketball team will be preparing for its next game. Not at the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome, but a rare non-conference road game in Arkansas on Friday for the Big East/SEC challenge. The Razorbacks aren't what anyone should consider a "good" team, but this is nonetheless a road game for the Orange and a chance to once again prove that it can win in November in places not covered in Teflon.


BlogPoll 2012 - Week 14

* I took a lot of shit for having Florida State #1 last week. I would have looked like a genius if they beat Florida. They didn't however. I have dropped them appropriately. Also the biggest drop of the week.

* Georgia is my new #1. A reasonable pick I think. I have Alabama at #2. Notre Dame #3. I still like Alabama more than Notre Dame. I have Alabama below Georgia because they lost earlier and to a higher ranked team.

*  Somehow I had Michigan State still on my ballot. Corrected. Also Rutgers and Okey State drop out. Now on the board are Northern Illinois, Utah State, and Kent State.

* I think the Top Ten is actually really solid. 11-20 was much harder to pick.

Leave a comment if anything seems too crazy.

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Colgate - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: We're still on break. Colgate sucks.
The Red Raiders from nearby Hamilton storm into town after gorging on turkey and stuffing on campus. The longest "rivalry" for Syracuse, Colgate has been playing Syracuse since 1902. Since then, Syracuse has won way more times than Colgate, and the last 46 in a row. Jim Boeheim was a high school senior the last time Colgate beat Syracuse. Colgate is smaller, not as athletic, and... well Colgate. Syracuse should dominate on the boards and prevent any second chance points for Colgate, while racking up points in the paint for themselves. However, Colgate will be shooting over the 2-3, meaning they will be dared to take a bunch of threes. And they can hit them. Senior Murphy Burnatowski can certainly make a difference and keep Colgate hanging around. But this is all relative. Syracuse will pull away and eventually walk ons will be in the game. Syracuse will beat the Red Raiders by 27.

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Cue the Smiling Child... and Puppy!

Good end to the regular season. It was fun, Big East!

Temple Quick Predictions

Now that's how you celebrate Doug.
Syracuse managed to earn bowl eligibility by a last minute touchdown against Missouri for another comeback victory. There really is nothing left to play for at Syracuse except pride now. But that doesn't mean Syracuse doesn't want to finish up the regular season on a win.
Temple, on paper, is the inferior team in this match. Temple, you may remember depending on your age, is a team that was so bad consistently in the Big East they were booted from the first round of conference realignment really heated up. And this year, their first year back in the conference, they have managed only two conference wins. They beat lowly UConn and USF. But they are a more talented team than their 4-6 record indicates. Interestingly though, this is the last game for Temple for the 2012 season. They are mathematically ineligible to head to a bowl game even if they beat Syracuse. They can't even play spoiler for Syracuse. They are just playing for their seniors. And they could finish with a win. They are a hard running team that can accumulate yards on the ground. Syracuse has been vulnerable with tough running teams earlier in the season, and Syracuse has yet to demonstrate that they can stop screen passes as well. Montel Harris will be tasked with earning a lot of yards and a few scores against the Syracuse defense. He is talented enough to do it. The main match in the game will be him and the Temple offensive line versus the front defense of the Orange. Whoever wins that battle should give their team the big advantage to win the game. But maybe it won't even matter if Ryan Nassib and Alec Lemon continue their absolute domination in passing and receiving. If Syracuse gets off to a quick start Temple might not have the fortitude to play catch up and keep them in a game. This will either be an entertaining close game, or Syracuse is going to run away with it. I do think Syracuse is on too much of a roll to be surprised by anything Temple can do. I like the Orange to win this one in a meaningless game 27 to 17.
This game will be shown in stunning high definition at 11:00am on ESPN 2 and on ESPN 3 if you aren't blacked out. While half of the Orange::44 team will be nursing a slight hangover due to Thanksgiving family drinking, this guy will be ready to go at 11 on the Tweets. We'll see you there with a hearty plate of leftovers. Hope you and your family had a great Thanksgiving.

