Thursday, January 31, 2008

Boom goes Boomer

Deadspin with some great footage of Chris Berman absolutely losing it. FULL DISCLOSURE: your'e ok to follow the link, but don't play the video at work, Boomer drops more f-bombs than at a Dice Clay show.
Ease up Chris, Arizona spring training is right around the corner. The smell of leather in the spring.....

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hump day

Weekend, get here.

At least it wasn't a stolen laptop Scoop.

Following Ian Poulter's lead, I can out-sing Sinatra.

TAILGATE ALERT: Finally, a football game Syracuse can't lose.

Break out the Sound of Music soundtrack: These are a few of my favorite (Super Bowl) things. I always thought Eugene Robinson provided us with the greatest moment in Super Bowl history.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Champ quick hits

Get well Wilbon.

Bud's turn at some "CNY in the SuperBowl" action.

Cuse practice: Donte stands on his head and "Z" suits up.

Candyland and Monopoly are for wimps.

Rochester, DO NOT claim the Dinosaur as yours.

The P&D Show hits Miami!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Reality Check

Its rare that I read something online that is worth linking to on the blog, and even more rare that it comes from CBS Sportsline. And I understand that by the time you click over to T3I (even if by accident) that you have already scrolled through hundreds of blogs and even more links and stories, nonetheless in case anyone hasn't yet read this story about Eastern Arizona College coach Tim Parmeter, then I suggest taking a few minutes and giving this one a look.

As much as I bleed Orange, and celebrate the wins, and vent about the losses, a story like this makes questions such as "What happened with Scoop's suspension?" or "Is Donte' Greene coming back for his sophomore season?" seem embarrassingly irrelevant.

Still of note - Sunday was a really solid win in tough situation vs. Providence, but there is lots of road work ahead in the next week at Depaul and then at 'Nova...we really need both of these ones.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Beers With Boss


If there's one thing the three of us love, it's arguing over inane things while consuming a few adult beverages. With that in mind, we've decided to institute a new feature "Beers With" where one idiot finds out what's on the mind of another (and yes, we did steal the name, we're not that creative.) So, the inaugural installment of "Beers With" features questions from Russianator and answers from Boss, a real live hockey fan. I decided to see what's on his mind and share it with you - enjoy - or hate it - whatever works for you.


Russianator: So tell me, do you still watch this sport called "hockey," and if so, what's going on this year?

Boss: Of course I still watch hockey, where do you think Versus (that’s the home of the NHL ya know) gets it .00008 ratings share from. The All-Star Game is this weekend and I can promise absolutely no transition defense or boxing out in front of the goal…sound familiar?

Russianator: Sticking with the hockey theme for a minute, tell our readers why the Hurricanes should move back to Hartford.

Boss: At the risk of causing a massive drop-off in readership, I’ll keep this answer short and light…but when I become commissioner of the NHL in 2012, I’ll have the Whalers back in Hartford within a year…Save the Whale! Aside, CNY in the NHL update: Erik Cole (Oswego, NY; Clarkson University) 11 goals and 21 assists so far this year, the effort is always there but we need more production from EC to make a run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Russianator: Mike Tomlin - is he a good coach or just an Omar Epps look a like?

Boss: Ummm I’d say Omar (why do parents do that to their kids) is Coach T look-a-like. Seriously, I think he did a solid job, he’s still young and it shows in his in-game management, but he replaced a legend in Pittsburgh and won the division…I’ll take that every year.

Russianator: Fill in the blank, if you were Jim Boeheim this year you would _______________ ?


Boss: Skip practice and make some home movies with Juli.

Russianator: Care to comment on Cedrick Wilson's girlfriend?

Boss: Cedric, may I suggest dating unarmed women.

Russianator: You make a deal with the devil and win the lottery and buy a football team, conditions of the deal stipulate that your only choices for a coach are Greg Robinson or Henry Winkler from The Waterboy - who you going with and why?

Boss: Now that would be idiotic deal to take (which is why I would take it) and I’d have to hire Coach Klein. While his motivational techniques are suspect and his knowledge of the game lacking, at least I’d always be assured of a table at Arnold’s.

Russianator: It's Sunday, you've got a 4 alarm hangover raging and football is about to start - what's your go to garbage food for a day of grazing?

Boss: Tough Q, there has been so much enjoyable grazing over the years that its difficult to narrow down to just one food item. I’m going with the Cheesesteak, but not one of those foolish Philly things with Cheez Whiz and onions. Who mixes Cheez Whiz with steak? I just don’t get that --- use some good Provolone already.


Programming Note - Due to the fact that I will be away on business all week, the posting may be a little slow as my work situation allows me to post more frequently than Boss and Champ - but I have a feeling they'll do just fine.

I like my oatmeal lumpy

Some random junk that caught my eye this Sunday:

What do Young MC, Tone Loc, Digital Underground and former NBAer "Thunder" Dan Majerle have in common? Deadspin tells us about one helluva Super Bowl party.

It's Super Bowl time, so let the "CNY in the Superbowl" fun begin.

Theo Epstein and Brian Cashman, lovey-dovey.

These Orangewomen are pretty good.

The men get by Providence sans Scoop.

Now back to that party,

Friday, January 25, 2008

"Just quit, baby."

Dear Mr. Davis,

"Just quit, baby." These are my words of advice to you upon the reports that you are now attempting to force current Coach Kifflin out of his job.

Mr. Davis, the game has passed you by. I've drank your silver and black Kool-Aid since I was in grade school. I tolerated your disgraceful handling of Marcus Allen. I stomached your "trading" of Jon Gruden. I even, barely, accepted NORVE has the head coach of my favorite team.

However now Mr. Davis I am speaking as an angry Raider fan. You, and you alone, have single-handidly turned a once proud franchise into the absolute laughing stock of the National Football League.

You are a sad, sad shell of the man the rest of professional football once feared. Do you hear them now? They are laughing at you Al. If you have a shread of pride left whatsover, grant Raider Nation one last request: your resignation and intent to sell your controlling interest of the team.

Sincerely,

Champ

Exclusive - Patriots Secret Plan Revealed

Here at T3I, we go to the ends of the earth to bring you exclusive content and coverage you'll find nowhere else. As such, we hired Sergeant Frank Drebin, Detective Lieutenant Police Squad (ret) who is now working part time as a private eye to find out what's really going on with the New England Patriots. Needless to say, it's some crazy stuff. The following is an actual transcript of a conversation Belichick and Brady had on Monday, January 21, at 7 am at Belichick's house outside of Boston.

Brady: You're serious aren't you?
BB: I've gone well over 50 years without cracking a joke, you think I'm going to start now?

Brady: OK, what's the plan?
BB: Look, for the next two weeks everything little thing we do will be scrutinized more than ever and some of our guys are starting to crack.

Brady: Bullshit, you're more paranoid than usual.
BB: Yesterday after the game Moss was wandering around mumbling to himself and hiding granola bars in his beard. If he has to answer domestic violence questions for 2 weeks straight, I'm pretty sure he's going to lose it.

