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Villanova - Syracuse Postgame Reactions OR VillaNoFun

I knew you were trouble when you walked in.

They say that breaking up is hard to do. Having been Big East foes since 1980, Syracuse and Villanova played their last regular season Big East game on Saturday in Philadelphia, and neither team wanted it to end. The Wildcats dominated the game in the first half and stayed tough through the second. Syracuse had another slow start; Nova scored the first ten points. The Orange had a hard time on offense all game and was forced to play DaJuan Coleman down the stretch because of Jerami Grant fouling out. It took an overtime period, but Villanova beat Syracuse 75-71.

  • Brandon Triche had a great game for Syracuse, especially in the second half. He finished with 23 points on 7-18 shooting, 3-8 from three, four rebounds, and four assists. Brandon played 41 of the 45 minutes.
  • Michael Carter-Williams played all but a minute in this contest, ending with 17 points on an abysmal 4-17 shooting effort, 1-4 from three, 8-14 from the line, and 5 turnovers. Blah.
  • Before fouling out, Grant chipped in 12 points, five rebounds, and a couple steals. He once again stepped up in the absence of James Southerland, and was a clutch 5-5 from the charity stripe. The Orange really missed his presence on the court once he fouled out; he's quickly becoming an asset for this team.
  • CJ Fair played the entire game and scored ten points and nine rebounds.
  • Darrun Hilliard put in a great offensive performance for the Wildcats, but really top to bottom this Villanova team played Syracuse really hard and really fast.
  • Hateable official Jim Burr did his best Taylor Swift impression by "lying on the cold hard ground" when he took a tumble in the first half. We all have our own theories.
  • Most Syracuse fans know that this team traditionally does not do well at effectively burning clock at the end of games to hold onto a lead. Something inevitably goes wrong: a turnover, a missed shot with no rebound, etc. Just not the scoring you'd like to see. And so, we all collectively held our breath when Boeheim called for the clock burn. It didn't work out on Saturday.
  • Villanova had 50 rebounds. 50.
This is a short recaps, because I really don't wanna dwell on this loss. Nova was just the better team out there. They are a team hitting their stride right now, and if they keep it up they'll have a surprisingly scary season. Now that we're done playing Nova in the Big East conference, it's safe to say We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together.

I heard too much Taylor Swift this weekend.

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Syracuse - Villanova Preview

Syracuse students agree: It's been fun Villanova.
The Big East Farewell Tour rolls on as we find our last conference stop in Philadelphia upon us. Villanova gave it a good effort but came up short in the Carrier Dome a few weeks ago 72 to 61. Now they look to get another top 5 win to salvage a season that has been unimpressive up until this past week. JayVaughn Pinkston continues to lead the Wildcats in scoring with 13.2ppg. He also led the game against the Orange in the Carrier Dome with 12 points. Ryan Arcidiacono also continues to shoot well for a freshman from outside the arc. The Wildcats came out with poor shooting in a 5-25 effort from behind the arc. I think they will shoot better than that in their own building. But taking that many threes skewed the rebounding numbers in favor of Villanova in the Dome the last game. They had numerous second chance points they managed to convert off of long rebounds from missed three pointers. Syracuse should lock down the rebounding a bit more in this effort, however the score will be close for a good chunk of this game like it was in Syracuse. CJ Fair was the hero in Syracuse and he should be in Philly again. MCW has shaken off his bad performances against Louisville and in the first half of the Cincinnati game and should be in prime form like he was against Villanova the first time. All in all, this game should be tighter for longer, but Syracuse should separate themselves at least in the last four minutes. I think DaJuan Coleman will also step up a bit in this game and be more aggressive rebounding and in the paint. I think Syracuse wins this one by 14. This game is available nationally at 11:00am (ugh!) on ESPN U. Orange::44 will be in the building so it should be a fun one for all of you on the Twitter or making the trip.

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Not exactly a merry Christmas (sorry)

Jim Boeheim stressed after Saturday's impressive win at #1 Louisville that his players needed to quickly put the win behind them and focus on Cincinnati, who was coming to the Dome on Monday. The Bearcats had their own excitement on Saturday (albeit a few hours later) with a thrilling overtime win over Marquette. Those late day Saturday finishes, coupled with an earlier than usual Big Monday tip at 3:30pm led to a very quick turn around for both teams. This was a close game throughout, with neither team ever climbing to a huge lead (the biggest lead was Cincy by seven several times). Syracuse led much of the first half, while Cincinnati led much of the second half. In the end, it was a clutch game-tying 3-pointer from Michael Carter-Williams, and then a go-ahead tip-in by (CJ Fair?) with 13 seconds left to seal the victory for Syracuse over Cincinnati, 57-55.

