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Alcorn State - Syracuse Postgame Reactions OR Yuck

Nobody knew what it was they were watching

After the excitement of Syracuse's Pinstripe Bowl victory, Orange fans turned their attention to a little basketball game being played in the Carrier Dome. Supposedly nearly 20,000 actually attended this game, while many of us gathered in bars around NYC and asked bartenders to put SNY on the TVs. Big shoutout to Murphy's on 2nd Ave for their hospitality, food, and drinks. Anyway, it's a good thing this establishment had alcohol, because the basketball game between Syracuse and Alcorn State was awful. Syracuse played poorly but, thankfully, the Braves were worse. Syracuse wins 57-36.
  • CJ Fair led the way for the Orange with a 13-point performance on 6-12 shooting. The only other double-digit scorer for Syracuse was Trevor Cooney, with 12.
  • Cooney played 26 minutes, and actually provided the Orange with a spark in the second half, hitting a three for the first field goal of the half -- with 11:26 to go in the game!
  • After a 32-point output by Syracuse in the first half, you would have thought scoring would not have been such an issue. But this team seems to be defying conventional wisdom lately.
  • Syracuse shot a putrid 37.5% for the game, 20% from three, and 42.9% at the line.
  • Syracuse won the rebounding battle 39-28, only committed 15 turnovers, and stole the ball 13 times.
  • With the Braves committing 28 turnovers -- that's right, 28 -- Syracuse was able to capitalize and score 26 points off those turnovers. Being able to make something out of your opponent's mistakes is a valuable skill, and not only did that keep Syracuse in this game, but the Orange will need to do that in Big East play.
  • Another good stat: Syracuse led in points in the paint 32-18. The Syracuse zone wasn't especially effective, but it certainly had the Braves stifled.
With the win, Syracuse improved to 11-1 on the season, and Jim Boeheim earned number 901. Monday afternoon he has an opportunity to tie Bobby Knight for number two on the all-time wins list. To earn the victory, the team might want to consider playing a consistent 40 minutes of basketball.

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Cue the Smiling Children...

Everyone knows Syracuse was the better team on Saturday.

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Pinstripe Bowl Preview Extravaganza

Let's go bowling. #BeatWVU
Syracuse had a rough go in some of their early games, but finishing strong on the year put them at 7-5 and back in the Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium. Below will be my standard preview, followed by John chiming in on the football preview spectrum. Then I'll have some closing words and send you on your way to enjoy the game wherever you happen to find yourself tomorrow.
The Orange and the Mountaineers of West Virginia are no strangers to each other. They have played an awful lot over then years and then as conference mates in the Big East. But the changing landscape of college football and athletics has put them at odds with one another in the postseason. Oddly, the numbers for both teams offensively and for both quarterbacks are similar in terms of yards gained and production per game. Even the stud wide receiver duos of Tavon Austin/Stedman Bailey and Marcus Sales/Alec Lemon have similar numbers on the year. Honestly, the only offensive numbers that are radically different are Geno Smith's 40 touchdowns versus Ryan Nassib's 29. We know both quarterbacks can throw the ball well. This is not in dispute. However, on the other side of the ball, both defenses are not as good as their offensive counterparts. However, the difference in these teams is really found in the passing defense. West Virginia ranks next to last in the nation at passing defense, giving up 328.3 passing yards per game and a total of 36 passing touchdowns. Compare that to Syracuse, who only allows 236.9 passing yards per game and 21 passing TDs. Either way, this game will be won by Syracuse if they can establish an offense that moves the ball and doesn't commit turnovers. Syracuse has a slightly better rushing attack and if they can sustain long drives, it will put them in a position to wear out the WVU defense quicker and allow for more passing opportunities later in the game. Syracuse, in the previous two meetings, have found ways to attack Smith, sacking him numerous times. Syracuse will need to do that again, making it easier on the SU secondary, and harder for Geno to gain big yards through the air. This game is basically a coin flip at this point. I'll rely on the recent history between these teams, and the pro-Syracuse crowd in the stands, as well as Syracuse's performance in the last Pinstripe Bowl to guide my decision here. I'm picking the Orange in a close one 41 to 38.

John Brennan's Preview
Before I get to my analysis of what Syracuse needs to do to win the game, I want to focus on a few parallels to 2010:
  • In 2010, Syracuse finished the regular season at 7-5. 
  • In 2012, Syracuse finished the regular season at 7-5. 
  • In 2010, the San Francisco Giants (my favorite baseball team) won the World Series. 
  • In 2012, the San Francisco Giants (still my favorite baseball team) won the World Series. 
  • In 2010, every seat in the House of Representatives and one-third of the seats in the Senate was up for election. 
  • In 2012, every seat in the House of Representatives and one-third of the seats in the Senate was up for election. 
  • In 2010, Syracuse was selected by the Pinstripe Bowl to be the game's representative from the Big East. 
  • In 2012, Syracuse was selected by the Pinstripe Bowl to be the game's representative from the Big East.
  • In 2010, a major snowstorm struck the northeast in the days leading up to the Pinstripe Bowl, forcing snow to be plowed from the field at Yankee Stadium. 
  • In 2012, a major snowstorm struck the northeast in the days leading up to the Pinstripe Bowl, forcing snow to be plowed from the field at Yankee Stadium. 
  • In 2010, Syracuse won the Pinstripe Bowl. 
Cliffhanger, I know. But the universe likes balance, so...

