Cuse Country

Home Away From Dome for Syracuse Orange Fans

Archive for the ‘Losses’ Category

We’re moving to CuseCountry.com

Posted by Tim on August 24, 2007

DC is Cuse Country

This is a photo of a sign blog contributor Josh made before a game against Georgetown in Washington. It became something of a running joke in our crew: Wherever we were, that was Cuse Country. When it came time to name this little project of ours, it seemed a natural fit. Holy crap, the Internet is Cuse Country!

Now, the time has come to move to nicer real estate. And with football season looming like an orange cloud of noxious gas, we’re moving to a new address that doesn’t have “hoops” in the URL.

So come visit us at CuseCountry.com. Same great stuff, new great home.

Posted in ACC, Andy Rautins, Arinze Onuaku, Assists, Baylor, Bernie Fine, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, Big East Tournament, Blogroll, Bracketology, Canisius, Carmelo Anthony, Carrier Dome, Cincinnati, Clemson, Colgate, Conference Games, Craig Forth, Damone Brown, Daryl Gross, Defense, Demetris Nichols, DePaul, DeShaun Williams, Devin Brennan-McBride, Drexel, Elvir Ovcina, Eric Devendorf, Etan Thomas, Former Orangemen, Game Charts, Gas Face, Georgetown, Gerry McNamara, greg paulus, Hakim Warrick, Haters, Hofstra, Holy Cross, In the Media, Jason Hart, Jim Boeheim, Josh Pace, Josh Wright, kodiak bears, Kueth Duany, Lazarus Sims, Losses, Louisville, Marquette, Matt Gorman, Mike Hopkins, Mike Jones, Mookie Watkins, National Championship, NBA, NCAA Tournament, News of the Orange, NIT, Nonconference Games, Northeastern University, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Open Letter, Orange Blogosphere, Otis Hill, Pac 10, Paul Harris, Penn, Pitt, Preston Shumpert, Providence, Rankings, Rebounding, Recruits, Regular Season Games, Rob Murphy, RPI, Rutgers, Ryan Blackwell, San Diego State, SEC, South Alabama, South Florida, St. Bonaventure, St. Francis, St. John's, syracuse, Terrence Roberts, UConn, UNC-Charlotte, UTEP, Villanova, Virginia Tech, Walk-ons, West Virginia University, Wichita State, Wins, Zone defense | 2 Comments »

A ghost from the (recent) past

Posted by Tom on June 24, 2007

Recently, work obligations brought me to the annual gala fundraising dinner for Rising Stars, a basketball-based youth program in New York. I came into the event excited to chew the fat with featured speaker Jason McElwain, the autistic high school team manager who became the feel-good story of 2006 when he got into a game and started draining sick threes every time down the court. The highlight still gives me chills even after seeing it at least ten times:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcF7DsaGTg8

I remembered hearing in the blitz of media coverage that surrounded this that Jason (a Rochester native) was a big Syracuse fan, and that he went by J-Mac in honor of his hero Gerry McNamara. In talking to him, he turned out to be a pretty quiet kid who felt strongly about two things: that Syracuse totally got screwed by the selection committee this year, and that the new practice facility that Carmelo donated 3 million for would be completely awesome.

In any case, our chit chat was interrupted by a vaguely familiar-looking older gentleman who approached us with inexplicable glee. “I hear what you’re talking about!” and then to Jason, “do you want to tell him, or should I? Go on, you tell him!”

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Carmelo Anthony, Former Orangemen, Gerry McNamara, Hakim Warrick, Jim Boeheim, Losses, NCAA Tournament | 1 Comment »

Microcosm

Posted by Josh on March 22, 2007

The team starts slow, not playing their best, but getting away with it for the most part because the opponents are not playing that spectacularly; a couple of rough spots, nothing dramatic, but also nothing particularly outstanding from the Orange in this early period; then things start to get worse and worse, the fans cringe and worry; then suddenly, at the ‘tipping point’ when any more poor play would mean all will be lost, the team turns things around, starts playing much better, and makes a run; they play to their potential and look outstanding for this late burst, which looks like it will be enough to get them over the hump, but in the end they fall just short of their goal.