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Princeton - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: We're home on break.
Syracuse hops to continue their streak against non-conference opponents in the Carrier Dome today, as well as their winning streak against the Tigers of Princeton. That should happen. While Princeton is a capable team of beating the likes of Ivy opponents and mid-majors, Syracuse is neither of those things. Let's be honest... even Rutgers has beaten them this year. Syracuse will be playing their tough 2-3 zone that somehow manages to go around screens and still guard shooters from outside the arc. While Princeton will find some success with their trademark back door cuts, Syracuse will be too much defense, transition, and offense for Princeton to handle. I'm picking the Orange by 23. Enjoy this game locally on TWCS and SNY of course at 7:00pm tonight. Right before you go out with some high school friends.

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Brandon Triche is a Ballerina - new name for a blog?
Some savvy scheduling gave Jim Boeheim a day off Saturday for his 68th birthday. But Sunday, it was back to the grind for the Hall of Fame coach and his #8-ranked Orange. It was the season home opener for Syracuse, and this year's victim would be Wagner College (as if they didn't already suffer enough from Hurricane Sandy). Though the Seahawks from Staten Island played the Orange tough for a good part of the first half, Syracuse turned on the intensity and never looked back. Syracuse improved to 2-0 this season with an 88-57 victory over Wagner.
  • The above-pictured multi-talented Brandon Triche was the most outstanding offensive player for Syracuse. His stat line: 8-14 shooting (1-5 from 3) for 21 total points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two turnovers. His 29 minutes also tied with Michael Carter-Williams for team high on the day, and it was his consistency on offense that earned him the time on the floor.
  • Brandon needs to have games like this, where his steady consistency can motivate the rest of the team, as it did here, because the rest of the team followed suit.
  • MCW also had a clutch game. In his 29 minutes, he was 2-7 shooting and a couple foul shots for six points. But he was active on the boards (six rebounds) and had two blocks and three steals. When the top of the zone is active like that, well, you know that good things happen for this team.
  • Speaking of which, how about the game play of Trevor Cooney? The redshirt freshman is not only living up to the hype of being the best 3-point shooter on the team (he was 2-5 on Sunday) but this kid can play some defense! His six steals makes that point. Remember how Andy Rautins used to play at the top of that zone? Cooney has the talent to be considered the next coming of Andy Rautins. Maybe a third iteration of Leo Rautins?
  • Having Cooney redshirt last year was one of the best coaching decisions Boeheim made last season. With the depth the team had at guard, it made little sense to have him on the active roster and get little to no meaningful playing time. By redshirting him, he practices with the team, learns the offense, learns the zone, and is in a much better position to hit the court full-force this season compared to the incoming true freshmen.
  • My evidence on this point is DaJuan Coleman. The kid's big, is a great presence down low, and has a ton of natural talent. But there were several times on Sunday when he just looked lost. I mention this not to be critical, but just to state that this is where he is in his development; he'll get there, and it'll be sooner than, say, Fab Melo got there, since Coleman's been playing the game longer than since high school. Still though, he needs to put in the work to get there.
  • I would be remiss if this recap didn't heap a ton of praise onto Baye Moussa Keita and James Southerland. Keita was 6-6 shooting for a career-high 15 points. He also had five rebounds and two blocks. All of this in only 13 minutes on the floor. Southerland, for his part, was 6-9 shooting for 15 points, three blocks, and a steal, in 22 minutes. I think they both fed off the leading-by-example performance turned in by Brandon Triche.
  • On the Wagner side of things, two players were in double-digit scoring: Jonathon Williams (14 points) and Kenneth Ortiz (11). Otherwise, the shooting was pretty poor. 32.8% as a team for the game.
  • Wagner also lost the rebounding edge 49-36, and committed 23 turnovers.
  • While Syracuse shot 50% for the game, it was the tale of two halves: 36.11% vs. 67.86%. Offensive output naturally followed, 36 and 52, respectively.
  • It's a good game when, with a little more than a minute left, there's a complete line change and your lineup is purely walk-ons. Unfortunately, none of them logged a point; just a rebound, turnover, or steal here or there.
Another home opener, and another Syracuse win. Can't complain about that! Props to the Dome for bringing back Sixpence None the Richer for the Kiss Cam, and for having an on-court MC to introduce performers & promotions during timeouts so we get less of Mike Veley. However, I was promised a schedule magnet for attending this game, and yet I received nothing. If you attended this game and got a magnet, please let me know.
Syracuse has one more pre-turkey matchup, as Princeton and its vaunted "Princeton Offense" visits the Dome on Wednesday. If you're having trouble getting hyped up for that, just remember some of the hate you'd have for Princeton if this were a lacrosse game, and redirect that to basketball. That should do it for you.