Anyway, onto the game. Unlike most bowl match-ups where two teams from different conferences that know little to nothing about each other play, Syracuse and West Virginia have a history. An annual history. To the point that the annual winner took the Schwartzwalder Trophy* (not this time). Bottom line is, these two teams know each other. The Mountaineers know Ryan Nassib, and the Orange know Geno Smith. Thing is, Syracuse beat WVU the last couple times out. I know, personnel change; coaches change; schemes change. But that's no different than what these two teams would deal with prepping for their annual conference tilt. This year's WVU squad features a high-powered offense and a porous defense. Those are clearly the strengths and weaknesses, respectively, for this Mountaineer team. Syracuse in 2012 has featured a more balanced attack, with no one squad consistently dominating but rather the team just finding ways to win games. Of note is West Virginia's center being out for this game for academic reasons. Syracuse has some suspensions of its own, but I think those are in areas where others can pick up the slack. Geno Smith needs clean snaps in order to be effective, especially given the weather forecast of mid-30s with snow. If Syracuse can exploit that, create some turnovers, and limit Mountaineer offensive possessions that result in scores, then the Orange has a good chance in this game. If I'm Doug Marrone, I want the ball first: get out there, pick apart the WVU secondary, and put points on the board. Then go out there and play the defense of your life. If Syracuse can grab the early lead and put Geno & company on their heels, Syracuse has a good chance of winning. Despite the vulnerable WVU secondary, Syracuse must establish a balanced attack on offense and throw in plenty of play action, so the defenders are always guessing. Defensively, Syracuse needs to contain Geno Smith. Easier said than done, and obviously don't get frustrated when he throws for touchdowns; it's gonna happen. But it's all about the pressure, creating turnovers, or field goals instead of touchdowns. In last year's Friday night game in the Dome against West Virginia, Syracuse won, in a blowout. The Pinstripe Bowl won't be a blowout, but I pick Syracuse to win on Brian's 30th birthday 44-35.

In case you missed it earlier, check out the back and forth I had with Chris Sedenka of The Jack Fleming Society here, along with my answers on their site here.

Yes, that's right. Internet rumors are true, this game is being played on my 30th Birthday. While we'll have fun either way, a win would go a long way in ensuring a great time in NYC the entire weekend. Either way, it should be a great game to watch. The game is on ESPN at 3:15pm. So find your seat or your television. I may be dead on Sunday, but we live the dream Saturday. And as always, GO ORANGE!

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Alcorn State - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: We'll still be drunk from the Bowl Game.
Ahh Alcorn State. After a Temple game in which everything that could go wrong basically did, you are the cure for what ails Syracuse. A nice cupcake to finish out (?) the Gotham Classic. Alcorn State that is 2-12 on the season. Alcorn State that ranks above 300th in all important statistical categories. Alcorn State that only shoots 27.9% from behind the arc as a team. Marquiz Baker (25.7ppg) can score, and Anthony Nieves  can shoot (39.5% from three), but that's about it. Syracuse should roll after the Bowl Game by 34. This game will be available on TWCS, SNY, and ESPN 3.

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Lazy, Irrelevant Temple Recap

Too lazy for a real picture, so enjoy the pissed off girl with a basketball.
If you're reading this, is either means you have no idea what happened at Madison Square Garden five days ago; or, one of the bowl games you're currently watching is really boring. Either way, thanks for making it over to Orange::44. So yeah, Syracuse played Temple in MSG last Saturday in the premier game of the Chevrolet Gotham Classic (I say premier game because Syracuse still has one more game to play in the Gotham Classic, this Saturday against Alcorn State). Syracuse got the wake-up call it probably needs with Big East play starting soon, because the same poor defense and shooting effort it showed against Temple won't work against Big East opponents. I know this because it didn't work against Temple. The Owls beat the Orange 83-79.
You really can't point to any one thing and say "That's why Syracuse lost." I mean, the stat that stands out the most is free throws: Syracuse only hit on 19 of 34 attempts. So yes, leaving 15 points on the floor in a 4-point margin of loss is a reason Syracuse lost.
Shooting 16.7% from three (1-6 each half) is a reason Syracuse lost.
Committing eleven turnovers is a reason Syracuse lost.
Allowing Khalif Wyatt to put up 33 points and Anthony Lee to drop 21 points is a reason Syracuse lost.
Getting absolutely no help from your big men (save Baye Moussa Keita) is a reason Syracuse lost.
Michael Carter-Williams having an off night, and James Southerland not really even showing up is a reason Syracuse lost.
And of course, there were many other reasons Syracuse lost. You put them all together and you get the big picture of why the Orange couldn't leave the usually-friendly confines of MSG with their heads held high.
One player who can, though, is CJ Fair. CJ scored 25 points on eight of twelve shooting, and guess what, he made all eight of his free throws! It's unfortunate that he only made it to the line eight times, compared to MCW who found himself there 15 times -- many at crucial moments in the final minutes -- and could only hit seven.
The Orange was pretty flat for much of the game, which I think is a large part of the reason Jim Boeheim put the team into pressure defense. This strategy sent Dajuan Coleman to the bench, and shifted Rakeem Christmas or Keita to the middle of the zone -- if the team was ever able to make it back to set up the zone. We can debate whether Boeheim stayed in the press too long, but at the end of the day, going to the press to begin with was a function of the team being flat. We've seen this too often with this team this season, and with tougher opponents on the horizon, it's a problem that needs to be fixed ASAP if Syracuse wants to be in the "elite national title contender" conversation again.
Syracuse gets a week off for Christmas (Jesus' birthday, not Rakeem), and returns to action Saturday in the Carrier Dome against Alcorn State, in the final game of the aforementioned Gotham Classic. The game gives Boeheim a second shot at career win 901 -- something that the others to win 900 (Bob Knight and Coach K) needed as well. Check back here tomorrow for a preview of that game, which Brian and I will have to watch at a bar in New York City since we'll be there for the Pinstripe Bowl. Orange::44 will also have a bowl preview up later as well, so look out for that.
And a belated very Merry Christmas to all our readers from Brian and I.

