Monday, March 31, 2008

All My Life: Part II, Albany

Headed home from Boston on I-90, the Russianator and I were already working on a plan for the Sweet 16 games in Albany. Everything was falling into place. Boss confirmed that he was flying in for the occasion.

Early in the week the Russianator confirmed we had tickets. The Idiots have always been fans of the party scene in the Capital District. Add in the NCAA Tournament and you’ve got a recipe for one kick-ass weekend. I love the Albany scene. Many good times have been had by all Three Idiots there. In fact, the Russianator and I watched Syracuse clinch their last Final Four appearance against Kansas together in his apartment back in 1996. Karma baby….I liked where we were headed.

After a week full of email exchanges the plan was set. I “missed” work that Friday and headed back East on the great NYS Thruway. A quick aside for those CNYers…..isn’t the trip East on the Thruway so much more scenic than the one West? The Mohawk River and all those little factory towns make it so much more bearable than the journey to Rochester and beyond.

A brief trip onto 87 North and I pulled into the Albany airport to pick up Boss. A few minutes later and Boss’s Southwest Airlines flight touched down in New York. Quite a few Cuse fans wearing orange made their way off of the plane including Boss. We were 2/3 of the way there.

Having the regional in his hometown, the Russianator actually decided to work that Friday. After dropping Champcar off at his apartment we decided there was only one way to wait for our fellow Idiot---- on barstools. We had about an hour to kill so we walked a few block to one of the Russianator’s favorite hangouts….The Hill Street Tavern.

What we didn’t know is that this bar would become the “Syracuse” bar during the Albany regional. We arrived late afternoon to a bar packed with orange-clad Cuse fans getting ready for tonight’s battle with Auburn. A few Labatt’s Blues later, the Russianator joined up with us. We were joined by a few Friends of Idiots as well including the Russianator’s sister, future brother-in-law, and our good friend Ed.

The Idiots love a frosty brew. The Idiots love college basketball. And one thing the Idiots share an equal passion for is tasty bar food. The Hill Street has been a long-standing “first stop” for pre-drinking eating in the Capital District. Nothing serves as better base for an all-night drinking extravaganza like a Hill Street burger or some of their wings.

Knowing that the Pepsi Arena wouldn’t be serving beer (see Part I: Boston), everyone in our group was busy sucking down beers like Joe Namath on a Monday night. We decided wings were the play….and I’ll be honest, the Hill Street wings are among the best I’ve ever had. Our group made Eric “Badlands” Booker proud. I lost count at 80 wings ordered.

Game time was quickly approaching. After squaring up on our bill and loosening our belts a notch, it was a short walk down to the Pepsi Arena. The Russianator met up with this step-dad, a great guy we like to call Caddyshack. Boss and I headed for our seats.

The Oklahoma-Butler game was just finishing up as we settled in.

I’ll be honest, this Auburn game is probably the game I remember the least about due to our earlier performance at the Hill Street. A few late garbage 3’s by Auburn at the end made it a one point game. When I asked the Russianator for his recollection on this game he just remembered some small forward killing us with jumpers in the soft spot of the zone.

FINAL: Syracuse-79 Auburn-78.

Elite Eight baby. The weekend had purpose. There was only one thing to do after the game. Back to the bars. The post-game scene on Pearl Street was tremendous. Lots of fans were milling around, waiting in line to get into Jillian’s and The Big House. We decided to head back towards the Russianator’s place and hit a few local neighborhood pubs.

Boss, Russianator, Caddyshack, and myself finally settled in at the Lark Tavern where we caught some more late games and continued our "John Daly at the 19th hole" imitations.

The good thing about that Friday night, it was only a short stumble home to the Russianator’s pad. Lights out.

Saturday night we had a great dinner at the Albany Pump Station. We were fired up ready for tomorrow’s potential Final Four clinching game against Oklahoma. We were close. We could taste it.

Pearl Street was another great scene on Saturday night. There was a huge regional bracket set up draping down one of the buildings. It showed only two teams remaining in the East Regional. Tomorrow we’d either be celebrating a trip to the Final Four, or we’d be really pissed off.

