Big East M5: 11.15.12 Edition

Posted by Dan Lyons on November 15th, 2012

  1. College basketball’s signing day isn’t quite as frenzied for recruitniks as football’s, in large part due to the early signing period, which allows schools to ink recruits early, thus securing their commitment and ending much of the signing day “will he or won’t he” speculation. Cincinnati pulled in a nice three-player class with the opening of the early signing period yesterday, including Summit Country Day guard Kevin Johnson, a lifelong Bearcats fan who has flown under the radar due to injury. Mick Cronin heaped a lot of praise on his future guard: “He fits the mold of a lot of our current players. He can play a couple of different positions and he’s good with the ball in his hands. He’s an extremely unselfish player. He can beat his man whenever he wants.”
  2. It’s fairly common for the coach of a top-ranked team to downplay its abilities, especially early in the year, in order to reel his team in. Rick Pitino did just that when describing Louisville’s rebounding issues heading into the “Battle 4 Atlantis”, a preseason tournament featuring Duke, Missouri, and Memphis: “We are not ready to play in the Battle 4 Atlantis for that type of competition,” Pitino said. “We are not ready yet because we’re not rebounding the ball well enough.” This may not all be motivational bluster from Pitino, however. Louisville has gotten outrebounded by Bellarmine in an exhibition game and Manhattan already this season.
  3. Much has been written about Notre Dame’s experienced starting line up. While a number of players on the Irish have been making an impact for a few seasons, point guard Eric Atkins is becoming the straw that stirs the drink in South Bend. Atkins has stepped into a leadership role for Notre Dame, driven by the failure of last year’s team to put away 10th seeded Xavier in the NCAA Tournament after holding a double-digit lead over the Musketeers. The once-carefree guard is all business this year: “I thought it would be beneficial for me — just being serious all the time, just trying to perfect everything I’m doing, being focused the whole time… in a game, I’m still smiling. But when it comes down to practice time and getting stuff done, I’m going to be serious.”
  4. Former Syracuse basketball players Fab Melo and Kris Joseph, both of whom were drafted by the Boston Celtics, have been sent to the D-League’s Maine Red Claws. Where the D-League used to be a death sentence for a player’s career, it has recently been more utilized as a minor league system for NBA teams to develop fringe talent. Melo is still a raw player with less than five years of formal basketball under his belt, while Joseph is behind Paul Pierce and former Georgetown great Jeff Green at the small forward slot in Boston. Both players should benefit from the increased playing time at that level more than they would riding the pine in Boston.
  5. The Big East will never quite be the same after the SyracuseGeorgetown rivalry ends, or at the very least crosses conference lines, after this season. The rivalry is unique in that it is almost entirely based on mutual disdain from on-court events, rather than proximity or other factors that usually spurn hated rivalries. This season’s games promise to be especially heated, with both fan bases signing on for “the most vitriol-ridden, hate-spewing iteration of the Syracuse-Georgetown rivalry ever seen in the 30-plus year history of the teams’ membership in the Big East Conference.”  The flames of the rivalry were fanned by an unusual source today – U2 front man Bono, who spoke at Georgetown today, and, among other things, called beloved Syracuse mascot Otto “a fruit” to the bemusement of the present Hoya faithful. This isn’t the first time that celebrities have pandered to Syracuse or Georgetown fans while on campus by putting down the other school.  During a basketball game at the Carrier Dome last season, Shaquille O’Neal uttered the popular Syracuse catch phrase “Georgetown still sucks” while promoting an anti-binge drinking campaign. At Syracuse’s 2012 commencement, screenwriter and Syracuse alumnus Aaron Sorkin discussed accepting the different viewpoints of others “unless they’re Georgetown grads, then they can go to hell.” Needless to say, that final game in the Big East rivalry on March 9 at the Verizon Center is going to be a fun one.
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Tracking The Four: Racers’ Pursuit of Perfection Ends Early

Posted by EJacoby on February 14th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter. TT4 will cover four selected teams of interest – Syracuse, Indiana, Murray State, and UNLV – by tracking their ups, downs, and exciting developments throughout the course of the season.