Brady: Randy's fine.
BB: Welker took the last Diet Coke last night and Moss almost decapitated him and stuffed the body in a locker. You didn't see it because you were on the phone with the model broad you've been banging.

Brady: For the 100th time, her name's Giselle. Now what's the plan?
BB: Look, you can handle all this crap, so grab a walking boot from the trainer's room, get down to NYC, and show up at the underwear model's house. Bring some flowers too, flowers are always a nice touch. I'll have an intern call TMZ with a stolen cell phone, I've got a gross of them in my trunk.

Brady: Her name is Giselle.
BB: Whatever. Then make sure you hit the town for the next couple of nights, leave your schedule with me, we'll take care of the press. You know the deal, take the walking boot off, hide the ankle - cowboy boots might work - just mess with them.

Brady: Cowboy boots? I don't even own cowboy boots!
BB: Just get some dickhead, better yet, I'll have a pair waiting for you in the bimbo's apartment.

Brady: Her name is Giselle and she's not a bimbo. Now how are you going to have boots waiting for me?
BB: Don't worry about it - and I've told you, don't ask me how I get shit done, I just do OK.

Brady: Fine - then what.
BB: I'll hold you out of practice for a day or so, we'll release some pictures of Matt Cassell looking more scared than usual and life will be good. Coughlin will be so confused and fired up, he won't know what do to.

Brady: Cassell's a terrible actor, he'll blow it.
BB: You think I'm dumb enough to tell him the truth? He will honestlybelieve he might play, the look of fear will be real.

Brady: You really might be insane.
BB: Insane huh? Did you think I was insane when I paid Anthony Smith 10 grand to predict a Steeler win? Was that insane? Last time I checked that worked out pretty well.

Brady: You DID WHAT?
BB: Look, your morons were losing focus, in consecutive weeks we almost lost to teams lead by AJ Feeley and Kyle Boller. Pittsburgh was decent, I couldn't take a chance.

Brady: I know I'm not supposed to ask...
BB: Pioli got his masters from Syracuse, coached there for a bit, he's still got connections up the ass at that place. Smith graduated from there, put 2 and 2 together pretty boy.

Brady: Enough, enough, you're making my head hurt - I've got to get going
BB: Good, now get out here. Oh and Tom, make sure you wrap it up, I don't want to read that DiCaprio's ex pulled the goalie on you like that actress did.

Brady: For the love of God man, her name is Giselle.
BB: Just get going, you've got work to do.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

42 Reasons We Hate This Game

Let the Super Hype begin. We are closing in on the 42nd edition of the NFL's ultimate showcase. The upstart Giants will face the undefeated Patriots. You may be may be undefeated New England, but you are not quite perfect.


The Russianator, Boss and yours truly Champ follow the Eagles, Steelers, and Raiders respectively. This has led to many, and I mean many, "debates" over adult beverages late into a Saturday night. Arguments over the which Pennsylvania team is better, Super Bowl XV, and the Immaculate Deception never get old between us. However, there is one thing we at T3I stand united on: our hatred of all things Boston sports.


It pains us to endorse the Giants in this Super Bowl. The Russianator's love of the Birds has him despising the divisional foe GMen. And as Boss pointed out, all three idiots were force fed plenty of Giants game growing up in CNY. So with the help of my fellow idiots, we present (in no particular order) 42 Reasons We Hate This Game. We're using Roman numerals, because besides the Super Bowl the only other time they get used are for Rocky movies.


I: Tom Coughlin - he's no pretty face

II: 2 weeks of Randy Moss' domestic disputes

III: The NY Post and NY Daily News - useless for the next 2 weeks

IV: We don't care about Mike Vrabel catching touchdown passes

V: We miss Bud Bowl

VI: If Boston wins one more thing this year some one needs to pay, and pay dearly

VII: Enough of the Manning family

VIII: More robots and programming hype from Fox

IX: Junior Seau, if you really love San Diego, why did you sign w/ NE?

X: Tom Brady illegitimate kid - remember him?

XI: The Pats took Coach Mac and it brought in the P era

XII: Guilty via proximity: BC and Rutgers

XIII: Tiki Barber

XIV: Snow plow cheating vs Dolphins

XV: Damn you Joe Morris----All those games of Madden we lost playing against the ’86 Giants on Sega. Little Joe was unstoppable

XVI: Belichick dresses like a scumbag

XVII: We’re still recovering from that Ravens-Giants Super Bowl, zzzzzzzzz

XVIII: Randy Moss is trying again

XIX: Plaxico if finally trying

XX: No one wants to read the Sports Guy and his permanent hard on

XXI: We're sick of stories about how Tom Coughlin has changed

XXII: That Tm Brady/O-line Visa commercial

XXIII: The ’72 Dolphins getting more publicity in the next 2 weeks

XXIV: The only things NJ we approve of are Bruce and a friend of the idiots: BabyBoss

XXV: Pats used to play in Fenway

XXVI: Lisa Olson

XXVII: Joe Buck could get his panties in a bunch again with Randy Moss

XXVIII: Michael Strahan’s WWF like sack record setting performance in 2001

XXIX: We’ve had enough Tom Brady footwear updates

XXX: No way host city Arizona can out do this post season game

XXXI: Foxboro or Foxborough? Make up your mind

XXXII: Rodney Harrison is a cheap shot artist

XXXIII: Rodney Harrison got caught buying HGH but no one seems to talk much about that

XXXIV: God we hate Rodney Harrison

XXXV: Kathie Lee Gifford, wife of former G-Man Frank

XXXVI: The ESPN hype machine goes into high gear

XXXVII: All the “CNY in the Superbowl” columns coming in the P-S the next week

XXXVIII: Spygate, spygate, spygate….19-0*

XXXIX: Bellicheat got caught messing around with some other dude's wife

XL: Giants games force-fed to us CNYers every week

XLI: Pats, atrocious logo

XLII: Brady fumbled





To Retire, or Not Retire


No, I'm not talking about Brett Favre, Tony Dungy, or any boxer - I'm talking about retiring jerseys. There's a lot of talk about in Syracuse today about jersey retirement and the fact that Billy Owens may be the next guy to have his number plastered to the wall of the Carrier Dome. Axe thinks Billy is at the top of the list, but Gerry McNamara's number should be the next to be retired.


While Axe's reasoning on Gerry makes perfect sense, here is where I stand on the issue as a whole - ENOUGH. STOP IT. GIVE IT UP. Retiring jerseys is a gimmick the current athletic director likes to use to "honor the past" so he can conveniently ignore the fact that the present isn't going so well (more so in football, hoops will be fine in time). Look, I have no problem honoring some of the great players that have worn orange, but retiring a jersey in college sports is unnecessary and creates more debate than it does goodwill. These are college kids that wore the a particular piece of laundry for a maximum of 4 years, sometimes less.


