Cuse Country

Home Away From Dome for Syracuse Orange Fans

Archive for the ‘RPI’ Category

We’re moving to

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 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 »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Then and now

Posted by Tim on March 12, 2007

If you haven’t already seen the very smart analysis going on at Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and Sports Night With Howie Mansfield, I highly recommend you take a look. And don’t forget to check out our take on SU’s relegation to the Not Invited Tournament.

Let me add to this conversation a talking point for everyone who is already sick of hearing about the weakness of SU’s nonconference schedule this year. Sure, it wasn’t pretty. But who’s fault is that, anyway?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in NIT, Nonconference Games, RPI | 4 Comments »

Three Reasons to Win

Posted by Tim on February 14, 2007

Josh’s excellent analysis of the South Florida Bulls got me thinking about the consequences of a loss tomorrow night. They aren’t pretty. I’ve pointed out a couple of games already that I felt were must wins, but this game is really, really a must win.

Our NCAA Tournament hopes end if we don’t win tonight. Here are three reasons why:

1. Our RPI is bad enough already. Yeah, I know it’s not all about the computer rankings. But has us at 64 right now, and that’s probably not going to get it done. In WN’s most recent tournament projection, we aren’t even among the last four out. Joe Lunardi at puts our RPI at 62 (Insider subscription required), which is good enough to make his list of four near misses. But more importantly, the lowest ranked at-large team in his field right now is Georgia Tech at 57. They have six wins against top 50 RPI squads. We have two. I’m sure I don’t have to explain why that math doesn’t work out in our favor.

2. Our remaining schedule is too hard. The team can’t look past tonight’s game, but we can. Anyone who’s not developing an ulcer over the UConn game this weekend needs his or her head checked. This is a no-win situation for us: Losing to a bad UConn team at home is embarrassing, but we’re not going to get nearly the credit we deserve for beating them. And that game concludes the “easy” portion of conference play. After that we play at Providence, Georgetown in the Dome, and at Villanova. Oy. (Also, sorry for doubting ‘Nova earlier this year. They aren’t great, but they’re better than us.)

3. A loss would reveal SU as the tin men of the Big East. We should beat them. We have to beat them. And if we don’t, it will seriously damage any lingering confidence I might have otherwise had that we could finish the season strong or make a run in the Big East Tournament.

P.S. Mike Waters thinks a 3-2 finish capped by a Big East Tournament win gets us into the Big Dance. Maybe he’s right. But mark my words: South Florida can’t be one of those losses. After getting beaten at St. John’s, we can’t have any more stumbles.

Posted in Bracketology, Conference Games, Georgetown, NCAA Tournament, Providence, RPI, South Florida, Villanova | 5 Comments »

Must win

Posted by Tim on January 26, 2007

Gotta beat Louisville this weekend. Here’s why:

1. We need a road win to ease the pain of losing to St. John’s at MSG.

2. Our margin for error is now essentially zero. As I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, our schedule is not strong enough to overcome a lot of bad losses. That means we need to get good wins where we can. This weekend’s game is a perfect example of that — we’re playing a respectable team that we should be able to beat.

3. With the relative parity of the Big East this year, it’s going to be really important to create separation from the other teams with RPIs in or around the 40s. If we put away Loolvul on the road, well, that’s one way to do it.

UPDATE: Originally, I wrote that Louisville was one of our few remaining RPI Top 50 opponents. That’s obviously wrong, as their RPI is in the high 70s. Looks like I fail at blogging. Doh! Thanks to The ‘Cusan for keeping me honest!

Posted in Conference Games, Louisville, RPI | 2 Comments »

ratings poop index

Posted by syracusan on January 25, 2007

Based on my comment yesterday about the sad state of the Big East’s NCAA Tournament hopes, I thought I’d do a little mid-season RPI reporting. I’ve compiled estimations from 4 of the main services for your perusing enjoyment (or misery). The first number is Kenpom, the second is, the third is WarrenNolan, and the last is CBS Sportsline:

Pitt: 4, 4, 4, 4
Villanova: 14, 20, 15, 21
Marquette: 25, 24, 24, 25
GTown: 37, 34, 37, 39
Syracuse: 44, 52, 44, 54
Notre Dame: 49, 46, 50, 48
West Virginia: 55, 68, 54, 53
DePaul: 61, 83, 65, 61
Providence: 63, 75, 62, 52
Louisville: 73, 85, 77, 70
UConn: 87, 89, 76, 85
Seton Hall: 107, 142, 104, 113
Cinci: 140, 152, 141, 145
St Johns: 148, 161, 149, 163
South Florida: 167, 176, 168, 173
Rutgers: 178, 194, 185, 180

So what can we learn from this, besides that bizarrely hates the Big East? For one, I’d say UConn is already d-o-n-e, barring an automatic bid from the BE Tourney. I’d also say it gets real ugly, real fast after those top 4 teams. If you’re outside the top 40, it’s tough to get an at-large birth. I would still put ND in the dance thanks to their quality non-conference wins (though it would be nice if they could get a single road win other than the Maryland game), but the rest of their resume is as pedestrian as SU’s. I’d also put the Orange in the same category as the Irish: 2 quality wins (our miracles against Nova and Marquette), one horrendous loss to St Johns, and mediocrity everywhere else, all mirroring ND. In fact, SU and the Irish are identical bubble teams at the moment, so we better think long and hard about beating them next week.

