Thursday, January 3, 2008
Syracuse Wins a "Backyard Dogfight"
As I'm sure you are aware, Syracuse got it's Big East conference season started on the right note with a tough 76-70 win over St. John's last night. What you may not be aware of is that the game, carried by ESPN regional for us out of towners, was broadcast by John Rooke and former Villanova player John Celestand. While I just assumed Celestand was playing in Europe or selling insurance somewhere, it turns out he's a broadcaster - and a pretty brutal one at that.
If you are watching an ESPN regional broadcast basically you are happy that you're able to see the game, so for the most part you can get past some third rate announcer as he or she assaults your ear drums with bad analogies, lame cliches and a general botching of basic information - but last night was tough.
The highlight was about halfway through the second half when St. John's was making a run, Celestand proclaimed the game to be a "dog fight," and then when that wasn't quite descriptive enough, he decided to kick it up a notch and call it a "back yard dog fight." Rooke (who's actually not that bad) got so excited that when they were headed out to a break, he proclaimed the game to be a dog fight as well.
Now if you read this blog you know political correctness is not something any of us strive to achieve - frankly the whole concept is absurd, however, who the hell is this guy hanging out with - Ron Mexico? Backyard dog fight? He couldn't find a more appropriate analogy? There are about a million bad cliches he could have went with and back yard dog fight comes out - makes you wonder.............Keep up the good work John, you are destined to be a star over at Awful Announcing.
Now, a few observations on the actual game:
* Arinze Onuaku was a man among boys last night. We've commented on his great hands before, but what is really encouraging is the faith his teammates have in him. They knew he couldn't be stopped last night and continually fed him the ball. At this stage in his career, he's starting to remind me of Mike Sweetney of Georgetown. The one area of concern is free throws, it doesn't appear that he's getting any rotation on the ball, which is very Shaq like.
* The game comes easy to Donte Greene, when a 6'11" guy can shoot it from anywhere, there's not much anyone on the planet can do to stop him. It was good to see the team hold together when Greene was on the bench with foul trouble for most of the second half.
* Syracuse needs to do a better job on the glass. Paul Harris only had 4 rebounds last night and St. John's out rebounded them by 6. Personally, I blame Harris. At this point I don't care if he's 6'3", I expect him to get every rebound in every game, this is all Paul's fault for allowing me to have such high expectations. Seriously though, Arinze had 13 boards, the number 2 rebounder last night was Harris with 4 - that has to change and everyone needs to hit the glass.
* The Belgian Waffle was a foul magnet last night, picking up 3 in 6 minutes. Part of it is aggressive play on his part, the other part is that sometimes refs can't help themselves and actually enjoy calling fouls on foreigners with goofy hair cuts.
* Scoop Jardine made some big plays down the stretch, but they are going to need more out of him offensively, at times they were playing 4 on 5 out there.
* Jonny Flynn had a another solid game and he certainly is fearless - he'll take it to the rack on anyone. His best stat last night, 7 assists versus 2 turnovers in 40 minutes, even though St. John's guards were pressuring him most of the night. It's been a long time since there's been a guy on campus with his athleticism and ball handling ability.
* MAKE SOME DAMN FREE THROWS!
All in all, a win is a win, and I'll take it.