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UConn - Syracuse Postgame Reactions OR Season Sweep

The seniors get a win at Gampel

Leading up to Saturday night's game, there was a lot of hype that Syracuse had never won at Gampel Pavilion. Granted, the sample set was only four games, but winless is winless.  Or, rather, was winless.  Syracuse played one of its bast halves of basketball in the first -- complete with scoring, rebounding, defense, creating turnovers -- and carrying a 43-29 lead into halftime.  And then, the second half.  The Huskies clawed their way back into the game, eventually tying it 63-63 with 4:18 left to play.  Syracuse wouldn't let UConn grab the lead.  A rebound put-back by Fab Melo with 31 seconds to go put the Orange ahead 71-69, and the Syracuse defense shut it down on the other end to preserve the victory.  Put it in the books, 71-69!
  • Kris Joseph had a great game offensively (despite being hurt) and was the team's leading scorer with 21 points on 8-15 shooting, including 3-7 from three.  He was actually shooting with some confidence, which is nice to see in any game, let alone the hostile environment of Gampel.
  • Scoop also played very well.  While he wasn't outstanding from a scoring standpoint (seven points on 3-10 shooting, 0-3 from three), his presence was definitely felt (and necessary) out there on the floor. Scoop had five rebounds, six assists, and three steals.  Those are solid numbers that compliment an offense working very efficiently, as Syracuse was especially in the first half.
  • Scoop was a disappointing 1-2 from the line, though the team was 10-14 in the game.
  • The effort of Fab Melo in this game cannot be understated.  11 points, nine rebounds (five offensive), and three blocks.  All this while only fouling three times.  Granted, there were times (especially in the second half) when Fab fell asleep on defense and gave up position at the back of the zone but, as the final score indicates, it didn't matter in the end.
  • Prior to the game, head coach Jim Boeheim noted that he expected to get his bench some more playing time in this game, particularly James Southerland and Michael Carter-Williams.  He followed through on that expectation.  Southy logged 15 minutes, with seven points and a big block.  Carter Williams played seven minutes, hit a three, and dished a couple of assists.
  • CJ Fair, Mr. Consistency, scored six points, grabbed seven rebounds, and had three blocks -- the most important of which prevented UConn from taking a potential game-tying buzzer shot.  I think his mere presence on the court makes this team better.
  • Rakeem Christmas started.  Played four minutes.  Had a couple rebounds.
  • UConn put together a pretty good team effort, something that could make them potentially dangerous here in the crucial final week of the regular season, and into conference and NCAA tournament time.  Saturday night, they had four players in double-digit scoring.  Jeremy Lamb put up 19 points, Andre Drummond 17, Ryan Boatright 14, and Roscoe Smith 11.
  • UConn's savior from the Villanova game, Shabazz Napier, didn't start but came off the bench and got starter's minutes with 32.  Unfortunately for him, he didn't get starter's stats: no points, seven assists, one rebound, three turnovers.  So, that was good for Syracuse.
  • Syracuse outshot UConn 43.8% to 40.3%, though those numbers looked much better at halftime (51.4% to 36.7%).
  • Syracuse outrebounded UConn 41-37.
  • Though UConn had one more offensive rebound than Syracuse, the Orange had more second-chance points, 16-14.
  • Jim Burr was on the floor, a night after officiating the game in Morgantown between West Virginia and Marquette.  He was his usual self, but can't say he actually played a role in the outcome of the game, one way or the other.  So that was a welcomed change.
  • With this win, Jim Boeheim earned his 400th Big East win.
  • Coming into the game, Syracuse knew it had clinched a share of the Big East regular season title and, with the tie breaker, a guaranteed #1 seed in the Big East Tournament.  With the win, Syracuse wins the Big East regular season outright.  T-shirts are out already, of course.
Syracuse gets a week of practice before it plays its last game of the regular season.  Senior night is Saturday at 4pm against Louisville.  The Orange was able to go into the Yum! Center to win a couple weeks ago, so they're looking for the season sweep of them as well.  Get there early, as the Dome promises to be packed with fans, and you'll also want to see the pregame Senior Ceremony honoring Scoop Jardine, Kris Joseph, Brandon Reese, Matt Tomaszewski, and Nick Resavy.

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Syracuse - Connecticut Preview

Syracuse students agree: Losing to UConn sucks!
Syracuse makes their way to Storrs to take on the Huskies on campus in Gampel Pavilion. Sadly, Jim Calhoun will still not be coaching. Syracuse has locked up the BET #1 seed before even taking the floor, so does that mean Syracuse will relax?
Syracuse may relax, but only in terms of thinking there is that extra undue pressure on them to finish first. Syracuse clearly wants to win. UConn NEEDS to win. While they are probably just on the right side of the bubble, this game will probably lock them into an NCAA tournament trip. This game should be close like the last game was. But I see this game going just like the last game in the Carrier Dome in that Syracuse will pull away at the end. It will not be as extreme as it was there though. I think it will be almost exactly like the Syracuse-Rutgers game we saw last weekend. Obviously Jeremy Lamb is shooting better lately, and Shabazz Napier virtually saved UConn's season with a ridiculous shot in overtime against Villanova earlier this week. But Syracuse, for being such a bad rebounding team, outrebounded the Huskies a mere two weeks ago. Additionally, Syracuse caused double digit turnovers in UConn, but kept their turnover total to under 10. Alex Oriakhi had no answer for Fab Melo inside. If Syracuse makes even some outside shots in this game, they should pull away. UConn will be chucking 3s and if they make a few in a row the loud Pavilion crowd will help the Huskies. But Syracuse will again be able to slice inside. If Syracuse makes free throws again as well this game is over. There will be several pick and rolls and lobs in the Syracuse offense in the half court. Obviously everyone says that half court offense is the way to beat Syracuse, but I think their half court offense has been underrated. Syracuse has demonstrated they can win close games on the road or anywhere. Syracuse will go on a run and if UConn can't answer they will be dead in the water. I like Syracuse but in a close game. I'm picking the Orange by 5.
This game is nationally televised on ESPN at 9:00pm. Don't worry Grandpa, tomorrow is Sunday. I'll be on the laptop giving snark. If you haven't checked it out already, I have again written a guest post over at The UConn Blog which you can read here. Enjoy your evening and hopefully SU will earn their first win in Gampel.

