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Archive for January, 2007

Bring on the Three-peat…

Posted by ech1 on January 31, 2007

Well, it is now obvious that this team needs to get seriously en fuego at some point if they are going to do any NCAA dancing. What better time than the Big East Tournament? I mean, who doesn’t enjoy a nice four game run to glory? Honestly, last year’s Big East Tourney run is way up there in my favorite Syracuse basketball memories. Some of it may have been the circumstances in which I watched it, but still, what was better than four days of being the underdog and seeing Gerry shut people up and go out in glory? (note: what Texas A&M game?). Obviously, the championship run would be above it, and I would go for the runs leading up to the ’87 and ’96 losses… and that’s about it in my view. Hmm, my 4th-best SU basketball memory in the almost 25 years I can remember… I could deal with repeating that.

Anyway, I’m just rambling now, but my point is that this team is dead in the water unless they get hot. And if they can get hot during the Big East tourney, well, hell, I’ll take a three-peat… may as well win something this season.

On a related tangent (is that an oxymoron?), I’d love to hear people’s choices for Top Ten SU basketball memories, I’ve put four up for you above. I’ll add seeing the career of Jimmy B to round out a top 5. I know, that seems too easy, but what the heck, it’s my idea and there’s no format, so there’s 5 to get discussion started. Individual games, runs of games, players, rivalries… it’s all good.

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Posted in Big East Tournament, NCAA Tournament | 1 Comment »

Well, that sucked

Posted by Tim on January 31, 2007

For a sports fan, there’s nothing tougher than watching your team’s victorious opponents celebrating at half court. To wit, check out this passage from the Notre Dame hoops blog The Black and Green Irish Men’s Basketball Report (via TNIAAM‘s nice new blogroll):

Big, big win for the Irish that more than offsets the St. John’s loss. The team should ride the wave to South Florida (maybe some Super Bowl festivities?) and hopefully a road trip sweep. Everything is back on track after a rough January.

It’s kind of funny, isn’t it? Not funny ha-ha, obviously, but funny in an ironic-sad-clown way. Because this is almost exactly what I would have written had Syracuse found some way to beat the Irish. We too had a St. John’s loss to offset. We too needed to overcome a difficult January. You get the picture.

P.S. In case this defeat didn’t sting enough, someone writing in the post’s comments reminds us that last night’s loss ended a five-year streak of total Orange domination over the Fighting Irish. Sinn Fein must be very pleased with the symbolic value of this victory.

Posted in Conference Games, Losses, Notre Dame | Leave a Comment »

Uh-oh

Posted by andrewgp on January 30, 2007

A chart showing who held the lead throughout the game, and by how much.

notredame.jpg

BANG IT HERE to see an archive of charts from this year.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

follow up

Posted by syracusan on January 30, 2007

The Post-Standard finally got around to reporting the Moten story that Cuse Country readers learned about 3 days ago. Thanks to the intrepid reporting of that maven of melodrama, that guru of the grandiloquent, that epicure of exaggeration, Mr. Bud Poliquin, we now have independent confirmation of Sir Lawrence’s presence on the Hill.

I’ll give Bud credit, his ridiculously cheesy writing style did manage to get me all choked up with memories of Moten’s glory years. Poetry’s level of consistent excellence is hard to come by. He was a more dependable version of Gerry, if less spectacular and explosive. It blows my mind that the all time leading scorer in school history only averaged 14.3 shots per game over the course of his career. From day one Freshman year he averaged almost 20 points per game with those 14 shots – a nice reminder of what offensive efficiency is all about. I guarantee you 90% of those heaves were wide open, intelligent shots taken in the flow of the offense. Inside, outside, it didn’t matter – because he didn’t give you the chance to guard him. And oh those sneaky baseline moves; I still don’t know how he did it. Plus he showed up every single night for four years. What a player he was, what a player.

Oh, and I will admit Bud scooped me on one thing. Apparently Lawrence Moten has a daughter named–and I’m not making this up–Lawrencia. Awesome.

Posted in Former Orangemen, In the Media, News of the Orange | 2 Comments »

Some teams refuse to lose…

Posted by Daz on January 28, 2007

This team refuses to win.