The fact of the matter is that while some very, very good players have passed through town, other than Jim Brown and Dave Bing, we're not talking about retiring the numbers of sports immortals. Let's put this in perspective, the Yankees have retired 15 numbers, but that's appropriate since they've won 26 championships and had guys like Ruth, Gehrig and DiMaggio in pinstripes. Currently, Syracuse has retired 7 basketball jerseys and 3 football jerseys. At this rate, in a few years Gross will have passed Yankees and there won't be any room left on the Carrier Dome walls.

The other bone of contention I have with the practice is where do you draw the line? The Jim Boeheim era alone has produced a ton of very good, many times similar players. From Wendell Alexis to Hakim Warrick, there are guys who contributed in different ways in different eras. In looking at the Syracuse web site and a few others, I've seen people make the case to retire the jerseys of Etan Thomas, Dennis Duval, and Stevie Thompson to name a few. Now don't get me wrong, these guys were all GOOD PLAYERS, but come on man, there's no objective way to draw a line as to which jersey gets retired and which ones do not. What does that say to the players who will "just miss" getting their jerseys retired?


The University has done a nice job of honoring it's past players without retiring every other number they see. Go to any home basketball game and there's a good chance you'll see a former player or two being honored at halftime. Look at the contributions of guys like Carmelo Anthony and George Hicker, who have given millions to the new basketball practice facility. If they thought they weren't being properly recognized do you think they'd be ponying up that kind of cash? You can honor players without retiring the number of every guy who had a few good years.


Here's my by bit of advice, let's work a little harder at improving the product on the court and the field, because if you don't, 15 years from now we'll be debating whether we should retire the numbers of Flynn, Greene or Devendorf because others who had similar careers have their jerseys "immortalized forever." In football the only talk will be of retiring Rob Long's number, because punting will be the only thing anyone remembers from this era.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

STEPHEN A. SMITH HAS AN ONLINE BLOG

DID YOU HEAR ME? I SAID, STEPHEN A. SMITH HAS AN ONLINE BLOG!!!!

It's true, courtesy of With Leather and Simon on Sports there will be more exposure to Stephen A. Smith as he delves into "online blogging." The other two sites have already done a good job pointing out what a mess the thing is, so I won't get into that - however, one bit of advice, if you have a moment, read the comments people have left - you won't regret it.

Pasqual-miami


While it's been a foregone conclusion for weeks, Paul Pasqualoni is following Tony Soprano, check that, Sparano to Miami to become the new defensive coordinator for the fish.


While all of us were very glad that a change was made (file that in the be careful what you wish for category) I hope he does well in South Florida. While we truly believe it was time for change, I now oddly find myself rooting for him (I can't speak for the other two idiots), while his replacement Greg Robinson continues to flounder around like a man with no arms in a swimming pool.


P's got a big challenge ahead of him, Miami's defense is like a lot of South Florida - old and cantankerous, so we will see if he's upgraded his coaching skills since leaving for the pro game. The plus side for me is that as an Eagle fan, even if he helps turn that team around, it doesn't affect me, and the hated cowboys now have to go hire a bunch of new coaches to continue covering Wade Phillips' rather large ass.


For you Syracuse fans, it appears Dallas is the place to be if you've got SU connections. This article in the Dallas News mentions Dallas defensive coordinator Brian Stewart (former SU defensive backs coach) is looking to bring in Ed Orgeron (former SU defensive line coach) to coach the defensive line, so take note G-Rob and staff, if next year doesn't work out, Dallas is a place you might want to send a resume.

Who's More Intolerable - the Patriots or their Fans?

With Syracuse off until Saturday, T3I will contribute to the massive hype surrounding the Superbowl by doing what we do best - complaining about it. In that spirit, we pose to you the age old question - what's more annoying, the actual Patriots or their fans? The clip below is a classic Patriots fan, from the blood curdling accent that makes me want to buy a bullet and rent a gun, to the Patriots gear, to the way she pronounces Brett Favre's name (if you can stick with it that long) - she's got it all and she makes a strong case for the fan argument - you be the judge.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

More Idiotic React

Champ and Russianator have already chimed in with some great stuff and I'm sympathetic if you are tired of reading takes on the SU loss to Georgetown on Monday night, but I'm an idiot and I need to get this out of my system:

Questions:
Where was Rick Jackson? 3 minutes of playing time is not enough especially in a game that goes to OT.

What is Paul Harris' offensive strategy? I'm serious about this, he doesn't have the consistent mid-range or outside game, and whenever he goes inside, his lack of height becomes evident. I'd say he should be running the wing on the fast break, but we need his work on the defensive glass to gain possession in the first place.

How does Scoop fill up the stat sheet with zeros and play 40 minutes? Actually he did have 1 assist and 4 turnovers...the loss of Devo (even I can admit) was a killer last night.

Everything being said, I loved the effort (save for Dontae's gunning in the first half) and the Orange deserved the win...and let it slip away in the final minutes. I'm still frustrated over it and while good performances and strong efforts are something to grab on to, this team needs some quality wins and last night should have been one of them.

We had them.


Coming up on 24 hours after last night's 64-62 overtime loss to the hated Hoyas, the Orange find themselves sitting in 12th place in the Big East Conference. It is way too early to imagine a Big East Tournament without the Orange, so let's not even go there. With this young team we probably should feel good about going the distance with the Hoyas, in a Rocky Balboa type of way.

Russianator provided a solid recap as usual. There'll be a little bit of redundancy here (what did you expect, we're idiots) but here's what caught my eye last night:

Thumbs up: Arinze, after years of a post presence defined by missed dunks and dropped passes (Watkins), and falling down and dribbling the ball off of feet (TRob), it is refreshing to see a finisher who attacks the glass. I really think this kid could be a monster if he sees a senior season. He held his own with a 12/13 night against Roy Hibbert.

Thumbs down: Donte's shot selection. Honestly, a little too much of the 3 last night in the 1st half. Quick 3's are not the best looks when the offense is not set up to begin with. Hit the blocks Donte. I'd love to see some more of him on the post.

Thumbs up: Going toe-to-toe with the nation's #9 team on their home floor

Thumbs down: Devo and Andy, how we miss you.

Where do we go from here? Well the next 5 on the slate include: Providence, DePaul, Nova, UConn, and South Florida. Four out of five there would be nice.

A Very Special Congratulations

Make no mistake about it - I detest the Giants. To make matters worse, a Giant-Patriot Superbowl makes me want to puke. In addition to the roughly 1,000 G-MEN e-mails I have already received from my friends, there will be the constant barrage of Giants related crap in the NY Post to pick through on my way to Page Six.

However, there's no denying the fact that Giants are in the Superbowl, so to offer congratulations, I'll leave it up to this Southern fried retard - "Halen 88" - a Cowboy fan, who I've just discovered has an astounding body of horrifically bad (so bad they are FANTASTIC) videos up on YouTube. You can check out his entire body of work here, in the mean time, this one's for you Giant fans -congrats.

Rattled Out

Syracuse lost a heart breaker 64-62 to Georgetown in overtime last night, with Jonny Flynn's three pointer at the buzzer going half way down before rattling out. It was a surprising performance by a young Orange team that has struggled on the road in conference play, and while no one expected them to play so well, it was a game they should have won.