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Home Cookin'


When I say "home cookin'," I don't mean that there was some undue influence in a Supreme Court Justice's decision to change venue of the Jim Boeheim defamation case from New York County to Onondaga County.  I simply mean that if the case goes to trial, Boeheim will get to stay around town and enjoy Juli's delicious home cookin'.  She has a great recipe for a cheesy ranch dip!

But seriously, Justice DeJoseph's ruling on Wednesday is a huge victory for the Boeheim/SU team.  All "home court advantage" references aside, you always want to try cases in a friendly court.  Now, by and large, this case involves a bunch of out of town lawyers, who probably have little or no experience in Onondaga Supreme Court.  So there is no advantage there, on either side.  But I think this ruling better meets the ends of justice, since a local court (with a local jury) can solve a local dispute.

The fact of the matter is, nobody outside the parties, lawyers, and some Syracuse fans care about this case.  If I'm on a Manhattan jury hearing this case, I'm thinking it's a waste of my time.  I'm thinking "Why am I hearing this case?  This has nothing to do with NYC."  And that, at its core, was the argument of the defense: venue was not proper in NYC.  No parties reside there.  The alleged tort (defamation) didn't occur there.  The law in New York states that venue is proper in the county in which at least one party resides.  If you're keeping score at home: Onondaga - Boeheim, SU, Davis; Oswego - Lang; New York County - zero.

So really, the burden was on the plaintiffs -- Davis and Lang -- to show that they could not get a fair trial in Onondaga County, where venue would otherwise be proper.  And this is exactly what the Court zeroed in on: could they prove they would not get a fair and impartial jury?  Not a probably.  Not a maybe.  Justice DeJoseph said in his decision that the arguments against venue in Onondaga County "equate to nothing more than mere beliefs, suspicions, and a feeling of possible bias.  This is insufficient to retain venue in New York County."

Though plaintiff's attorney Gloria Allred, when reached for comment, said that the change of venue doesn't change her resolve, and that they will continue to fight on, it's clearly a big blow to her case.  She wanted to try this case in the big lights of the Big City.  She wanted to be able to wake up at 8am, call an 11am press conference, and have a ton of cameras there.  Not quite so easy to do that when she's in Syracuse.  She wanted to take advantage of NYC juries, who typically award a much higher amount of damages than other counties.  That in large part is due, of course, to the different standard of living.

But really, let's not kid ourselves.  This case will never be in front of a jury.  The change of venue, while important, will ultimately have no bearing on this case.  Next up is the motion to dismiss, filed by the defense with the Court in NYC.  All papers filed there will be transferred to Onondaga, to be scheduled there.  If this case survives that motion to dismiss, which we've surmised it won't, then I would imagine the parties step up the efforts at discussing a settlement.  The terms of any settlement will never be made public -- whether or how much money exchanged hands, or anything else.  Or, at least, I assume that would be the term of any settlement reached.

But what do I know?  Sean Keeley and his commenters at NunesMagician.com have this all figured out!