It was only a matter of time. Murray State had been narrowly escaping against OVC competition in the past few games, so it shouldn’t come as a huge shock that the Racers lost their first game of the year on Thursday against a Tennessee State team ranked second in the conference standings. The loss certainly hurts the team’s postseason seeding and kills off the major story that was the undefeated season, but the team may actually benefit from shedding that spotlight off their back. They have a quick turnaround with their most challenging week of the season upcoming. Elsewhere, Syracuse just completed a monster week of wins, and UNLV and Indiana handled business with big home victories. Let’s get to this week’s outlook:

Syracuse Orange

C.J. Fair Was Huge for Syracuse Against Louisville, One of Three Big Wins This Week For the Orange (Getty Images/A. Lyons)

  • Trending UP Because… – They had an awesome week, solidifying themselves as a top team in the land alongside Kentucky. Cuse played tight games against Georgetown and at Louisville, but great late-game execution lead to victories. Throw in Saturday’s win over Connecticut and the Orange are now 26-1 and 13-1 in the Big East, looking like a near-lock for a #1 seed come March Madness.
  • This Week’s Key CogKris Joseph. Who said this team doesn’t have a go-to guy? Joseph scored 29 points, including the game-winning three in overtime, in Wednesday’s win over Georgetown. He averaged a team-high 17.0 points per game in the three victories.
  • Play of the Week – A sweet alley-oop from Scoop Jardine to C.J. Fair from nearly half court was a momentum builder in Saturday’s win over UConn.
  • Talking Point – Coach Jim Boeheim talked about Monday’s ugly win at Louisville, which ended with a score of 52-51: “You can either give the defenses credit or say it was a bad offensive game. We’re going to look on the bright side and say it was a real defensive struggle tonight.”
  • Erasing History – The Orange had lost seven straight games to Louisville heading into Monday’s matchup, and it looked like the streak was going to reach eight when the team trailed by five points with under 4:00 to play. But Jardine and Joseph, two seniors who have never beaten the Cards, were able to erase that history and taste their first ever victory against Rick Pitino’s squad when they closed out the game with strong defense.
  • Stats Central – Monday’s victory was nothing to write home about. Syracuse averages a conference-leading 111.9 offensive efficiency in Big East games, but they only recorded an 89.7 rating in the game against Louisville. Nonetheless, they held the Cardinals to an 87.9 efficiency themselves and walked way with a one-point road victory.
  • What’s Next? – The Orange play just once this week, at Rutgers on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, ESPN) against a struggling Scarlet Knights team. However, Rutgets has already defeated Florida, Connecticut, Cincinnati, and Notre Dame at home this season, and the RAC has become a tough place to play.

Murray State Racers

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Chronicling the Georgetown-Syracuse and Duke-Carolina Rivalries

Posted by EJacoby on February 8th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor to RTC. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter.

Two of the four or five greatest rivalries in college basketball resume this evening in one of the best nights of the regular season. Georgetown-Syracuse is the longest powerhouse rivalry of the Big East, while the battle for Tobacco Road is one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports. Here’s a look at their histories:

Georgetown Hoyas vs. Syracuse Orange:

Georgetown and Syracuse Have Been Elite Rivals Since the Days of Patrick Ewing and Long Before (SI Photo/A. Hayt)

  • Last 5 Years – Recently, Syracuse holds a 6-4 edge in meetings since 2007. Each team has won at least once on the other’s home floor, with the road team actually winning the past three games of the series and the home team winning the previous seven. The Hoyas made the Final Four in 2007.
  • Last 10 Years – Going back further in the decade, the Orange were more dominant, holding a 12-7 total lead in the past 10 years of games. They won five in a row at one point from 2003-05, which includes their 2003 National Championship season.
  • Last 30 Years – Syracuse holds a 36-31 overall advantage in all matchups since 1980, with a total average score of 71-71 in those games. Pretty crazy. They are also in a 6-6 tie during this span in Big East Tournament matchups. Each team holds one National Championship during this time, as Georgetown got theirs in 1984. The Hoyas have four Final Four appearances, the Cuse with three. This is a truly juggernaut rivalry of Big East supremacy.