DOC Gross will congratulate even though it's against the rules to cross that dashed line!
And just like that, Syracuse is going back to a Bowl Game. It took another late come from behind effort, but Syracuse again got it done. Nassib to Lemon happened four times in 1:32 and 81 yards for six points. It gave Syracuse the lead with 20 seconds on the clock. Like that, Missouri fans were shocked and Syracuse fans were rejoicing. The Orange leave SEC country with the win 31 to 27.
Ryan Nassib (26/40, 385yds, 2 TD, 1 INT) struggled a little bit in spots during this game, but made big plays when it counted. When Syracuse needed to move the ball he made passes. Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gully didn't rack up significant yardage (101yds), but they did each have a touchdown. Syracuse finished with 25 first downs, 508 total yards, were 7-15 on third downs and 1-1 on fourth down, which happened on the final scoring drive. The offense was stagnant  particularly in the third quarter. And they could have put more pressure on Missouri by scoring on their second to last drive instead of throwing a pick, but either way you can't argue with Alec Lemon and Ryan Nassib's performance on the final drive, and the absolute ineptitude to cover Lemon on the final scoring play due to a clever bunch formation which confused the defense and allowed Lemon to go ungarded into the end zone.
Syracuse wasn't a brilliant defense, and really they didn't stop Missouri from scoring in critical situations. However they did limit Missouri in the 3rd quarter from scoring at all and managed to only allow a field goal on the final scoring drive of Mizzou. They did just enough yet again. Despite allowing 25 first downs they did limit Missouri to 4-13 on third downs. A good effort, but not a great effort. But that was enough as they put the game within reach for the offense in the final two minutes.
Special Teams
Ross Krautman hit the one field goal he was tasked to from 44 yards out. In general, field position on punt and kick returns were good. Jeremiah Kobena bobbled the ball on a kick return once, but recovered and managed to get to the 19 yard line to start the final scoring drive for Syracuse. In general, an adequate day.
Syracuse had a 4th and ten late in the game and decided to go for it. It was the right call. A field goal attempt to tie the game would have been over 50 yards and into the wind. No way it would have gone through the uprights. Despite the fact that Syracuse still can't stop screen plays (see Mizzou's first touchdown), Syracuse has continued to not have penalties that kill drives, the call to switch Lemon into a bunch formation on the final scoring play was brilliant as he was able to go undetected on the field to score. Gutsy but correct call, then great play calling. It put Syracuse in a position to win. Well done.
B+ (3.25)
While Syracuse shouldn't have had this game so close, Syracuse won the game and earned a bowl birth for the second time in three years. I thought they had the ability to play well enough on the road with the momentum built from last weekend and get to that 6 game plateau. They did, and if you hate Doug Marrone sorry. Win or lose at least this team is exciting to watch. Unlike five years ago.
Syracuse now will finish their year heading down to Temple the day after Thanksgiving. A team that Syracuse is very capable of beating at this point. Syracuse could have another eight win season if all things go according to plan. It starts by finishing up the regular season with one more win.

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BlogPoll 2012 - Week 12

* Apologies for no deltas. I again missed submitting a ballot last week.

* Shifts at the top, but I am keeping my top 2 neither Notre Dame or Alabama.

*Did someone lose that I didn't move down enough? Let me know.

As always, leave a comment if something is too wonky.

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Cue the Smiling Child... Taming a Tiger!

This girl went (bumper) bowling after this, so, same story as Syracuse.


Wagner - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: Nothing like a home opener.
Normally you would see Wagner on the schedule and be like, "OK, this will be an easy 25 point win". Normally you would be absolutely correct. But Wagner ended up beating then #15 Pittsburgh at Pittsburgh last season, sending them to the Bottom 3 of the Big East, and me dubbing them a "hot garbage fire". Wagner never really gained that much traction, but this team is capable of winning a big game. That being said, Syracuse is better than last year's Pitt team by far. They barely beat Delaware State in overtime in their first game of the season. Syracuse is taller and loaded. And hey, I bet they'll be able to shoot now that there isn't any weather. However, Syracuse's strength will be going to the hoop, and of course transition offense. Jonathon Williams is the senior leader of this team and will do a fair bit of scoring. But Syracuse will be all over this team and I expect reserves to get a good chuck of playing time. A nice Sunday afternoon opening crowd will surely be in the Dome as well. Look for Syracuse to roll in this game. The Orange over the Seahawks by 26. This game will be on local TWCS and SNY. Good luck finding it elsewhere. But the game is at 1:00pm so at least you'll have other stuff to watch if you so desire.