Why Georgetown Won

* This one is pretty simple, as good as Syracuse played, at the end of the game they were spent. A look at the box score shows that Syracuse's starters played 209 minutes. In a regulation game there's only 200 minutes of floor time. Scoop Jardine (who had a terrible game by the way) played the least of the guys who started, and he logged 39 minutes. The other 4 guys all played over 40 minutes, which is crazy - then again, there aren't a lot of other options this year.

* This quote in the Post Standard story by Mike Waters from John Thompson III sums it up best - "This is what we do," Georgetown coach John Thompson said. "We slowly grind it out. We have the bodies to be physical." And it is precisely what Syracuse does not have - the bodies to grind it out, or desire to always be physical. Last night they had the desire, just not the bodies.

* The man to man pressure at the end of the game really disrupted Syracuse's offense, as a result they only scored 4 points in the last 9 minutes of the game (also due to fatigue).

* Some combination of a lack of decent play calling and a lack of execution lead to Syracuse not getting good looks when they needed them at the end.

* Donte Greene's abysmal shooting performance and shot selection (especially in the first half) certainly limited the Orange's options on the offensive end.

Things I Didn't Understand

* I'm not sure why Georgetown played so much zone. It allowed Syracuse to stay in the game. Tough, pressure man to man defense has given Syracuse fits this year (Cincinnati and West Virginia especially) and when Georgetown needed stops at the end of the game, they went man. Why they played zone for a large portion of the game is beyond me - but I'd like to thank them for it.

* Why SU doesn't run more sets with Greene down low, especially early. Champ said it best last night, when Carmelo was struggling with the jumper, he always went straight down to the block to get himself going. I know Greene isn't Carmelo, but it's a good lesson to learn - the last time I checked, Melo did pretty well for himself and his team.

* I think it was Axe that openly questioned why Syracuse players get the ball stripped from them so much - and I've got a theory. I'm not at practice and I could be 100 percent wrong, but if they are practicing against each other - and we know they don't play a ton of defense, it's pretty hard to get used to people raking your arms when it never happens. Again, maybe they beat the crap out of each other in practice, but if they don't, I'd suggest having every walk on physically abuse the starters every day.

* For the life of me, I can't figure out why they don't set better screens. The guy setting the screen, especially up top, is too quick to roll to the hoop, rendering the screen ineffective - simply holding the screen another second would make all the difference in the world.

The Officiating

* Complaining about the officials after every game gets old and is something losers do to justify losses, however, last game it was warranted. This game, I'll let the Axeman take the honors, because I agree with every single point he made about the way last night's game was called when he states - "Lesson: Don't expect the officials to help you." Amen Axe.

The Good News

* Syracuse took it to Georgetown and beat them up on the boards, out rebounding them by 10. Syracuse was as aggressive and physical as they've been all season.

* Jonny Flynn carried the team for large stretches of the game - without his play in the first half, the cuse is down 15 at the break and the game is over.

* Arinze missed those 4 crucial free throws and the put back in OT, but it's still hard to be critical of him, he played 41 minutes and played well, he controlled the boards pulling down 13 rebounds.

* Kristof! the Belgian Waffle gave them some good minutes in the first half and even scored 4 points.

The Bad News

* Scoop Jardine - that was a rough game, let's just move on and hope it doesn't happen again.

* Many times in half court sets, if teams sag on AO, Flynn and Greene are the only guys who can score. Jardine and Harris are very limited in what they can do in half court sets.

Random Thoughts

* If every college basketball game was called by Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas and Bill Raftery, I would be a happy man. There's no comparison between these three and some of the other clowns that get paid to call games.

* Nice work by SU fans at the Verizon Center last night, the large Orange contingent really made themselves heard.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bring on the Hoyas


Now that we've had 2 days to get the Higgins out of our systems, it's time to move on. Syracuse and Georgetown go at it on Big Monday tonight at 7 pm. To say winning the game will be a challenge for the young Orangemen is like saying it's a challenge for Skip Bayless to NOT be a douchebag. Possible - yes, probable - no.

Since there are already some good previews on the game up on other sites, there's no sense in reinventing the wheel - here they are:

* CuseAdelphia pairs up with a hoya blog (what's next, cats and dogs getting along?) to provide you with the inside scoop on the hoyas.

* TNIAAM has a preview up and some great clips from last year's game - you know the one we all thought had locked up an NCAA bid...uh never mind - just check out the clips and the always strong headline.

* The Post Standard introduces us to Roy Hibbert (ummmm, I think we just might have heard about him) has the usual full preview up here.

* And while not a preview, State of the Orange isn't happy with the dome PA announcer and I thought you needed to know.

If Syracuse is going to have any chance at all they need to get out in transition and take Hibbert out of the game. In order to do that, they need to force turnovers in the half court set, be vigilant on the glass and get the outlet pass to Jonny and let him turn on the jets. Memphis neutralized him earlier this year because they beat him down the floor and Joey Dorsey played like a madman and grabbed every rebound in sight. AO, Harris and Donte Greene have to do the same.

Georgetown is patient, well coached and deep so I don't see it happening. This one feels like a 79-68 win for the hoyas. Their patience and execution on offense, combined with Syracuse's struggles in the half court are too much to handle - I hope I'm wrong, but at least it feels good to hate Georgetown again.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Welcome to the Tim Higgins Show

I don't care that they hate me, as long as I'm the center of attention


On Saturday Villanova came into the Carrier Dome and dealt Syracuse a crushing loss, winning 81-71 in front of the biggest home crowd of the season. In addition to hard fought basketball game, 26,494 fans plus a national TV audience were treated to something a little extra - the Tim Higgins show.

Without a doubt, that was the worst "best officiated" game I have seen in a long, long time. Let me explain - the game was called extremely tight, with 47 fouls called in total. The number of touch fouls was astounding. Although the 5th foul on Donte Greene was a blown call, for the most part the game was called evenly and consistently, basically they were calling just as many ticky tack fouls on Villanova as they were on Syracuse. I'm not pinning this loss on the officials, because the calls were consistent and its up to the players to adjust.

Here's my issue - I don't watch basketball to watch some old, overweight guy and his colleagues blow a fucking whistle. If I wanted to watch that, I'd go to senior living center, give old man Jones a whistle and tell him to blow it every time he saw someone walking around without their teeth.

The players need to decide games, not officials who let their egos get in the way. The inconsistency between the way games are called is frankly unacceptable. If the games against Cincinnati and and West Virginia had been called like this one was, they'd still be playing. Calling a game like that destroys the flow, takes away aggressiveness, and makes the referee the center of attention - and the last time I checked no one was showing up to see Tim Higgins, although I'm guessing somehow he doesn't grasp that fact.

Now, onto the game itself.

