Cuse Country

Home Away From Dome for Syracuse Orange Fans

Archive for the ‘Wichita State’ 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 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

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Who are they?

Posted by Tim on December 5, 2006

Andy Katz writes (Insider subscription required) that Jim Boeheim hasn’t really gotten a handle on how good the Cuse can be this year. Welcome to the club, Coach. In JB’s own words, via AK: “I don’t know if we’re top-20 or 60 to 70,” Boeheim said. “We could be in the top 20 but I don’t know.”

When I hear “Top 70,” I think of the 2002 NIT team “led” by DeShaun Williams and Preston Shumpert. The 2006 incarnation of the Orange is surely better than that…right?

Meanwhile, neither Jay Bilas (again with the Insider requirement) and Jeff Goodman think SU’s loss to Wichita State was an upset. Thanks guys!

Posted in Losses, News of the Orange, Nonconference Games, Regular Season Games, Wichita State | 1 Comment »

conference scores

Posted by syracusan on December 5, 2006

I haven’t bitched and moaned about Big East disrespect in a while, so it’s time for a notable scores update in case folks haven’t been scanning the returns over the last few days. (Notable to me generally means Big East teams beating ranked and/or BCS teams.)

  • DePaul beat then #5 Kansas 64-57.
  • Notre Dame won 81-74 AT then #19 Maryland. Of the ACC. Bitches.
  • Then #3 Pitt won at Auburn of the SEC, 74-66.
  • Rutgers beat then 5-0 Nebraska of the Big 12, 75-73. (not a big name team, but I’ll take it)

I’m feeling unusually fair, so I’ll report on the losses too. The only head to head setbacks to BCS schools that I could find recently both come from Georgetown. The struggling Hoyas lost at home to 6-0 Oregon last week, and then hung tight with Duke down at Cameron until fading in the final two minutes. G-Town dropped from the polls this week, but looked good for most of the game against the Dookies. They’ll be fine.

For the record, during the Georgetown-Duke game on ESPN, Dick Vitale mentioned how many bad losses the Big East has this year and that the league doesn’t have the depth it had last year. No mention of any wins of note. In Mr. Vitale’s world the Big East is made up entirely of Cincinatti and Seton Hall.

There were, of course, some losses to midmajors this week, most notably from Syracuse and Marquette. SU got stung a little in the polls, but I’m glad to see that Wichita State is getting respect for beating us, shooting up to 10th in the AP poll. The Golden Eagles took the worst of it though, plummeting 9 spots in the AP and ELEVEN spots in the Coaches thanks to their loss to North Dakota State. The media and coaches are so full of shit with their rhetoric about midmajors – why else would Marquette, who still beat Duke earlier this year, take such a hit? ND St is a solid team, who already beat up on Wisconsin-Green Bay and Princeton and only lost at Texas Tech by 4. It’s not a crime to lose to midmajors of this quality, yet Marquette and SU get nailed for it.

For comparison’s sake: Florida loses their 2nd game already, to an average Florida State team, and only drop from 4 to 7. Maryland loses that game to Notre Dame and drops no spots. Georgia Tech loses to a mediocre Miami team and drops only 4 spots. Some of this is ACC favoritism, but Michigan State lost last week to BC and went from unranked to 25th! There’s still all kinds of major program bias when judging the acceptability of losses, which is such crap considering how much lecturing the media gives big schools for being afraid to schedule feisty midmajors.

In related news, the polls have gone crazy this week. UConn is 10th in one and 19th in the other. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a difference that large. Frankly, they don’t deserve to be 10th, but that’s neither here nor there. Michigan State is 25th in one poll, as I mentioned, but approximately 37th in the other, based on votes. Is this parity, or just laziness?

FYI, Oklahoma State moved into the rankings at 22 and 24, so SU gets to play back to back games against ranked opponents. Not the norm for this time of year to be sure. If we win later tonight though, it’ll go a long way towards securing our reputation until the Big East gets going.

Posted in ACC, Big 12, Big East, Cincinnati, DePaul, Georgetown, Haters, In the Media, Losses, Marquette, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Pitt, Rankings, Rutgers, UConn, Wichita State | 3 Comments »

An open letter to Terrence Roberts: Please stop attempting field goals

Posted by Tom on December 4, 2006

Dear Terrence:

As I examine our team’s roster, I notice we’ve got a pretty decent collection of silky shooters. Devendorf, Nichols, Gorman, and Wright are all guys who can knock down a pretty consistent jump shot. Andy Rautins is an absolute assassin when he gets a decent look. Even Paul Harris finds a way to drop a solid 10 points inside. Then I see a few role players who are better suited to make their contributions elsewhere on the stat sheet. As I’m sensing some confusion on your end as to which group you belong to, I’d like to clear things up by making this simple request:

Please stop attempting field goals.

Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate your contributions to the team, particularly in the areas of rebounding and physical intimidation inside. But I suspect that the reason you excel in these areas is the same reason you fail in so many attempts to drop the rock through the cords; you seem to have absolutely no control over your limbs when the ball enters your physical proximity.

While this seems to allow you to clear some real estate under the hoop, it also means that you lack what we might call “touch.” I have watched for four years as you’ve allowed crisp interior passes to ricochet wildly off the pair of pie tins that you call hands. And recently, against Wichita St., I watched with real pain as you followed every single offensive rebound with a wild heave that had as much chance of going in as the 10 year-old’s shot from the lazyboy during halftime. I do appreciate the effort, but when you do this, it negates the original rebound and our opportunity for another possession.

All I’m asking for is a little clarity of purpose. You are 6-9 and ripped. You can leap like a beast. If you focused your game in the rebound-only Ben Wallace mold, I see you pulling down 15 per game easy and being a key player on this team. But for the love of God, aside from opportunities to throw down an open (two-handed) dunk, please try to erase the idea of field goal attempts from your M.O. entirely.


The Cuse Country staff

Posted in Andy Rautins, Demetris Nichols, Eric Devendorf, Josh Wright, Losses, Matt Gorman, Paul Harris, Terrence Roberts, Wichita State | 1 Comment »

Nichols blows it

Posted by Tom on December 4, 2006


I think this shot captures the exact moment that Nichols realized his solo fast break was going from really good to really bad.

Posted in Demetris Nichols, Losses, Wichita State | Leave a Comment »

I blame Craig Forth.

Posted by ech1 on December 3, 2006

Now, I may be batshit insane, but allow me to explain. While watching Mookie’s seemingly endless series of volleyball taps and “hot potato” chucks on the offensive glass I begun to wonder: why won’t he simply grab an offensive rebound and dunk it on someone’s face, like any normal 6’10”, 260ish lb guy would? And that’s where Craig Forth comes in… now, as we all know, Craigers had this problem with offensive rebounds: he simply had to bring the ball down to a level where anyone in possesion of a grasping limb could take it away from him (and I mean anyone, including the ballboys and Bonzo the chimp). Now, I’m speculating here, but I have to imagine that after watching that performance for two years, Mookie has nightmares about a personal hell where Jimmy screams “don’t bring the ball down!!!!” at him for all eternity. Thus, the aformentioned disasters of putback attempts against Wichita State last night. And if Mookie but flushes 2 of those, it’s a different ballgame folks.

In other news, someone needs to get Paul Harris some medicine, because that boy is ILL. People are talking about how sick that foul line-ish dunk was, but the scary part to me was how effortless it seemed. Most guys would need to gather themselves and have a few steps to setup their takeoff… Paul just took one step and soared. That sort of thing you don’t see in college ball much, and, not to get too hyperbolic, but it ain’t exactly common outside video games and MJ highlight reels. Oh, and his defense is not exactly shabby either.

Other things of note that I won’t go into details on:

1) You can question his shot selection, his fashion sense and his generally tenous grasp on reality, but one thing not in question about Terrence Roberts last night was his effort. If his 2-3 “no chance” wild shots are the price of 14 and 12, with good defense and no foul trouble, well, I’ll take it.

2) I’ve suggested this before, but I think Jimmy needs to think about playing more press. It looked good last night with Terrence on the ball, Mookie guarding the rim, and a bunch of fast and/or long guys putting the traps on. Even when Wichita broke it, they weren’t getting easy baskets. Plus, as was amply demonstrated, this SU team is not exactly deep in guys who can score out of the half-court set; it seems logical to push the pace and try to get as many transition baskets as you can.

3) Mike Jones is my official darkhorse candidate for “guy who will step up and make a difference later in the season” (non-Paul Harris division). I don’t what, if any, offensive skills he brings to the table, but he’s got Josh Pace’s number and if he can come off the bench and contribute a JP-like combination of defense, ball-handling, and general ability to contribute across the stat sheet… well, that’ll do.

4) Devendorf… ick. Has Harris ruined his confidence by shutting him down in practice or is it just a funk?

Posted in Eric Devendorf, Former Orangemen, Losses, Mike Jones, Mookie Watkins, Nonconference Games, Paul Harris, Terrence Roberts, Wichita State | 3 Comments »