  • This game was, at several times, quite difficult to watch. It was often times quite slow-paced, as the Bearcats had no problem winding down the shot clock on each possession, only to either chuck up a three or draw a lazy foul.
  • Those long Cincy possessions were compounded by the Bearcats grabbing 16 offensive rebounds. This led to 12 second chance points.
  • While Syracuse didn't play phenomenal basketball in the first half, they played well enough to not only keep with the Bearcats, but to have a halftime lead. This was due, in large part, to the awful first half effort from Cincy. They just couldn't hit the bottom of the net. They shot 20.69% from the field in the first half (6-29), including 22.22% from three (4-18).
  • Those Bearcat numbers increased greatly in the second half (12-26, 6-14 from three), which put them in command for much of that half.
  • Just in case you're doing the math at home, let me check you on those three-point numbers: ten of 32! So, give some credit to the Syracuse zone for forcing the threes, especially in the first half when they weren't falling quite so well.
  • The zone eventually had some weaknesses, notably rebounding. For a while, Boeheim went with a 3-guard lineup in an attempt to spark the offense. That didn't necessarily work and, with the smaller players, the Orange weren't grabbing the defensive rebounds they should have been grabbing. This led to the aforementioned second chance points for Cincinnati.
  • And then, it was almost as if Boeheim looked up, saw he had been playing 3 guards, and said "How long have I been playing three guards?" and promptly went to a more traditional lineup.
  • For Syracuse, MCW led the way (especially down the stretch) with a team-high 16 points, seven assists, and five rebounds.
  • CJ Fair and Brandon Triche each chipped in 13 points. Trevor Cooney, in those extended guard minutes, racked up eight points on a couple made threes.
  • Fair once again played all 40 minutes; MCW and Triche clocked 36 minutes, and Jerami Grant played 28.
  • Grant played another solid game: five points, seven rebounds, and a block. He was active in the zone again, and made his presence known. He's maturing quite nicely in his new 6th-man role. While he's not the same offensive & outside shooting threat as James Southerland -- this team is looking for that elsewhere -- but Grant is providing for the team where he can.
  • Baye Moussa Keita is also making the most of his minutes lately. In 22 on Monday, Keita failed to score but was real active on the defensive end, grabbing three boards, two blocks, and a steal.
  • While Rakeem Christmas had a few flashes of greatness, he also had a few, uh, bad flashes too. This inconsistency finds him on the bench, along with fellow starter DaJuan Coleman, who just isn't contributing much of anything in his few minutes of playing time.
  • Coleman is falling into the same role Fab Melo had his freshman year: get the token start, play a few minutes on a short leash, and then get comfy on the bench. Hey, it worked for Melo.
So it wasn't a pretty win, but a win is a win. And so, Syracuse now has the rest of the week off before traveling to Philadelphia one last time as a Big East member to play Villanova. Orange::44 will be on hand at the Wells Fargo Center to take in the end of an era of some of the more recent great Big East games. The Wildcats have been down this year, and Syracuse handled them in the Dome a couple weekends ago, but this is a Big East. You never know.

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Cincinnati - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: Can't lose at home after beating #1 on the road.
Syracuse has a short turnaround from beating the #1 team in the nation in Louisville. The good news is that Cincinnati has an even shorter one after beating Marquette in overtime yesterday as well. That game tipped at 7:00pm. Now Syracuse returns to the comfy confines of the Carrier Dome to take on Cincinnati, a very good team that just took down #25 and has won all of their road Big East games so far. Granted two of them were Rutgers and DePaul, but hey it's the Big East. Crazy things happen. Sean Kilpatrick is coming off a career high 36 points in the overtime win, including the game winner at the end of overtime. He's a monster for Cincy, averaging 18.3ppg. Cincinnati will try and shoot over the zone, as well as feed the bigs down in the paint to get Syracuse's defenders in foul trouble early and often. I think this game is a toss up with the talent on the court. But I like Syracuse at home in front of a big crowd. I'm picking the Orange by six. This game is on nationally on ESPN at 3:30pm.

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I... uhhh...

It's no secret in the legal community here in Elmira that I'm a huge Syracuse fan. On Friday, many of the people in the courts were asking me about Syracuse's chances playing at #1 Louisville on Saturday. "I'm certainly not expecting an Orange win, especially without James Southerland," I would say, "but this is College Basketball. You just never know." And I assume this was the attitude of most Syracuse fans. All the signs pointed to an imminent loss: playing the country's #1 on their home court; no James Southerland; recent struggles in beating inferior opponents; an opponent who plays zone and knows how to exploit it; I could go on and on. But we're still all Syracuse fans, and we all always hold out just some bit of hope that even facing a mountain of evidence to the contrary, there's always a chance this team could pull off the impossible and win. This Orange team did just that on Saturday afternoon at the KFC Yum! Center, beating the Louisville Cardinals 70-68.