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Missouri Quick Predictions

Yes, that #Hashtag is #BeatMizzou.
Syracuse is now one game away from bowl eligibility, with two games left this season. The unfortunate part is that Missouri is also only one game away from bowling. And it's senior day. So something has to give.
Syracuse and Mizzou again look similar offensively. Mizzou probably would have some more wins were it not for the fact they are now playing in the SEC. Both these quarterbacks have the ability to play from behind. Interestingly though, DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri's star defensive player, is out for violating team rules. Someone doesn't like class and structure. Either way, Syracuse has all the personal advantages, while Mizzou has all the intangibles. However, once again it comes down to either who scores last or who makes the least amount of mistakes. Both of these teams will score. The question is who can make the timely play. I'm going out on a limb and picking Syracuse in this one. While Syracuse has struggled on the road, this is a primetime game and Syracuse is poised and has more momentum heading into this game. I'm going with Syracuse over the Tigers 38 to 31.
This game will be available on ESPN U and on ESPN 3 if you aren't blacked out. It is in primetime at 7:00pm. I'm looking forward to a big double dip personally of live college football, then settling in with some alumni friends to watch Syracuse try and get back to that Pinstripe Bowl. Should be a fun Saturday for everyone involved.

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Picturesque, fun, something you try once right? YOLO?

After a two-day delay in getting this game in due to bad weather conditions -- IN SAN DIEGO! -- Syracuse played a true Veterans Day game on the USS Midway against San Diego State University on Sunday. It was fun, it was gimmicky, it was windy, it was chilly, and it was a win for Syracuse. Almost from start to finish, the Orange held the lead, and quickly adjusted to the elements. The Aztecs failed to adjust, shot horribly, and lost. The final score from literally on the San Diego Bay was 62-49.
  • This game for Syracuse was all about CJ Fair. CJ was 7-15 shooting (17 points total), including the only 3-pointer hit by Syracuse, and also grabbed 10 rebounds.
  • I think it's Fair to say (no pun intended, at least initially) that CJ Fair is the leader of this team. Maybe not so much a vocal leader, but more so a steady, lead-by-example type of guy.
  • Also with 17 points was Michael Carter-Williams, so was also quite steady on the court. He was also 7-15 from the floor, and grabbed 4 rebounds. Also of note for MCW was the 5 steals he had.
  • Speaking of the steals, Syracuse had 12 total, which is a good indication of how active their defense was. Playing the Jim Boeheim patented 2-3 zone, SDSU fell into the normal made against the zone: shoot the ball, lots of 3s. But what might work in a gym doesn't quite work on the deck of an aircraft carrier in windy weather. Despite facing the wind early and seeing its effect on 3-point shots, the Aztecs failed to adjust the game plan and kept chucking up the ball. Oh well, their loss.
  • Brandon Triche had 15 points on 6-11 shooting, but unfortunately turned over the ball five times -- not a stat you'd like to see from your senior point guard. It's early (you know, game 1) but Brandon needs to improve on this for Syracuse to be successful, especially against tougher opponents.
  • Not to say SDSU wasn't a tough opponent. Ranked #20 in the country coming into this game, I think the elements just got the best of them. This probably would have been a much closer game inside, but, I guess we'll never know.
  • As previously mentioned, the Aztecs' offense was quite anemic, scoring a Big 10-esque 49 points. Their leading scorer -- and the only one in double digits -- was Jamaal Franklin, who scored 11 points on an abysmal 3-12 shooting. And so it goes for SDSU, who as a team was 17-63 from the floor (27%).
  • Syracuse won the rebounding battle 45-44.
  • SDSU was 1-18 from the 3, or, for those of you who prefer percentages, 5.6%. Ouch. Congratulations to James Rahon.
  • Both teams wore specially-designed camouflage jerseys. Syracuse's was a version of the road orange jerseys. In the biggest upset of the day, I was actually not upset with how they looked.
For a game that almost didn't happen -- twice -- they decided to really milk this for all they could. The game lasted almost two and a half hours. The broadcast crew of Dick Enberg, Steve Kerr, and Erin Andrews did a good job, and though many people complained about not being able to find the game, I was able to watch on MSG+ and the picture was good. On the ship, there was the technical difficulties of the game clock not working properly (what was displayed was unofficial and would freeze then jump ahead), and the shot clock above one of the baskets was inoperable.