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CJ Fair agrees: it's not the name on the front, the back, or the color on the jersey. It's the heart.
As I watched from my seat in 309 watching the USF/SU game Wednesday night, I got to thinking what the recap here would be about.  As the game started, I thought, surely it would be the team's poor start, inability to score, inability to grab a rebound.  Then, after the 8:52 mark in the first half, and all the way until the 17:29 mark in the second half, I was thinking it definitely would be about the amazing 26-0 run Syracuse had, stretching between the halves and 50 minutes of real time.
But as it happened, the recap would have to cover the whole game.  Because once the Bulls figured out how to score again (and Syracuse forgot how to rebound again), it was an old fashioned brawl the rest of the way.  And maybe, that's the story of the game.  More importantly, the story is that Syracuse held on and won another Big East game.  The Orange, in platinum, beats the Bulls, in green, 56-48.
  • In a game like this, it's hard to say that any one player deserves credit, or Player of the Game accolades.  Sure, Scoop had a great game.  Fab was important down the stretch.  Fair set the pace early.  But I don't think you can point to any one player and say Syracuse would have lost that game without that player; because you could point to ANY player to say that.  Maybe the better way to say that is that you can't point to just one player and say that one player is the reason for the win.
  • I don't know if that's a good recipe for success or not; but the record doesn't lie: 28-1, 15-1 BE.
  • Stats-wise, I suppose we should break it down: Scoop was the leading Orange scorer with 15 points on 6-10 shooting, 2-4 from three, and 1-1 from the line to complete the old fashioned 3-point play.  I will take that from Scoop any night, especially when he minimizes the mistakes.  He did have three turnovers but, I suppose, it could be worse.
  • Other big scorers included the aforementioned CJ Fair with 13 points (4-10 shooting), Kris Joseph with 12 points (5-17), and Dion Waiters with nine points (3-6).
  • Kris.  Geez.  You take 17 shots and only five fall?  I know you're better than that.  I hope you're saving it all for the Tournament!
  • Rakeem Christmas started, logged one foul in one minute of play, and never saw the floor again.
  • Though I rag on Kris for having a horrible shooting night, I have to give him credit for his rebounding effort.  He led the team with nine, which certainly helped Syracuse in its 26-0 run.
  • On that rebounding effort though, Syracuse lost 41-31.  SU's failure to rebound prior to the run allowed USF to build its lead, and SU's failure to rebound after the run allowed USF to get back in the game and keep it close.  Boxing out and positioning were just poor.  Just poor.  At times, it seemed like there were six USF players fighting five SU players for rebounds.
  • It was a rough shooting effort from both teams; Syracuse lost that battle 38.5% to 34.5%.
  • A big reason the Bulls weren't able to really come back in the second half is because they didn't make it to the foul line.  USF was 2-2 from the charity stripe in each half.  At the end of regulation, Syracuse was fouling just because they had fouls to give.  Not often you see that in a Big East game.
  • Anthony Collins and Toarlyn Fitzpatrick were USF's leading scorers, with 12 and 11 respectively.
  • One more thing I want to note for Syracuse: ball handling.  Though there were only nine turnovers (to USF's 18), it seems that most Orange players just can't hold onto the ball.  I don't get it, but it's going to be a problem as the days and weeks roll along.
I know a lot of that was critical of the Orange, but don't get me wrong: I love wins.  I'm enjoying this win.  I'm enjoying that we're fans of a team 28-1 and staring a probable NCAA 1-seed in the face.  But that's exactly why I'm critical.  You see a regular season like this, and your expectations increase.  And when you see flaws in the product you're rooting for, you want those flaws fixed so your expectations can be realized.  And I like to think that most of the Orange fans out there think the same way -- they just might not express it that way.
One short note on the platinum uniforms: they looked AWFUL.  I was there, in person.  Awful.  The little orange that was on the uniform looked too neon-bright.  The gray/platinum looked too weird.  It just wasn't the Syracuse team we're used to seeing.  But we can't blame the team's poor performance on the jerseys (cough cough 26-0 run, cough cough THEY WON!), but part of me wants to blame the slow start on the jerseys -- it's a change the team had to adapt to.  You train your mind to pass the ball to white or orange.  When you don't see white or orange, you start second-guessing yourself.  I assume.  But hey, they were a one-game thing.  So, heeeeeeeeeey SEE YA!
Syracuse returns to action Saturday night as they visit Gampel Pavilion on the campus of the University of Connecticut, who will again be without head coach Jim Calhoun.  ESPN's College Gameday will be on hand (possibly wishing they weren't covering that train-wreck of a team), but we'll still watch intently.  It is UConn, after all.  Keep it here for Husky Hate coverage.

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South Florida - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: We're still the Orange. Right...?
South Florida, other than Seton Hall being pretty competitive, and Connecticut, Pitt, and Villanova falling off a cliff, is the surprise of the Big East this year. They have amassed 10 conference wins, and are generally considered a decent team, compared to what they were the last few seasons. Does that mean the Orange are in trouble?
Syracuse is 25th in the country in scoring with 76.8ppg. In contrast, South Florida earns 61.1ppg, which is 309th in the nation. That means that South Florida doesn't score a lot, to make it even simpler. Augustus Gilchrist leads the Bulls with 10.5ppg, and the only Bulls player with double digit scoring. You never know with the Bulls where the offensive attack will come from. Their second leading scorer comes off the bench. That kind of sounds familiar. South Florida is a good rebounding team, so second chance points, like at Rutgers, will be a key to South Florida staying in the game. South Florida's problem is that they really are not a good three point shooting team. They will again need to hit a few to keep the upset hopes alive. Syracuse will shoot better than they did on the road, and they actually shot pretty well from behind the arc at Rutgers. They also didn't take too many either, giving them more opportunities to score inside, where Syracuse is better than most teams. USF is able to scrap and the intangibles could fall USF's way. That being said, CJ Fair is consistently rebounding and scoring, Scoop has been distributing the ball well as of late, and Syracuse just has too much talent compared to South Florida. They have only lost four games in the league, but they did lost to UConn, Marquette, Georgetown, and Notre Dame. That means they lost to teams they were supposed to lose to. Syracuse qualifies as that. Despite Syracuse messing with their uniforms, I'm taking the Orange by 14.
Syracuse will be seen on TWCS/SNY/ESPN 3 at 7:00pm. If you are watching on SNY their pregame starts at 6:30. Is Nike pissed this game isn't nationally televised? I'm guessing so. John is in the Dome tonight but I'll be at the home office manning the laptop. Enjoy all of that and enjoy the game if you can.