  • Top billing goes to Brandon Triche, despite what happened down the stretch (we'll get to that later). Triche had a perfect -- yes, perfect -- first half. He cooled off significantly -- almost to the point of irrelevancy -- in the second half, but still had outstanding final stats: 23 points on 9-13 shooting (5-7 from three), six rebounds, and two assists in 38 minutes of play.
  • Syracuse was off to a hot start in this game (I know, right?) and Brandon was a huge part of that. He was finding lanes to drive to the basket, shot the mid-range jumper with confidence, and chucked threes with ice in his veins. Louisville battled back after its own slow start, and the game continued to be a game of runs with each team trading the lead, but many of those Syracuse runs were sparked by Triche.
  • And it's good he was playing the way he was, because the rest of Syracuse was pretty much just running around letting things happen. Unfortunately for Michael Carter-Williams, that meant turning over the ball. A lot. Early and often. Of course, to the great ire of Orange Nation. Jim Boeheim smartly benched MCW in the first half for a couple minutes when it was clear he was in a great funk. In total, MCW had eight turnovers in the game.
  • MCW's eight turnovers accounted for half of the team's turnovers. Never a good stat no matter who you're playing, but it hurt even more against a team like Louisville, which thrives on creating turnovers and scoring points off those turnovers. Against the Orange on Saturday, the Cardinals scored 21 points off turnovers. Ouch.
  • And so, how did Syracuse not only stay in this game, but win it? Redemption Man: Michael Carter-Williams. Boeheim had the confidence in MCW to send him back out there and stick with him, knowing Michael had the attitude at halftime of leaving the first half in the past, and going out there and playing a new half with a fresh slate.
  • And he did. It wasn't perfect, but MCW was a new man in the second half. Once it became clear that Brandon had cooled off and wouldn't have the success he had in the first half, someone for Syracuse needed to step up. For a while, nobody wanted that responsibility. But eventually, MCW took it. He scored 11 of the team's final 13 points, and had an assist to account for the other two. His final stat line: 16 points (4-13 shooting, 2-7 from three, and an encouraging 6-8 from the line), seven assists, four steals, and two blocks.
  • Specifically, it was MCW's steal with 24 seconds left, and fastbreak down the floor for a huge slam to put Syracuse up 69-68 that not only changed the momentum of the game, but gave Syracuse a lead it would not relinquish. He followed that up with a steal off a Gorgui Dieng turnover under the Louisville basket with five seconds left that clinched it for the Orange.
  • CJ Fair had another relatively quiet game playing all 40 minutes: ten points, eight rebounds, and several missed opportunities to step up and take over this team. I was calling for it several times, but evidently he never heard me.
  • In James Southerland's absence, we have seen the emergence of Jerami Grant as a big time player. The kid's one of the most athletic guys on the court, and has the skills to make the plays. He's taking full advantage of his increased playing time: in 35 minutes, Grant had ten points and five rebounds. He's understanding his role in the zone, and making his presence known even if that doesn't translate into the box score.
  • With Dajuan Coleman still being a virtual non-factor, Rakeem Christmas and Baye Moussa Keita had to step up in the big man role. If you really want to identify a weakness in this year's Orange squad, this is it. We're very rarely seeing the production out of this position you'd like to see. Christmas is getting good position on the boards, and that's where he'll light up the stat sheet; but he leaves a lot to be desired on the offensive end, and he still seems to struggle in the zone. Keita plays with intensity on both ends of the court, but is still too inconsistent to rely on for serious minutes.
  • Trevor Cooney had four token minutes and scored a bucket.
  • Louisville is a very, very good team. Certainly deserving of the #1 ranking it brought into the game. The Cardinals play a very intense game; its zone is active, traps and forces turnovers. And they're fast. Led by big playmakers Russ Smith and Peyton Siva, this team certainly has the skills and talent to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
  • Smith led the way for Louisville with 25 points; he was the only double digit scorer for the Cards who, though the rest of the team scoring was pretty balanced, really needed someone else to stand up and make offensive plays. Syracuse held Siva to just three points.
  • Dieng is a hell of a player. Five blocks in this game. FIVE!
  • Louisville coach Rick Pitino played eight with 11+ minutes. A great rotation with lots of different looks and fresh legs. This will be key down the stretch.
  • I'm glad this is a game we'll be able to continue in a couple years, as both these teams will be in the ACC.
This game was an absolute pleasure to watch. Season to season you see a lot of fun, exciting basketball games. This one, to me, was the most fun I've had watching any game this season. As for Syracuse, this might have been the most fun & exciting game I've seen since the 2009 six-overtime win. And this, on a day featuring five games against ranked opponents, and several down-to-the-wire endings. We won't see very many games like this. But alas, the season moves on. This victory moves Syracuse to 17-1 overall, 5-0 in the Big East, where it now sits alone atop the standings. New rankings come out mid-day on Monday, just before Syracuse hosts Cincinnati in the Carrier Dome. Stay tuned!

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Syracuse - Louisville Preview

Syracuse students agree: It's tough to take down #1 on the road.
Louisville is the #1 team in the nation. Syracuse is without the best 6 man in the nation in James Southerland. I think you know where I'm headed. As we saw against Villanova, Syracuse will use DaJuan Coleman for extended minutes and Jerami Grant as the first man off the bench. Louisville is very talented with Russ Smith and Peyton Siva as the main scoring threats. Syracuse will have a tough task of stopping them. If Louisville is hitting outside shots with any consistency this game will be over in the first half. I think Syracuse will have extended minutes of scorelessness in this one due to Syracuse's inability to knock down open shots from outside and the lack of driving and kicking to open shooters as of late. Louisville will probably play a moderate amount of zone and they will obviously be pressing a lot. This game could be a nightmare for Syracuse. However I do think they hang tough in this game but wind up losing their first Big East game. The Cards will earn this one over the Orange by 13. No shame in losing to #1 on the road. This game is available nationwide on ESPN at 4:00pm.