So while we might not want to do it again, it was fun to watch. After all, it was a Syracuse basketball win! Plus, it was a great ending to a great weekend for Syracuse Athletics. If they can all be like that, well then, we'd be spoiled! After the long trip back to the east coast, Syracuse prepares to take on Wagner in the Carrier Dome this Sunday at 1pm in the regular season home opener. I'll be there, and of course keep it right here at Orange::44 for continuing basketball coverage, and football coverage as we move toward hopeful bowl eligibility.

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Thanks to Ryan and the other seniors for great careers and never losing on Senior Day.
Syracuse was picked by a lot of national media for an upset of #9. It was trendy. I didn't jump on board. After that Cincy fiasco why would I trust that Syracuse could put together an almost perfect performance on the field? But they did. Syracuse never trailed in this one on a nice Homecoming and Veteran's Day Weekend. They beat the Cardinals 45 to 26.
Ryan Nassib (15/23, 246 yds, 3 TD, 0 INT) played brilliantly in his final game in the Dome. He, along with the rushing attack, committed no turnovers for Syracuse. Alec Lemon continuted to be the go to target, earning 176 yards and two touchdowns on nine receptions. Jerome Smith finally got a touchdown after rushing for another 100 plus yard game (144). Syracuse simply could not be stopped. They earned 23 first downs, 524 total yards, committed fewer penalties than their last game, and amazingly earned 14-19 on third down conversions and 1-1 on fourth down conversions. It was just a brilliant day.

Syracuse stopped Louisville several times, forcing them to punt or kick a field goal. Most of the time it was forcing them to punt, or the defense wasn't on the field yet. Syracuse did allow 23 first downs and 472 total yards. However, Louisville was only 6-12 on third down conversions and only gained 48 rushing yards. There was much improvement on the run stop, putting it all on the shoulders of Teddy Bridgewater. And while he gained 424 yards, he also committed an INT, was pressured most of the day, and was generally ineffective in finding the end zone for his team. It also helped their leading rusher was injured and out the rest of the game on the first drive, but hey... them's the breaks.
Special Teams

Ross Krautman was perfect with his foot, hitting 1/1 on field goals and 6/6 on extra points. Syracuse also blocked a Louisville extra point and recovered a muffed L'ville punt. They also earned some good kick and punt return yards and covered well when they had to kick or punt. Their best special teams performance of the year.

When you when like this, you earn the credit for it. Syracuse came out attacking on offense and trying to pressure Bridgewater on defense. Syracuse stayed with their up tempo offensive attack and continued putting offensive pressure on Louisville until the middle of the fourth quarter. Louisville never had a chance to get back in this game and that was the right way to play it. Great job all around.
A- (3.75)

It's been 10 years since Syracuse earned a top 10 win. This is the biggest win for Doug Marrone, other than the Pinstripe Bowl win in 2010. It was a pleasure to sit and watch it from start to finish. No super dumb, drive killing mistakes. No turnovers. No nonsense. It was just a complete football win. Every phase, every play, against a superior opponent. We've been waiting for this team to show up this season. Good to see they finally did.
Syracuse next faces Missouri at Missouri. More importantly, with two games left on the schedule they have two chances to get one win and advance to another bowl game. Two games that are definitely winable if they play like they did on Saturday. With basketball season here, and an impressive first win for them, it's still good to see Syracuse still relevant in the bowl picture instead of completely writing off football for the basketball season.

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Cue The Smiling Child... With A Puppy!

Syracuse earned a top 10 win. This puppy is a 10 on the adorable scale.