We hit the Bayou and Artist Formerly Known As The Big House for an evening of cocktails and more cocktails. One thing we love about the party scene in Albany: 4 am last call. Our heads hit the pillows in the early hours of Sunday Morning.

I’ve read that sense of smell can be the most powerful agent of memory recall. There are many smells that bring back memories for me: my mother baking homemade bread, the smell of a new car, and the smell of a Christmas tree in December. My friends, I want you to imagine this scene on Sunday morning.

Boss, Russianator, and myself had just spent the previous two days sucking down beers and shoveling bar food down our throats. We were three really smelly guys, who, well to put it kindly were seriously contributing to the problem of greenhouse gas emissions in that apartment. Boss, Champ, and the Russianator could have been renamed 87, 89, and 94 Grade that morning.

When all three of us finally awoke from our methane-induced comas, we noticed Caddyshack was nowhere to be found. The Russianator fired up SportsCenter for us and we watched highlights of the previous day’s tourney action. A few minutes later Caddyshack returned from a quick trip to Dunkin’ Donuts. We figured it was just for morning coffee and the morning paper. We later learned the truth…..we had stunk the poor man out of the apartment and he LITERALLY needed some fresh air. Not one of our prouder moments.

After fumigating the Russianator’s apartment and some serious shower time, we piled into the ‘shack’s car and headed down to The Pepsi Arena. Getting out of the car, the scene was surreal. Downtown Albany was a sea of orange. Cuse fans were screaming “Let’s go Orange!” from the parking garages. This was a home game. And there was a feeling of “we can’t lose” with all Cuse fans.

The scene inside the Pepsi mirrored what we had just experienced…, and lots of it. A beautiful sight. Chants of “Let’s go Orange!” grew louder and louder. There was no way this team was going to lose this game. All Three Idiots knew it.

Kelvin Sampson, Hollis Price and the rest of the Sooner team had no chance. It was evident very quickly the boys from Oklahoma had no idea what to do against the Cuse zone. Honestly, to this day I’m amazed at how COMPLETELY LOST this team looked trying to figure out the 2-3 zone. It was like they had never seen it before. Kelvin Sampson must have been to busy illegally calling recruits instead of reviewing game tape.

By the second half the game wasn’t really in doubt. It seemed like an eternity however for each TV timeout to arrive. 12 minutes until the Final Four…8…4.

FINAL: Syracuse-63 Never Saw A Zone-47.

That Albany karma did its magic. It was a great scene watching Melo, GMac, and Jimmy B cut down the nets. The chants of “Let’s Go Orange” continued.

Caddyshack wanted to know if we were in for New Orleans. He was already booking his trip with the Russianator's Mom. We’d have to call an emergency meeting of the Idiots to study the feasibility of a New Orleans road trip... Meanwhile, we quickly rushed Boss back up 87 North to the Albany airport so he could catch his flight home.

I was back on I-90 headed back to CNY. The Russianator and I would begin the next week crunching the numbers to see if the Idiots would be off to New Orleans.

Turn up the Foo Fighters….

All my life I've been searching for somethin

'Somethin' never comes, never leads to nuthin'

Nothin' satisfies, but I'm gettin' close

Closer to the prize at the end of the rope

Part I: Boston

#17: Wendell Alexis

An old-school favorite of the Idiots and checking in at #17 on our list with total of 29 Idiot Points:

Wendell Alexis: ('85-'85: 15.2 PPG, 7.4 RPG)

Russianator "He played about 20 years in Europe after he left."

Boss "A poor man's DC."

Champ "I think he was a star on that NBA-free pro team we sent to the World Championships a few years back."

Bonus points for Wendell, a little research shows he's an assistant at everyone's favorite winless Division I program: NJIT.

The complete list:

17. Wendell Alexis (29)

18. Preston Shumpert (27)

19. Josh Pace (20)

20. Otis Hill (17)

21. Greg Monroe (16)

22. Howard Triche (9)

23. Allen Griffin (8)

24. Demetris Nichols (7)

25. Tie: Damone Brown, Jonny Flynn, Lazarus Sims (6)

The Most Intense Man to Ever Wear a Pink Shirt

I caught this over on the the 700 Level - don't let the pink shirt fool you, Lenny Dykstra is still intense. Fair warning if you're at work, Lenny drops the F-bomb (shocker I know).