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You're On Candid Camera!

Syracuse Athletics: It's always something, isn't it?

As has been widely reported in the Syracuse area, SU's former media director Roger Springfield appeared this morning in Onondaga County Court to be arraigned on an indictment charging him with felony unlawful surveillance. The indictment follows a month-long investigation by Syracuse Police and the Onondaga District Attorney's Office, in response to a disclosure directly from Syracuse University upon its discovery of some videotape evidence that seemed inappropriate. As is the tradition on this blog, we'll break down what the charge means, possible outcomes of the case, and the potential fallout for the Athletic Department.

Springfield, whose real name is evidently Roger Cahak, is charged with Unlawful Surveillance in the Second Degree, which in New York is a Class E felony. The crime is relatively new, becoming law in 2003 -- in response to evolving technology and the privacy concerns that follow. There are four potential theories upon which a person could be guilty of the crime, and based on reports I've seen at this point, it's unclear which of the four Springfield faces.

One theory is that when one acts for his own (or another's) amusement, entertainment, or profit, or to abuse or degrade a person, he intentionally uses an imaging device to secretly view, record, or broadcast a person dressing or undressing or shows his intimate parts at a time or place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, without the person's consent.

The next theory is when one acts for his own (or another's) sexual gratification, he intentionally uses an imaging device to secretly view, record, or broadcast a person dressing or undressing or shows his intimate parts at a time or place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, without the person's consent.

The third theory is when one acts with no legitimate purpose in using an imaging device to secretly view, record or broadcast a person in a bedroom, changing room, fitting room, restroom, toilet, bathroom, washroom, shower, or any room assigned to patrons or guests in a hotel, motel, or inn, without such person's knowledge or consent.

The final theory is when one acts to use an imaging device to secretly view, record, or broadcast, under the clothing being worn by the person, the sexual or other intimate parts of a person (i.e. "upskirting").

I could pretty certainly assume that theory number four doesn't apply here. So from there, the questions we will need to deal with include what Springfield's intent was, and whether there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in a college locker room. In the case of theory three, we know the "prohibited areas" or surveillance -- they're spelled out in the statute -- and the defendant charged under that theory would have to rebut the presuption that he acted with no legitimate purpose. In those instances, surveillance for crime or theft could be a legitimate purpose depending on the circumstances and the notice given to people entering those areas.

Whether there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in a college locker room seems to be an area of focus in this case, according to a statement made by Springfield's attorney. A quick search of NY cases doesn't turn up much concerning a reasonable expectation of privacy in locker rooms, so I'm not so sure why Springfield's attorney feels so confident. The way I see it, if I'm an athlete I have -- if nothing else -- an expectation that the only people who can see me change are my teammates, and maybe my coaches. A locker room is a large changing room -- with doors, no windows to the outside, and limited access. The people in the locker room are all in the same boat -- all exposed to each other, but only to each other. If that expectation did not exist, then the locker room itself would not exist -- the football players would take their pads and jock straps off right at the 50 yard line of Ernie Davis Legends Field, while the ESPN cameras are still rolling and the crowd is filing out the revolving doors.

And, of course, that's absurd.

And so, I have a feeling that Roger Springfield doesn't have much of a case. As an E felony, he faces a maximum of 4 years in state prison; however, he could get local jail time, or even probation. Possibly more damaging, however, is the possibility that a conviction for unlawful surveillance could require Springfield to register as a sex offender under New York's Sex Offender Registration Act.

To his credit, it appears Springfield fully cooperated with the investigation, and even provided additional evidence to the authorities. I'm still trying to get my head around that. So, assuming he has no criminal history, it seems likely that he'll escape having to serve any state prison or even local jail time. His attorney could even make a motion with the Court for this to not be treated as a sex offense, if the facts and circumstances of this case and of Springfield himself would make treatment as a sex offender unduly harsh to him.

While New York does its prosecution, it seems that other jurisdictions may not get involved. There are allegations that some of the surveillance could have occurred in Florida, but Florida seems content in letting New York deal with this. The possibility still exists that the Feds could get involved.

Today was merely the first step in the criminal process. Springfield was arraigned on the felony indictment handed up by the Grand Jury; he appeared in court, was apprised of the charges against him and had his rights explained to him, and the case now moves on to discovery and motions, as well as plea bargaining discussions between Springfield's attorney and the District Attorney's Office. Best case scenario, he gets probation with no sex offender registration. I guess time will tell.

I will say this: Syracuse University seems to have done everything right in this case. As evidenced in its official press release, SU discovered the problem, immediately reported it to authorities, and fully cooperated in the investigation. It also acted quickly in suspending, and then firing, Springfield. There was no cover-up, no referral to a law firm to investigate. So, you know, we've all learned a lot from the Bernie Fine thing.

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You & your crew were horrible today, O'Connell!