Syracuse - San Diego State Preview

Syracuse students agree: A new basketball season is a great thing.
It's a new season, and Syracuse opens it with a bang. They are playing on the deck of an aircraft carrier in San Diego. And interestingly it is the first game Syracuse will be playing in weather. It will be a nice day but wind gusts will be around 6-10mph. That could affect shooting for both teams. After all, Syracuse in their trademark 2-3 Zone Defense will encourage the other team to take long shots at the hoop. The good news for Syracuse however is they are a bigger and longer team and should find it a little easier to drive to the hoop. While the Aztecs will make it a game early, Syracuse should start to pull away in the second half due to their defense and their size alone. The big men will do their part. Syracuse should win. I'm picking the Orange in a brief preview here by 13. This game is available on MSG+ in upstate NY, and on various Fox Sports networks around the country. Enjoy.

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As Expected, Bernie Fine Faces No Charges

Been a while since we had to #lawdog anything

At long last, the criminal investigation into sex abuse allegations against former Syracuse Associate Head Coach Bernie Fine is over.

United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian, the lead Federal prosecutor for the Northern District of New York, announced today that his office has concluded its investigation into Fine, and will not be pursuing charges at the Federal level or referring the matter to the State courts due to insufficient evidence. The official Department of Justice press release can be found here, and I highly suggest you read it.

The announcement comes as no surprise to anyone who has paid attention to the ongoing Fine saga, except that an announcement was made at all. We all knew that the allegations of abuse concerning Bobby Davis and Mike Lang were beyond the statute of limitations, both for a state prosecution or a federal prosecution. The only allegations not already time-barred concerned Zach Tomaselli who, as we all know, was a troubled young man whose allegations contradicted themselves, had recanted then unrecanted (canted?), and now himself sits in a Maine prison for three years and three months convicted of a sex offense. So, you know, he was never going to come off as a credible source of evidence.

For the feds to pursue a case concerning Tomaselli, they would have had to find some independent evidence which corroborated his story. Not only that, but the evidence they found (if any) would have to leave them reasonably sure that pursuing a criminal prosecution would result in a conviction. Today's press release simply states that, although 130 witnesses were interviewed, over 100,000 pages of material reviewed, and evidence was seized from Fine's home, there was insufficient evidence to pursue a criminal prosecution to conviction.

The press release also notes that the end of the investigation and the decision to decline to prosecute does not amount to a finding one way or the other. As Hartunian correctly notes, these types of allegations describe "conduct typically committed in private with individuals who are reluctant to come forward." As a defense attorney, I can state that often in sex cases, the only evidence is the word of the alleged victim; unless there is physical evidence which can be recovered immediately after the alleged crime, the alleged victim's statement constitutes the evidence. Therefore, the credibility of that alleged victim is paramount in the investigation: whether to file charges, seek a Grand Jury indictment, and bring it to a jury trial.

So it's no surprise that with an incredible alleged victim in Zach Tomaselli, the US Attorney declined prosecution.

As has been the theme with all things Bernie Fine, we will never know the truth. Can we be reasonably sure that nothing ever happened between Fine and Tomaselli? Sure. I think the evidence showing nothing happened outweighs evidence showing something happened. Reasonable people can differ in their opinions on whether Fine ever abused Davis and/or Lang.

This all does call into question the wisdom of ESPN and Mark Schwarz in going forward with the original story, and more importantly, getting Zach Tomaselli involved. I won't rehash everything I've written on that in the past, but no doubt this will all play into Laurie Fine's defamation suit against ESPN, and could serve as a basis for Bernie filing his own suit.

Of course, if I'm Bernie, I think I stay out of the limelight. Nothing short of Tomaselli, Davis, and Lang coming forward to say it was all made up and nothing ever happened will restore his reputation. No amount of monetary damages will make him whole, even if he's actually innocent.

Any more legal questions on this topic? Post below in the comments and I'll see what I can do.