The Axeman says this game welcomed SU to the Big East and he's right. As we said the other day, the Rutgers game didn't teach us much, but this one did. In analyzing this Syracuse team one third of the way through the Big East season, the words of the great Denny Green come to mind, they are who we thought they are - a young team with very little depth and a no room for error when playing good teams. This is starting to sound like a broken record, but the loss of Devo, Rautins and Wright is more to overcome than we can expect. If you didn't watch the game you can get full recaps at the links above, so let's get to the likes and dislikes.

What I Liked

* Overall the effort was very good - and I know there's a little bit of an uproar over Paul Harris' comments after the game, but I chalk that up more to a guy thinking before he speaks than a player tanking. He may have felt his effort isn't up to what he expects, but that wasn't his biggest problem yesterday, the turnovers were.

* Jonny Flynn stepped up. With Greene on the bench in foul trouble, Jonny did what he could to carry the load on offense, ending up with 23 points and 4 assists.

* The hustle and overall effort that the Belgian Waffle displayed off the bench. He brings energy off the bench, something every team needs.

* Scoop Jardine's offense. He demonstrated that he is a threat to score, when upcoming opponents are looking at film of SU they will have to account for Scoop, which bodes well for the future.

* Scottie Reynolds is a player. Obviously this isn't a positive for Syracuse, but you have to able to appreciate a guy as good as Reynolds.

What I Didn't Like

* There were some bad calls against Donte Greene, but a lot of his foul trouble this year stems from him being out of position and not moving his feet. While Donte has been taking some flak on message boards, I'm still high on this kid, however if this season has any hope of ending in a tournament with four letters instead of three, he needs to improve defensively. More effort and better movement will keep Donte out of foul trouble, so far there hasn't been enough of it.

* Turnovers, turnovers, and more turnovers. While Harris said he didn't try that hard, where it showed was in the turnover column. He's a good passer who was awful passing the ball. The same goes for Jardine, he cancelled out his 15 points by turning the ball over 8 times. Just devastating mistakes that SU can not afford to make.

* One more note on Harris, at this point in his career, he seems to be lost offensively. He's not big enough to be a force down low and his jumper isn't good enough to get him by. Boeheim is harder on him than any other player, he now has to figure out the best way get Harris back in the game mentally. If he's going to brow beat the kid to death, it might be time for a pat on the back.

* The defense and rebounding in general is not good enough to get this team by - if they fall behind they can't get the stops needed to get back in the game, and when they do get stops they don't get enough rebounds to limit the opponent's possessions.

* I love the Belgian Waffle's effort and hustle, but he HAS to give them something on the offensive end. He needs to find a way to get to the offensive glass and get 4-6 points a night on put backs and rebounds. Right now other teams do not have to account for him.

Conclusion

This team is good enough to beat the teams it should beat - and they aren't mature enough or deep enough to beat teams that are better. There are 12 Big East games left, they will all be a challenge and the promise of the preseason is quickly fading, leaving us with the reality that this is an extremely young team which may struggle more than it succeeds this year. Here's hoping they are young enough to not realize it.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Syracuse - Villanova Preview

Been swamped at work and my brain is useless, so in keeping with today's theme of "letting others do the work for you" - here are some links to other bloggers who have done a much better job than I could muster today.

* CuseAdelphia's preview is here.

* The Axeman says we should Approach with Caution.

* SU-per blog sports has an update on the Syracuse RPI here.

* For an opposing view, you can check out Let's Go Nova.

Idiotic Prediction: Syracuse 77 Villanova 74

Friday Fun

Need entertainment - you've come to the right place - so let's let others do the work:

* The Big Lead has a video of the Mike and Mike roast here (warning, there's foul language)

* Also from the the Big Lead, Duke bloggers are defending their floppers, which makes me ask the age-old question, who is more loathsome, Duke players or Duke fans?

* Bud Selig - man or bird? You be the judge.

* Still searching for Bobby Fischer? Try 6 feet under.

* Move over Gary Miller, JamesOn Curry is the latest athlete to pull a Mattingly.

* Forget about Cloverfield opening today, this is 10 times more scary.

* Coach P may be moving back up the coaching ladder -and for some odd reason, I'm actually rooting for the guy, the lesson - forget Troy Nunes, I think Greg Robinson may be an absolute magician to make people nostaligic for the P era.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Flop like an Egyptian

For all you Duke haters out there (you can include all three idiots in that group), you've got to check out Greg Paulus' flop last night against Florida State. Thanks Deadspin for the original link.

Greg, if the hoops career doesn't work out you could make a fortune as a Michael Spinks impersonator. The WWF is always looking for good talent as well.

Truly Oscar worthy performances. Bravo Greg, bravo!

It Should Read, What's Wrong with his Head?

While checking out the Sports Hernia today, my eyes were visually assaulted by images of New York Daily News writer Dick "Hoops" Weiss. Hoops is a rather legendary figure in the world of college sports, he's been writing for over 40 years, which is remarkable, and what is even more remarkable is that for the past 15 years he's done it with the Daily News, which could care less about college sports anyway.

The Hernia, which is one of the funniest blogs out on the intertubes, tries to determine what exactly is on Hoops' melon (it appears to be some sort of rare toupe-mullet). Syracuse fans will get a kick out of the caption at the bottom of the screen. All the fun is here, but it's pretty rough to look at, you've been warned, gaze in wonderment at your own risk.

Syracuse v. Rutgers - What I Learned

Syracuse destroyed Rutgers last night 81-59 - and make no mistake about it, every win is a good win, so T3I are certainly happy about the results, however that game didn't tell us a whole lot. Here's what this idiot learned:

* Rutgers is a TERRIBLE basketball team. Truly brutal, especially on the offensive end, they couldn't win the America East this year. I knew they were bad coming in, I just didn't know they were this bad. In the past they've always had a few guys that could really score, but they don't have anyone like Quincy Douby this year. Hell, I think Quincy from the 1970s TV show could get 10 minutes a game on this team. I'd be surprised if they win more than 2 conference games and Rutgers fans will have to wait until next year for a Big East tournament appearance.

* We had the ESPN Regional broadcast here in the Capital District with Dave Ryan (smooth, professional, SU Alum) paired with John "backyard dogfight" Celestand. This is the second game I've heard Celestand call and last night I considered repeatedly punching myself in the head because it would have been more pleasant. If there's a third time I may chug a bottle of bleach and take a nap.

* Jonny Flynn had a very good game, it was great to see him bounce back from a couple of rough performances, but please, please stop trying to dunk. He's missed more dunks this year than Darryl Watkins, and that's a record I never thought would be broken.

* Keep Donte Greene in the high post for the rest of the year - he can shoot the 15 footer, kick it out, or take it to the hole. It makes the team much harder to defend when he's there.

* The Post Standard story above makes it clear the team watched a lot of film, and you can tell it was on Arinze's mind when twice early in the game he passed the ball back out of the low post when he was one on one. He's got to do a better job recognizing the defense, but at least it shows he's trying to learn.

* There are a number of Rutgers players this morning sore as hell because Paul Harris kicked their asses last night. I truly hope it never happens, but if a Ron Artest style mele ever breaks out, when it's over there will only be one man left standing - and that's Paul Harris.