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Boeheim looked like this a bit, but he smiled in the end.
Syracuse was still atop the Big East and #2 in the nation when they entered the RAC on Sunday for a tilt against Rutgers. They left with the same status. While Rutgers is a tough team at home, having defeated the last three top 10 opponents to enter, Syracuse was the better team and prevailed. Syracuse earned another victory and another experience that can only help when tournament time rolls around very soon.
This game was close throughout the entire game except for just over the last minute. Syracuse was up at the half 40-34, but Rutgers continued to play well despite not making three point buckets. Rutgers kept the game close, always between one to three possessions. Rutgers even closed the game to just two points with 3:08 remaining, but Syracuse continued to score. Scoop Jardine hit the dagger three from the top of the key with 1:11 remaining to put the game out of reach at 69-62. Syracuse went on to win 74-64, the biggest lead Syracuse had all day.
  • CJ Fair was the leading scorer off the bench with 21 points. He had some big dunks, put backs, layups, and one massive reverse slam off a lob from Jardine that was just FILTHY. Next in line was Jardine with 17, including 2-4 from three point range. Fair was 6-8 from the floor, 1-1 from three, and a perfect 8-8 from the charity stripe. 21 points is his career high.
  • Fair was also the leading rebounder with eight. Fab Melo was next with six.
  • Jardine led in assists with seven.
  • Syracuse again led in turnovers, having only 10 to Rutgers' 12.
  • Syracuse finished on the day shooting 50% from the floor, 5-12 (41.7%) from three, and 21-31 (67.7%) from the free throw line.
  • Rutgers was 41.9%, 3-18 (16.7% [woof!]), abd 9-11 (81.8%) respectively.
  • Syracuse was outrebounded by Rutgers 31 to 26. They also had more assists than Syracuse 15 to 11.
  • CJ Fair had a fantastic game obviously. But he has been the most consistent player all season, and interesting, Syracuse's best rebounder. His only bad game has really been the loss at Notre Dame.
  • Mike Rice is probably more intense on the sideline than Frank Martin at Kansas State. He may be the most intense coach in the nation.
  • Syracuse has now beaten Rutgers 12 consecutive games.
  • Jim Burr is seriously awful. Seriously. Blatantly blew an out of bounds call really badly. Also, how has goaltending become the call referees mess up the most all of a sudden?
  • Syracuse snaps Rutgers' three game winning streak over top 10 opponents at the RAC. However, Rutgers is now 0-7 all time versus #2.
Syracuse will now return to the Carrier Dome to take on a surprisingly good 10 Big East win team in South Florida, who needs a resume win in trying to punch their NCAA ticket. Syracuse is also breaking out the gray... i mean "platinum" uniforms so there's that. Syracuse Lacrosse also started their season on Sunday and beat Albany 12 to 7, moving to 1-0 again to start a season. John Desko has never lost an opening game. We're busy with other things in the home office, but once March hits we'll be giving full attention to lacrosse again, including more coverage from me over at College Crosse as well.

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Attorneys in the Davis/Lang/Boeheim/SU defamation suit appeared this morning in Onondaga County Supreme Court to argue a motion filed by the Boeheim/SU legal team to transfer venue to Onondaga County.  The appearance this morning was for oral argument on the written motions/affidavits already filed.  Supreme Court Justice Brian DeJoseph "reserved decision," meaning that instead of ruling immediately from the bench, he'll be deliberating in private and issuing a written decision, "likely by Wednesday night."

Though I wasn't there personally, it appears the oral arguments made this morning were essentially rehashing the arguments the attorneys made in their written submissions.  And we know the arguments on each side of the issue.

This morning, in between my own court cases, it occurred to me that there may be an even quicker way to get updates in this case than twitter -- shocking, I know!  The New York State Court System has this online system called "eCourts," which gives the public a wealth of information on cases pending in many of the Courts in the state.  Among its features is the ability to search by a case's Index Number and find out the parties, the attorneys of record, past court appearances, future court appearances, and the posting of judicial decisions.  On top of all that, anybody can register for an eTrack account, which can send you an immediate email update anytime a case's information is changed in the state-wide computer system: when a new court date is scheduled, when a motion is filed, or when a decision is released.  And so, I created my own eTrack account and registered for updates on this case.

For those of you looking to do the same thing, here's a quick tutorial:

  • Point your favorite web browser (i.e. Chrome and nothing else) to  http://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/webcivil/ecourtsMain
  • Click on the link to WebCivil Supreme
  • Enter the code displayed to confirm you're not a bot. If you're a bot, figure out how to mask your identity.
  • On the left bar of the screen there should be a link to eTrack.  Click on that.
  • You're now on a page asking you to register for an account (unless you already have one).  Do that.
  • Once you've created an eTrack account, log in to eTrack with that information.
  • Next, under the Civil Supreme Court Cases, click "Add an existing Civil Supreme Court Case"
  • After probably typing in another "I'm not a bot" code, you'll then be brought to WebCivil Supreme and can search for a case a number of different ways.  I suggest Index Search.
  • Enter 000255/2012, select Onondaga County, and search away.
  • You should now see the case you're looking for with some familiar names.  Click on the linked Index Number, and you'll get a pop-up with more case information.  At the bottom of the pop-up, click Add to eTrack.  Boom!
Now, I'm not certain that Onondaga County posts its decisions online.  And I'm not certain that eTrack will give us a more immediate notification than anything else we'll get on twitter or elsewhere.  But, I figure it's worth a shot.

If Justice DeJoseph grants the motion to transfer venue, that means the case will be heard not in "New York, Concrete Jungle," but rather in Onondaga County, home of the bustling DestiNY USA.  That's still a thing, right?

If the motion is denied, then venue stays where it's been asserted (Manhattan) and the judge there will rule on the Boeheim motion to dismiss next month.

Either way, the venue issues and the motion to dismiss will really dictate whether this case settles (or rather, how soon).  Of course, if it's dismissed, there's nothing to settle.  That would be best case scenario for the Boeheim camp.  Allred & Co. certainly want the case to go forward in New York County with the motion to dismiss being denied.  I think at that point, this case goes away real fast, via settlement.  Even with this case and these facts, I don't think I chance it in NYC if I'm Boeheim.  Too much financial exposure.  Just my opinion.

Once the change of venue motion is decided tomorrow, check my twitter (@jbren) for immediate reaction.  Since I'll be in Syracuse for the USF game, you'll want to check back here for more in-depth analysis of the decision at some point on Thursday.

