Cuse Country

Home Away From Dome for Syracuse Orange Fans

Archive for the ‘Oklahoma State’ 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 »

NIT Bracket Challenge Leaders

Posted by Josh on March 14, 2007

Leaders after Tuesday’s games are Cuse Got Hosed and J-Cuse-Girl with 6 points each (out of 7 possible). Many brackets imploded with the losses by Ok. St. and Drexel. My guess is that both of those teams, having beat SU once already, decided they were too scared to face them again. Go here for complete score listings and other information.

Posted in Bracketology, Drexel, NIT, Oklahoma State | 3 Comments »

The Blame Game

Posted by Josh on March 11, 2007

An attempt to find some rationale amidst the steaming heap of dung that is this year’s Field of 65 (and how Syracuse ended up in the NIT). All computer numbers from WarrenNolan.com.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Big 10, Big East, Daryl Gross, Drexel, Hofstra, Holy Cross, NCAA Tournament, Oklahoma State, Pac 10, SEC, Wichita State | 11 Comments »

Lack of Fire

Posted by Jer on December 22, 2006

I had the opportunity to snag an extra ticket for last night’s Duke-Gonzaga game in Madison Square Garden. I missed much of the sloppiness that defined the first 20 minutes of play, but what I did see had me thinking a lot about the Syracuse game I attended on this very same court against Oklahoma State two weeks ago. Even though both Duke and the ‘Zags were struggling at times, they played with an intensity that I haven’t seen from the Orange. Both teams desperately wanted to win this game, while Syracuse has more often seemed intent on not losing. Not coincidentally, this had led to three actual losses, the first time we have lost this many games before league play in eight years.

Granted, I haven’t seen the Blue Devils play much this year, but the Duke Basketball Report rightly places much of the credit for Duke’s intensity to Syracuse-native Greg Paulus’ heightened level of play. Last night, he seemed unstoppable. Scoring, passing, and even taking a header into a table along the sidelines chasing a loose ball.

Complacency from the Orange players has also spilled over to the crowd. MSG is supposed to be Syracuse’s other Home Away From Dome (besides this blog), but whereas Duke and Gonzaga fans filled the arena, chanting and cheering throughout the entire game, the Syracuse-Ok State game had many empty seats and too often the ‘Let’s Go Orange’ chant fizzled out before it had a chance to fully rock the house. This was dramatically different than the games I have witnessed at MSG over the past few years. New York City-area fans need to make sure to attend the January 21st game against St. Johns and leave no doubt in the minds of the Red Storm faithful that NYC is indeed Cuse Country.

Posted in greg paulus, Oklahoma State, St. John's, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

the offensive rebounding illusion

Posted by syracusan on December 21, 2006

To continue the debate

Rebounding can be a tricky stat category. Granted it’s never OK to get 18 fewer rebounds than Canisius, but that was a Gorman game, so I’ll let it slide. However, early season rebounding margins can be suspect because in blowout games the numbers get skewed for several reasons. First, it’s hard to muster up the passion and energy to hit the boards when the game is a laugher. Second, and more importantly, the offensive rebounding numbers are almost meaningless thanks to the radical difference in o-rebounding opportunities.

Let me put it this way: if you want SU to get more offensive boards per game, the easiest way is to miss more shots, thus giving them more chances at O-boards. Conversely, if the other team is getting too many, the easiest way to solve it is to let them shoot a higher percentage.

SU is shooting 47% from the field this year. Our opponents are shooting 37%. We’ve missed 358 shots, they’ve missed 474! That’s a hell of a lot more clanged shots that the other team has the opportunity to go get. Additionally, our major flaw this year is turnovers, so 20 times a game we have offensive possessions that cannot result in an offensive rebound. Also, we get to the free throw line enormously more often than our opponents (130 more times so far this year), and it’s extremely difficult to get an offensive rebound against any opponent off a missed free throw.

The point is, I wouldn’t worry about offensive rebounding numbers in games where our offense is playing well and we’re scoring points. It’s much better to shoot a high percentage and not worry about getting any offensive rebounds. The only way we’re going to know how good we are at hitting and defending the offensive glass is to get into the Big East season where we’ll play close games against teams with equally athletic players and the shooting percentages start to even out. That’s when those numbers matter.

Also, there’s nothing particularly wrong with being +3.25. That’s decent.

For the record, we outrebounded Wichita State 43-29; were outrebounded by OK St 29-21; and outrebounded Drexel 44-36. I think turnovers lost us all those games, not the glass.