* Did I mention Rutgers is awful? Home game versus Nova this Saturday, it should tell us more about where they are at (EDITORS NOTE - I originally had this listed as a road game because I can't read a schedule and because I'm an idiot - thanks to JB for the catch). Bring on the 'cats - and let's beat them to shut John Celestand up.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Boom Goes the College TV Station

Apparently the video below is all over the interwebs, I stumbled across it on With Leather - and if you haven't seen it, let me just tell you it's fan-freaking-tastic. The sports world needs more awkward college kids on TV and fewer overweight douchebags giving us our sports news.


Costanza knew it all along.

George Costanza was a man ahead of his time. Long before the benefits of sleeping at work were documented, George Costanza was catching some sleep in his custom-made desk cave. Scientists have now documented the benefits of napping at work which has led to inventions such as this.

We're glad to see scientists actually doing something productive, and we hope the more-sleep/less-work movement catches on. T3I has been proud proponents of napping for years now.


"Heartbreaker..... "


Advice for Big East Coaches

We all watch a lot of college basketball, the Big East in particular (obviously) and since we can't really be happy about anything (there's no fun in happiness, don't believe anyone who tells you otherwise) there are a few things about the coaches in the league that drive me in particular, crazy. Luckily for all 16 coaches in the league, there are solutions. Here is some advice for the coaches of the Big East.




Villanova Coach Jay Wright - You are the inspiration for the list. UNBUTTON the damn suit coat. Seriously, I don't read GQ and I don't want to see you preening on the sideline.





Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim - JB is our man, but stop picking your nose. TV catches you doing more digging than a West Virginia coal miner.


West Virginia Coach Bob Huggins - There are so many to choose from here, like not puking in your car before getting a DUI, but that would be rude, and since we're never rude, let's go with ditching the sweater vest, it's not a good look for a fat sweaty guy.









Notre Dame Coach Mike Brey - This one is easy, lose the damn mock turtlenecks, you smug bastard.















Georgetown Coach John Thompson III - You've revived the program, now it's time to work on that smile.








Marquette Coach Tom Crean - You might want to lodge a complaint against "Antarctic hero" Tom Crean, he's stealing your limelight when people do Google searches.





DePaul Coach Jerry Wainwright - Please try and look a little less used car salesman-ish.











Providence Coach Tim Welsh - Dial back the hair gel, Pat Riley isn't happy you are stealing his look.








Cincinnati Coach Mick Cronin- You're really short, we'd suggest some bigger shoes, maybe some stripper heals, once you get used to walking in them you're neck will thank you - less staring straight up.



South Florida Coach Stan Heath - Honestly, who told you the porn 'stache was a good idea? Stephon Marbury?








Connecticut Coach Jim Calhoun
- Quit walking all over the damn court Calhoun.


Pittsburgh Coach Jamie Dixon - Bring back Karl Krauser, he killed the 'cuse forever, but he was a favorite of T3I



Rutgers Coach Fred Hill - Contacts Freddie Boy, contacts. They won't fall off when you blow a gasket.







Louisville Coach Rick Pitino - Give is more rants like this one please.

Seton Hall Coach Bobby Gonzalez - We don't care what you do, as long as you don't rebuild the program, the conference is tough enough as it it.

St. John's Coach Norm Roberts - You are hundreds of wins behind Lou Carnesecca and there's only one way to catch him - sweaters man, sweaters.

More From Geno

As Champ pointed out the other day, we don't follow women's basketball, or even pretend to like it, what we do follow are smug statements from coaches. While the Orangewomen lost to number one UConn by six last night, it was a hard fought game and Syracuse didn't back down.

Leave it up to classy Geno Auriemma to offer this backhanded compliment after the game:

"If we struggled and they played lousy we would have won by 25," Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said. "Even though we struggled, it was probably because Syracuse had a lot to do with it."

Look, I know Geno is in the Hall of Fame and there's no arguing with his record of success, especially compared with the Rutgers-like history of women's basketball in Syracuse, but the fact of the matter is that Syracuse is a young, talented team that stood up, punched UConn in the mouth, and almost pulled out what would have been a well earned victory.

They've already won 14 games this year, so to think a team "probably" made you struggle, and you would have beat them by 25 if they had struggled is just arrogant.

Go back to back to Connecticut and quietly snipe at Calhoun Geno, you are now officially an enemy of the idiots (and most other people you deal with).

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cornbread...ain't nothin wrong with that!

Pacman, I know we're halfway through January, but here's a suggestion on a 2008 resolution: it's REALLY time to give up on the strip club scene.

Besides clinging onto your profession, here are a few more reasons to save the strip clubs for bachelor parties:

* you'll save money on those $8 bottles of water
* no more glitter to get off of your clothes
* you can finally get that "I'm In Love With a Stripper" song out of your head
* say goodbye to inciting riots

Fire up the Wii, order some adult entertainment on PPV, read a good book....whatever...but STAY OUT OF THE STRIP CLUB....and remember,

The Ideal Candidate Would Most Likely Be Male

While perusing SI's Hot Clicks I learned that the Knicks are looking for a new public relations coordinator. Since Isiah's had some trouble with his marketing people in the past, I'm thinking the Knicks might want to consider a man for the job............then again, Isiah and Magic did do that weird kissing thing, so even that might not be safe.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Rooting interest

As you know by now the NFL season has been reduced to the Final Four. Unfortunately for T3I our respective beloved Steelers, Eagles and Raiders are preparing for the NFL annual player selection meeting…more commonly known as the Draft. With our favorites gone, I thought I’d offer up my rooting interest perspective, remember this compilation does not necessarily reflect the views of Russianator or Champ.

Patriots
Reason to back them: None
Reason to oppose them: Several, including Steelers losses to them in 2 AFC title games this decade. Bill Belichick. Gillette Stadium is in the middle of nowhere. But the overriding factor….I hate Boston sports teams.

Chargers
Reason to back them: Powder Blue jerseys. Air Coryell Era was entertaining.
Reason to oppose them: January 15, 1995…another Steelers loss in AFC title game, that one still stings. N-O-R-V. Shawne Merriman.

Giants
Reason to back them: David Tyree? (that’s a reach)
Reason to oppose them: Exit 16W. Forced diet of Giants games by WTVH-5 and FOX-68 as a kid tasted worse than the green leafy crap on my dinner plate.

Packers
Reason to back them: Lambeau Field. Hearty fan base. Brett Favre. Cheese.
Reason to oppose them: Wisconsin is home to Miller Brewing Co.

In the end I’ll force down the Miller Lite and "back the pack", plus it would be a great story to see Favre get another title and ride off on his tractor...whatever the case remember there only 3 real football games left until August….so enjoy them.

The Internet Can Still Be Great

Obviously there's a lot of crap out on the Internet, and that includes this retarded blog, but every once in a while it provides the opportunity for some nameless guys (with what I'm guessing are limited resources) to do something really funny - and extremely timely. In this case it's a fake Coors Light commercial featuring TO - courtesy of The 700 Level.