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Syracuse - Rutgers Preview

Syracuse students agree: The Grease Trucks are overrated.
Syracuse has only a few games left on the season. But their second to last road game comes to the RAC in New Jersey. Syracuse has had close calls with Rutgers the last few years. Will this be a trap game for the Orange?
Rutgers is a young team, but they do have some talent. Freshman Eli Carter is a shooter that can hit long threes, and he averages 13.6ppg. Rutgers can also score well in transition. They will look to push the tempo in this game. But sadly that favors Syracuse. A young team is prone to turnovers and Rutgers does turn the ball over. Syracuse should be slow to start as usual, but they will roll in the second half. Syracuse has way too much talent and their defense is far better than the Rutgers Offense. Syracuse will roll by 18.
This game is nationally broadcast on ESPN at 1:00pm. It's an away game so John and I will be all over the tweets. Be sure to wish him a happy birthday as he just turned 30 and is old as dirt @JBren. Enjoy the game and those nice orange uniforms.

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UConn & Louisville Postgame Reactions

Lots of people like basketball
The basketball gods have this thing they call "Rivalry Week."  This required Syracuse to play three games in six days: two of them against top-20 teams, two of them against arguably the most hated teams from a Syracuse fan's perspective, and one of them on the road.  Just how Syracuse would get through this stretch would help dictate the rest of the season.
After last Wednesday's overtime win over Georgetown, the Orange had until Saturday to regroup and prepare for UConn.  This isn't your father's UConn, however.  It's not even last year's UConn.  A shell of its former self, this UConn is finding out what it's like to suck.  Like, for reals.  They can't win games, they don't have their head coach, and they're just coming off the sobering news that even if they figure out how to win games next season, it will be an exercise in futility as they have a 1-year NCAA post-season ban.  And so, with that serving as the backdrop of Saturday's game in the Carrier Dome, UConn had its work cut out in order to win.  That's exactly what it didn't do.  Though there were a few points in the game, even in the second half, where it got close, Syracuse used a couple of patented runs to pull away and earn the victory, 85-67.
  • Scoop Jardine had what head coach Jim Boeheim referred to as his best game of the season.  In 30 minutes, Scoop scored 21 points on 8-9 shooting, including 4-4 from three.  He also dished out six rebounds.  It was nice to see Scoop step up and have one of those big games you know he can have and you know he wants to have.  He can say all he wants that he just wants to be a team player and help the team win, but you know he wants to score a crap ton of points, too.  If anything, let's hope this helps the Scoop Psyche.
  • Syracuse had three other players in double-digit scoring: Dion Waiters (18), Kris Joseph (15), and CJ Fair (14).
  • Fair's 14 points came alongside 12 rebounds for a solid double-double.  I mean, yeah, he had a team-high 38 minutes played, but when you're playing that well, you get rewarded with minutes.
  • Syracuse had a starter join Club Trillion: in two minutes, Rakeem Christmas recorded no statistics.  Other Club Trillion members in this game included Michael Carter-Williams (also two minutes), and Nick Resavy (less than a minute).
  • That's right: walk-ons saw (junk) time in a Big East game against the Connecticut UConn Huskies.
  • Though he lit up Syracuse for 18 points, Jeremy Lamb couldn't do it all for UConn.  The UConn offensive effort was largely neutralized due to Alex Oriaki who, in limited 14 minutes, scored only two points.  And Andre Drummond hurt his ankle which, I'm told, was kind of a big deal.
  • Syracuse shot 59.3% to UConn's 44.2%, which was nice, but the big number was Syracuse from three, winning that battle 62.5% to 42.1%.
  • George Blaney trolled the sidelines for UConn, again subbing in for Jim Calhoun who didn't make the trip due to his ongoing back pain.  Though we love to hate UConn and love to hate Calhoun, these games are always better when we can beat him.  But if he never gets to coach again, the state of Connecticut can start saving some dimes again.
  • The crowd of 33.430 in the Carrier Dome was the largest of the season, both at Syracuse and nationally.  As expected.
  • Tim Higgins in the Carrier Dome was the largest of the season, both at Syracuse and nationally.  As expected.
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So then, with little time to take in the win over UConn, the Orange had to shift its focus to a Louisville team that nobody on the roster had ever beaten.  For Syracuse's final appearance on Big Monday in the 2011-2012 season, they entered the KFC Yum! Center eager for a win, eager to exorcise demons, eager to put Rick Pitino back in his place.  Scoop would be entering the game with some swagger, and he and Kris would want that elusive win over the Cardinals.  This was a frustrating game to watch, both from the level of basketball played by both teams, and the utter incompetence of the officiating crew.  If the Big East pays these refs by the whistle, let's just say the drinks are on Jim Burr tonight.  Literally and figuratively.  Despite it all, Syracuse escapes with the one-point win, 52-51, and heads back to Syracuse to hit some classes for the week.
  • CJ Fair, who's nothing but consistent, was the leading scorer for the Orange.  His 13 points on 5-12 shooting often times kept the Orange in the game.  Louisville often times came out in the zone, and CJ Fair seems to be the only player for Syracuse who can position himself inside the zone to have a chance to score.  Everyone else just tries to create ball screens outside the arc.
  • Scoop Jardine had a Scoop being Scoop game.  Zero points on 0-8 shooting.  Maybe it's the law of averages.  Maybe it's a psychological thing.  But the momentum Scoop should have had coming out of that UConn game TWO DAYS AGO just didn't exist.
  • Fab Melo had a pretty decent game, with eleven points and six rebounds, and also drew a charge or two.  He showed some great hustle out there, and his defense at the back of the zone got better after he remembered the game plan of not having to come forward to cover a crappy shooter.
  • Speaking of the Syracuse defense, they played well tonight.  In fact, Louisville did not score a field goal for over ten minutes -- virtually to the end of the first half.  Though that may be more of an indictment of the Louisville offense, some credit is certainly due to the Syracuse defense.
  • Syracuse shot an abysmal 1-15 from beyond the arc (6.7%).  That one three-pointer was, and I'm sure you've already seen, Syracuse's only offense from outside the paint.  That's an amazing stat, when you consider how difficult it seemed Syracuse was having getting the ball inside the Louisville zone.
  • To a large extent, though, credit that inside scoring to the 16 offensive rebounds Syracuse was able to pull down.  While that's the same number as Louisville had, it seemed Syracuse was able to do more with it.
  • In a game where the overall shooting percentages were virtually identical (Syracuse 34.4%, LVille 34.7%), rebounding essentially the same (39-37 LVille), two stats that probably made the difference in the one-point margin of victory for Syracuse were steals and free throws.  Syracuse had 12 steals.  Louisville went 12-21 from the line.  It's hard to win games -- especially close games -- with numbers like those.
  • Syracuse played much of the second half without Kris Joseph, who sat the bench with four fouls.
  • At one point in the second half, official Jim Burr called a foul under the basket.  Then, in all his wisdom, he wasn't sure who he called the foul on.  Add your own commentary to that.  I, for one, am impressed that he didn't then just get so frustrated that he just walked off the court.  So, you know, silver lining for him.
  • Louisville attempted a white-out for this sold out game, and coach Rick Pitino got into it too.  White suit.  Colonel Sanders, Don Johnson, John Travolta, Mark Twain, and now Rick Pitino.  Thanks for those graphics, ESPN.  And the wonderful Photoshop.
  • Syracuse, after that three-games-in-six-days juggernaut, now gets some time off before traveling to Rutgers for a matchup at the RAC on Sunday.