Posted in Drexel, Losses, Matt Gorman, Oklahoma State, Wichita State | 2 Comments »

Paging the Syracuse Offense

Posted by Josh on December 19, 2006

LOUDSPEAKER (voice of Carl Eilenberg): “Syracuse Offense, paging Syracuse Offense. Please pick up the orange courtesy phone. “

SU OFFENSE: (picks up phone, loses grip and drops it on the floor. Scrambles to pick it back up hoping nobody is looking.) “Hello?”

DARYL GROSS: “Well, there you are. What the heck have you been doing, you were supposed to be back on the court for the start of the second half.”

O: “Sorry, I kind of got bogged down.”

DG: “I’ll say. Did you see what happened without you? We lost to Drexel!”

O: “But I told Demetris to take care of things while I was gone.”

DG: “Come on, you know there is only so much one man can do. Everyone knows he covered for you during the Baylor game so you could be out at the holiday party hitting on the women’s soccer team. You can only go to the well a few times before it starts to dry out.”

O: “What about Mookie? Me and him were hanging out like long-lost brothers in the first half.”

DG: “Yeah, well, when you decided not to come out for the second half, the ball didn’t find its way into his hands all that much. You should have seen it — ill-advised jump shots, lazy passes that got intercepted, missed layups, balls fumbled out of bounds. It was like Oklahoma State all over again.”

O: “I told you a million times, it wasn’t my fault I missed that game — my flight to New York City got rerouted through Tampa! This is why I always tell you not to schedule any road games in the fall, no matter what Vitale says. You can’t trust the airlines these days–“

DG: “Fine, fine. I don’t want to get into that argument again. But do you want to tell me where you were during the second half?”

O: “I went outside the Dome for a smoke at halftime and forgot to get my re-entry stamp.”

DG: “Try again.”

O: “Um… I was busy wrapping Terrence’s knee in an Icy Hot patch?”

DG: [silence]

O: “Fine, fine!! I wanted to see that new NBC game show Identity. That guy Penn from Penn & Teller is hosting, and he’s so awesome! He can do magic tricks! Much cooler than Howie Mandel.”

DG: “Identity, huh? At any point, did the thought cross your mind that the team is desperately in need of its own offensive identity?”

O: “Ha ha. How droll. What do you want, a Pulitzer or something?”

DG: “Hey, don’t change the subject jackass. This is your last warning. You better get to the gym and get yourself in shape for the rest of the season. Lay off the fruitcake next week too — you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you and we need you in top condition.”

O: “Don’t be so melodramatic. You know I’ll be ready when the real games start. I always am.”

DG: “One of these years it’s going to catch up with you. It better not be this year, or…”

O: “Or what?”

DG: “Or we’ll promote the Lacrosse Offense to Men’s Basketball and you’ll be reassigned to–“

O: (trembling) “Women’s basketball?”

DG: “No. FOOTBALL.” [click]

O: (stares at receiver for a long moment, pale and shaking. Lets it fall to the floor and runs screaming towards Manley Field House.)

Posted in Baylor, Demetris Nichols, Drexel, Losses, Mookie Watkins, Nonconference Games, Oklahoma State, syracuse | 1 Comment »

not biology, not physics, but…

Posted by syracusan on December 11, 2006

…Chemistry. That was the story of the Colgate game. Most SU fans outside of central NY probably weren’t able to see the game, but for us out-of-towners lucky enough to be blessed with a holy grail game-viewing hook up, we got to witness a scary lack of the aforementioned science. The first half was one of the most depressing spectacles of basketball I’ve ever witnessed. It’s not so much that the team played badly, it’s that they displayed a disconcerting lack of desire to be on the court. It was like they didn’t want to be in the Dome at all. My game-time text message conversations with Cuse Country contributor Tom centered around wondering if the entire team had suddenly stopped enjoying the game of basketball. Their were no smiles, no Terrence Roberts woofing, no celebrations after made baskets; and when Eric Devendorf finally got in the game and was equally comatose, even the announcers wondered if there was something wrong. Normally the biggest trash talker on the team–and the one who we count on to fire up the crowd–Devo slept through all his first half minutes. The weirder part was that he played pretty well, scored several times, had some highlight assists, grabbed some boards, and had a great three point play. But at no point did he crack a smile during any of it or open his mouth at all. They were like robots out there, it was thoroughly bizzarre. There was also a disturbing lack of teammates’ congratulating each other after good plays, to the point that Tom and I theorized some sort of Preston Shumpert/DeShaun Williams girlfriend rift might be causing problems internally. The guys seriously looked like they didn’t want to be on the court together.