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Louisville Quick Predictions

Lemon is far better than last year. Good for us. Bad for them.
Syracuse is playing their last home game of the 2012 season. As we bid farewell to the seniors on our team, we play a very talented Louisville team making a play for a BCS bowl, the Big East Championship, and a win against Syracuse on national television. Oh goody.
In looking at the statistics for these teams, and wow they are close. However, Louisville has won all nine games they have played this year, while Syracuse is now 4-5. Louisville is also ranked 9th. These teams look very similar on the defensive side of the ball as well. Both teams give up a lot of rushing yards. Syracuse gave Cincinnati the game last weekend by letting them rush the ball, especially in the second half. Louisville gave up a season high rushing last weekend for them as well. Syracuse will most assuredly try and pound the ball at first. When Syracuse has to play from behind, that is why Nassib attempts more passes. Both QB's have 18 touchdowns on the year. This preview is simple. The quarterback that executes the best will lead his team to victory. Both secondaries and defensive lines are vulnerable. A lot of teams are picking the upset. I'm going with my gut on this one. I think Louisville has a date with destiny against Rutgers. Syracuse puts up a good fight, but then fades late in the game. Syracuse might get to six wins and a bowl game, but I'm not convinced they do it with a win against Louisville. I'm picking the Cards 38 to 24.
It's Homecoming Weekend so there should be a healthy crowd on hand. The game is free to folks with a Military ID, so no excuse for that place to not be packed. For those not able to make it to Syracuse, the game is nationally televised at noon on ABC. JBren and I will be there in person, so we can commiserate or celebrate together. Either way, it will be fun after the game.

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I know the feeling, Doug.
What an utter calamity. For both teams. When it came down to it, Cincinnati was the better team on the field after and during the 60 minute contest. I have no problem with that. It was evident by what they did and the final score. I have a problem with how things transpired however. Cincinnati beats the Orange 35 to 24.
Ryan Nassib (23/47, 286yds, 1 TD, 0 INT) started bad, but did get better as the game progressed. The run game was solid, but everything else was spotty. There were fumbles, drops, and all sorts of calamaties. Alec Lemon was again solid, and Beckett Wales was probably the best offensive player on the day. Syracuse went 9/21 on first downs, earned 24, had 479 total yards of offense (more than UC) and was 1/2 on fourth down conversions. They had a solid day, save for the turnovers. Far better than the rest of the team. But a wide receiver should never false start. Ever.
Syracuse couldn't tackle or stop the run to save their life. While Cincinnati had less yards than Syracuse, and less first downs, they let Cincinnati power down the field multiple times. They couldn't seem to stop them in the second half. I mean, good grief. Forcing three turnovers was good though. It should have been more but we'll get to that.
Special Teams
Starting the game by coughing up the ball for an easy score is probably the worst way to start. Missing two field goals also doesn't help.
So. Many. Penalties. The team's offense may have been acceptable on the field, but all those penalties were not. The team regressed in every phase but offense. And even that offense started very slowly. A good chunk of the blame of this game should rest on coaching. Not those WR false starts, but a good portion yes.
C- (1.68)
This game was a disaster for Syracuse. Not because they lost, but because of the mistakes and penalties. All of which were dumb. Some of which were not their fault, but they couldn't overcome. This game was brutal to watch. I'm glad it's over.
F to the replay official. Two plays were clearly botched. It allowed Cincinnati to keep possession twice when they had lost it. It then resulted in two touchdowns. Simply unacceptable.
Syracuse now settles in for their last home game against Louisville. A tough task. Easily the hardest game remaining on the schedule. And Homecoming no less. Should be fun.

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Blogpoll 2012 - Week 10

* Again apologies for no deltas. I failed to submit a ballot last week due to the storm.

* West Virginia has dropped out. Michigan State has also dropped out.

* Toledo and Texas Tech make an appearance.

* Notre Dame drops a couple spots despite winning because they needed 3 OTs and Pittsburgh's ineptness to win.

* I think think Oregon is the solid #2 team in the country. KState is great, but I think Oregon could beat them head to head.

Anything funky? Did someone lose and I forgot to drop them down?  Leave a comment.