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Syracuse - Louisville Preview

Syracuse students agree: A win against Louisville would be nice.
Syracuse has survived Rivalry Week so far. They beat both Georgetown and Connecticut in the Carrier Dome, one in overtime and the other by 18 points. Having lost only one game on the season, Syracuse is still playing well enough to win, even when they don't play their best game. But we all know it is harder to perform on the road. The Yum! Center is sold out, so this will be an interesting game.
Syracuse has dropped seven in a row to Louisville. While this team doesn't appear to set any eyes on fire by showing a lot of talent on the court, they are a solid team that has, on occasion, played like a top ten team. The secret is out on Kyle Kuric. He lit up Syracuse a couple years ago and has been a factor ever since. He is the leading score and senior leader of this Louisville team. He is the one that will hit open threes anywhere on the floor. He can also be crafty in the lane and do some things around the rim. Fab Melo will help stop that, but good ball movement could be Louisville's biggest strength. On top of that, Louisville has a very good defense, giving different looks of man and zone. If Syracuse finds consistent offense and penetrates to the hoop like they did more against UConn than Georgetown, Syracuse will get to the free throw line, or kick out to open shooters. Or simply score as they were able to Saturday. Peyton Siva has struggled from three in shooting all season. He could get hot, but more likely he will shoot several threes and miss. That is good for the Orange. While everything I've said basically favors the Orange, I'm just going to pick based on history and my gut. I think Syracuse loses one more this season and this is the one. Syracuse just can't beat Louisville so I'm picking them to lose in this one by six. But I can be and do hope I am wrong.
This wraps up Syracuse's rivalry week and will be nationally broadcast on ESPN at 7:00pm tonight. John Brennan will be on here after with a wrap up of UConn and Louisville tonight. As for me, this game is away so look for all the snark you can handle on the Twitter. I look forward to making fun of your favorite player soon.

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Connecticut - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: Connecticut is the garbage fire of the Big East right now.
Connecticut is not playing well. They are taking on #2 Syracuse in the Carrier Dome coming off a big win against rival Georgetown. Connecticut's last game was an embarrassing affair at Louisville. But this is UConn/Syracuse after all. It's not as easy as that.
Connecticut comes in hoping to escape with a resume building win. Their back is against the wall. That means that Connecticut is a dangerous team. Jeremy Lamb (17.2ppg) is Connecticut's best player. He has lit up Syracuse before in his short Husky career. Ryan Boatright (10.4ppg) is back in the starting lineup after the NCAA held him out to check his eligibility. He's good to go and has played well the last few games since returning. But the key players in this game are oddly Andre Drummond and Alex Oriakhi. If they manage to pull down rebounds at a steady pace, this game will again be close Drummond can do it, but Oriakhi has had spotty play this year. With Fab Melo back in the lineup, and CJ Fair continuing to rebound for the team, if Syracuse has one other player to step up and rebound, Syracuse will be fine. This game should be close at the half. Syracuse could pull away in the second half however, as UConn has fallen flat in the second half in recent games. I'm picking Syracuse pretty obviously, but I'm going with a nine point win. I think It will get closer than people expect just based on the rivalry factor however. Orange by nine.
This game is on CBS today at 1:00pm. Tune in nationally and listen to the soothing sounds of Clark Kellogg. If that's a thing. Remind your favorite UConn fan that San Diego is a fine University. We're in the Dome with more than 32,000 people so we'll see you on the Tweets if we can.