Duke Blue Devils vs. North Carolina Tar Heels:

Duke vs. Carolina: Rivalry, Defined (SI Vault)

  • Last 5 Years – North Carolina has a 6-5 edge in meetings since 2007, with each team having been crowned National Champions once during this recent history. Carolina made the Final Four in both 2008 and 2009, while Duke was the champion in 2010. Home court advantage is nearly a non-factor recently, as the road team is 5-6 in this period.
  • Last 10 Years – Duke was the much more dominant team earlier in the past decade, going 8-3 in the rivalry from 2002-06. Each team reached the Final Four, with UNC crowned as National Champions once again in 2005. Overall, Duke leads 13-11 in the past 10 years with each team taking four road games.
  • Last 30 Years – North Carolina holds a slight 38-36 edge in all matchups since 1980, with a total average score of 78-78 in the games. Again, an incredibly close matchup here. Duke has gotten the better of the Tar Heels during their ACC Tournament matchups, holding an 8-3 edge during this span. Incredibly, each team has made exactly 11 Final Four runs and won four National Titles during the past 30 years. That’s why this is the best rivalry in the game.

Tonight, Georgetown and Duke are the road teams in these games. Syracuse and Carolina are each the higher-ranked team and are expected to win, but things never go as planned in intense rivalries like these. This could be one of the final times that the Hoyas and Orange meet as Big East rivals, as Syracuse is headed to the ACC by the 2014 season and possibly before then. It will be awesome tonight, so tune in to the ESPN double-header starting at 7:00 PM ET.

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Tracking The Four: Syracuse Gets Melo & Its Swagger Back

Posted by EJacoby on February 7th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter. TT4 will cover four selected teams of interest – Syracuse, Indiana, Murray State, and UNLV – by tracking their ups, downs, and exciting developments throughout the course of the season.

What made Syracuse look so beatable in the past three games? Perhaps the answer is as simple as we thought, and Orange big man Fab Melo is just that important to the team’s success. He returned on Saturday and the Orange completely ran St. John’s off the floor in a performance worthy of a number one team. Meanwhile, Indiana and UNLV each split their two-game schedules full of tough road matchups. Murray State continues to cruise along undefeated and is getting closer to its big matchup with St. Mary’s. Let’s see how each team got it done this week:

Syracuse Orange

Michael Carter-Williams Had the Memorable Highlight from Syracuse's Dominant Win Last Week (AP Photo)