QUIZ: The preceding paragraph describes:

(a)    The Clemson game

(b)    The entire season

Posted in Clemson, Losses, NIT, Nonconference Games | 5 Comments »

the realist’s take – we’re just not that good

Posted by syracusan on March 15, 2007

The day before Black Sunday, I flew down to Tampa to spend some time with papa Syracusan during my week off. I realized there was an ill wind in the air when I got off the plane and saw a giant digital events billboard in Tampa airport exclaiming Welcome ACC Tournament 2007! (It also read Welcome Scientologists, Ron’s Birthday 2007! But that’s another story). Unbeknownst to me, I had dropped right into the midst of ACC mania, despite traveling to a city where no ACC team resides. How exactly Tampa turned into enemy territory I do not know; the only DI team in the area is the Big East’s USF. It’s typical ACC arrogance I suppose, to hold their tournament in our zone of influence.

The ACC’s posters and paraphernalia were all over town, and coverage in the local newspapers and TV was heavy, but I was able to drown it all out lying in the sun on the beach. What I wasn’t able to drown out was a growing sense of unease about the approaching NCAA draw. I haven’t chimed in about last weekend’s debacle yet, though I’ve enjoyed everyone else’s tortured rantings, both on this forum and on other blog sites. Everyone has made a lot of good points, and it’s almost served to convince me that we were in fact robbed. Almost.

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Posted in ACC, Big East, Big East Tournament, Bracketology, In the Media, Jim Boeheim, Losses, NCAA Tournament, News of the Orange, Orange Blogosphere, RPI | 7 Comments »

“Like A Virus:” The Orange Road Invasion in Pictures

Posted by Tom on March 5, 2007

img_3622.jpg

Attending our game at Villanova this weekend, it was impossible to ignore a fact that most of our Big East rivals have probably long since come to terms with: Syracuse fans tend to be extremely obnoxious when visiting road arenas. “Like a virus” was the best description overheard from a Villanova fan in our section. However you want to put it, the Orange faithful have some real coconuts. Whether it be against St. John’s, Seton Hall, Georgetown, or Villanova, Cuse fans pour in by the thousands like the Vandals sacking Rome. They wear bright orange, stand out individually in a stadium crowd like fireflies, and don’t hesitate to cheer like they’re back in the dome. They stand and clap until the first bucket is scored, and they fire up “let’s go orange!” and “DE-FENSE” chants at any opportunity. Can you imagine UConn fans bringing that into the dome? No chance. I’ve never seen another team’s fans get away with this the way we do. We always seem to account for anywhere between 10-50% of the overall crowd, so I think it’s a matter of sheer numbers. If you were at that game in DC at the MCI center a few years ago when Gerry sank a last second shot to beat Georgetown, you know that we were about one security guard away from seeing the ultimate humiliation of Syracuse fans storming the court. Unbelievable.

So here is my tribute to the gall of the Syracuse fan, with some other photographically-documented Villanova game observations thrown in.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Big East, Conference Games, Losses, Paul Harris, Rob Murphy, Uncategorized, Villanova | 7 Comments »

live by the three, die by the three

Posted by syracusan on March 3, 2007

For my opinion on SU’s offensive strategy in this afternoon’s game against Villanova, please see this post from a week and a half ago.

The only way it’s remotely justifiable to hoist up 35 threes is if you’re demonstrably on fire from outside, and you’re in the process of burrying an opponent. But in reality the Orange were in the range of 6 for 30 from downtown, and falling further and further behind, until they hit three in the final minute or so. That’s absurd. You have to know to stop shooting it from deep and look for other ways to score. The inside game was working relatively well. We were drawing fouls and getting to the line. The refs were calling the game close, and we had a size advantage. You have to bang the ball inside in these types of games. Instead we wasted an afternoon going 9-35 from downtown, a miserable 26% clip that looked a lot worse than that until the frenzy at the end. From inside the stripe we shot 16-34, which is entirely respectable and effective. Where was Jimmy on this? He’s got to take a stand and get the message across. This game was so winnable it hurts. Villanova only played well for about 15 total minutes in this game (happened to be the final 15, but whatever). But when you play as dumb an offensive game as we played today, you don’t deserve to win.

The good news going forward is that whether or not they learn their lesson about relying on the three ball, it’s unlikely that Nichols and Rautins will be this collectively awful in future games, and we still managed to only lose by 3 to a fairly decent team. But it’s cold comfort, because now game 1 of the BE Tourney is officially a must win.