Then the 2nd half happened and the magical healing powers of a spectacular performance kicked in. There was chemistry aplenty in the second stanza, but that tends to happen when the offense kicks into high gear and one player is putting on a great show. It was fun to watch, make no mistake, but it’s not something we can count on. As long as Nichols nails 6 straight threes, from farther and farther away, generally while covered, then it’s pretty easy for the guys to get excited and hug each other and hand out the high fives. For ten minutes, the guards were looking to feed him, and the team acted with clear purpose at the offensive end. But until D-Nic went nuts, there was no sign of life and no flow anywhere on the court. After he went nuts, things opened up for everyone else, and everything got a lot easier. Well, no duh. That’s no answer to the long term problems though, as this kind of performance is going to be rare.

Or maybe not. The optimist in me would like to believe that maybe Nichols is ready to make The Leap and become a full time star. That would answer a lot of questions for this team. If he decides that he’s going to become a 20 ppg guy, period, and that he’s ready to shine, then a lot of offensive problems will get solved. It would take a lot of willpower on his part, and probably a personality transplant, but he’s got the talent to do it. He put up 26 on a real good OK St team (though he was awful against Wichita), so we know he’s gotten to the point where he can score on good defensive teams, even with no help. But he’ll need to take it upon himself to shoot the ball 15-20 times a game and demand it every time down the court. That’s not been his style to this point.

Can anyone remember a time when an SU player blossomed into a dominant star as a senior? Nothing akin to Nichols’ situation comes to mind, which worries me. Wallace obviously made The Leap in his final year, but he was already extremely good as a Junior. Z Sims and Allen Griffin only became great as Seniors, but they were in no way ‘dominant’. What we need out of Nichols is for him to become the next Lawrence Moten, and cram it all into one year. If that happens then the half court opens up for Harris to wreak havoc inside, Devo can be the dangerous 2nd option we know he can be, Terrence can stop shooting entirely, and all the scenarios we’re hoping for can happen. Anybody want to bet on it?

*****

One positive from the game other than the Nichols glimmer of hope: Devendorf responded pretty well to being demoted all the way down to 8th off the bench (!!!), looked fairly healthy, and managed to get big minutes despite Boeheim clearly wanting to stick a knife in his heart every time their eyes met. Devo had a couple bad plays, including at least one dumb turnover, but apparently Jimmy’s been reading this space, because he left him in the game anyway and let him work his way back into the flow of the offense. The forced action seemed to have an effect, and he was a good contributor for most of his time in there. In the 2nd half, he even regained some swagger and energy.

Then again, with Nichols going off, it was all pretty easy for him. We’ll see how things go the next time the team is struggling to score.

Posted in Colgate, Demetris Nichols, Eric Devendorf, Former Orangemen, Jim Boeheim, Nonconference Games, Oklahoma State, Paul Harris, Regular Season Games, Terrence Roberts, Wichita State, Wins | 2 Comments »

whither Devo?

Posted by syracusan on December 6, 2006

This from Kim Baxter on the PS blog:

Eric Devendorf is very sick. He’s battling a stomach virus and has been since last Friday. Not sure how long he’s going to be out and he refused to talk after the game.

Pray that this is the truth. Pray. Because when I watch this team on offense right now, I want to to stab myself in the face. I’m glad to hear he’s not just sucking or in the doghouse, but what the hell kind of stomach virus lasts 4 days, but still allows you to suit up for two games, travel with the team, and play in 9 minutes of a major game on national TV? It seems to me that he should either be playing full strength or not at all.

There were stretches in the final ten minutes of tonight’s game where the only offensive play we could execute was to pass to Nichols and let him shoot an off-balance three from wherever he was. Every other play resulted in a turnover (or a Matt Gorman brick). I don’t want to go into the game details, everyone saw it. Most of the Cuse Country staff was at the game. The problem is obviously the offense, and has been for a while. Strictly speaking, from a basketball philosophy perspective, I’d rather have a bad offense and a good defense than vice versa. Because good defenses can keep the games close and spark comebacks – hence the two narrow losses. So at least we have that going for us. That’s another glass half full view.

Harris is a stud, but he’s not much of a threat outside of 5 feet, and top notch defensive teams like OK St are going to be able to keep him out of the lane in the half court. He’s amazing in space, as we saw in the final stretch; but unless we take Erich’s plan and press the whole game, there are going to be stretches where he’s not going to be putting up points. J-Wright’s an inconsistent role player who’s only going to put up numbers when others are playing well and opening up things for him to get sneaky baskets, so he’s not going to help much either against stud defenses. We need Devo, that’s all there is to it.