News broke about an hour before tip that James Southerland was ineligible for competition until further notice. The collective jaw of Orange Nation dropped, and there were immediate flashbacks to twelve months ago when, just prior to the second semester beginning, Fab Melo found himself in the same position. As we recall, Syracuse lost that first game without Melo, at Notre Dame, for its first loss of the season. And so, history didn't bode well for what this Orange squad would be facing against Villanova on Saturday in the Carrier Dome. The back and forth closeness of the game certainly didn't leave any Orange fans feeling good about the eventual outcome. That is, until play resumed after the under-8 media timeout. Syracuse quickly stretched its then six point lead up to as much as 14, and would never relinquish control. Jay Wright and his Wildcats leave the Dome for the final time as losers, 72-61.

  • The end of the game run was truly a team effort, but it was once again CJ Fair who allowed Syracuse to get to the point to still be in the game once that run came around. CJ led the way for Syracuse with 22 points on seven of twelve shooting, including 7-8 from the line.
  • With Southerland on the bench wearing street clothes, this was the freshmen's opportunity to step up and earn their scholarships and prove that they deserve playing time. They rose to the occasion. Jerami Grant had a hell of a day, a career game, with 13 points on 4-7 shooting and 5-6 at the line in 29 minutes. He played with the swagger of a veteran out there, and it was very refreshing to see that kind of effort out of a freshman whose playing time has been quite limited this season. DaJuan Coleman also showed improvement from his previous games: while it was only six points and two rebounds, he showed hustle and was understanding his role in the zone defense a lot better. Trevor Cooney didn't light up the scoreboard either, but his two three-pointers game during the late-game run and acted as daggers to keep the game out of Nova's reach and absolutely electrify the crowd.
  • Speaking of the crowd, let's give it up for the 27,586 who came out for this noon tip. 7,000 short of what we've grown accustomed to seeing against Villanova in the Dome, but probably a solid 5,000 more than I was expecting; attendance this season has been down, and with Nova not playing like it once did, I wasn't expecting the attendance to be where it was.
  • The crowd also answered the halftime pleas of new football Head Coach Scott Shafer to get behind the team in the second half and get loud. Seems our local fans have it in them, they just need to be poked and prodded to show it!
  • Solid 10-point efforts out of Brandon Triche and Michael Carter-Williams, while both guards had to play some serious minutes.
  • Rakeem Christmas didn't light up the scoreboard either, but in his 33 minutes he made his presence known, and also had some key play in that second half run, including a nice slam dunk.
  • Villanova played well, especially early on. The scouting report on the Wildcats stressed their offensive rebounding abilities, and yet Syracuse wasn't able to contain it. Nova had 18 offensive boards, and 40  total rebounds. 14 rebounds were at the hands of Mouphtaou Yarou.
  • Nova's efforts on the offensive glass led to 15 second chance points.
  • The Wildcats committed 16 turnovers, which led to 16 points off turnovers for Syracuse.
  • The officiating in this game was not good. But it was consistently not good. So I really can't say that either team got screwed or that it effected the outcome of the game. Still, at times it led to rising tensions on the court, lots of arguing from both Boeheim and Wright, and I really thought at one point Coleman was going to start a fight.
If James Southerland's issue is of academic nature -- and is fixable -- the upcoming Syracuse schedule bodes well. The Orange won't see action again until Saturday, when they travel to Louisville, who will likely be the #1 team by then. After that, a quick turn around to next Monday in the Dome against Cincinnati, before another bit of time off before traveling to South Philly the following Saturday to play Villanova one last time. Who knows what will come of Southerland's situation and how soon -- if at all -- he will make it back in the lineup. But at least from Friday's effort, we can rest assured that Syracuse can step up and get the job done when necessary.