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Temple - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: It's better to win in MSG than lose.
Syracuse enters the "Final" of the Gotham Classic. Sure, that's a thing. They play Temple, a team Syracuse played in football this season, and a former Big East football member, but Temple has always been a decent basketball team through the years. Fran Dunphy has the Temple Owls in a good position with an 8-2 record on the season. But Temple isn't playing great basketball as of late. Canisius, a team Syracuse beat in the Dome 85-61, just beat Temple in their last game at Temple 72-62. Khalif Wiatt is the Owls leading scorer with 14.5ppg. He can also pass the ball well, but has a 1.8 ast/to ratio. Temple's athletes are just not as talented at scoring as Syracuse. Temple has had a major upset each of the last four seasons, and have already played Duke when they were #2 this year. Temple would love to do upset Syracuse on national TV in MSG. But Syracuse is coming off a bad second half against Detroit. Not only will they be motivated  and no longer distracted by the quest to get Boeheim his 900th win, but they will be more committed on defense and taking care of the ball. Temple also has trouble shooting from the outside, which means they will try and score against a tightly packed and active 2-3 Zone. I don't think it's going to bode well for Temple. Plus Syracuse always shows up at MSG. Syracuse is going to stay undefeated, winning by 16. The game can be seen nationally on ESPN 2 at 12:00pm Saturday.

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Eight days away. Time to start previewing.
Syracuse is facing a pretty familiar foe in the Pinstripe Bowl this year. The Mountaineers may be in a different conference now, but it hasn't been too long since we hated each other. So it's fun that Syracuse is playing the Mountaineers again in a Bowl Game. We spoke to Chris Sedenka of The Jack Fleming Society. Somehow, after graduating from WVU, he's able to read and write. You can feel free to harass him on Twitter here. Questions and answers are below.
Orange::44: West Virginia started out rolling, winning their first five games. Then the lost the next five. What was the difference?

Chris: There were a few factors. The first being that the terrible defense finally caught up with WVU. The unit got away with it against Baylor and Texas. However, when a unit is that bad it's only a matter of time before it gets burned. So, the minute the offense slipped, WVU fell off. The amount of pressure put on Geno Smith and the offense was just too much. If WVU had to punt a few times early they would find themselves down two scores in no time. It just became impossible for them to keep up with efficient teams. After a few losses the team's confidence was noticeably shaken, and games that should have been wins just ended up being garbage fires. It took a Herculean effort led by Tavon Austin to right the ship.

O::44: How have the fans reacted to now playing Big XII opponents?

Chris: It's been a great transition. Sure, the season hasn't gone the way most would want, but it really has been fun. Changing UConn and Rutgers to Oklahoma and Texas has been incredibile. Especially for one of the lone Big East schools that was football-first. I think most fans would love to still have Pitt and Syracuse on the schedule, but really nothing else is a huge miss from the Big East.

O::44: What is the most important unit to the success of West Virginia?

Chris: It would have to be the offense. The defense just doesn't have the talent to keep WVU in games, so the offense better be hitting. Look for WVU to use Austin a lot early to try and create some big plays. The Mountaineers will give up points, so Geno and the offense better be ready to keep pace.

O::44: Obviously the WVU offense can score. Why does the defense have such trouble stopping opponents?

Chris: A lack of consistent pass rush, which then kills very weak cover corners and backers. There's just not a lot of talent, experience or depth at those positions, and it has really hurt WVU. The middle of the field is pretty good. The Mountaineers can and have stopped the run. However, the pass has simply murdered WVU all year. If Ryan Nassib has a good pocket, he will pick the secondary apart.

O::44: Most fans don't seem happy being in the Pinstripe Bowl. Why is that? What are your thoughts?

Chris: The fans are ridiculous. A bowl game is a bowl game. Anytime you make the postseason it's a good season. The problem is many thought this team had a chance to make a serious run at the BCS this year. That was never going to happen with the defense that WVU put on the field.