*****

Remember when Roy Williams was at Kansas and everyone used to talk about their “secondary break” strategy? It was their version of a running, fast break offense, except they could execute it in non-fast break situations. The key is to push the ball every time off of rebounds and made baskets, and even when the other team gets back, you keep pushing the offense while their 5 guys are still setting up their defense. It doesn’t produce open looks as easily as real fast breaks, but it gives you a little more room to operate and keeps defenses disorganized. It’s a great time to penetrate, because the lane isn’t clogged yet. It requires a great deal of athleticism, timing, and decision-making, but it can be a big relief for a stagnant half-court offense. I think Paul Harris would be devastating in an offense like that. He’s totally unstoppable when there’s less than a crowd in front of him.

Just a thought.

Posted in Demetris Nichols, Eric Devendorf, Josh Wright, Oklahoma State, Orange Blogosphere, Paul Harris | 2 Comments »

Someone tell me what to think

Posted by Josh on December 6, 2006

Finished watching the game about an hour ago (on tape since I was busy earlier) and I still can’t figure out how I feel about it. I can’t remember seeing a team in any sport that can go from outstanding to putrid, from sharp to shitty, and then back again with no discernible reason. It just seems to be a crapshoot every time down the floor.

Glass half full: nearly winning despite missing Devendorf with some sort of mystery disease; several successful offensive moves in or near the paint by Watkins & Roberts; not quitting on the game and nearly pulling off the comeback; Nichols finding his range (and also driving the lane a couple times); solid foul shooting; a few good minutes by Mike Jones; an effective press defense; that Harris dunk.

Glass half empty: probably a dozen turnovers where OK St. players knew where the pass was going to be and got a hand in the way, or just knocked the ball right out of the Syracuse player’s hands while he was dribbling (Harris was especially susceptible to these while handling the ball at the top of the offensive set); giving up 11 offensive rebounds and only getting 14 defensive rebounds; the 6 minute scoreless stretch; a couple missed golden opportunities on fast breaks; not continuing to feed the ball inside on offense against a smaller team, especially during the time that the offense was not clicking otherwise; not forcing the ball out of Curry’s hands with the game on the line; another loss to a team that we probably should have beaten, even though it is not a Bad Loss.

Glass simultaneously full and empty: Josh Wright. At times he was a sturdy floor general, making good passes, pushing the break with his speed when the opportunity was there, driving the lane for layups and even hitting a three off a set play. Other times he got stuck under the basket with nowhere to go, had some sloppy turnovers, and couldn’t get the ball to anybody who could score it on a 4-on-1 break late in the game. Also there was a stretch of the game where Harris looked totally flummoxed trying to start the offense — I was waiting for Wright to demand the ball and help out his teammate, but he disappeared when the team most needed him to step up and be the quarterback.

Also I give credit to the OK St. staff for a good scouting job — they had a good offensive game plan against the zone a lot of the time, and on defense they often had a good idea of what SU was planning to do, and forced a lot of turnovers by jumping the pass routes and cutting off player movement.

Now it’s back to Creampuffville (not exactly, but no super-serious threats) until the Pitt game, which will give them time to get better but will not tell us anything about their development (unless they lose to Drexel or something). It’ll be kind of like the first month of the season all over again — they will not play spectacularly, but will win games, and everyone will still be wondering “How good are these guys really?” until at least early January.

Ultimately I really want to give them a pass on this one because of Devendorf’s absence, but it was so frustrating to watch them fumble away the game when it could have turned into a feel-good, overcoming-adversity situation if only they’d executed a bit better (and boxed out a couple of times) that I’m not sure my gut will allow me to let them slide. (Which, I’m sure, bothers the players tremendously.)

Posted in Demetris Nichols, Eric Devendorf, Losses, Mike Jones, Mookie Watkins, Nonconference Games, Oklahoma State, Paul Harris, Regular Season Games, Terrence Roberts | 1 Comment »

Oh my god

Posted by Tim on December 5, 2006

I’m not watching the game, but I just checked the real-time play-by-play over at ESPN. Can you believe that SU just went over three minutes — from 15:10 to 12:01 left to play in the second half — without hardly touching the ball?! Doh!

It’s always a little tough to tell what’s going on when you’re not in front of a television, but according to The Worldwide Leader there were five OK State offensive boards and four SU turnovers in that stretch.

Funny how I don’t regret bailing on my ticket to this game as much as I did a few hours ago.

UPDATE: Looks like we just went seven minutes without scoring. Awesome!

Posted in Oklahoma State | Leave a Comment »