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Say it with me. 1... 2... 3... 4... then 5.
Syracuse was facing a providence team that was hungry for a marquee win since Ed Cooley took over the program. This game was basically tight through the whole game, but after the under 4 of the second half, Syracuse was able to pull away and keep the lead by hitting free throws. Syracuse earns the victory 72 to 66.
  • CJ Fair was again Syracuse's leading scorer with 23 points. He made a lot of mid range shots and got some great tip ins off of teammate's missed balls. He was 7-13 from the floor and 9-10 on free throws. He also had 11 rebounds (leading the team) and 4 blocks. Clearly player of the game.
  • Rakeem Christmas was the guy that really helped Syracuse get a lead late. He also kept the game close with several slams and give and gos. He went 6-8 for 15 points and eight rebounds.
  • Michael Carter-Williams finished with 17 points on 6-13 shooting.
  • James Southerland had 13 points off the bench despite shooting 5-16 from the floor. He was 1-8 from behind the arc, easily his worst performance of the year.
  • Brandon Triche was the only other player that scored in the game with four points. He was 2-10 and 0-4 from the floor. He led the team with four turnovers, half of the Syracuse team total.
  • Syracuse let Bryce Cotton explode for 24 points for Providence. Syracuse's defense never was really able to contain him in this game.
  • There were three key stats in this game. Three point field goals, free throws, and rebounds determined the outcome of this game. Syracuse was 14.3 % (3-21) from behind the arc, while Providence was 50% (9-18). That kept Providence in the game and gave them a first half lead going into the locker room. Rebounds, Syracuse held the advantage 36 to 22. That allowed Syracuse to limit Providence's second chance points and give them the opportunity to take the lead and keep in late in the game. And finally, Syracuse was 17-18 (94.4%) from the free throw line, while Providence was 15-23 (65.2%). This gave Syracuse the win by scoring when Syracuse couldn't from the floor and never let Providence close the game in the last minute.
  • Syracuse shot 41.9% from the floor. Providence shot 42%. Very close, hence why the game was close so long.
  • Syracuse did limit their turnovers to 8, which is one of the better performances of the year, but shot selection was a problem early in the game when shots were not falling and there was a false sense of urgency to get back in the game and score.
  • The officiating in this game was horrendous. You'll probably not see a worse call this season than the five second inbounding violation on CJ Fair. The video, courtesy of John, is here. You can clearly see that the official counts only to three and that CJ also tried to call time out and thought he got it when the whistle blew, only to find out they gave the ball to Providence. Boeheim erupted in the game and rightly so.
  • Syracuse's starters each played at least 38 minutes in the game except for DaJuan Coleman who only played two. Southerland played 38 minutes off the bench. Clearly Boeheim wanted veterans on the floor.
Syracuse ended up hanging on in a close game that they should have pulled away in long before they did. But when you shoot that poorly from outside it isn't that surprising. Either way, Syracuse continues to win in the league. Syracuse managed a win today and John will have the recap on that shortly, but for now Syracuse remains undefeated in league play, despite having close calls.

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Villanova - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: That's just freaking great.
Just as I sit here and type this we have learned that James Southerland is ineligible to play until further notice due to an academic issue. That is not good for the Orange, who relies on Southerland to be a spark off the bench. He is also the best outside shooter on the team. That just means that Villanova might decide to play some zone defense to try and stop the penetration of Michael Carter Williams. Syracuse will need Brandon Triche to step up again. And the forwards. If Syracuse is able to rebound well and prevent easy Villanova second chance buckets, Syracuse should win the game. If not, Syracuse will have a hard time like on Wednesday night against Providence. While Syracuse might struggle from outside the arc, Syracuse should see a bump in field goal percentage being in their home gym. Also, the energy of the crowd should be better as students are returning to the hill for classes starting soon. Even with Southerland out I still think the Orange get the job done, although it will again be closer then you want it to be. I'm picking the Orange over the Wildcats by 9. This game is available on TWCS / SNY / ESPN 3.

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Syracuse - Providence Preview

Syracuse students agree: Time to beat the home office at home one last time.
Syracuse travels to the heart of the smallest state to take on Providence in the city where the Big East lived and died. I admit I haven't watched a lot of Providence so far this year. Probably because early on they lost to UMass and Penn State. Not exactly powerhouses. Since then Providence has won against a bunch of lesser teams, but have lost their last four games. The last of which was a ten point loss to DePaul. Yes, that DePaul. Bryce Cotton comes off the bench and is Providence's leading scorer with 21.3ppg. Additionally, Vincent Council adds 8.8ppg and leads the team with 5.5apg. But really, Providence has trouble on offense. They only average 69 points per game. Syracuse averages almost 11 points more than the Friars per game. Syracuse is also a taller team. By a lot. Therefore Syracuse should get more rebounds and second chance points in the paint. Syracuse struggled to get started on the road at USF. That shouldn't be the case at Providence as they are less adept at the long ball. Cotton is the only shooter hitting the three on a consistent basis. As long as they don't lose him, the defense should remain solid. Syracuse should be able to pull away in the first half of this game and continue that push in the second half. The Orange will continue their win streak against the Friars by 22. The game is available on TWCS / SNY / ESPN 3.

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Rutgers & South Florida Recaps

Brian had this view from a few rows behind the team bench for Boeheim's 903rd win!

Last Wednesday, Syracuse opened its final season of Big East play against Rutgers in the Carrier Dome. Scarlet Knights head coach Mike Rice was just returning from a three-game suspension, while Orange head coach Jim Boeheim was vying for career win 903 and sole possession of second place on the all-time wins list at the D-1 Men's level. After its now-trademark slow start, Syracuse went full speed ahead and pulled away to a commanding 39-20 halftime lead. Though Rutgers showed a stronger offensive effort in the second half, it was too little, too late for the Scarlet Knights against a Syracuse squad that didn't let up. Syracuse wins the game 78-53 and secures #903 for Jim Boeheim.