It's also great for a big alumni base that typically is untapped. Folks don't understand how big the northeast WVU alumni base is. Northern New Jersey and New York have very good alumni numbers, and I expect a decent showing in the Bronx. Plus, it's not a bad drive from Maine, so I'll take it.

O::44: WVU is favored, but the crowd will definitely be more SU fans than WVU. I think this game is more of a push, don't you agree?

Chris: This game is completely a push. There should be more Cuse fans, but I still expect a nice showing of blue and gold. On the field we have two offenses that will probably dictate the game. If you're a betting man take the over.

O::44: Final predictions?

Chris: First to 40! I'll take WVU 42-40 Maybe they'll have the ball last. I really dont expect WVU to stop Syracuse. I also think Geno, Tavon and Stedman Bailey will have huge final games for the Mountaineers. Plus, Dana Holgorsen will have nearly a month to create some crazy gameplan.

Thanks to Chris and the fellas over at the site. My answers to his questions can be found here, so be sure to check those out as well. We'll be seeing Chris in New York and there's a Twitter bet on the line so stay tuned.

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When it's a close game you look like this.
While Jim Boeheim may have downplayed what 900 wins meant to him, his team was very aware that they had to beat Detroit to get their coach his 900th victory. While Syracuse cruised in the first half, the second half was a different story. But, despite a pretty serious collapse, Syracuse managed to hold on long enough to beat Detroit and give Boeheim his victory. Syracuse won 72 to 68.
  • James Southerland was the leading scorer for the Orange, who had another great day from behind the arc. He was 7-12 from the floor and 5-8 from 3. He drilled several huge shots in this game. He finished with 22 points in 31 minutes on the floor.
  • Michael Carter-Williams was the only other Syracuse player in double digits for scoring. He finished with 12 points, ten assists, and he made 9-10 free throws. He also had six turnovers however, leading the team in that category.
  • Rakeem Christmas had a solid game, earning seven points and eight rebounds. He continues to be very solid on defense as well.
  • Brandon Triche had a rough night, fouling out in the last few minutes of the game and going 1-6 on the day. He'll have games like this, which is fine. He'll be having far more successful games more often than not.
  • Syracuse lost all of their momentum near the end of the game. They were content to run the game out with ten minutes left, letting up on defense and failing to be as aggressive or creative on offense as they had been earlier in the game. This led to Detroit severely closing the scoring gap, outscoring the Orange 47 to 32 in the second half.
  • Syracuse shot 46.8% from the floor and 37.5% (6-16) from behind the arc. Detroit shot a very close 46.7% from the floor, but only shot 16.7% (3-18) from three. That was probably the difference in this game as that is well below the usual average of Detroit, a very talented shooting team.
  • Jim Boeheim wins #900, joining Coach K and Bobby Knight. Boeheim is the only coach of the three to do it all at one school. 
And like that, Syracuse can relax knowing that they got that victory for their coach. And they can turn their attention to a harder game on paper than the average Syracuse non-conference game in Temple under the bright lights at Madison Square Garden. But we can all give a hearty congratulations to Jim Boeheim and his massive success as the head coach of Syracuse University Basketball.

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Detroit - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: We are lucky to see win #900 in person.
Detroit is surprisingly a better team than Monmouth or Canisius or any of the other dregs of the teams of this caliber that Syracuse has played in the non-conference season. An NCAA Tournament team a year ago, Detroit is a team that can really shoot the ball and score. The son of the Coach, also named Ray McCallum, can really shoot the ball. He's scoring 19.4ppg and is a more than capable point guard, distributing the ball to his teammates. They can also shoot the ball. As a team they hit 36.5% from behind the arc. Syracuse is more athletic and taller, but Detroit can score on long baskets so being able to rebound isn't a huge advantage like it is with most other smaller teams. Detroit doesn't make a lot of mistakes so transition baskets will be at a premium tonight. No, to win this game Syracuse has to just play old fashioned offense and defense. Run sets, hit players cutting to the basket, make good passes, set some screens, and hit open shots. It sounds old, but this game will be won by Syracuse playing fundamentally sound basketball. It is something they are more than capable of doing, even though it will make this game not as exciting as a lot of these games can be. But hey, I'm sure there will be a slam dunk or two. Syracuse will be playing solid zone as they have been, forcing Detroit to take and make a lot of shots. They will be limited in their opportunities inside the paint, so their shooting and stretching the zone will be key to them winning. But Syracuse has too much talent, and there is too much history on the line tonight for Syracuse to come out flat or for them to take Detroit lightly. This game will be close in the first half I think, but they will pull away and the Orange will get Jim Boeheim his 900th win by 17. This game will be nationally televised tonight on ESPN 2 at 7:00pm.

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Canisius - Syracuse Postgame Reactions OR Slow Start

This picture clearly is from the second half.