Cry Me a River

Normally when Terrell Owens opens his mouth I close my ears, but if he wants to cry like a baby behind some goofy sunglasses (you are inside dick head), well then I'm posting it on this blog. Please join me in mocking this douche. Nice work yesterday TO - nice work.


Houston, We Have a Problem

Two road conference road games, two bad losses for the Syracuse Orange. Yesterday's burnt couch ass whooping was administered by the West Virginia Mountaineers. The hope generated by a 5 game winning streak is actually turning out to be an evil thing, as Syracuse fans can attest to this morning.

With the message boards in full melt down mode - here's a brief analysis of what is wrong

Youth - Very simply, the team is too young and there's nothing anyone can do about it. When the wheels start to come off the bus during a game there is no one that's been there before and can right the ship. Losing Devendorf and Rautins in addition to the seniors may prove to be too much to over come. While obviously talented, this season has the potential to be similar to the one UConn experienced last year.

Depth - Again, there is nothing that can be done about this - they've got 7 guys, if a few of them are having off nights, they stay on the floor and the team has an off night. What is curious is the wasting of a redshirt year by Sean Williams. The kid should NOT be logging any serious minutes, but when you're down 20 with 3 minutes to play, he should at least get out on the floor. Besides, when they press or are in scramble mode, it would help to have a shot blocker at the back of the press.

Defense - In the name of brevity, let's all agree that the defense is horrible, otherwise we will be on this subject all day. Two main points to hit on here, this team doesn't have the will to play solid defense for extended periods of time - it's something they have to WANT to do - and right now they don't. The second part of the equation is that when things break down there's no one there to clean up the mess. For year's SU has had a Darryl Watkins or Jeremy McNeil or Etan Thomas to block shots and protect the rim. Arinze is getting dunked on by white guys. As good as he's been offensively, defensively he'd struggle against Craig Forth.

Offense - The biggest problem they've been having offensively is that when things aren't going right on that end, it affects the rest of their game way more than it should. The first 10 minutes yesterday they got good looks and didn't make anything - at that point they started hanging their heads and quit playing D. Donte Greene (and Boeheim) need to realize he's 6'11" - his offense needs to start 5 feet from the rim, not 25. He's trying to do too much, and his shot selection has been very poor. Of course, this is mainly attributed to him being a freshman and being asked to carry the offense, plus, if he jacks up 10 bad shots in a row, who's going to come in for him?

The last two games physical man to man teams have taken them out of what they're trying to do - and frankly its debatable right now that there's even a plan on the offensive end. Boeheim's never going to install the flex offense and run a bunch of tightly controlled sets, but they've got to run SOMETHING in the half court. They also need to do a better job of setting screens, but that's pervasive throughout college basketball.

The bottom line is that while the last two games have been disasters, there's still time to get this thing straightened out, but it's going to be an uphill battle.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Burnt Couches

Losing by 20 to West Virginia, what is this football season?

Is it too early for bubble talk? Forget NCAA, what about the Big East?

Bring on Rutgers.



Shut up Geno

I know very little about women's college basketball except that either Tennessee or UConn wins the national title every year. Apparently the Orangewomen are turning some heads in the world of women's hoops.

Last year I believe, the Good Doctor Daryl Gross decided the women's team would begin playing home games in the Dome. Packing an average of 661 fans into a 50,000 seat football stadium really makes the cupboards look bare.

Apparently UConn women's coach Geno Auriemma has taken lessons from male counterpart Jim Calhoun on how to be a real a-hole. Geno is not happy with having to play in the Dome.

"Playing in the Carrier Dome is about the dumbest thing I've ever seen,"
I'll be honest, I still think the Good Doctor should move the women back to Manley, for all games....except against Geno's crew. Anything that pisses off a coach at Connecticut is ok in my book.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Friday Fun

Too lazy to scour the internet for fun news from the world of sports? Well, you've come to the right place - here are some things to check out while pretending to work on a Friday afternoon.

* It looks like Doctor Daryl Gross may not be moving to Miami after all.

* Speaking of moving, disgraced sprinter Marion Jones is moving - to jail.

* A very good review of how the media covered college football.

* Chuck Knoblauch thinks the Mitchell Report is crazy and interesting - whereas I think Chuck Knoblauch is odd and washed up.

* SU plays West Virginia on Sunday, a complete preview is available here, but there's a far more enlightening bit of information out there on Huggy Bear - apparently he sweats a little during games.

* Super giant Russian boxers are scary.

* And since SU plays West Virgina on Sunday, here's an absolute train wreck of a video, done by a West Virginia dude who can't afford a stack of books to put a camera on (like Kige) and may or may not be stoned. He discusses the Rich Rodriguez move, West Virginia basketball, and women's soccer in his Youtube segment entitled "What's Burning My Couch."

Junior High Girls Game Breaks Out During an Altantic 10 Game


Can you make a jumper? We really could use some help

George Washington and St. Louis squared off in an Atlantic 10 game last night and to say it was a rough one for the Billikens is like saying Custer had a rough night at Little Bighorn. St. Louis came into the game averaging nearly 60 points per game and missed that mark by 40, losing 49-20. When the local newspaper lists every point your team scored in the game and the list isn't very long, it might be time to rethink what you're doing.

Champ and I were teammates on a pretty horrible high school team way back in the day (we were part of the problem) and we managed to lose a game by 50, but at least our team scored 65 points that night. Scoring 20 points is beyond belief - I mean even the SU football team managed to crack the 20 point mark a few times this season. On Tuesday, Courtney Galuski, a women's high school basketball player at a school near Albany managed to make 15 3's in one game.

New St. Louis Coach Rick Majerus handled the loss with a lot of dignity and class and I give him credit, especially since that's not something I'm about to do. I've compiled some possible reasons why the Billikens were only able to muster 20 points against an opponent that has a losing record this year:

- It was too windy in the arena
- Majerus ate the playbook
- GW pulled the classic gag of putting Icy Hot in the Billiken's jock straps
- Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to hire Dennis Rodman as a shooting coach
- The team was distracted by Jennifer Simpson rooting them on
- The B-12 and lidocaine that Brian McNamee injected them with threw them off
- Every St. Louis player was trying to impress Isiah Thomas

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Robinson and Gross - Happy They Don't Live in Washington

The State of Washington has quite a few things that Syracuse New York does not. They have the Space Needle, Starbucks Corporate Headquarters, the Seahawks and at least for now the SuperSonics to just name a few attractions.

One other thing the University of Washington has that Syracuse does not - an alum that is willing to pony up $200,000 for the University to fire football coach Ty Willingham and Athletic Director Todd Turner.

According to the above story, Ed Hansen, who graduated in 1966 from the University's Law School, offered a $100,000 a piece to be used for law school scholarships if the school sent these two guys packing.

Willingham, hired at the same time as Robinson is now in a similar circumstance, having had 3 unsuccessful years and a fan base that's growing restless. Both have 5 year deals and both are headed into year 4 squarely on the hot seat. To date, Willingham is 11-25 in 3 years at UW, while Robinson is 7-28 at Syracuse. Willingham also lead his team to a 42-12 ass kicking of the Orange last August in the season opener in the windy Carrier Dome.