  • Trending UP Because… – They put together perhaps their best performance of the season on Saturday by scoring nearly 100 points on the road at St. John’s in their only game of the week. Center Fab Melo returned from suspension for the game and had a solid individual performance (14 points, two blocks, 5-6 shooting), but it’s the collective play of the team’s defense and transition offense that is more telling of his impact. The Orange (23-1, 10-1 Big East) held its opponent to 38% shooting on two-point attempts, whereas they were allowing an average of 44.4% in three games without him. Melo was on the receiving end of several lobs in transition as the team consistently found easy offense in the 95-70 win. The Cuse look to have their swagger back and will try to keep up this strong form with two home games this week.
  • This Week’s Key CogMichael Carter-Williams. This week was a reminder of how truly deep this team is. Carter-Williams is a McDonald’s All-American freshman averaging just 12 minutes per game this season, and he looked like the best player on the floor during his 17 minutes against St. Johns’s. The frosh had 13 points on 5-6 shooting, four rebounds, three assists, and just one turnover in limited playing time.
  • Play of the Week – This was a no-brainer, as our guy Carter-Williams throws down a vicious dunk in transition that was one of the top plays of the week.
  • Talking PointMelo talked about his return to the team after a three-game suspension: “I had fun. It felt good to be back on the court with my teammates. I felt a little rusty and I wanted to do everything at once but Coach told me to slow down and I did.”
  • Coaching Legend Jim Boeheim continues his ascent up the coaching wins list. Saturday’s victory was the coach’s 879th career victory, tying him with Dean Smith for third all-time. The only men ahead of him are Bob Knight and Mike Krzyzewski, with Knight’s 902 victories a very passable number next year.
  • Stats Central – Although Kentucky owns a near unanimous top ranking, the Orange have the far more impressive overall resume. If the season ended today (which, of course, it doesn’t), then Cuse would be the top overall seed of the NCAA Tournament, boasting the #1 RPI ranking and 12 victories over RPI Top 100 teams. Kentucky has seven Top 100 wins, by comparison.
  • What’s Next? – Syracuse has two tough opponents this week, but both games are at home. First comes rival Georgetown on Wednesday (7:00 PM ET, ESPN), followed by struggling Connecticut on Saturday (1:00 PM ET, CBS). The Hoyas look like the second best team in the Big East right now, and the Huskies could be playing for their postseason lives come this weekend. It’s never easy against these talented conference rivals.

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels

  • Trending EVEN Because… – They did lose last week to a team in the mid-70’s of the RPI, but it was a two-point loss in Laramie against tough conference foe Wyoming. The Rebels had several chances to tie or win the game on their final possession of the game, and we can’t knock the team very much for this tight road game. They also easily disposed of Colorado State earlier in the week at home. UNLV (21-4, 5-2 MW) remains in good shape in the Mountain West and has a huge matchup coming up on Saturday.
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Tracking The Four: Cuse Get Juiced and Leaves One Unbeaten Team Standing

Posted by EJacoby on January 24th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is an RTC contributor & correspondent. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter. TT4 will cover four selected teams of interest – Syracuse, Indiana, Murray State, and UNLV – by tracking their ups, downs, and exciting developments throughout the course of the season.

Welcome back to TT4, where the lowest ranked team of the four in this week’s RTC Top 25 also happens to be the only undefeated squad left in the country. Will Murray State lose a game before the Big Dance? They continue to win in impressive fashion and are now getting a key cog back in the lineup for the stretch run. Meanwhile, our two major-conference teams are coming off poor weeks and UNLV keeps quietly handling their business. All four TT4 teams remained ranked in the Top 20 and have important games this week. Let’s look at what’s new:

Murray State Racers

Isaiah Canaan and Murray State Continue Pushing Towards Perfection (AP Photo/S. Dennee)

  • Trending UP Because… – They are the only undefeated team left in the country! After being down at halftime, the Racers climbed back to defeat Morehead State on Wednesday, 66-60, in a huge road win that was their toughest remaining test. Please raise your hand and leave a comment below if you had Murray State as the last team to lose this season. Not only is MSU unbeaten but they are getting their third-leading scorer Ivan Aska back any day now, as the senior forward has been cleared to play by doctors. All things are looking up for the Racers (20-0, 8-0 OVC), and all of their remaining games have suddenly become must-watch, or at least must-follow action as they try to make history.
  • This Week’s Key CogIsaiah Canaan. The star guard was named Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Week after going for 20 points in the win at Morehead State and 21 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals in a road win over SIU Edwardsville on Saturday night.
  • Play of the Week – The Racers were down by one against Morehead State until Canaan hit this deep three-pointer with 3:58 left to give Murray State a lead they would not relinquish.
  • Talking Point – The head coach of SIU-E, Lennox Forrester, was thoroughly impressed by the Racers on Saturday, and thinks they may have a special season ahead: “They carry a swagger about them. They’re at least a Sweet Sixteen team and maybe Elite Eight. They could be a so-called Butler.”
  • Coaching Tree of Life – The last time Murray State was ranked before this season (1998), Mark Gottfried was the head coach. The last Racers’ rookie head coach to win 20 games was Mick Cronin in 2003-04, and the in-jeopardy MSU single-season wins record of 31 came under Billy Kennedy’s watch in 2009-10. Gottfried, Cronin, and Kennedy are all major coaches at NC State, Cincinnati, and Texas A&M, respectively, today; perhaps coach Steve Prohm is next in line for a big-time job. Then again, Prohm could also be deserving of a major raise and extension there in Murray.
  • Stats Central – They’ve earned praise for proficient three-point shooting, but an underrated aspect of Murray State’s offensive game is their attacking prowess. The Racers have a season-long free throw rate (which measures FTA/FGA) of 45.1%, which ranks 19th nationally. But they’re even more outstanding in conference play, with a rate of 52.8% that ranks third in the country amongst all teams in their conference games.
  • What’s Next? – The Racers have just one game on tap for this week, at home against Eastern Illinois on Saturday (8:00 PM ET). EIU is 2-4 in OVC conference play and coming off three straight losses.

