Don’t look now, but the Louisville Cardinals are finally starting to look like they belong in the upper echelon of college basketball, where many pundits had pegged the team back in October. Following big wins at home over Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, the Cardinals will face the Orange, who need to be in their Sunday best for the noon tipoff. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for January, 2009
“This is going to be a hard one to get over…This is a game that we had. We had this game won.” - Jonny Flynn, 3/1/08
“It’s the most disappointing game I’ve ever been involved with.” – Jim Boeheim, 3/1/08
Over ten months later, SU will have a shot at avenging one of the most painful regular season losses in program history. The Panthers, meanwhile, will be looking to get over a tough loss of their own after being handed their first defeat of the season on Saturday at the hands of Louisville. It’s safe to say there’s going to be no shortage of motivation on either side of the scorer’s table at the Petersen Events Center. Read the rest of this entry »
On Wednesday night, the Hoyas delivered a true punch to the gut. The worst possible storm of a hot shooting night by the opposition and a freezing cold night by the good guys hit the Orange hard. A true opportunity for cleansing comes Saturday afternoon when the Irish come to Syracuse. Notre Dame has a couple nice wins already against Texas and Georgetown, but they are very beatable on the road, having dropped games at Louisville and St. John’s. Read the rest of this entry »
So here it is. “The Gauntlet.” Eight ranked teams, ten games. One triple steel cage. Ok, scratch the triple steel cage. Still, what better way to start off the daunting stretch than against the Orange’s most bitter rivals? Wednesday night’s game at the Verizon Center has been circled in thick red marker on fans’ calendars since the conference schedule was released back in September. While they beat UConn at Storrs, they haven’t exactly taken care of business at home themselves, losing to Notre Dame and Pitt. Read the rest of this entry »
While the Orange started the conference season feasting on the Big East’s cellar dwellers, the Scarlet Knights have been doing the exact opposite, starting off their Big East run against Pitt, UConn and Marquette. Oh yeah, they played North Carolina in their final non-conference game. Throw in Saturday’s game against the ‘Cuse and what you get is a five-game stretch of opponents ranked in the RPI’s top 25 with three of those (UNC, Pitt and UConn) in the top 10. Read the rest of this entry »
Wednesday’s 85-68 victory over DePaul turned out to be the good old-fashioned sound beating that most fans and writers were expecting. The Orange beat DePaul in nearly every category, in addition to the obvious score: shooting, three-point shooting, rebounding, assists, steals and even free throw shooting. In fact, when you go along the team totals in the box score, the only spot where DePaul topped Syracuse is in turnovers, and despite the rough start to the second half where SU turned the ball over five times in as many possessions, they only had one more turnover than the Blue Demons. In the end, the Orange stripped down the Blue Demons and made them look like something more indicative of the picture to the right. Read the rest of this entry »
After a close call last Friday night on the road against South Florida, SU will square off Wednesday against DePaul, which is Spanish for “Of Paul.” The Blue Demons currently sit at 8-7, 0-2 in Big East play, down there with USF in the ugly bottom tier of the conference. DePaul has had some chances to establish themselves against good teams like Cal, UCLA and starting off conference play with a loss to Notre Dame, but they have no quality wins and perhaps even worse, are just 1 out of their last ten in conference road games. They’ll look to reverse that trend against the Orange when they visit the Carrier Dome. Read the rest of this entry »
From Sal Capaccio, www.SalSports.com
Even without third leading scorer Paul Harris, at halftime of Syracuse’s second Big East game of the season Friday night at South Florida, the Orange were feeling very good about their performance on the offensive end of the court. Syracuse had things well in-hand against the USF Bulls, shooting 50% from the floor (15 for 30) and holding a commanding 35-19 lead at intermission. But the effects of not having Harris, who cut his right ring finger in the team’s previous game against Seton Hall, were fully felt after the break. Jim Boeheim’s team had to rely on a Johnny Flynn jumper with 2-minutes left, and then two key free throws made down the stretch by Eric Devendorf before they could finally exhale. The Orange struggled mightily in the second half, missing easy layups and free throws. They allowed USF to all but erase that 16-point halftime deficit as the Bulls pulled within one-point on three separate occasions. “We were just hanging on at the end. … We should have taken control of the game, and we didn’t,” Boeheim said. But Syracuse did hang in. They never surrendered the lead, and when the final buzzer sounded, Flynn had the ball in his hands, and the Orange left the Sunshine State with a win to open up the 2009 calendar year. Syracuse is now 14-1 overall and 2-0 in Big East play, while USF falls to 5-8 overall and 0-1 in the conference. News, notes, and impressions from press row:
–Syracuse started freshman Kris Joseph in place of Harris. Joseph played 28 solid minutes, contributing 7 points and 3 rebounds. He also went 3-for-3 from the line. –Speaking of the foul line, the Orange were abysmal from the charity stripe, hitting only 38.9% as a team (7/18). However, most of those struggles can be attributed to Arinze Onuaku, who was an embarrassing 1 of 9 from the line. The rest of the team was 7 for 9.
–Andy Rautins played his first 40-minute game of the season. Once again, he was SU’s best shooter from the perimeter, going 4-for-8 from three-point land. And other than maybe two of those shots, Rautins wasn’t getting easy looks. The Bulls made a concentrated effort to harass him outside the arc, and did an effective job of it. Jim Boeheim praised USF coach Stan Heath’s defense on Rautins after the game, and gave Andy a lot of credit for not only shooting through it, but also for his overall play on both ends of the court.
–Praise was definitely not something Coach Boeheim laid on Kristoff Ongenaet in his post-game press conference. He noted Ongenaet’s struggles around the basket and said Kristoff was nearly as aggressive enough as he needs to be, missing easy layups all night.
–I was impressed with the way the Syracuse forwards passed the basketball. They seem to be very aware of where they are on the court, and often get the ball in and out of their hands quickly to the open man. It doesn’t always translate to assists in the box score, but it is a big key when trying to move the ball for an open shot around the perimeter or underneath to Onuaku.
–USF head coach Stan Heath spoke very highly of Rautins ability to shoot, and Onuaku’s physical presence. On Rautins, he noted that it’s hard for kids to understand just how much range Rautins has until they see it for themselves in a game, even though they are told about it so much in their scouting reports and practices. On Onuaku, he said that there are some centers who are taller than him, and some who are more skilled than him in the Big East, but that no one really has the full physical package that Arinze has, and is able to just keep pounding and pushing his opponent under the basket.
–Syracuse made a big effort to get the ball to Onuaku in the first half (he was 5/10 from the floor at halftime), but after a few adjustments by USF, Heath said his kids did a better job of “digging in” and not allowing him to control the game in the second half. Onuaku had only 3 shots from the floor after the break, and made only one of them. –Boeheim said he is “optimistic” that Paul Harris will be able to play Wednesday night when the Orange host DePaul.
–The announced crowd at the Sun Dome was 8,350. As usual when SU visits USF, almost half of it was dressed in Orange. Sometimes, the “Let’s Go Orange” chant resonated throughout the building as if it were the Carrier Dome.
–I spoke with assistant coach Mike Hopkins before the game. He mentioned how much he loves his job and is in no hurry to take over the program. Hopkins has been named the “Coach-in-waiting” when Jim Boeheim decides to retire.
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