We know that one of Gross' missions is to increase fundraising and revenue so a word of warning to the good Doc, be careful who you solicit, they might have enough cash to try and send you on your way - be thankful you are in Central New York, those guys in the Pacific Northwest can be rough.

Mauled - Syracuse Not Ready to Play in Loss to Cincy

Well, that didn't go as planned. A young Cincinnati came out and wiped the floor with a young Syracuse team last night for a simple reason - they were more physical and wanted it more. Syracuse came out, cruised to a quick early lead and then it looked like they thought they were in store for another South Florida game where they'd be free to run up and down the court, launch uncontested threes and get to rim. However halfway through the first half POW - Cincy punched them in the face (by the way "pow" was a reference to the 1960s Batman TV show, so go back, read that again and imagine the joker punching batman in the face - go ahead, give it a try, you'll like it).

Syracuse has not faced a team this year with the size and strength of the Bearcats and give Mick Cronin (odd name, odd looking guy, effective coach) credit - he had his team playing hard-nose physical defense that completely disrupted the Orange offense. The officials let them play, especially in the first half, and Syracuse couldn't match their opponents physicality.

What Went Wrong

* Offensive Execution - As noted above, the physical man to man and double teams in the post employed by the Bearcats got Syracuse out of their offense, they were taking quick shots and setting for jumpers before the offense was even set, which lead to......

* TERRIBLE Rebounding - Syracuse lost the battle of the boards by 7 and gave up 18 offensive rebounds. Of the 14 offensive boards they managed, I'd be willing to bet most of them came in the second half after they were down by more than double digits. When you're not shooting it well, you've got to attack the glass and go get it - especially against a team like Cincinnati which doesn't want to run and wants to control tempo.

* Piss Poor Post Play - Everyone, including T3I have been raving about the play of Arinze Onuaku, and rightly so. He picked one hell of a night to struggle. Arinze looked like he'd never seen a double team before and consequently the decisions he made when he was doubled (which was every time he touched the ball) were hideous. Turnovers, poor passing, and the lack of quick decisions lead to a 3 point night and a lot of time next to Boeheim. Sadly, Rick Jackson didn't play all that well either. AO has to be more aggressive and decisive with ball, until then, expect to see more double teams. On a topic related to poor post play, we get to.....

* Donte Greene - Greene scored 25 and had 12 rebounds, how is he a part of what went wrong? Cincy put a smaller player on him, bodied him up and tried to force him to put the ball on the floor, and the strategy worked - especially in the first half. Donte wasn't strong enough to play effectively in the post last night and his handle wasn't good enough to get buy guys on the bounce. Looks like something else other teams can learn from.

* Missing Devo - There is no denying the team missed Devendorf last night. Against physical defenders he could get to the tin and finish and on a night where Flynn didn't make a thing and Greene was constantly under pressure, having another guy who could step out and shoot it would have been huge. The other Devo related problem is a lack of depth - when things are going south like last night, there's no one to turn to on the bench. The starters played 40, 38, 38, 36 and 26 minutes last night. It's tough to come back when 4 of your guys sat a combined 8 minutes the whole game - that doesn't leave a lot left in the legs.

* Defense - Vaughan scored 29, but the real issue was that Syracuse didn't get enough enough offense out of their defense. When the zone is effective, they are trapping, getting turnovers and then getting out in transition, that didn't happen last night.

Credit Where Credit is Due

* Accountability - Between Paul Harris saying the team "wasn't ready mentally" in the Waters story linked above and Donte Greene taking blame for the loss, they accepted responsibility for what went wrong. They didn't chalk it up to "an off night" or any other lame excuse. A lot of these guys are so good that the game comes easy to them - hopefully hitting a bump in the road like this is something they will learn from - Axe believes this is the case.

* Late Game Effort - They exerted effort to get back into the game late when everyone was most likely gassed and the game was almost out of reach. Even if, as Chris Rock says, "They're supposed to" - it was good to see that they went down with a fight, down 16 on the road they could have folded their tents and went home, but they didn't.

* Donte Greene - Even after the criticism leveled above, he did get 25 points and 12 rebounds, that can't be discounted. A game like this will make him better.

* Experience - Depth and experience are the two things this team lacks - this year they aren't getting any deeper, but they can get more experienced, and this game had more lessons in it than the St. John's and South Florida games combined - if these guys are good students of the game, and I believe they are, what they learned last night can pay dividends down the road.

Conclusion

It was a bad loss (sorry Axe), but a loss that can be learned from. If they want to make the dance in March, games like this have to be exception rather than than rule, because the margin for error is just too thin - but that's the great thing about sports, there's always the next game (NOTE: this is not true in relation to Syracuse football).

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Bearcats or Bearclaws?


Syracuse plays it's first Big East road game of the year tonight against a rebuilding, but dangerous Cincinnati program. The question for Syracuse fans is two fold - which Cincinnati team will show up tonight - the one that beat Louisville on the road, or the one that lost to UAB by 19 - and how will a young Syracuse team handle their first road game without second leading scorer Eric Devendorf?

People who get paid to bring you this information have a full preview up here.

For those of you that prefer a more idiotic preview (and a snazzy picture of an underrated pastry) you've come to the right place.

Things that should make you feel good about tonight:

* On paper, Syracuse is a better team.

* Syracuse has rebounded from the loss of Devendorf and increased the defensive effort and intensity.

* They can score on anybody - and have, they lead the league in scoring.

* Donte Greene and Jonny Flynn should make everyone feel good.

*Cincinnati is 6-8 this year (more on that in a minute).

* Syracuse is too young and dumb to realize that road games are supposed to be a challenge.

* Cincy struggles to score, averaging only 64.5 points per game.

* They have size, but don't have an answer for Arinze or Paul Harris.

Things that should make you worry

* Cincy has been tested. They've played a tough schedule so far, going head to head with Memphis, Xavier, NC State, and while they lost all those contests, they played those teams tough.

* They beat Louisville. I know Louisville is a mess this year (not a good year for Cardinal fans) but it's still a good win.

* Deonta Vaughan can play - and doesn't it always seem like a guard from an opposing team has a career night against Syracuse? If it happens tonight, Vaughan is the guy that will do it.

* Syracuse is too young and dumb to take this team seriously, even if they insist they aren't looking past them. Sometimes experience is the best teacher.

* An extremely young team with a shallow bench on the road is always working with a very small margin for error, tonight is no different.

* Rick Jackson and the Belgian Waffle have struggled of late.

* Syracuse hasn't exactly been clutch from the free throw line.

Conclusion

Syracuse has too much talent for the Bearcats. Expect a close game with Cincinnati fighting to control tempo. Ultimately the offensive fire power of Greene and Flynn and the rebounding prowess of Harris and Arinze make the difference, and Syracuse wins 73 - 64......and Patrick Shadle celebrates by eating a bearclaw (sorry, couldn't resist).