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels

  • Trending EVEN Because… – They took care of business this week by thrashing TCU at home before then opening up a big second-half lead and defeating New Mexico at home as well on Saturday. The Runnin’ Rebels continue to look the part of a consistent, elite team and they’ve even slid into the Top 10 of this week’s RTC Top 25. UNLV (18-3, 2-1 MWC) has only lost on the road to three teams that are either ranked (SDSU) or receiving votes (Wisconsin, Wichita State) this week. They are ranked sixth in the RPI and should get a very strong look at a top three NCAA Tournament seed if they continue to play this well.
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Tracking The Four: Conference Play Begins

Posted by EJacoby on January 10th, 2012

Evan Jacoby is an RTC columnist and contributor. You can find him @evanjacoby on Twitter. TT4 will cover four selected teams of interest – Syracuse, Indiana, Murray State, and UNLV – by tracking their ups, downs, and exciting developments throughout the course of the season.

Welcome to Tracking The Four! This new series reads just like it sounds, as we will be following four buzz-worthy teams across the country. Those lucky teams are Syracuse (current #1 team and a title favorite), Indiana (a feel-good contender), Murray State (undefeated dreams), and UNLV (the best of the West). With TT4, we hope to provide readers with interesting insights about each of the featured teams that helps capture the atmosphere of the programs throughout the rest of the season. Look for a full TT4 piece every Tuesday, as well as a shorter update later in the week. Each post will be loaded with highlights, lowlights, and tidbits about each team, as well as recaps from their recent play and a look ahead at their upcoming games. Conference play is well underway and there’s plenty of news to get to this week:

Kris Joseph & Syracuse are All Smiles Right Now (Getty Images/A. Lyons)

Syracuse Orange

  • Trending UP Because… – They’re looking like national title favorites. The undefeated Orange (17-0, 4-0 Big East) remain number one in every national poll, including the RTC Top 25, with its consistently dominant play. They’ve beaten their four conference opponents by an average of 16.5 points, which includes two road games and two home games against ranked teams (Seton Hall & Marquette). Seton Hall has proven to be a solid and cohesive offensive team, yet the Pirates were blown out of the gym by Syracuse in a 75-49 thrashing. The Orange are the deepest team in the country with 10 meaningful contributors, and their patented 2-3 zone is as strong as ever. Jim Boeheim‘s team is now making bigger headlines on the court than off it (the Bernie Fine sexual harassment allegation was a big story), a refreshing trend for the sake of all its fans.
  • This Week’s Key Cog – Brandon Triche. The junior guard led the team in scoring last week, going for 16 points at Providence on Wednesday and another 16 at home against Marquette on Saturday. He hit four three-pointers in each game with an impressive line of 16/7/4 assts and two steals in the victory over Marquette.
  • Play of the Week – Point guard Scoop Jardine finds his go-to guy Kris Joseph in transition for a thunderous dunk from several feet away from the basket against Providence.
  • Talking Point – Guard Dion Waiters, who comes off the bench, had this to say after the win over Providence: “I’ve never been on a team with subs like this. It’s crazy. We continue to get better and make each other better in practice every day. We’ve got some of the best guards in the country.’’
  • Stats Central – Syracuse leads the nation with 37.5 points per game from its bench, further proving that they’re the deepest team in America. Also, their zone defense has been truly elite this season, as the Orange lead the country in steals (10.9 per game), are third in blocks (7.4 per game), and fifth in forcing turnovers (18.7 per game).
  • What’s Next? – The Orange play at Villanova on Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia (7:00 PM ET, ESPN2) against a struggling Wildcats team, but it’s still a rivalry game in which the Villanova crowd should be fired up and looking for the upset. Then, Cuse gets its second matchup with Providence, this time at home on Saturday (6:00 PM ET) as heavy favorites.
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Morning Five: 10.07.11 Edition