There’s still a lot of season left, thankfully, but this is the point where a team’s long term quality begins to reveal itself. Where ever we sit after the next couple weeks will probably be an accurate reflection of what we’re capable of. Late season hot streaks are always possible, but they involve more luck than skill, and each year only a few teams in the country have that kind of good fortune.

Also, for the record, the Big East is universally listed as the 7th best conference by the services. Last season, we were generally listed as 2nd, and if I remember correctly the only team in the whole conference not in the RPI top 100 was South Florida. The mighty have fallen indeed.

Posted in Big East, Bracketology, NCAA Tournament, RPI | Leave a Comment »

The Chattering Classes

Posted by Tim on January 17, 2007

Check out these exchanges from recent Insider chats:


Dan (Syracuse): Doug, What do you think about Syracuse as of late? Have they maybe started to find their groove, the one we have all been looking for from the preseason? That was a nice win on the road at Marquette.

Doug Gottlieb: It sure seems like Syracuse is playing now as we all expected them to play. Maybe it is the drecreasing minutes of Harris and going with veterans. Maybe it is the incredible offensive play of Eric Devendorf. Or maybe it’s matchups, as they are playing better D. They have held their opponents in the 30’s shooting percentage wise in the last three games, that will win you games.

Katz (emphasis added):

Todd (VA): Same multi-bid question, different league. With VCU leading the league, Old Dominion having quality wins, Hofstra lurking, and Mason starting to return to form, any chance the CAA pulls a second bid again this year?

Andy Katz: You forgot Drexel. Everyone always forgets Drexel, which has wins at Villanova (possible bubble team) and Syracuse (possible bubble team). I do think the CAA has a shot at two bids but it’s going to be close again this season.


Jon (NYC): Here are 5 SOS and 5 teams as of 1/16: 37, 80, 85, 107, 143 Clemson, Florida, Oregon, Syracuse and Wisconsin Now can you guess which team goes with which? You would assume if you listen to all the experts that Syracuse is 143, but SURPRISE SURPRISE, Syracuse is? 37! 37 (Syracuse) 80 (Clemson) 85 (Wisconsin) 107 (Oregon) 143 (Florida) Now can people please stop criticizing Jimmy B and Syracuse because they may have played at home (its called not losing money on your basketball programs) but they scheduled quality opponents, not cupcakes.

Jay Bilas: You are correct. The people that criticize Boeheim’s schedule are incorrect, although I respect that reasonable minds can differ. In addition, Calhoun’s schedule was not wrong, either. He is building a team and trying to build its confidence. He backloaded it. Does anyone think that the Huskies would be better off by having played a bunch of tough games and lost them going into conference play? I agree with you. The numbers can be worked however you like.

Also, check out Seth Davis on Eric Devendorf (last item on page): “I never liked Eric Devendorf’s on-court antics at Syracuse, but after watching Devendorf go through a recent funk (brought on in part by the shooting of one of his friends back home), I realize Devendorf needs that chip on his shoulder to be effective. So now I say he should keep it there.”

Posted in Drexel, Eric Devendorf, News of the Orange, RPI | Leave a Comment »

The Big East: Possibly Not Number 1

Posted by syracusan on January 17, 2007

I know it’s hard to believe, but there’s a slight chance that the Big East is not the best conference in America. At least not this year. Acknowledging this is a major concession on my part, so everybody better enjoy this moment of honesty while it lasts; it probably won’t happen again. Considering that the collective league RPI is hovering somewhere around 7th, I have to accept that there’s been a drop off from last year. Whenever you’re behind the PAC-10, you know something has gone horribly wrong.

That said, there’s a purpose to this intro. Even though the Big East has generally got it’s tail whipped by other conferences like the SEC and the Big 12 this year, and dropped way too many games to mid-level teams, there’s an interesting stat out there that I guarantee you’ll never hear Dick Vitale or Doug Gottlieb mention: the Big East has completely dominated the ACC this year.