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Syracuse wins thanks to this guy.
It was close. It was tense, It was... a typical match between Syracuse and Georgetown. The game lived up to the billing. A grinding game that went to overtime, Syracuse managed a three point win to remain atop the Big East, and send the Hoyas packing. A flight to DC is not fun after a loss I'm sure.
This game was close the entire time. The Hoyas had the lead at the half 31 to 27. Syracuse started the second half on an 8-0 run though to take the lead. There were a few more lead changes before the Hoyas tied the game. Syracuse had the chance to win the game in regulation, but the Orange failed to score so it was overtime.  Kris Joseph was the hero as he drilled a three pointer to take the lead with about 27 seconds left. The Hoyas were unable to score again. Syracuse wins in overtime over rival Georgetown 64 to 61.
  • Kris Joseph lead all scorers with a career high of 29 points. After missing all threes attempted in the last three games, Joseph hit 6-11 from long range, including the go ahead score that won the game.
  • CJ Fair again lead Syracuse in rebounding with nine. Fab Melo had seven.
  • Scoop Jardine did distribute the ball well, earning eight assists. Sadly he had four turnovers, leading the team in that category. Truth be told he has never really played well ever against Georgetown except at Georgetown last season.
  • Melo had six blocks in this game.
  • Syracuse obviously was crushed in the rebounding category 48 to 30. Jim Boeheim was not pleased.
  • Syracuse did lead in shooting from the floor with 34.9% and 33.3% (8-24) from three. Georgetown did lead in freethrows with 87.5% over 75%. Georgetown was 33.3% and 23.8% (5-21) from the floor respectively. Oddly, it felt like Georgetown hit a ton more threes than they actually hit.
  • Georgetown had 16 assists, two more than Syracuse.
  • Syracuse only had nine turnovers to Georgetown's 14. So there's that.
  • Dion Waiters was only 1-6 from behind the arc. Triche was 1-4, but the one he hit was in transition pulling up from the top of the key. Looked like Gerry McNamara in 2004.
  • Kris Joseph played all 45 minutes.
  • Syracuse has not beaten Georgetown five out of the last seven meetings.
  • Syracuse winning prevented Georgetown from winning two games in the Dome in a row since '86/87-'87-88.
  • Syracuse is now 19-2 in overtime in the Carrier Dome under Jim Boeheim.
  • Syracuse, if remaining in the Big East one more year, will definitely play Georgetown in DC next season, but it is possible that they will be playing home and home so there is a chance the Hoyas make it back to the Dome as a conference foe one more time.
  • The game was officiated very loosely. As in a lot of contact was not called. Again, just another classic Georgetown/SU game.
  • If this is the last time these two teams meet in the Dome as conference rivals this is a storybook way to end it. A win in overtime.
Syracuse next takes on Connecticut, the hot garbage fire of the Big East at the moment (although Pitt did just lose to USF... hmmm) in the Dome this Saturday. Should be some fireworks on Saturday as rivalry week continues. We'll obviously be back with coverage of that as the fun hopefully rolls on. Oh yeah... and Georgetown still sucks!

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Boeheim's Motion to Dismiss

In the big chess game that is the courts system, the Jim Boeheim & Syracuse University legal team made a big move Wednesday.  The filed a motion to dismiss the defamation lawsuit, on the grounds that the complaint fails to allege an actionable claim.  In other words, they argue that the "defamation" alleged does not fit the legal definition of defamation and, as such, there is no need for the case to proceed -- indeed, no legal basis for it to proceed.
I normally might recap the filing or explain what I think it means, but I would urge you to just read it yourself.  Though there's some legalese in it, I do think the lay person can figure it out.  It reads rather easy.  It sets out in simple terms exactly what the defense position is and why they take that position.  It's full of several citations to other court cases where courts (particularly appeals courts which have binding law decisions over trial courts).
It certainly seems to me that Boeheim and SU are sitting on some solid legal ground (which I have felt from the inception of this lawsuit).  The next step in this process will be for the Plaintiffs to file a response to the motion to dismiss, no doubt arguing their own law as to why the suit should stand.  It will be interesting to see what arguments Allred & Co. can come up with to counter the motion to dismiss.  Once the response is filed, the Court will then consider all the filings and make a ruling (there could also be oral argument on the motion as well).  If the judge grants the motion to dismiss, the lawsuit is concluded in favor of Boeheim and SU.  If the motion is denied, then the suit will continue with discovery, resolution of other legal issues (including the change of venue application) and head toward trial or settlement.  We'll keep you posted!