Posted by jstevrtc on October 7th, 2011

One week, people. One week.

  1. So many people are assuming threat postures over this so-called battle of words between John Calipari and Rick Pitino, but to us this is just a symptom that fans of college basketball just want something to talk about. We’ll never fault anyone for that, but it just doesn’t seem like there’s a lot in this. Here’s the deal: speaking in front of the tent village that pops up around Lexngton’s Memorial Coliseum annually as people camp out for Midnight Madness tickets, Calipari told an interviewer that Kentucky basketball was the biggest deal “throughout this whole state,” raising the ire of Louisville fans. Pitino responded with a little bit of name-calling without actually saying Calipari’s name. That’s it. There’s no feud here because what Calipari said is correct. There are thousands of UK fans who live in Louisville. Yes, there are thousands of U of L fans who live in non-Louisville Kentucky, but to us Calipari’s comments were meant to compliment UK fans and were centered on his program, and did not constitute an insult of the Louisville program or its fans.
  2. doesn’t need our help getting attention, but we’ll always link quality college basketball discussion wherever it is, and this qualifies: remember that brawl in the summer that happened when Georgetown took its trip to China and played an exhibition against the Bayi Rockets? No surprise, there’s much more to it than you’d think. The New York Times’ Jim Yardley was in China three years ago doing a story on another Chinese professional team but got the scoop on Bayi. The team is a former military propaganda showpiece and have been given every break by those who run that league, are the most hated squad in the country, but have lost relevance of late. The incident with Georgetown, as Yardley writes, may be the thing that puts the Rockets away for good. His history of that team and the Chinese pro league is a must-read, and provides considerable insight on the fracas with the Hoyas.
  3. With conference realignment buzzing along as it is and people talking about the eventual superconferences at some point seceding from the NCAA, college hoops fans are wondering what effect these changes will have on the holiest of holies, the NCAA Tournament. Inspired by a series of tweets last night from Bylaw Blog and’s Andy Glockner, Rock Chalk Talk has laid out one fantastic (though obviously remote) possibility: the establishment of a champion based on the UEFA Champions League model. Can you imagine, say, six Selection Sundays as opposed to one? True, the singularity of Selection Sunday is what makes it so special, but in this model each one would mean just as much. And the idea of certain Power Six conference programs getting relegated, you have to admit, is pretty intriguing. Interesting stuff whether you’re a soccer fan or not.
  4. “Ladies and gentlemen…Tone Loc!” Such an introduction would inspire exactly zero excitement in anyone currently enrolled at Syracuse. Frankly, it probably wouldn’t inspire much excitement in anyone who has children enrolled at Syracuse. But that’s who was slated to host the midnight madness festivities at the Carrier Dome. Unfortunately, it’s been a tough month for Tone, who recently pleaded no contest to a domestic violence charge. That in mind, the ‘Cuse made went with a change of host, tapping Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill (no, really) as master of ceremonies. As the Syracuse site Troy Nunez Is An Absolute Magician points out, at least Julie Boeheim will still be there. By the way, the last two sentences in the linked article are great.
  5. One of the best (or worst, whatever you prefer) examples of a kid that was hyped to death and just never, ever panned out was Schea Cotton. This is no exaggeration; Cotton had been touted as a basketball messiah from the age of 15, and many pros — meaning no less than Baron Davis, Tyson Chandler, Ron Artest, Paul Pierce — compared both the style and skill level of Cotton’s game to that of LeBron James. And many, including those same pros, can’t explain why he never played a minute in the NBA. Cotton is the subject of an upcoming documentary entitled Manchild, and we cannot wait to see it. If you want to see the reason for the hype (and the opinions of the aforementioned pros), check out the trailer contained in the linked article. Oh. My. Goodness.
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Morning Five: 01.21.10 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on January 21st, 2011