Saturday night in the Carrier Dome, two familiar foes met for a game of basketball as part of the "Gotham Classic," some sort of made up "tournament." The match-up? The Syracuse Orange against the Canisius Griffins. For the Orange, this was their first game in a week, having taken some time off for final exams. The rust showed, as Syracuse was sloppy, not playing good defense, and allowing the Griffins to stay in it early. Syracuse only held a 35-32 halftime lead. To be a fly on the wall in the locker room during halftime would have been envious, because I'm sure Coach Boeheim, in no uncertain terms, told his team they needed to play Syracuse basketball. Thankfully, they did just that, reentering the court and pulling away to a 85-61 victory.
  • Several Syracuse players walk away with decent stats from this game, due in large part to the second half effort.
  • The leading scorer was James Southerland, who had 21 points on 9-14 shooting, including 3-6 from three. Also in double digit scoring was Brandon Triche (19), Michael Carter-Williams (12), and Rakeem Christmas (10).
  • MCW recorded yet another double-double with 12 points and 14 assists. Of note is that he only had one assist the entire first half. I see a correlation.
  • The starting five plus James Southerland logged the majority of the minutes for the Orange. Other than those six, the only other player with meaningful time was Baye Moussa Keita with ten minutes.
  • Aside from the offense improving after halftime, the defense really stepped things up in the second half.  Syracuse ended the game with seven blocks and nine steals.
  • Other second half nuggets: Syracuse held the Griffins to two points in the paint and two fast break points in the second half.
  • On the flip side for the second half, Syracuse scored 26 points in the paint and had 12 fast break points.
  • Canisius had 19 turnovers.
  • Billy Baron can ball. Good bloodlines there. Thankfully his 15 points wasn't enough to do it for the Griffins.
  • Isaac Sosa can shoot the three -- Saturday night he hit five of his nine attempts.
  • As a team, though, Canisius shot poorly for the game: 35.1%.
  • Syracuse was 46.4% in the first half and 61.76% in the second for a total of 54.8%.
  • Free throws are becoming an Achilles Heel for the Orange again, as only 50% of their shots from the charity stripe fell in. That's not gonna kill you against a team like Canisius (though it was evident in the first half), but this needs to improve for Syracuse to be successful in close Big East games.
The win against Canisius was career victory 899 for Jim Boeheim. He deflected comments away from the impending milestone during his postgame presser. Do yourself a favor and watch it online. Great presser. Then get yourself ready for possible win 900 Monday night against Detroit. If you can't make it to the Carrier Dome, this game has been moved from ESPNU to ESPN2.

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Canisius - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: Buffalo can't beat Syracuse.
Syracuse has the longest winning streak in the country against non-conference opponents at 50 games. They have a 44 year winning streak against Canisius. Sound familiar? Syracuse looks to continue both. And chances are they will. While Canisius is an improved team from last season, they are not of the caliber of Syracuse. They hit 17 three pointers against Marist in their last game, a win. While they can hit the three, they will really have to hit a bunch to stay in the game against Syracuse. The defense will cause turnovers and easy transition baskets. Canisius will hit a few, but not as many baskets overall as Syracuse. Syracuse wins this one in probably the laziest preview I'll file all season by 29. This game is available locally on TWCS / SNY, and on ESPN 3.

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Hi. We're winning by 50. You can ease up now.
Syracuse fans were all but assured that the Orange would stay undefeated. No one could have predicted that they would go on the scoring binges they did, and the massive droughts the Hawks would go through. Missing their head coach, Monmouth put up a good fight for the first few minutes. But then it was all Orange. Syracuse ends up winning 108 to 56.
  • Brandon Triche was the leading scorer with 18 points. He also added eight assists and five rebounds. It was a quiet 18 points as a lot of the attention was on Michael Carter-Williams and Trevor Cooney, but Triche continues to have a great season as the reliable but understated scoring guard.
  • Speaking of MCW, he had 15 points on 6-10 shooting (2-4 from behind the arc). But finishing with 16 assists (3rd all time in a game for Syracuse) was the biggest news of the day. He also had five steals, four blocks, and only three turnovers.
  • DaJuan Coleman also had a nice game. He pulled down 14 rebounds and earned 11 points on 4-11 shooting. He is looking more confident in the post in each outing he does. He needs to decide more between banking short shots or just trying to put it in. In between those two options do not work.
  • CJ Fair earned another double-double getting 14 points and ten rebounds. He continues to be the glue guy of this team.
  • Rakeem Christmas had a good day earning 11 points on 5-7 shooting, and blocked four shots. Granted, most were slam dunks, the highest of high percentage shots.
  • James Southerland didn't hit any three pointers, but he did make 6-11, for 14 points off the bench. He also added three rebounds and two steals.
  • Baye Moussa Keita is still very solid on the defensive end. He also pulled down ten rebounds in this game.
  • Trevor Cooney continued his good shooting in this game by hitting 5-10 from the floor and 5-9 from long range for for 15 points in 20 minutes on the floor.
  • Syracuse finished the first half and continued the second half on a 21-0 run, putting the game definitely out of reach for the Hawks.
  • Syracuse hit 51.2% and 36.7% (11-30) from long range. The Hawks hit 31.8% and 25% (5-20) respectively. Syracuse did take a dip only hitting 48.1% (13-27) from the free throw line.
  • Syracuse obviously led in rebounding. It was 58 to 29. They also led in assists 30 to 12. Syracuse also only had 15 turnovers to the Hawks' 21.
Jim Boeheim has now won his 898th game. And it doesn't look like there's any real impediments to 900 or even 902. Either way, for now the team is playing great and everything is coming up Orange.