You heard it here first. While the Big 10 continues it’s ridiculous yearly embarrassment at the hands of the ACC in their “challenge” series, the Big East once again has quietly kicked the ass of the allegedly premier conference. According to my calculations, the Big East went 8-5 against the ACC this year. I didn’t check to see if there are any more mid-seasons games between the two leagues, but in all likelihood there won’t be any more until the NCAAs. So 8-5 will stand. Here’s the results:

Big East wins:

  1. South Florida beat Wake Forest
  2. Notre Dame won at Maryland
  3. Louisville beat Miami
  4. Marquette won at Duke
  5. West Virginia beat NC State
  6. DePaul beat Wake Forest
  7. Cincinnati beat NC State
  8. Providence beat Boston College

ACC wins:

  1. GTown lost at Duke
  2. Rutgers lost at UNC
  3. Providence lost at Florida State
  4. Seton Hall lost to Virginia Tech
  5. St Johns lost to Maryland

The Big East had a slight advantage in home games, but they made up for it with more quality wins. The only good Big East team to lose to an ACC team was Georgetown. Meanwhile quality ACC teams like Duke, Maryland, and BC all hit the deck to Big East foes.  Also, the Big East accumulated this record despite having three of it’s best teams – Pitt, UConn, and Syracuse – not play any games against the ACC this year.

I’ll give someone a hundred dollars if they ever hear Vitale mention this stat.

Posted in ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, Haters, Nonconference Games, Pac 10, RPI, SEC | 3 Comments »

Great minds…

Posted by Tim on January 15, 2007

OrangeFan clearly agrees with last night’s take on the rest of the season, even adding an optimistic spin on things with a prediction of up to 12 conference wins.

Here’s a prediction of my own: If we don’t win at least 11 Big East games, we’re all going to be very nervous on Selection Sunday. Given that we have four games remaining against the bottom of the league, 11 victories would mean a 4-4 record against remaining opponents with an RPI currently under 100 (only two of which are currently under 50). That’s just not that impressive. We really need to step it up.

In any other season, an 11-5 league record would be more than solid. With the Big East ranked 7th in conference RPI according to and no giants lingering just over the horizon waiting to be killed, we’ll be in danger with anything less.

PS: Number-crunching college basketball blogger Ken Pomeroy predicts a 10-6 conference mark for SU. But check this: His math current shows us losing to Louisville, Notre Dame, UConn (at home) and Georgetown by a total of 5 points. Those games are within reach, in other words.

PPS: If we perform exactly as Pomeroy predicts, we’ll be playing in the NIT unless we win the Big East Tournament again. You heard it here first.

Posted in Big East, Orange Blogosphere, RPI | Leave a Comment »

Sunday evening observations

Posted by Tim on January 14, 2007

A few random thoughts from the weekend:

1) Few opportunities for a statement win remain: Our remaining Big East schedule includes home games against Cincinnati (RPI of 144, according to, Notre Dame (32), DePaul (57), St. John’s (166), UConn (80) and Georgetown (58) and road games against St. John’s, Louisville (74), UConn, South Florida (181), Providence (54) and Villanova (27). Of those teams, only Notre Dame and Villanova have a higher RPI than SU (RPI of 53). While winning most of  these games will undoubtedly help our RPI, there’s hardly anything that will significantly separate us from the pack in the eyes of the selection committee. In fact, we won’t have an opportunity to pick up a win against a top 25 RPI team until the Big East tournament if things stay the way they are now. I haven’t done the math, but it seems clear that the Orange probably have a relatively thin margin for error from here on out; a 9-7 conference schedule, as predicted at Orange 44, likely won’t get the job done. Every team left on the schedule is beatable, and we need to beat a high percentage of them. If we don’t, we’ll be sweating on Selection Sunday.

2) Um, about that Wichita State game: The pundits were all but ready to punch the Shockers’ ticket to the tournament after their win over the Orange in the Dome earlier this season. But something rather, er, shocking has happened since then: Wichita State has fallen apart, losing to respectable foes such as Missouri State, Northern Iowa, and Southern Illinois as well as to slightly dodgier competition like New Mexico. What looked last month like a loss to this year’s Bucknell or George Mason now looks like a defeat to a team that’s in deep trouble in a conference not likely to produce more than a couple tournament teams. This could end up looking like a pretty bad loss by the end of the season if the Shockers don’t turn it around. (Kudos to the Syracusan for doubting the Shockers back before it was cool.)

3) Respect: Now that we’ve beaten Marquette and Villanova, no one can say we don’t have any big wins. The question is what they’ll be worth in March. ‘Nova in particular seems like the kind of team that could fall far in the RPI once the Big East season gets going. They’re 27th in RPI largely because they’ve played the 10th toughest schedule in the country, but the fact remains that they haven’t really beaten anyone besides Georgetown. On the other hand, Marquette apparently lost focus for a couple of games against Providence and SU but is otherwise a very solid team. The Wildcats might be our best win today, but the Golden Eagles could easily be tops by the time the selection committee gets to work.

Posted in Big East, Marquette, NCAA Tournament, RPI, Villanova, Wichita State | 5 Comments »