  1. Syracuse and Villanova are making a habit of this, as the two schools will team up for another blockbuster game on Saturday in the Carrier Dome where more than 34,000 fans will be expected in attendance.  Last year’s game between the two drew 34,616 total fans and SU has put in more seating this year in an effort to break the record for an on-campus game again.  As for the actual game itself, Syracuse’s star forward Kris Joseph practiced on Thursday and is showing signs that he will be ready to play on Saturday.
  2. Speaking of Jay Wright’s team, former everywhere coach Larry Brown made a visit to Villanova’s practice on Thursday to get his “basketball fix” and enjoyed the experience.  The 70-year old former NCAA (Kansas) and NBA (Detroit) champion said that he hopes to coach again, and with his track record he’ll probably get some looks.  We’d like to see him take up residence at some mid-major somewhere in much the same way that Bobby Cremins (Charleston) and Steve Fisher (San Diego State) have done.
  3. USA Basketball selected its coaching staff for next summer’s World University Games (21 years old and under), and the group has a distinctly Indiana feel.  Not necessarily Hoosiers, though, more like Boiler Up…  The Head coach will be Purdue’s Matt Painter, while his assistants will be former Boilermaker and current Missouri State head coach Cuonzo Martin with Butler’s Brad Stevens thrown in for good measure.  For what it’s worth, the 2009 team coached by Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan finished in third place with a starting lineup of Nic Wise, Trevor Booker, Corey Fisher, James Anderson and Craig Brackins.
  4. Wednesday night a horrid out-of-bounds call by the officials gave Purdue the basketball back against Penn State, ultimately leading to a game-winning jumper by JaJuan Johnson with three seconds left.  As a proximate cause of that incident, the NCAA’s Officials Coordinator on Thursday said that he would consider allowing officials to go to the replay within the last minute on iffy situations such as those.  Generally, we’re anti-replay in non-game-ending cases but possession is incredibly important for obvious reasons exhibited in that game.  It literally changed the outcome of that game.  We think it’s certainly worth a look as an experimental rule next season.
  5. Xavier will honor former Musketeer All-American and NBA star Brian Grant on Saturday at halftime of its game against Temple by retiring his number 33.  Grant was an absolute beast at XU, leading the Muskies in rebounding all four seasons he was there (yes, lottery picks actually stuck around that long back then) before becoming an integral piece on some excellent teams in the NBA at Portland and Miami.  He recently revealed that he has early-onset Parkinson’s Disease (the same disease that Michael J. Fox has) and has used his fame and wealth to bring attention to the illness through his Brian Grant Foundation.  Good work, Xavier.
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Le Moyne Goes Into Carrier Dome, Gives Orange Le Boot

Posted by jstevrtc on November 3rd, 2009

Little Division II Le Moyne College got invited to the Carrier Dome for an exhibition game against the 25th-ranked Syracuse Orange earlier tonight, and most people probably figured this would be one of those common situations where the allegedly inferior little school walks out at the end of the night with some game experience against some top-quality players, a 50-point loss, and a nice big check.

Guess again…on that second part.