Sunday, March 30, 2008

#18: Preston Shumpert

Earning the #18 spot on the Top 25 Orangemen of the Idiot Era with a total of 27 Idiot Points:

Preston Shumpert ('01-'02: 20.7 PPG, 6.1 RPG)

Russianator, "DeShaun Williams did not vote for him at this spot."

Champ, "My brush with celebrity: buying P-Shumps a Heineken in Armory Square."

The Complete List:

18. Preston Shumpert (27)
19. Josh Pace (20)
20. Otis Hill (17)
21. Greg Monroe (16)
22. Howard Triche (9)
23. Allen Griffin (8)
24. Demetris Nichols (7)
25. Tie: Damone Brown, Jonny Flynn, Lazarus Sims (6)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

#19: Josh Pace

With 20 Idiot Points, Josh Pace has earned the #19 spot on the Top 25 Orangemen of the Idiot Era.

Josh Pace ('04-'05: 10.8 PPG, 3.8 APG, 5.0 RPG)

Boss, "All time great glue guy...good at going left -- an obvious Democrat."

Champ, "Seemed to make every shot he took in the 2003 title run. Could do it all."

The Complete List:

19. Josh Pace (20)

20. Otis Hill (17)

21. Greg Monroe (16)

22. Howard Triche (9)

23. Allen Griffin (8)

24. Demetris Nichols (7)

25. Tie: Damone Brown, Jonny Flynn, Lazarus Sims (6)

Friday, March 28, 2008

#20: Otis Hill

Happy Friday gang. We've reached the Top 20 of our countdown. Checking in with 17 Idiot Points, the man in the middle of the '96 Championship Game team....Otis Hill.

Otis Hill (Career 10.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG)

Russianator, "6'7" and could play the post better than bigger guys."

Champ, "The good old days, when our big men could catch the ball and finish."

The Complete List:

20. Otis Hill (17)
21. Greg Monroe (16)
22. Howard Triche (9)
23. Allen Griffin (8)
24. Demetris Nichols (7)
25. Tie: Damone Brown, Jonny Flynn, Lazarus Sims (6)

Why Spring Practice Sucks

Been out of town on business for a couple of days, so this is a tad late but with the Syracuse basketball season now euthanized, and the fact that none of us know anything about lacrosse (Nunes, Orange44 and Axe have you covered there anyway), it's time to turn the cross hairs back to Syracuse football and the upcoming season, which in all likelihood will be the Greg Robinson farewell tour. As part of this tour, Greg will give parting gifts of lop sided wins to all the other coaches in the Big East (except you Kragthorpe, GRob owns you).

In all seriousness, we love SU football, Champ and I both are season ticket holders, I drive about 150 miles one way for every game, so while the tone may get a bit negative around here, it's only because we've had high hopes for 3 years and been subjected to absolute crap.

Spring Practice is underway - here's what you need to know

* A bunch of guys are switching numbers.

* Mike Williams has "academic issues" - last year it was injuries, this year I'm guessing crime and academics might be the ones to pick the talent off the roster.

* TNIAAM hits on a great idea here - anything to get rid of the current hideous uniforms. We will continue our campaign to return the the McNabb era uniforms.

Here's Why Spring Practice Sucks

* Hope. How can hope be a bad thing? It's simple really, you get your hopes up - only to have these hopes and dreams crushed once the season begins. After the Tuesday night debacle, Orange fans can't take much more crushing, I'm telling you, people are going to crack.

* All the requisite stories about how the team has worked harder than ever in the off season. Look, these are good stories, it's what we all want to hear - we all want to believe, but it gets harder and harder to believe that great strides were made every off-season when they keep getting their doors blown off once the games start to count.

* We don't know what it means - when a bad offense plays against a bad defense it's hard to cull any useful information from that.

* It's a tease. Real football is still too far away (sorry arena league, you don't count) and as soon as you start to get back into football, it's over.

* The Spring Game and it's arcane scoring system - if anyone can figure this out, give us a call.

Reasons for Hope

All the negative invective I've just spewed aside, there is a little bit of hope for this team, so let's put on the Orange blinders for a minute.