  • The Brandon Triche we remember is the Brandon Triche who showed up to play Rutgers. 25 points on 8-11 shooting, including 5-7 from three and a perfect 4-4 at the line. Arguably Triche's best effort of the season.
  • You're certainly not going to see numbers that good from Triche every game (but if he wants to prove me wrong, PLEASE DO!) but it was very encouraging for him to have a game like this. Should provide a huge confidence boost, for him to know he can hit shots and be effective at the line. He also had six assists and four steals, so it wasn't all going to the basket for Brandon either.
  • CJ Fair also had a solid game with 15 points on 4-11 shooting (not great, I know), but another clutch performance at the line at 7-8.
  • The only other double digit scorer for the Orange was Michael Carter-Williams. His 12 points and 10 assists give him yet another double-double.
  • Another game where DaJuan Coleman was virtually absent: nine minutes on the floor for three points and three rebounds. Definitely a work in progress, but the talent is there. It just has to find its place in the college game.
  • Lots of bench minutes in this one: 25 for James Southerland, 14 for Jerami Grant, 13 for Baye Moussa Keita, and 10 for Trevor Cooney. We also saw the line change at the end for the walk-ons.
  • Eli Carter on Rutgers can shoot. He had a good game, but much of the rest of the Scarlet Knights roster didn't quite have it going on.
  • Syracuse was out-rebounded 38-34, but luckily it didn't matter.
Then on Sunday, Syracuse faced its first Big East road game of the season, travelling to Tampa to take on the South Florida Bulls. To be fair, it was a sell-out and many of the fans in attendance were Orange fans, so, let the "not a true road game" comments fly. At any rate, this wasn't exactly a superb performance by Syracuse. Offense was at a premium here, though not to the extent we saw against Alcorn State. A second half run gave Syracuse a comfortable-enough lead to go on to win 55-44.
  • Brandon Triche was again the pace setter for the Orange, with 20 points on 8-13 shooting and another 4-4 performance from the line. Very similar numbers to the Rutgers game, except his three-point shot wasn't falling in Tampa.
  • Triche also played all 40 minutes of this game, likely because the rest of the team just wasn't bringing much to the game and Boeheim needed to stick with the hot hand.
  • The always steady and solid CJ Fair had another one of his steady and solid games. The Orange's only double-double belonged to CJ, with ten points and ten rebounds. It was one of those games where he had to fight for every point and every board he got, so these are stats well earned.
  • DaJuan Coleman was more of a ghost on Sunday than he was last Wednesday: in five minutes of play, no points or any other stats on one missed shot.
  • While Syracuse navigates the relatively easier portion of its Big East schedule, if Coleman isn't getting mentionable minutes, one would assume things don't bode well for him once the Cincinnatis, Louisvilles, and Georgetowns come around.
  • James Southerland found his shot again, scoring 17 points on 7-15. He was 3-9 from three, and while some of his shots seemed rushed or weren't good looks, others were good looks.
  • Syracuse attempted 17 threes in this game, making only four of them; I don't mind the hot hand shooting, or a player taking a wide open three, but it seemed like the team was relying too heavily on shooting a three without setting up a play or settling on a poor look just to try to gain some momentum.
  • Syracuse did well on the boards, out-rebounding South Florida 43-26. That certainly helped Syracuse maintain its lead and limit Bulls second chance points to only four in the game, none in the second half. Syracuse, meanwhile, had 18 such points.
Brandon Triche's solid performances in both games earned him Big East Player of the Week honors. If there's a time you want your star guard and team leader to step up his game, Big East play is it. It's been great to watch Triche this past week, and I hope this boosts his confidence to get the job done game in and game out. This week Syracuse takes a final trip to the Big East home office to play Providence on Wednesday, and then returns to the Dome for a Saturday match-up against Villanova in a game that won't draw 34,616 like it used to. Brian will be attending the Providence game while I'll be at the Villanova game, so keep it here and on twitter for our crazy commentaries.

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Orange::44 College Bowl Pick'em Winner

As promised, the winner gets the Schwartzwalder Trophy*

Over on Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, we hosted a College Bowl Pick'em game, and we somehow got 18 people to sign up to play. Two of them were us, and one of them registered a team but made no picks. So, big thanks to the 15 people who actually played.

This year's Grand Prize goes to downlinks with the entry "centerstage." The entry correctly picked the winner in 25 of the 35 bowl games and won despite choosing Notre Dame in the Championship. In the end, it was a 1-point win over three entries tying for second with 24 correct ("Brian Harrison," "The Crew," and "WVU 44 - SU 41"). Interesting that BH of this blog, and Chris from over at The Jack Fleming Society tied for second -- but BH gets the tiebreaker by virtue of not only his closer prediction of the BCS Championship final score, but also because Syracuse beat West Virginia. Sorry, had to throw that dig in there!

As for me, I was in the middle of the pack at 22 correct picks, good for a tie for 6th. I'm proud though that I correctly picked all bowl games on New Year's Day. So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

Again, thanks to those who played. And to downlinks, feel free to report to Manley Field House to claim your prize*.

*Orange::44 not responsible for any charges of trespass, larceny, or burglary associated with claiming this prize.

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BlogPoll 2012 - Final Ballot

* Alabama stays in the top spot and finished #1 after a dominating performance in the BCS Championship. Notre Dame falls to #5.

* Oregon ends up #2 and would have made a far better Championship opponent for Alabama than ND ended up. I'm rooting for this game next season.

* I didn't know how good Georgia was until Alabama Made Notre Dame look silly. Georgia was within a final drive to beat Alabama. They jump up to #4.