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Cincinnati Quick Predictions

Ahh a classic.
Syracuse is fresh off the biggest comeback in program history. They also happen to have the 24th best offense in the country right now. A refreshing change from that Minnesota game huh? Syracuse now travels to a chilly Cincinnati to take on a Bearcat team fresh off an overtime loss.
The Syracuse offense, I'm finally confident, will be solid from here on out. I'm not worrying about Alec Lemon, Marcus Sales, or Ryan Nassib anymore. They will find ways to score against Cincinnati. However, Cincinnati has a similar quarterback to BJ Daniels in Munchie Legaux. He can run the ball and Syracuse had trouble stopping a running quarterback. He probably will torch Syracuse at least once today. Both offenses should play well and will be confident. The only question in this game is which defense can play better. Who can cause turnovers? Who can pressure the quarterback? The difference between these two defenses is that Syracuse is much more capable of pressuring the quarterback than Cincy is. Munchie under pressure is pick prone. The only problem is if the blitz forces Munchie out of the pocket he might be able to run for big yards.   Either way, I think Syracuse can surprise the Bearcats like a couple years ago. I'm picking the Orange in a narrow win. 27 to 24.
This game will be available on ESPN 3 nationally, and TWCS/SNY locally in New York at 12:00pm. Hopefully I'll be on the Twitter with you folks. If not, we'll catch up soon. John is doing something. Who knows?

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This scene occurred several times on Saturday night.
Syracuse went down to Tampa to be apparent Homecoming Fodder to the Bulls looking to earn their first conference win of the season. Syracuse had some big momentum after a home drubbing of Connecticut, but USF was apparently a better team despite their conference shortcomings. And they were fairly dominating for the first half. Then things got interesting. Syracuse pulls off it's biggest 4th quarter comeback since the 1940's. Syracuse wins on the final drive 37 to 36.
The first half was terrible, finishing with only three points thanks to a field goal. But then the offense came out and drove down the field to start. Then the defense got the ball back and the offense capitalized on a short field. Five second half touchdowns are pretty good (read: great). Syracuse had 33 first downs, 520 total yards, went 6-13 on first downs, and converted on their one fourth down attempt. Nassib had 328 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions.Jerome Smith racked up 127 yards on 28 carries. The trio of Sales, Lemon, and West were also great in the game. The offense absolutely was on fire in the second half.
USF had two rushers go over 100 yards in the same game for the first time since 2007. Not good, especially when the team knows that BJ Daniels will run to bail his team out. Syracuse allowed 369 rushing yards from the Bulls. However, USF definitely had trouble passing the ball, and the defense forced a turnover (or at least capitalized on a bad handoff). While Syracuse let the Bulls earn more yards and let them go 8-15 on third downs, they did get stops when they needed to, including keeping the out of the end one on their final drive to allow Syracuse to win with a touchdown.
Special Teams
Despite missing a 22 yard field goal in the first half, they punted well, earned good field position, blocked a punt, and in general had much better field position to start then the Bulls. A blocked punt makes up for a missed field goal, but in general they had a good game.
The play calling on the second scoring drive of the second half (starting with a short field to go down) was masterfully put together. Easily the best play calling series of the year. Additionally, the final drive was put together well and the plays were exactly what Syracuse needed to march down the field in that amount of time. A lot of to do was made about Syracuse going for two after the final drive. I had a small debate on Twitter about it. While USF did intercept the ball, it was deep in the end zone. They were not going to run the ball back on that play call. Should they have gone for two? They would have been up three so the only way to beat them would have been a touchdown. It was the right call based on the math. However, running up the middle probably would have been the safter option. However, due to the recent woes of being able to hammer home a touchdown run, I had about as much faith as the coaching staff had in the run. Either way, no harm, no foul. Syracuse wins. And like I said, the second and final scoring drives of the second half were masterful.
B+ (3.25)
Not as dominating a performance as the UConn game, but the fact that Syracuse managed to get back into this game after being down 23-3 at the half and win was just special. Syracuse managed to play well enough in all three phases in the second half that Syracuse pulled out another conference win, keeping bowl hopes alive. While it is a fact that USF choked a bit, the Syracuse offense just outplayed the USF defense in the second half, and you saw one hell of an ending.
C+ to this Big East officiating crew. The last series was hectic, and they did not have great command of the game, but they did get the calls right so for that we're all grateful  After all, that was the same crew that botched the extra point last season in the Toledo game in Syracuse.
F to ESPN for making us all watch this fantastic game on our phones / laptops. At least we could watch. If you missed it, highly recommend watching the replay of it online.
Syracuse not travels to Cincinnati to take on Munchie and the Bearcats. With four games left this is one, like the last few, is critical. Syracuse can put themselves in a good position and earn back to back to back 1-A wins for the first time since 2001.You know, when the question was which Bowl Game, not if.

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  • Air Your Grievances

  • This About Sums It Up

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