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Monmouth - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: 3 non-conf. games in a week is no problem.
Honestly this game is going to be pretty similar to Long Beach State. Monmouth is a small team and it will be a miracle for them to outrebound Syracuse in this one. That means a lot of second chance buckets in the paint for Syracuse, and not many second chance opportunities for Monmouth. While Andrew Nicholas has led Monmouth in scoring, he will have trouble penetrating the zone defense and getting easy looks in the paint. He will shot from the outside, but the zone will extend to cover him obviously so he will be a little more limited. While Monmouth will take more threes than they probably usually do, they won't hit that many. Oh and hey, their head coach is suspended for this game for criticizing officials in their last game. mean, can we just play Big East games already? Orange are gonna roll by 35. This game is available locally on TWCS or SNY and available online at ESPN 3.

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Post-Standard Photographer captures Boeheim in a teaching moment with Coleman

College sports nicknames are fickle things. Many are named after dogs, cats, bears, birds, or combinations thereof. Some are named after colors. Long Beach State stole its name from the greatest franchise in the National Football League. At any rate, this basketball 49ers didn't bring the kind of skills to the Carrier Dome that such a name would suggest. Syracuse started this game hot, and never really let up from the gas pedal. The 49-29 Syracuse lead at the half expanded to a final score of 84-53.
  • I'm not exactly sure which Syracuse player I want to talk about first, because this was a very balanced attack, with a lot of different contributions from a lot of different Orange players. So, for a writer, this is a good problem to have.
  • CJ Fair I guess will get the nod, since he was the team's high scorer. 16 points on 6-10 shooting, 1-1 from three, 3-4 from the line, and 13 rebounds. Yes, a CJ Fair double-double.
  • Michael Carter-Williams also had a double-double, but hit stats were a bit different. MCW's 15 points coupled with his ten assists to give him the honor. In his team-high 32 minutes, he was as active as you'd want a guard to be. One facet of his game which really seems to be coming along nicely is his outside shooting. In this game he was 3-8. If I had to nit-pick anything, it would be MCW's overall shooting percentage: 5-16 or 31%. You're not always gonna see great shooting days, but his contributions overall were fantastic.
  • Brandon Triche, Rakeem Christmas, and Trevor Cooney each had 11 points. Specifically, Cooney's 3-point shot is really coming along. I'm glad he's gaining that confidence, because obviously he knew from practice he could shoot. It can't be easy to snap your fingers and have that translate into good game shooting, so getting used to the college game, the Carrier Dome, whatever it was, it all seems to be coming together now.
  • This is really important because guard is the position this team not only needs production from, but is the least deep. You can always get that game-long rotation of Triche, MCW, and Cooney, but all three of them have to be able to contribute -- otherwise those Cooney stretches will just be garbage time. So, keep up the good work, Trevor!
  • Though DaJuan Coleman had an 0-for shooting day, I still say he had a good night on the floor. He was active on the defensive end, grabbing eight of his nine rebounds there. He also had three blocks and served as an imposing presence beneath the basket. The more he plays the more he learns the college game, and it's coming along nicely.
  • Jerami Grant with another solid contribution off the bench, with nine points and five rebounds. He probably not going to be a player this team needs to consistently rely upon, but to be comfortable with him being on the court and helping the team where he can, that's a great asset to have.
  • Syracuse led in rebounding 53-39, in assists 21-15, and in shooting 41% to 29%.
Syracuse gets too rest Friday before jumping right back into competition Saturday as Monmouth will visit the Carrier Dome. The Long Beach State victory gets Jim Boeheim to career win 897. The game against Monmouth will be the last one before finals week, so hopefully the players can go out there and get the victory, go get the job done in the classroom so we don't have to deal with any academic suspensions, and be ready to finish out the non-conference portion of the schedule before jumping into our last season in the Big East Conference.

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Thanks To Brent Axe

Brent Axe and some other blogger.
After countless hours on the air at Syracuse's The Score 1260am "On The Block", and all those hours being simulcast on Time Warner Cable, Brent Axe is leaving his show. While he's not traveling too far (becoming  a "community engagement specialist" at Syracuse.com) he still won't be on the air every day like he was. And so, because of that, we say congratulations on many stories broken, interviews given, callers taken, e-mails read, and opinions broadcast. So we just wanted to take a few seconds here at Orange::44 to say thanks for all the entertainment and for inviting me on the program the many times over the years to talk sports or the law. And also for all the times in person and on the phone we talked about sports and other things. We look forward to still seeing you around the Dome and maybe one of these days at the bar to buy you that beer. But the radio listeners, Mookie lovers, and advocates of MANTOMAN defense have all lost. But at least you won't be leaving completely and we wish you nothing but the best.