It wasn’t that long ago when Syracuse had a number of players who you could count on to step it up when it mattered. I’m not trying to re-write history and say that we always won when we had, say, G-Mac shooting last second shots. But at least you knew that he would rather gargle razor blades than lose a close game.

Devendorf is our hungriest player right now and he’s a fighter. One of the best moments of the season so far was when he mixed it up with a much larger opponent in the game against the ‘Natti. After coming down with a contested rebound and a whistle was blown, Devo flung the ball at the guy he’d wrestled the ball from. The big Bearcat justifiably had something to say about it, but Devo just ice-grilled him with a nasty sneer. Then he spent the next five minutes trying to take that guy to the hole.

But, he’s also the first guy to help his opponents up off the floor and have little conversations. I always get the impression that he’s making plans to hang out with them after the game; either that or he’s talking about their mothers.

Unfortunately, last night White Chocolate’s passion was more than off-set by his turn-overs. When SU had given up the ball in three of four possessions when it was getting down to the wire, Devendorf was the perpetrator in a least two of them. Partly this is attributable to his consistent lack of control. But I can’t help but wonder how things might have turned out if other players were playing equally aggressively.

Most notably, where is Hot Nichols? Demetris was en fuego in pre-conference play — Paul “the Hustle” Harris scouted him as an NBA caliber talent and he was playing like it for a minute — but he’s been a non-factor late in close games recently. With under a minute to play he was wide-open at the three point line with a chance to bring it within one. What did the team’s top scorer do? He passed it, of course. Clearly he’s not been listening to enough Shaq. We don’t want you to pass it, dude.

Posted in Demetris Nichols, Eric Devendorf, Gerry McNamara, Losses, Paul Harris | 1 Comment »

How we lost: Syracuse falls to Louisville

Posted by andrewgp on January 28, 2007

A chart showing who held the lead throughout the game, and by how much.

loousiville.jpg

BANG IT HERE to see an archive of charts from this year.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

D-League Update

Posted by Josh on January 28, 2007

Damone Brown has come home! He signed with the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBDL on Monday after the Pistons called up one of their players. He had 13 & 9 Friday, followed by 14 & 8 Saturday though the Skyforce lost both games in Tulsa.

Gerry McNamara had a good game last night — leading the team with 19 points (7-13 shooting), 4 assists and 0 turnovers, though the Jam lost. The Jam play again later today. But the real news is that these two games are scheduled to appear on NBA TV later this week. You can see Gerry’s team-leading performance from last night on Thursday Feb 1 at 10:30 PM. Sunday’s tilt in Los Angeles will be shown Friday Feb 2 at 7 PM.

Posted in Former Orangemen, Gerry McNamara | Leave a Comment »

Taking care of… wait, hang on a second… uh oh… AAAARG!

Posted by Josh on January 28, 2007

I think last night’s game hurt even more than the St. John’s game. I’m not talking about RPI or anything like that. I’m talking about the mental and emotional fortitude of the team. For the first 30 minutes, they played about as well as they are able — that is not to say they were playing “lights-out”, rather that I have seen enough games now to know that this was about the best one can hope for. Then suddenly… what? What was the magic bullet that stopped them in their tracks?

The Post-Standard quoted Boeheim as saying that Watkins leaving with 4 fouls around the 9 minute mark was a tipping point, because Louisville then got their interior offense going and controlled the boards late. But that does not explain why our offensive possessions suddenly turned to mush. The analysis (and some of the player quotes) says that they got complacent and stopped hustling. I think that’s oversimplifying it, and if that is the only lesson the team takes from this, it won’t be enough. What happened was that they tried to slow the game down and sit on their lead, but did not know how to function in this mode. Several possessions basically boiled down to Devendorf trying to make something happen by himself with 10 seconds or so on the shot clock. These possessions tended to result in turnovers, whereas earlier in the half they were successful in getting open shots by moving the ball around with purpose. This team has not had a great half-court offense all year, and it’s even worse when they deliberately slow things down. And when Louisville started to make their move, you could see the Orange get tentative and unsure of themselves.