Despite being down as many as ten points in the second half, Le Moyne came back to stun the Orange this evening, 82-79, in a preseason exhibition.  Le Moyne’s Christopher Johnson drilled a three with 8.3 seconds left to give the Dolphins a 2-point lead, and they tacked on a free throw later.  Syracuse’s Wes Johnson had 34 for the Orange.

So let’s give Le Moyne — and no, it’s not the capital of Iowa — some props:  Le Moyne College is a Jesuit school located in DeWitt, NY, a suburb of Syracuse.  Including both post- and undergraduates, it has about 3500 students.  It is named after Simon Le Moyne, a Canadian priest and missionary from the 1600s.  More information available in the place where I’m not afraid to admit I got the above tidbits — the school’s WikiPedia page.

It is most definitely a great night for the Le Moyne players, one that they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.  This is a team that played in front of 5,889 people in their home gym last year…meaning for the whole year. That’s an average of 393 fans every home game.  The attendance for tonight’s exhibition was not listed on either team’s box score, but over 16,000 people attended last year’s game, also in the Carrier Dome.  Have fun with this, fellas.

Now, it’s true that this really doesn’t mean that much in terms of Syracuse’s season, and these things do indeed happen sometimes.  Michigan State’s loss to Grand Valley State to start the 2007-08 season comes to mind, but MSU went on to the Sweet 16 that year and then the national final the next season (last year).  We doubt Jim Boeheim will take it as lightly, though — and we predict that the Orange players will have a nice long date with their running shoes tomorrow.

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ATB: Syracuse Gets “Jacked” From 60 Feet

Posted by rtmsf on December 16th, 2008


Upset of the Night. Cleveland St. 72, Syracuse 69. Cuse has been playing with fire at the Carrier Dome this season, needing comebacks to win against Richmond, Virginia and Cornell, and it appeared they were on track for another comeback, heading to OT after Arinze Onuaku’s putback of Andy Rautins’ missed three that tied the game with 2.2 seconds remaining in regulation.  Cleveland St.’s Cedric Jackson had other thoughts, as in… one sidestep dribble and a 60-foot heave at the rim that went glass and actually dropped for the three-point win – it was his first three of the night to fall (of five attempts).  CSU has now won their last three trips to the Carrier Dome (notably, their previous two were in the 1986 NCAA Tournament when they upset Indiana and St. Joe’s), and don’t sleep on the Vikings – this is a quality team that could win the Horizon and become a nightmare matchup for some unsuspecting power conference foe in the first round of the NCAAs.  J’Nathan Bullock laid an egg in the first half (zero pts), but stepped up for 18 in the second to lead the Vikings.  Jonny Flynn had 16/4/5 assts, but at least one Cuse blog thinks he sleptwalked through most of the game.

What Else You Weren’t Watching Tonight.

  • Connecticut 91, Stony Brook 57. Stanley Robinson came off the bench for 7/5 in sixteen solid minutes in his first game back after spending the last five months laboring in a sheet metal and recycling company.  If he can give UConn what he gave the Huskies last year (10/7), then they could be phenomenal.
  • Cincinnati 74, Charleston Southern 55. Mike Williams came off the bench to give 10/11 in a comeback win for the Bearcats.
  • Northwestern 77, UMKC 62. The boys from Evanston keep winning games, now 7-1.
  • Ole Miss 85, Alabama St. 81. David Huertas had 25/6/4 assts in the come-from-behind win for the Rebs.
  • Texas A&M 67, Florida A&M 57. Chinemelu Elonu dropped 17/14/6 blks on the Rattlers.
  • USC 91, Pepperdine 77. Taj Gibson dropped a career-high 25/11 as the Trojans shot a scorching 59% from the field.

On Tap Tuesday (all times EST). The SEC/Big East Invitational gets going in Nashville, but not much else.

  • Vanderbilt v. South Florida (ESPN2) – 7pm
  • Texas v. Texas Southern (ESPN FC & 360) – 8pm
  • Tennessee v. Marquette (ESPN) – 9:30pm


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