*****

Demetris may have let the POY award slip away from him this afternoon, which is a shame. In fact the last 4 seconds of the game — with D at the line to shoot the techs and then getting the open 3 to tie it — was probably the deciding moment for his candidacy. If he makes those shots, I say he locks it up. Instead, they’ll probably use this game as an excuse to give it to Sumpter or one of the Georgetown boys. That’s too bad, because I don’t think anyone on an upper echelon team in the Big East has been more important or better than Nichols (thus I exclude Herbert Hill, who’s put up monster numbers for a mediocre team).

Posted in Andy Rautins, Big East, Demetris Nichols, Jim Boeheim, Losses, Regular Season Games, Villanova | 1 Comment »

The curse of early afternoon road games

Posted by Tom on February 23, 2007

Tomorrow a theory put forth by my Dad’s friend Bill will be put to the test. We’ll call it “the Bill theory of hungover basketball,” which states that Syracuse always shits the bed in early (12:00-2:00) weekend road games – and plays particularly miserably in the first half. As you probably guessed from the name of the theory, this owes to an irresponsible party schedule the night before.

I’d love to know our actual record in these situations over the past few years, but this year the St. John’s game stands as our only example, and one in which the theory was unquestionably upheld.

Posted in Losses, St. John's, syracuse | Leave a Comment »

last minute flame outs

Posted by syracusan on February 8, 2007

Tim posed this question below:

Here’s a question for those in the know: Why are we crapping out at the end of every game? Has anyone seen a pattern in the way our play changes? I guess I’ve been too busy averting my eyes to put the puzzle together.

I have a theory. I like to call it The ’05-’06 Knicks Effect. This idea kicked around in the back of my head for years, ever since someone pointed out to me the pointless nature of the first 3 quarters of almost all NBA games. But last year’s Knicks team really allowed me to formulate the scattered empirical evidence into a coherent theorem.

It goes like this: Repeated 4th quarter failures are not about a lack of clutch play or any sort of systematic problem; instead what’s happening is the revelation of the actual difference in ability between the two teams. This theory is probably more universally applicable to professional games, but this year’s SU team leads me to believe it applies at the college level as well. The genesis of my thinking comes from last year’s NBA season, during which I was forced to listen to 5 months of analysis about why the Knicks were so bad during the 4th quarter of every game, despite their observed ability to stay close during the first 3 quarters.

As everyone knows the Knicks were God-awful last year, and spent the whole season blowing leads, losing close games, and letting close games turn into blowout losses. After the 97th time I heard some commentator on ESPN or MSG try to explain why it was happening, the futility of the exercise dawned on me. There was no point in examining the specific details of what turn of events caused them to blow this or that game in the 4th; there was no point in determining whether or not this or that player was “clutch”; there was no point in looking at issues of team chemistry or what changed on the floor between the 3rd and 4th quarters. As it turned out, all that was happening at the end of games was that the real Knicks were showing their face. When the other team realized that it was time to figure out who was going to win and who was going to lose, they turned on their maximum effort, and the Knicks simply couldn’t compete under those circumstances. They weren’t good enough. The reality of being worse than their opponents kicked in, and that was that.

Visually this would manifest itself in what appeared to be a lack of clutchness, or preventable breakdowns, or inexplicable turnovers, or failure to hit shots they had previously been hitting. But in reality, the other team had turned up the heat, and the relative difference in the two teams was now on display. Suddenly, the Knicks weren’t really open anymore, the other team was pushing on defense, getting their hands in people’s faces, cutting harder on offense, trying harder on the boards, and generally focusing more on their overall execution and effort. In other words, the other team wanted to win, and had the firepower to do it, so they did.

I’m not sold that this theory can explain losing to a team like St John’s. And I acknowledge that there’s a large difference between veteran pros and immature 19 year old college kids – a difference that makes any theory inherently unstable, since kids are unpredictable, still learning how good they are, and unlikely to follow given patterns. But I think this concept is a good starting point for explaining any team’s repeated 4th quarter (or final 10 minutes) failures.