* Mitch Browning will finally install an offense that functions. Greg Robinson's 3rd offensive coordinator in 4 years has some strong credentials, having coached very good offenses at Minnesota.

* The running backs. Delone Carter will be back, Curtis Brinkley will be getting better, Doug Hougue has potential and Averin Collier was one of the most sought after prospects in the region. They will all be ready to go - and Mitch Browing knows how to use good running backs - just ask Marion Barber and Laurence Maroney.

* Andrew Robinson has a year of experience, Mike Williams (should he see the field) is a game breaker and the offensive line couldn't possibly be any worse.

* Weight loss. The o-lineman as slimming down and apparently Patrick Shadle has lost 17 pounds. He was a good kicker fat, he'll be better when he's in shape - although this does make us sad, we've been saving up fat jokes all year for this guy......

* Recruting has been decent the last couple of years and this is the year these guys will show what they can do.

* Robinson will be able to focus more on defense and craft some schemes that can actually stop people.

* Arthur Jones. This guy is a monster.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

#21: Greg Monroe

With a total of 16 Idiot Points, '86-'87 co-captain Greg Monroe checks in at #21 on the Top 25 Orangemen of the Idiot Era. Appropriately enough Greg finds himself right next to fellow co-captain Howard Triche.

Greg Monroe (86-87: 12.9 PPG, 4.1 APG)

Boss, "Strange shooting form.."

Champ, "I remember his comments at the post-title game rally at Manley....something about not losing, just time running out. Amen Greg."

The Complete List:

21. Greg Monroe (16)
22. Howard Triche (9)
23. Allen Griffin (8)
24. Demetris Nichols (7)
25. Tie: Damone Brown, Jonny Flynn, Lazarus Sims (6)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ebay Item of the Week

Feeling a little down after last night's game? Need a little more Greg Robinson in your life?Counting down the days until the football spring game? Have a little extra wall space that needs that something special? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this week's item is for you.

For a starting bid of $9.99 you can own this beauty.


" head coach...."

Webster's tells me that a star is "an outstandingly talented performer" or "a person who is preeminent in a particular field"

Star AD, star head football can't touch Syracuse athletics right now.

#22: Howard Triche

At #22 on the Top 25 Orangemen of the Idiot Era, co-captain of the '87 Championship Game team, and recipient of 9 Idiot Points: Howard Triche.

Howard Triche ('86-'87: 11.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG)

Russianator, "He is tied together with Greg Monroe in my mind."

Champ, "#1 on my list if he makes that block in New Orleans."

On a related note, the Russianator and I played against Howard Triche in a summer league in the early '90's. In case you're wondering, our team was destroyed that game.

The Complete List:

22. Howard Triche (9)

23. Allen Griffin (8)

24. Demetris Nichols (7)

25. Tie: Damone Brown, Jonny Flynn, Lazarus Sims (6)

And So it an Epic Collapse

The Syracuse basketball season came to a screeching halt last as the Orange managed to blow a 22 point second half lead to UMass, eliminating them from the NIT. If you missed the game, the Post Standard, the Daily Orange, and quite of few of the blogs on the right will have recaps you can check out.

Two weeks ago, we put up a season in review post, which basically concluded that the team did what they could with what they had. Due to injuries and defections they played short handed with very little experience, and while they made a ton of mistakes, in the end they fought hard and just came up a little short.

The bitter way the season ended last night does not discredit that that conclusion, but it does add some serious questions the team, and the coach, must address if they hope to have success in the future. These questions include:

Desire: This team could not impose their will on anyone, because frankly they had no will to impose. They run faster down the floor to play offense than they do running back to play defense. You can bitch about the zone all you want last night (and there are issues there) but if they were playing man UMass STILL would have had a ton of open threes last night because they came in transition. They started the year not getting back on defense and they ended the year the same way. They had no desire to stop people - they had no desire to even slow teams down half the time.

Basketball IQ: In short, they don't have any. They made the same mistakes at the beginning of the year as they did at the end, right down to the fact that they made some of the exact same turnovers in the Pitt game as they did last night.

Even the amazing Jonny Flynn block near the end of the first half wasn't a smart basketball play. Jonny is a physical specimen, but even an athlete as good as he is will only make that block one of out 10 times. The smart play would have been to get in position and try and draw the charge. The problem with these guys is they are more interested in attempting the spectacular than they are at executing the proper play.