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Long Beach State - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: This should still be another boring non-conf. game.
Syracuse has marched through the non-conference season as expected. Long Beach State should provide the same amount of challenge. Syracuse is a bigger, more physical team. That means the Orange should outrebound the 49ers and score more points in the paint. Michael Carter-Williams is averaging 9.4apg, making him the best in the country. Long Beach State, conversely, averages 9.9apg as a team. Syracuse assists on about 50% of their baskets, while the 9.9apg puts LBS in the bottom 30 of the nation. James Ennis is the leader of the team is the leading scorer and rebounder (16.4ppg/7.9rpg). While he can score, it's the other members of the team that will be shooting from beyond the arc. Outside shooting will be the key for the 49ers. If they manage to hit a bunch they can stay in this game. If they can't, well it wont work out well for them. They won't be hitting 16 three pointers, so therefore I'm taking the Orange. It's Syracuse over Long Beach State by 28. The game will be shown on ESPN 2 at 8:00pm.

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When you finally hit one, this is what happens.
Rob Murphy and his upstart Eastern Michigan team initially proved to be tough for a Syracuse team that came out stagnant on offense in the first half. But that was fairly short lived. Syracuse ended up going on to win by a large margin. Syracuse held off the Eagles to win 84 to 48.
  • DaJuan Coleman led Syracuse in scoring with 14 points. He went 5-6 from the floor, and interestingly was 4-4 from the free throw line. He also had five rebounds and two steals. This was a slower paced game than Arkansas was, so Coleman could settle in and really worked well in the low post. Granted he was playing Eastern Michigan and not a Big East team, but Da'Shonte Riley started so it's not like this was some scrub team. Coleman played well for sure.
  • Michael Carter-Williams led Syracuse in rebounding with seven on the day. He also added 11 points and 11 assists. However, he did have six turnovers, leading the team in that category.
  • Brandon Triche added 12 points on the day. His day was not as good though, hitting 5-11. He also added four rebounds, five assists, and three steals.
  • CJ Fair had nine points, but it came on 3-10 shooting. He also added five rebounds. Shockingly his mid-range jumper was off in this game and he really never got going in this game offensively.
  • Jerami Grant, welcome aboard. While playing sparingly in San Diego, this was his first game with significant minutes. And he made good use of them. He scored 11 points on 4-4 shooting, 1-1 from long range in 15 minutes on the floor. If he continues to get decent minutes in these games he could actually see some time during conference play, but more importantly will be a nice role player next season and during his career.
  • Trevor Cooney. Trevor, Trevor, Trevor. Still good on defense. Offense still needs to improve. He did actually manage to hit two long balls. He was 2-6 shooting from behind the arc. He was 3-8 in the game in 18 minutes. The Dome clearly wanted him to finally hit one and the crowd was very loud when he finally did.
  • Syracuse hit 44.1% (30-68) from the floor and 22.7% (5-22) from behind the arc. Eastern Michigan was 29.5% and 21.1% respectively.
  • Syracuse led in every statistical category. However, Syracuse did have 18 turnovers in the game. Syracuse, going forward, needs to commit to better ball control and passing. As MCW grows more into the starting point guard roll that should improve.
Syracuse now takes on Long Beach State. The streak continues. Syracuse earned the exact same winning score this year versus Eastern Michigan as they did last year. The odds of that happening is crazy, but it did. Good seeing Murph, but always good beating him too.

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Orange::44 Bowl Pick'em - 2012 Edition

We live in a world where we all think we know sports better than everyone else. I mean, I know I feel that way. That's why I help write a blog. And we're all a bunch of degenerate gamblers.
OK so maybe most of that isn't true. But I do help write a blog. This one. And this one does an annual Bowl Pick'em over at Yahoo! fantasy sports. This year's group is #6374 and with a Yahoo! account you can register your picks with our group by clicking here. Last year we did confidence picks, but this year we're going straight up, most correct wins. You may or may not win the Schwartzwalder Trophy. This will be determined at a later date. But either way, you'll win bragging rights; which means a lot around here. Good luck!

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Eastern Michigan - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: It's great to be back in the Dome.
Syracuse just got off a major test against Arkansas and now they settle into the Carrier Dome for a stretch of home games until they start the conference season. And now they welcome back old friend Rob Murphy and the Eastern Michigan Eagles. Da'Shonte Riley also makes a return engagement and he can rebound. Daylen Harrison is the leading scorer for the Eagles as well. This team plays a lot of 2-3 zone and Syracuse's ability to run a zone offense will be key in this game. MCW dishing out more assists than any other guard in the nation and James Southerland is red hot. If this game becomes a fast game, it will most assuredly favor the Orange. EMU can't hang with the Orange when they are running. This game will be fun to see Syracuse play against their famous defense, but EMU is not as long and every player that will flash to the center of the paint can shoot a jump shot. Syracuse will roll in this game. Syracuse won 84 to 48 last season. While it won't be that close, Syracuse will win this one by 24. This game will be on national TV on ESPN U at 7:00pm.