* USC, Mississippi State, and Kent State all drop out of the poll due to Bowl losses. Now included are Northwestern, Cincinnati, and a moderately homer pick of Syracuse in at #25 after dominating West Virginia and finishing the season so strongly, with one of the best offenses in the nation.

* Florida, rightfully so, falls the farthest after getting stomped by Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville in the Sugar Bowl.

* I like my top 5 a lot in that order. Actually, I like my top 10 a lot. Debated between switching A&M and the other USC, but I kept them as is because I found A&M's beating of Oklahoma more impressive than USC's beating of Michigan.

* If only Ohio State was Bowl Eligible it could have been interesting. They remain the only unbeaten on the poll.

Anything too crazy? Let me know. Otherwise it's been a fun season and we'll see you next year.

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Rutgers - Syracuse Preview

Syracuse students agree: Time to see Jim Boeheim earn #903.
Rutgers is on a five game win streak, but three of the five of those games were won without their head coach on the sideline. Mike Rice, after sitting out three games, is back and facing a tough test in Syracuse. The Scarlet Knights haven't won in the series since 2003 and haven't won in Syracuse in 15 visits. They are 1-22 lifetime in the Carrier Dome. Rutgers uses a smaller, three guard lineup. Eli Carter and Myles Mack are averaging 16.9 and 14.5 points respectively. Miles Mack doesn't shoot that many long balls, but when he does they usually go in. Syracuse could find themselves in trouble if Rutgers' shooters get hot. Syracuse needs to pound the paint and get in transition. Syracuse should be up to the task, but this one will be a little stressful for Orange fans I fear. Still, Boeheim should pass Bobby Knight for sole possession of second on the all time wins list with the Orange winning by 8. The game is available on TWCS / SNY / ESPN 3.

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Smiles all around - welcome back to good basketball!

After a couple of humdrum performances, Syracuse Basketball was determined to go into the new year with some pride. The first 13 or 14 minutes of Monday's game against Central Connecticut wasn't pretty, but then the old Orange that we know and love came back to life and played good basketball. Syracuse ends 2012 on a high note and blows out the Blue Devils 96-62.

  • I'm not sure who to give top billing to, because a lot of Orange players had a good game.
  • I'll start with the statistical genius of Michael Carter-Williams. MCW was one rebound short of a triple double: 18 points on 6-10 shooting, 13 assists, and nine rebounds. It was great seeing him back in his stride, and it certainly helped the team pull away from CConn in the last few minutes of the first half. MCW must have known he was one rebound away from the triple double, as his last minutes on the floor were spent trying to grab that rebound; his teammates did everything they could to prevent him from grabbing one.
  • For a while, it seemed MCW was trying to get his triple double via turnovers. The box score credits him with six, and while I wasn't counting, it sure seemed like he had more than that. I'm too lazy to look it up, but he probably leads the team in turnovers, which is a dubious distinction for your starting guard.
  • Also pulling in a double double was CJ Fair, who has been the consistent quiet threat for the Orange this season. 13 points on 6-11 shooting, ten rebounds, and a steal in 26 minutes of play. Just another solid effort from CJ. He'll seldom "wow" you, but he doesn't seem to get frustrated out there and he just does his thing game in and game out. The other, more emotional players out on the court could learn a thing or two from CJ.
  • Falling just short of double doubles themselves were Rakeem Christmas (nine points, ten rebounds), and Dajuan Coleman (13 points, nine rebounds). These big guys (including Baye Moussa Keita) had a much better game this go around. Not perfect by any means, but this is the positive direction you want this group moving in as Big East play begins.
  • Brandon Triche and James Southerland also put in solid efforts in this one, with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
  • With Syracuse never looking back after gaining a 47-26 lead, Jim Boeheim took the opportunity to go with a few different lineups in the second half. Jerami Grant (20 minutes) and Trevor Cooney (19) got some good playing time.
  • Boeheim also stuck with his starting five late into the game, I assume to get them as much playing time together heading into the Big East.
  • CConn has some good shooters, including Kyle Vinales and Adonis Burbage, who consistently shot the ball from 3-4 feet beyond the arc. In all, the Blue Devils combined for nine threes on 35 attempts.
  • Syracuse really went to work on the glass, and this must have been a point of emphasis for the Orange in practice. 57 rebounds is a fantastic performance no matter who you're playing.
  • Syracuse only got to the free throw line 13 times (not a heck of a lot of fouls in this one, evident by the quick game time) and hit eight of them for 61.5%. That should probably be a point of emphasis in practice.
The win pushes #7 Syracuse to a 12-1 record to close out the non-conference portion of the schedule. The win was also a milestone for Jim Boeheim, who is now tied with Bob Knight for 2nd on the all-time Division I wins list with 902. The first attempt at 903 and sole possession of 2nd place comes Wednesday night in the Carrier Dome against Rutgers. The entire Orange::44 crew (yeah, all two of us) will be on hand for that potentially momentous affair, so stay tuned to this blog and our respective twitters for wall to wall coverage. Or something like that.

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