I've never seen a team miss more dunks, lay ups and get stripped going to the rim than this one. I can't believe I'm going to say this because it sounds like something an old grumpy guy will say (I'll get there someday) but this team has the "let's make the top 10 plays on Sportscenter" mentality rather than the "we will grind you down and crush your soul" mentality.

Physical Development: There's no way of knowing if Rick Jackson is going to get stronger or Arinze will work to improve his stamina, but they were tired last night, which lead to a ton of missed shots around the rim. The UMass bench played fewer minutes than the SU bench last night and they had plenty of legs to make plays down the stretch.

Defense: Basically the defensive problems can be summed up in the points above - they had little desire to play defense, they didn't learn the concepts of the zone, and physically they were beat when they tried to play man to man (although man to man was rare after the Devendorf injury).

In a way, I'm glad the season is over, it was 5 months of Groundhog Day. Next year, depending on who's back, there will be an abundance of talent wearing Orange and team chemistry and dynamics are a weird thing to predict, but Boeheim has his work cut out for him because he could not get through to this bunch. He's going to have to try some new approaches, because as the old cliche says, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Here's hoping 2008-09 is less insane. Serenity now.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

#23: Allen Griffin

Checking in with a total of 8 idiot points, at #23 of the Top 25 Orangemen of the Idiot Era:

Allen Griffin (Career 6.1 PPG)

The first Orangemen to make it onto all three Idiots' lists.

The complete list:

23: Allen Griffin (8)
24: Demetris Nichols (7)
25: Tie, Damon Brown, Jonny Flynn, Lazarus Sims (6)

Billy Packer - Terrified of the ATM

Picking on Billy Packer is pretty easy these days, but I just can't help myself. Plus, my uncle hates him and always gets a kick out this stuff, so here's an interesting interview with Billy, where we learn the following:

* He doesn't have an ATM Card, he keeps his cash in his sock drawer

* He's never seen YouTube, and doesn't even know what the reference to it means

* Apparently he's a fan of purple V-neck sweaters.

Help Otto Kick Cancer's Ass

We'd like to take a very short reprieve from dick jokes, fart comments and making fun of Greg Robinson to be of assistance to those who are actually doing something that's good for society. Otto's Army, the organized student group representing the student section of SU sporting events, is participating in the Relay for Life - a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, this Saturday March 29, 2008 and they need your help.

Cancer has touched my family, its touched too many families, so if you have a few bucks to spare, you can donate to their efforts on their team page - and if that's not enough to convince you that they are serious - here's a video of their President taking a pie right in the mug to raise money.....that's dedication.

The Quest for Number 66 Continues Tonight

The Syracuse Orange are back in action tonight, taking the Carrier Dome floor one last time this season in their quest to reach the NIT Final Four in Madison Square Garden. The game is a rematch against the University of Massachusetts Minutemen, an Atlantic 10 team that defeated SU in November 107-100. It ultimately proved to be a costly loss for the Orange, in a season full of close, costly losses.

Obviously revenge is a key theme, and if that's what it takes to motivate the Orange, then I'm all for it. While the NIT still sucks, the practice time and game experience is obviously valuable for this young team and hopefully will pay big dividends next year. While we are here, you know what sucks worse than the NIT? My predictions for how it would turn out - I'm presently at the bottom of the Cuse Country NIT bracket challenge - sadly, I'm not quite last, but there's still hope, I want that nightlight.

Here is some coverage from the Massachusetts perspective on the game - and speaking of Massachusetts - if you haven't done so already you should check out the John Adams mini-series on HBO, it's fantastic.

  • The Boston Herald notes that UMass isn't intimidated by a return trip to the dome (they shouldn't be, they have a better winning percentage there this year than SU).

  • Lebron James, John Stockton, Chris Lowe?

  • The "Offshore Insiders" break down this "second round" NIT game.

  • UMass may be facing some injury concerns - join the club, we've been there all year.

  • The MinuteBlog wonders if this game will live up to the "classic" that was played in November. For what it's worth, if that game was a "classic" I'll take a pass on a replay.