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Georgetown - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: Your mother's a Hoya!
Well here it is. The biggest rivalry game of the season. #11/12 versus #2. Thompson III versus Boeheim. Gray versus orange. I really don't think I'm overstating things when I say this is the biggest rivalry game in the nation aside from Duke versus UNC. Over 30,000 people in the Dome. National television. What more of an introduction do you need?
The best player on Georgetown is clearly Jason Clark, who is averaging 15.2ppg, and he can shoot the ball really well. But you can't fail to account for Hollis Thompson as well. He averages 13.7ppg and he shoots the long ball the best in the league, at 48.4%. Syracuse will allow three point shots in the zone, but the key is to contest as many as they can. They have demonstrated that they can do that luckily. The key to this game will be Georgetown's offense versus Syracuse's defense. The team that manages to win the defensive battle will win this game. While G'town's defense has played well lately they have been getting hype for limiting their last two opponents to 44 and 45 points. Those teams were UConn and South Florida. UConn has taken Pitt's place as the hot garbage fire of the Big East after their Monday night affair, and South Florida isn't an offensive powerhouse. Georgetown does have several wins against top teams in the nation however, so you cannot discount their experience against good opponents. These games are always grind out kind of games. Who can do the dirty work will win this game. Fab Melo as a presence in the zone can only help the driving of the G'town guards. Guarding against the "Princeton" back door cut will be key for Fair, Melo, and of course Christmas when he is in. Again it comes down to defense. Syracuse still has the best scoring offense in the Big East, so this match up should scare Georgetown, as well as the 30,000 plus that will be in the Carrier Dome. Rebounding should be a problem for Georgetown as well. G'town's best rebounder is Otto Porter, who comes off the bench. Nate Lubick (3.7ppg, 4.3rpg) may be the worst starter in the Big East I'm convinced. That's not a G'town bias. That is just from watching him play. He's dead weight on the floor against top talent in the Big East. Syracuse is also deeper and have several scoring options. Despite the fact I think all the matchups favor Syracuse, this will again be a close, classic battle between these two teams. If Syracuse doesn't chuck up a bunch of threes and only takes good shots this should go nicely. Syracuse is at home and more talented. I'm picking the Orange over the Hoyas by eight.
This game will be nationally televised on ESPN at 7:00pm tonight. You will be looking live at Brent Musburger and Bob Knight so you'll at least enjoy the game if you are watching on TV if you can't make it to the Dome. Now as long as we have a decently officiated game we'll all be in business. If you need another primer for the game check out this article from the Georgetown student newspaper from a few years ago about the rivalry. They interview me so you know it's got some solid anti-Georgetown statements in it. If you haven't already, see how much of a hater you are with your official Hoya Hater Certification Test here. Of course, you have to check out our old friend Matt Glaude at Hoya Suxa as well. Do remember to keep it classy to the Hoya fans, if they dare make the trip. And hopefully we'll see something like this tonight...

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We're glad you're back too Fab.
New season, same result. Syracuse has now beaten St. John's seven in a row and 13 out of 14. New York's College Team beat New York's Team. While St. John's can be tough in "their" building, Syracuse was just too much for the young Johnnies. The Orange roll in the city.
Syracuse started the game slowly, not scoring a field goal in the first four and a half minutes. The Red Storm had a five point lead, but that was short lived. While three point shooting was not spectacular for the Orange, they end up winning 41 to 27 at the half. After a couple more beers for myself and my friends, we were treated to a dunk fest in the second half. Syracuse just steamrolled St. John's in front of a mostly orange crowd. Syracuse was your winner 95 to 70.
  • Fab Melo earned a career high 14 points. Dion Waiters and CJ Fair also had 14 points. Lots of scoring all around. Kris Joseph and Michael Carter-Williams each added 13 points each. That is Carter-Williams' career high as well.
  • After being outrebounded for the past bunch of games (the last being probably the worst), rebounding was really outstanding in this game. It was led by Kris Joseph with eight and Rakeem Christmas pulled seven. SU had 38 total over St. John's 25.
  • Despite having a bad scoring day, Brandon Triche did distribute the ball well earning five assists. Kris Joseph and Dion Waiters each had four. Syracuse as a team had a season high 23 assists.
  • Fab went back to what he did well. He blocked two shots in the game.
  • Syracuse didn't quite keep the turnovers under double digits, but ten isn't too bad. Although St. John's also only had ten. Scoop and Brandon had three each.
  • Syracuse shot the ball well. Dunks are a high percentage shot. They went 55.7% from the floor. However, the threes weren't falling so easily. 33.3% (7-21). Could be far worse but still not great. Syracuse was also 10-14 (71.4%) from the free throw line.
  • Respectively, St. John's was 40.4%, 46.7% (7-15), and 60.7%. While they did hit a good percentage of shots from behind the arc, most of those were later in the game, and hitting only seven isn't a game killer when you are up by 20 or more points.
  • MSG was probably 80% Syracuse fans. Not too shabby.
  • Brent Axe during the game tweeted that Fab is on record as being a flopper to get charge calls. He definitely wasn't flopping when he took a huge one in this game. A big time arm extension from St. John's to put him on the floor.
  • Syracuse has won 13/14 games over St. John's and seven in a row.
  • A lot of highlights in this game. What sticks out were obviously Carter-Williams' huge dunk and Waiters' spin move lay up. He also had a pretty great dunk.
Syracuse next takes on rival Georgetown. We'll have our usual preview Wednesday morning along with plenty of Hoya Hate. This is one of the most fun weeks of the season when the die hards come out. It's college basketball at it's best. It's still fun to beat teams like St. John's too though.

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Syracuse - St. John's Preview

Syracuse students agree: MSG is filled with more orange than red.
Syracuse is coming of an... interesting win over West Virginia in the Dome last Saturday. After a week off, and the news that Fab Melo will be back in the lineup, Syracuse heads to very familiar territory in Madison Square Garden.  Can the Orange earn another win in the heart of the Big East?
Syracuse, again, has Fab Melo back in the lineup. This makes Syracuse a huge and deep team compared to St. John's. And far more experienced as well. St. John's is now starting a five freshman lineup. D'Angelo Harrison is the stud of the group, leading the Red Storm in scoring. He just hit seven 3s in their last game against DePaul, barely winning by six at DePaul. This game is simple to analyze. Syracuse is bigger, more talented, tougher, and more experienced. This game is in MSG, where there is sure to be more orange than red. Unless Syracuse can't hit the ocean from a boat, and St. John's hits ever 3 ball they take, Syracuse is winning this handily in the second half. I'm taking Syracuse by 15.
This game is nationally broadcast on ESPN at noon tomorrow. I'll be in the garden taking in my first game in MSG against St. John's. I've been a few times for the BET, but never a regular season game. Should be a fun time. John will be joining me, so enjoy all the various tweets and such. We look forward to running into some of our favorite friends in the city for this one. Check out Rumble in the Garden for your St. John's news. I answered some questions for those nice folks that you can read here.

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