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Jimmy gets a little fired up sometimes.
Syracuse initially didn't want to play this game. But when the Big East tells you you're playing in the Big East / SEC Challenge you play. And that's what Syracuse did. While Arkansas was not ranked, this is a major team in a major conference in a hostile arena. And it provided a great gut check for the Orange early in the year. Syracuse, helped by James Southerland, put away the Arkansas Razorbacks 91 to 82.
  • James Southerland was obviously the best player in the game. He earned a career high 35 points on 12-17 shooting and 9-13 from behind the line. He also added six rebounds and a block. His offense was masterful. Honestly, the only shot he can't hit is wide open at the top of the key. For some reason.
  • CJ Fair was solid in his 39 minutes on the floor. He was 5-10 from the floor, good for 14 points, four rebounds, and two assists.
  • Both Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams each finished with 17 points. Triche was ice cold for most of the game, but in the second half when the game got close he hit three big shots in a row to give Syracuse a nice cushion. MCW generally played well, but had some spectacularly dumb moments like taking a really long three when the game got close. He settled down after Boeheim to him to run the offense. MCW also had nine assists.
  • Trevor Cooney is good at defense in the 2-3 zone. Trevor Cooney was not good at anything else in the game. Including free throws.
  • Baye Keita had some productive minutes on the defensive end of the court, and pulled down six rebounds. He also added three points.
  • DaJuan Coleman is also a power defensive presence but you can tell he is raw in the post and on offense. He was 1-5 from the floor, but the good news is he should improve. Additionally, the more in shape he gets the more he can handle games like this that are up and down.
  • Syracuse led the game in rebounds, assists, and blocks. Sadly, they did not in turnovers however. Syracuse had 19 to Arkansas' 14.
  • Syracuse hit 48.5% (33-68) from the floor, and 42.3% (11-26) from behind the arc. This is in start contrast from Arkansas which went 38.7% (24-62) and 20.8% (5-24) respectively.
Syracuse earns their win for the league in the Big East / SEC Challenge. But more than that, despite not being able to put the throat to the neck of Arkansas, they never allowed them to gain the lead even when the game got close. They never panicked in the hostile crowd and maintained their offense. Syracuse now faces old friend Rob Murphy in Eastern Michigan. Despite the fact they will run mostly 2-3 zone, it will be a nice break from this kind of a game.

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BlogPoll 2012 - Week 15


* No changes as to who's in or out.

* Kent State and Georgia tie for biggest falls. Northern Illinois jumps the most. Then head to a BCS Bowl in real life, but they are out of the Top 16 on my poll.

* Georgia played a hell of a game against Alabama, but they had to drop below the other teams that were idle or won their game this last week.

* Alabama takes the top spot, with Notre Dame behind. I like Oregon and the rest of the teams the way they are. I think maybe Florida would be the only one a little below where they should be, but they didn't have a game to elevate themselves before the final standings.

* Florida State won the ACC but it was only by a score against then 6-6 GTech, so they didn't move up.

As always, if you see something crazy send a comment. Let's hope the powers that be at the BlogPoll call me out again. I can't wait to go off again. Last I checked you made a poll and then if the teams play and someone loses you drop them. That's what I did with Georgia here. WOOOOW! THE PROCESS WORKS!

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Football Players Shouldn't Drink Gin

I've enjoyed not writing these lawdog articles. But, alas...

Steve Rene and Marquis Spruill spent Saturday night in jail after being arrested following a drunken incident with police.
You can read the details here, but suffice it to say, it does not sound like a good situation to be in if you're one of Doug Marrone's football players. Spruill was charged with violation level offenses of disorderly conduct and harassment, while Rene got a resisting arrest charge in addition to his disorderly conduct.
Disorderly conduct is when you act with the intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, you engage in: fighting; unreasonable noise; obscene language in public; disturbing a lawful assembly; obstructing traffic; failing to disperse; creating a hazardous/offensive condition. Judging by the allegations, Rene and Spruill engaged in several of those acts. Disorderly conduct is a violation in New York, not classified as a crime, and the maximum penalty is 15 days in jail, $250 fine, and a surcharge. A typical plea bargain on disorderly conduct calls for a one-year conditional discharge, a fine, and a surcharge. Depending on the circumstances of the case, an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal could be offered, wherein there is no admission of guilt, you stay out of trouble for six months, you may have to do some community service, and then at the end of the six month period the charge is automatically dismissed. But, given the circumstances here, that might not be feasible.
Harassment in the second degree in when, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another, you engage in: physical contact or the threat of physical contact; following someone in public; a course of conduct which services no legitimate purpose. Harassment is also a violation level offense in New York, not a crime, and carries the same potential sentences as disorderly conduct. Harassment is most often charged when there is a fight that does not result in physical injury.
Resisting arrest, however, is a misdemeanor -- a crime. Pretty self-explanatory, resisting arrest is when you intentionally prevent or attempt to prevent the lawful arrest of yourself or another. A conviction of this crime carries up to a year in jail, or a three-year probation term, up to $1000 fine, and a surcharge.
Given the police version of events, and the letter of the law, it would seem that Rene and Spruill are guilty as charged. Obviously, there is another side to the story, so how this all shakes out remains to be seen. The cases could certainly be plead down, or sentences bargained for, depending on the other side of the story, any past criminal history (or lack thereof), and efforts to rehabilitate their images as productive members of the community and examples of the Syracuse University football program. That all remains to be seen. And yes, if either of these guys receives a sentence that includes jail, they do get credit for the night they already served.
And of course, Rene and Spruill will face disciplinary action from the SU Judicial Board. Not to mention certain suspension from -- or expulsion from -- the football team. Easy money is on no Pinstripe Bowl for Rene or Spruill. Not on Marrone's watch.
Keep it here for further analysis on this case as it progresses.

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