Monday, March 24, 2008

#24: Demetris Nichols

Continuing our countdown of the Top 25 Orangemen of the Idiot Era, today we bring you number #24, with a total of 7 Idiot Points:

Demetris Nichols (10.9 PPG Career, 18.9 PPG in 06-07):

  • Russianator, "He had a great senior year, marred by the snub."
  • Champ, "One of the most improved players in his four years."

The Complete List:

24. Demetris Nichols (7 points)

25. Tie: Damone Brown, Lazarus Sims, Jonny Fynn (6 points)

Thanks orangehoops for stats.

Finally - Sirius - XM Merger Approved

Bloomberg is reporting that the long delayed Sirius-XM merger has finally been approved. As a subscriber to Sirius, I can only describe the news as excellent. Champ also is a Sirius guy, as both of us are fans of Howard Stern - the King of All Media and greatest radio talent of all time. The merger means an already strong product becomes better.

Even if you find Howard repugnant, if you are a sports fan that spends ANY time in your car, you might want to think about signing up. You get access to every NFL game (you can pick which team's announcers you want to listen to), more college sports than you can shake a stick at, the NBA, NASCAR (not sure who listens to NASCAR on a radio, but whatever) and now, with the addition of XM, you get Major League Baseball. Just think, for those out of towners, who doesn't want to be able to listen to Suzyn Waldman any time they want..............uh, on second thought.......

Sunday, March 23, 2008

All My Life: Part I, Boston

Opening weekend of the tournament has come and gone. In four days the field has been narrowed from 64 to 16. This was one of the best opening weekends in recent memory for hoops fans. Stephen Curry’s run is going down as one for the ages. Tennessee and UCLA survived legitimate scares. And Gyno…..we love you buddy.

It’s hard to believe but we’re coming up on the 5 year anniversary of my generation’s greatest moment in Syracuse University history: "The Block", 81-78, National Champions, One Shining Moment. All of those words hold a special place in the hearts of Orange fans.

To me the 2003 tournament run goes down as the single greatest sporting event I’ve been fortunate to be part of. Road trips to Boston and Albany were capped off with Final Four partying at one of the Idiots’ favorite Armory Square gin mills. It’s a true sign you’re getting old when 5 years doesn’t really seem that long ago. Collectively it was the greatest three weeks of my life as a sports fan. For those of you who have never hit the road for NCAA Tournament games, you are missing one of the great environments and scenes in the sporting world.

Selection Sunday 2003: Syracuse fans learn that their road to New Orleans would be I-90. Boston and Albany were the destinations. Early in the week the Russianator gave me a call: he had tickets to the Boston regional. We tried like hell to get fellow idiot Boss to come up to join us, but something about work kept getting in the way. Thursday night I made the fun trip down the NYS Thruway meeting up with the Russianator in Albany. Ready to go, we woke up the next morning and powered by McGriddles and Foo Fighters started the journey east. One particular song was getting us fired up, the Foo’s “All My Life.” The lyrics just seemed appropriate for a Cuse tournament run:

All my life I've been searching for somethin'
Somethin' never comes, never leads to nuthin'
Nothin' satisfies, but I'm gettin' close
Closer to the prize at the end of the rope

A few rest stops later we rolled into Chowda City. We strategically stayed at the Government Center Holiday Inn. First, it was a short walk to the then-named Fleet Center. Second, it was a short stumble to our night-time destination: Faneuil Hall.

The street outside the Fleet became a sea of fans wearing their teams’ gear. This was the first year of “pod play” so we ran into fans of Pitt, Indiana, and Penn. Due to Boss being unable to meet up with us, Russianator had some extra tickets to unload. No one, and I mean no one scalps tickets below face value like the Russianator. Seriously, I love the guy but he’ll never make it as a ticket broker.

First up in our crosshairs: Manhattan, led by the fiery Bobby Gonzalez. Now growing up attending games at the Carrier Dome there is one thing we take for granted: the ability to buy an overpriced draft beer while watching hoops. To our disappointment Russianator and I quickly learned what we had previously read was true: no alcohol sales at official NCAA sponsored events. Damn Puritan country.