Granted, some of the final possessions were not bad; they got good shots but missed. Nichols missed a couple that he generally makes (including one of those 13-foot ‘gimme’ pullups in the lane) and Devendorf had one successful drive to the basket on which he got fouled, but missed the free throws. These were, I think, symptoms of the nervous fear that took hold of the team. With the crowd howling and the pressure building, every shot was just that much more important, and the players couldn’t respond to that added level of tension.

So this hurts. A lot. This is going to seriously damage their confidence going forward. It’s going to haunt their minds the next time they are faced with a team making a run at them (whether they have a big lead at the time or not). The next time they have the ball on offense and need a basket, what will they do? Does Nichols have enough confidence left to make a tough shot? Devendorf’s confidence is never in question, but will he trust his teammates or try to do everything on his own? Will the other players be calm enough to hit an open shot if the defense lets them alone? Will they only win games in which they build a giant lead and then get just enough dribs and drabs of points in the end to stave off the other team’s comeback?

…anyone?

Posted in Big East, Losses, Louisville | 1 Comment »

Pro Update 1-27

Posted by Josh on January 27, 2007

NBA action all across the board tonight. Nothing else to report though.
Carmelo had 37 points and 6 rebounds, but also made a key turnover late in the game and the Nuggets lost a close one to their main division rival the Utah Jazz. This follows his 34 points and 9 rebounds in a win over Seattle on Tuesday. The Iverson Experiment is working pretty well so far. Who would have thought that an Orangeman and a Hoya would be able to work so well together?

Hakim Warrick took advantage of Pau Gasol’s absence tonight to lead Memphis with 27 points (11-15 FG, 5-6 FT) and 7 rebounds in a loss to the Spurs that was actually much closer than the final score. The game was tied going into the 4th quarter, at which point the Spurs arrived at the gym and won by 16. In Memphis’ last game, an overtime win over Utah, Hak had 14 points (6-8 FGs) and 5 rebounds. Give him credit for adjusting to his reserve role and still being ready to step up when he got the opportunity tonight.

Less good news from the rest of the NBA: Etan Thomas played only 9 minutes and converted his only shot; Jason Hart (surprise!) did not play.

Posted in Carmelo Anthony, Former Orangemen, Hakim Warrick | Leave a Comment »

Poetry returns!

Posted by syracusan on January 26, 2007

I caught an episode of Syracuse Sidelines this afternoon on SNY and heard some interesting news. For those who don’t know, the low production value Sidelines is a generally entertaining weekly interview show with Jim Boeheim and other Syracuse figures. It’s a half an hour of softie questions and extremely low level analysis, and Mike Hopkins generally handles the 2nd half of the show. Part of the fun is watching Boeheim’s patience slowly run out, as he follows his predictable pattern of having fun (discussing college basketball nationally), getting fired up (defending the Big East), and then just getting annoyed (talking about his own team). I’d never seen it outside of central New York until this year, when the Mets channel once again made itself useful by picking it up. I haven’t figured out when it’s on in such a way to be able to catch it regularly–I’m not even sure if it’s on at the same time each week–but it’s a fun way to kill 30 minutes when I stumble on it.

Also, occasionally one can find out some interesting news. For instance, guess who’s back on the scene upstate? None other than Syracuse’s and the Big East’s all time leading scorer, Lawrence Moten. Boeheim casually mentioned that Moten has re-enrolled at SU to finish up his degree, and that he’s been hanging out with the team while he’s around. They had some footage of him practicing with the team, and the man looked crisp! (Considering that he and Hopkins were teammates, I can tell you right now that Moten is in way better shape nowadays.)

Jimmy stressed that Moten wasn’t assisting with coaching, but just acting as a veteran presence for the guys and trying to impart some wisdom. And get this: it’s not just a one or two time thing – Jimmy said Moten will be with the team for the rest of the season. In fact, in the footage Moten was wearing the exact same practice uniforms as the rest of the players, and appeared to be seamlessly integrated into the normal drills. He wasn’t draining jumpers all over everyone or dominating the ball; instead he was moving on offense, passing, trying to fit in, and generally following the directions of the coaches.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Former Orangemen, Jim Boeheim, Mike Hopkins, News of the Orange | 4 Comments »