SU passed its first true test of the year Monday night, beating Florida 89-83 in front of a sparse crowd at the CBE Classic in Kansas City. The high-scoring affair on both sides confirmed two theories I’ve had about this team for awhile: it can score at will, and the Orange aren’t quite there yet on the defensive end. Flynn, Devendorf and Onuaku combined for just nine points in the first half, but thanks to Paul Harris’ mid-range j and Andy Rautins’ long ball resurgence, SU not only led by three at the break, but tallied 41 points in doing so. Read the rest of this entry »
The Orange hoops team has gone out and made a big statement to Coach Jim Boeheim. Let’s play some more man! The Orange was able to make that statement by jumping out early in the first half and getting off to a comfortable lead and then not looking back. There was a noticeable effort on the part of the starting 5 to get out and establish that this team can get a lead and keep it.
It just seems that this team is a bit more suited at this time to play man. The wingspan of Flynn and Devo in the front of the 2-3 isn’t that long. AO in the middle is not a huge shot blocking force. But the overall atheleticsm of the team seems best for getting in shirts and harassing the opposition. When Rick Jackson entered the game, he made his presence felt with a pair of rejections on one of Jonathan Jones’ forays into the paint. A nice sign of the intensity displayed up and down the lineup.
The good: The first half had alot of nice ball movement by the Orange, not so much in the second half due to the fact that the game was in a cruise control mode for the most part. There was an intent to move the ball quickly and look for good shots. Twelve of the first thirteen hoops were assisted. That is a nice thing to see.
It doesn’t get much better than this – two unranked, undefeated teams butting heads 17 years after the 15-seed Spiders upset the 2-seed Orangemen in the first round of the 1991 NCAA Tournament.
Ok, so maybe I’m stretching things, considering that SU has topped Richmond twice in convincing fashion since that debacle and this season is only one game old. I’ll also concede that I lack a little perspective since, as young lad, I was probably more concerned with finding my Ninja Turtle action figures than fathoming how Curtis Blair and Co. were able to tear up the zone in College Park (don’t worry, Raphael and Michelangelo were under the couch). Still, I have a good feeling that there are some SU fans who still don’t have closure. For all I know, even assistant coach Mike Hopkins, who played in that game, isn’t over it yet. You’ve gotta figure that if there’s one person on the SU bench who doesn’t want to lose to Richmond Tuesday night, it’s Hop.
The title here says it all, so let’s get going.
SF – Paul Harris:
2007-2008 Key Stats: 36.1 MPG, 14.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.7 SPG
TFG: Harris started just one game in 2006-07, but his athleticism had fans foaming at the mouth at the idea of him logging big minutes. The Orange faithful got what they wanted in 2007-08, as Harris led the team in minutes per contest with 36.1, good for third in the Big East. Harris also got to the free throw line a lot. A whole lot. In fact, his 237 attempts not only led the league, but no player since Hakim Warrick in 2004-05 made more trips to the line than Harris in one season (Hak had 310 that year). Paul also added an improved shooting touch beyond the arc to his repertoire, going 11-34 last season compared to an ugly 5% (1-20) in his freshman campaign. While I don’t see him being an everyday three point threat like Devendorf, Rautins and Flynn are, Harris now has one more dimension to his game to use in keeping defenders honest.
After the ACL injuries, Harris was forced over from the three to the two spot, though it didn’t change his style of play all that much. Just ask Villanova’s Dante Cunningham. A lockdown defender to boot, Harris tallied 1.7 steals per game, including a six-game span in conference play where he tallied 18 swipes. My biggest knock on Harris is his ball control, which was epitomized by his crushing gaffe against Pittsburgh in March. As good as he is on defense, he displayed an alarming propensity to cough the ball up himself. He turned the ball over more than anyone in the Big East except for Eugene Harvey of Seton Hall, but Harris was just one behind.
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TFG: As you can guess by the title, LVO and I will preview this season’s starting five. At present, there are no position battles or Burger Boy impact freshmen to speak of, making this year’s first team the most fortified and experienced group to take the floor for the Orange since the 2005-06 season. We’ve broken the starters down into two posts – this one is on the guards and we’ll return with the back of the zone in another post.
We’ll rehash last season’s stats and give extensive outlooks and expectations for each of the starters. We’ll even try to grow a pair and predict some stats, which we may revisit throughout the season. As always, feel free to tell us how unbelievably wrong and shrewd we are in the comments section.
Welcome to The Rind With TFG and lvilleorange! Two avid SU hoops fans with little better to do than spend their days posting on Syracuse message boards have joined forces to create what they hope won’t be the worst Orange basketball blog on the Intertron. Although we’re still a month away from the start of the regular season, it’s not to too early for Steve, better known to some of you as lvilleorange, and myself to attempt to bring you up to speed and ready for a season of Orange basketball filled with promise. We’re going to start off with a very rudimentary 2007-08 recap, mix in some offseason events and give a general outlook towards the 2008-09 campaign before delving into some much more in-depth player previews and projections as the season nears. By that point, we hope that just enough of you aren’t too bored by us to stop reading.