Blatant celebrity name dropping: as we found our ways to our seats, we passed ESPN analyst Dr. Jack Ramsey on our way in and quickly spotted Boston columnist Bob Ryan at courtside. The latter, by the way, was wearing a REALLY bad shirt.

Final: Syracuse 76, Manhattan 65.

There’s only so many Diet Pepsi’s you can suck down during an afternoon of hoops. After the game, we beat the crowd into a watering whole across the street from the arena. We actually bonded with a few Boston College fans (FULL DISCLOSURE: this was pre-ACC fiasco) who admittedly were pulling for Syracuse as a fellow Big East school (insert Alannis Morrisette "Ironic" sound clip here).

The plan was to grab a few drinks, maybe some eats and then head back into the Fleet Center for the nightcap of hoops. My friends, every once in a while the stars align and the gods smile upon you. We’ve all met “characters” while out at a bar. Well we were about to hit the goldmine. While ordering up another round of adult beverages a guy approached us at the bar complimenting Syracuse. Our Cuse gear gave us away, but screw it…on an NCAA road trip you have to break out the gear.

He introduced himself as “Wally.” For the next couple of hours we were trading rounds, and talking about hoops. The beverages continued to flow. We learned that Wally owned a “truck leasing” company in Boston and after enough shots we even agreed to meet up with Wally and his wife SheWally this summer in Saratoga to bet on some ponies. More shots and beers were poured down our collective throats.

At the time the Russianator and I were both single and unattached. So naturally we hit up Wally for some tips on where to work the ladies this weekend. A conversation to this effect ensued:

Champ: “Wally, where can we go this weekend to meet some ladies?”

Wally: “You guys want to pay for it?”


Followed by more AWKWARD SILENCE

Russianator: “Sure let us know.” I love the Russianator, he’ll always say what everyone in our group is a thinking but too afraid to admit.

Wally: “What you guys want to do is head down to the pier. Take a cab. Slip the cabbie a hondo and tell him to hang out for a while until you take care of business.”


Champ and Russianator: “Uhmmmm, thanks Wally.”

Wally is a trooper. We loved the guy. Five years later he still ranks #1 on the Idiots’ “Characters We’ve Met in Bars” list. And trust me, we’ve spent way too much time in bars over the years.

Sometime after cocktail number……screw it, I can’t remember…..we realized we had better head back over to catch the night games. And then it hit us--- those games were being showed on TV, they had already started. Battlefield decision time….we go with staying in the bar.

Somehow we managed to stumble our way back to the hotel, hitting a Burger King on the way home for dinner, since we never got to the “grab something to eat before the night games” part of our plan . Fine dining in Chowda City. And no we didn’t make it to the piers at any point during the weekend. Sorry Wally.

We woke up the next day with raging hangovers. How better to take care of it? Grease. A quick lunch at Hooters would precede a trip to pick up our Sunday tickets. Note to self: when construction workers come in and POUND beers on their lunch break, be afraid of Boston construction sites. I see why that Big Dig tunnel ceiling collapsed a few years ago.

That afternoon we decided to catch some Saturday games on TV. We found, what appeared to be a casual little sports-pub, Hurricane O’Reilly's within walking distance of our hotel and accordingly stopped in for some hoops and hops. We watched the epic Gonzaga-Arizona game and continued to enjoy plenty of spirits, including trying several of the house signature “hurricanes.” We were about to witness a transformation before our eyes.

The dinner crowd began to slowly make it’s way out. Tables were being moved. A velvet rope was being set up outside. Our initial reaction? Head to the bar.

The place was quickly transformed into an all out dance club. It was like the Seinfeld episode where George went to Forbidden City that was really a meat packing plant. Not exactly our scene, but when in Rome the Idiots will be Romans.

Massive amounts of beverages later, last call arrived and the Idiots were on their way.

Sunday morning, bring on the Cowboys of Oklahoma State. Unfortunately we were also dealing with 2 massive hangovers brought on upon by our usual stupidity.

The first half was an absolute disaster. Cuse was getting out played, outmuscled and beaten bady. BOSS was text messaging me every minute as he was stuck in ACC land and had no access to the Orange broadcast.