Posted in Losses, NBA | 1 Comment »

Links after a bad loss

Posted by Tim on February 6, 2007

First, check out the Big East Basketball Report for a quick summary of what Connecticut newspapers are saying about the Huskies’ victory over SU last night.

Next, check out Jeff Goodman’s take on why Jim Calhoun was sweating before last night’s game. Interestingly, this is now the position SU finds itself in, minus the possible redemption game against a team like Georgia Tech.

Here’s what else is buzzing on in the blogosphere:

  • Arthur Sherman of the Norwich Bulletin appreciated TerrenceRoberts.com‘s antics after fouling out in the second half. Question: Why isn’t Sherman’s UConn blog on the paper’s web site?

  • Random Thoughts is a sports blog about UConn basketball and the Boston Red Sox, which does not particularly endear them to the Cuse Country crew. Nonetheless, whoever’s running the show over there does a good job of running down the Huskies’ highlights (and, therefore, SU’s lowlights).

  • Some wiseguy says, “Remember when Syracus-UConn games mattered? Like last year.”

Okay, I’m already winded. Bad losses can have that effect on a guy. As I’ve been saying all season, we can scarcely afford losses like this. We’re developing a nasty habit of stalling and/or collapsing at the end of games, which bodes poorly for the prospects of a turn-around.

Here’s a question for those in the know: Why are we crapping out at the end of every game? Has anyone seen a pattern in the way our play changes? I guess I’ve been too busy averting my eyes to put the puzzle together.

Posted in Big East, Conference Games, Losses, News of the Orange, Orange Blogosphere, UConn | Leave a Comment »

Foul Mood… and a theory on this team’s inner-workings

Posted by Tom on February 6, 2007

Because I’m having trouble making sense of this year’s team, and I’m in a foul mood in general following my team’s second straight bocce league loss to start the season, I’m feeling a need to declare a festivus and air my grievances.

I watched bits and pieces of tonight’s UConn loss at the bar during the aforementioned bocce game, and saw the following:

1. Watkins attempting a post move while fully covered, missing badly, and three UConn players fighting only each other for the rebound.

2. Terrence Roberts  repeating incident 1, but with a fairly sincere (though failed) attempt to grab the board back off his miss.

3. Paul Harris coming out of nowhere to get twice as many rebounds as any 6’5 guard has any business getting (10 in 29 minutes, double the total of the next highest ‘cuse rebounder)

4. Eric Devendorf committing a turnover in a 1-on-3 dribble drive out of the half court offense at a clutch moment toward the end of the game.

Does any of this sound familiar?  It should, because I guarantee you that if you take a random five minutes from ANY Syracuse game this season, you’ll see at least 3 of these 4 occurrences go down.  I haven’t even mentioned the things that you won’t see, such as a Demetris Nichols rebound. Because despite being 6’8 and playing 38 minutes on the front line, my man couldn’t be bothered to chase down more than 4 of them.  That’s 2 per half.  That’s probably close to the number of balls that came off the rim directly at him, if even.  And before I let Devendorf off too easily, I’ll leave him out to hang on his box score line. 36 min, 5-13 FG, 1-5 3PT, 1REB, 1AST, 5 TO, 13PT.

In an attempt to try to offer some analysis beyond the gripes, I’ll throw out my theory on this team’s inner workings.  I think it all goes down on the practice floor. That’s where all this shit they try, the Devendorf dribble drives into defenders, the Watkins/Roberts “dribble, dribble, lunge-shot” post move, all actually goes down most of the time, eliminating the need for these guys to rebound or follow shots. Think about it.  We’ve got Watkins probably working on Gorman most of the time, which makes him feel like Hakeem Olajuwon.  Roberts is working on… Brennan-McBride?  A little muscle and he’s open.  Rautins is working on Harris, so he’s long since given up any notions of driving or attempting a shot that’s not a long 3.  And clearly Devendorf is going against a walk-on.  This practice theory is the only thing that makes sense.  That these scrimmages are soft on defense and large on flashy passes and scoring that just don’t work when you’re playing another league team that ups its intensity level for games.

Posted in Andy Rautins, Assists, Conference Games, Defense, Demetris Nichols, Devin Brennan-McBride, Eric Devendorf, Losses, Matt Gorman, Mookie Watkins, Paul Harris, Rebounding, Regular Season Games, Terrence Roberts, UConn | 1 Comment »