Now attending a sporting event hungover is tough enough. But having to deal with an absolute JERK next to you the whole time is just icing on the cake. This clown sitting next to me was a Cuse fan. But not just any Cuse fan. He was “I’m going to scream at the refs the whole game Cuse fan.” The guy literally screamed at the top of his lungs the entire game. I am not making this up. I don’t know if you’ve ever met him, but you’re not missing much if you haven’t.

This guy really thought the refs could hear him and was convinced he had them scared enough to change their calls. An added bonus at one point this guy was ranting worse than when George Costanza lost the T-Bone nickname at work, and he ended up hitting me square in the face.

I really and I mean really wanted to give this guy a WWF-like finishing move and lay a steel chair across his mug. Thoughts of spending the night in a Boston jail discouraged me from pulling a Jake the Snake Roberts on this clown.

Well you know the rest of the game story, Gerry did his Willis Reed imitation, Jeremy McNeil took care of business at the end of the press and refs absolutely swallowed their whistles.

FINAL: Cuse 68 Cowpokes 56.

Everything was falling into place. The next weekend we were headed to Albany, home of the Russianator.

Cue up the Foo Fighters and we’re headed back West on I-90. It’s Sweet 16 time.

Next: Part II: Albany

#25: Three Way Tie

Checking in at #25 of the Top 25 Orangemen of the Idiot Era is a three way tie each with 6 Idiot Points:

Damone Brown (10.9 PPG, 6.0 RPG)

  • Russianator: "He was a nice, but not great player"

Jonny Flynn

  • Boss: "Yeah I know its only one year, but he's going to be an all-timer"
Lazarus Sims (3.4 PPG, 3.8 APG)

  • Boss: "Nothing flashy, just solid -- spurred the comeback against Georgia in '96"
  • Champ: "The '96 run got him onto my list."

Stats courtesy of orangehoops.

Top 25 Orangemen of the Idiot Era

In case you missed it, ESPN bombarded us this winter with their "Top 25 College Basketball Players" countdown.

One thing the Idiots LOVE to do is argue about trivial things. Usually this takes place on three bar stools somewhere. With that in mind, all Three Idiots were asked to compile their list of the Top 25 Orangemen of the Idiot Era. Full disclosure: the Idiots are all in their mid 30's and began religiously following the Orange in the early/mid 80's. Yes we know Dave Bing and Vic Hanson are legends, but we really never saw them play, so they are not on our list.

A first place vote was awarded "25 Idiot Points," a second place vote "24", etc. You get the idea.
The Russianator went with who we thought were the best players, while I tended to look at careers as a whole. Boss....well we really never know what he's thinking. I'm sure next time all three of us are together we'll start arguing about who ranked who where.

Enjoy, over the next few days we'll be unveiling the honorees. And let's be honest, it doesn't get any more prestigious than to be recognized by three losers who write a blog that no one reads.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Champ Kind Gets Outcoached

Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings

As an capital district resident I was happy to see the Siena Saints pull of the big upset last night, dominating Vanderbilt 82-63. Needless to say, the locals are pumped up. Why the Saints were even underdogs at all is strange however, since Champ Kind from Anchorman coaches Vandy, and let's be honest, Champ Kind didn't show a lot as a sports anchor.

David Koechner

Friday, March 21, 2008


AP Photo/Denis Poroy

San Diego:70

Storrs: 69

Thank you Gyno.

Elite 8 Baby

Syracuse advances to the Elite 8............of the NIT. Hey, it's better than nothing, West Virginia won the NIT last year and they looked decent last night. I didn't get a chance to see the game, but the Post Standard as always wraps it up, plus after reading Axe's recap, I felt like I was there anyway.

One more thing - golf clap to the Central New York community, almost 15,000 people in the stands, not too bad for an NIT game, competing with a full slate of NCAA tournament games. If only Belmont would have stopped the damn ball.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Idiot Humor

Spitzer's picks for the Final Four:

Brigham Young

Morehead State

Ball State

Oral Roberts

Full idiot disclosure: this is a recycled Bill Clinton joke, but it still works.

NCAA Tournament - Part IV

OK, we're back for one more round of this, I'll try and get through this next batch of games and then you're on you're own (I fully realize I'm talking to no one). Here's where we stand, Wes and I have made the switch from Labatt to Yuengling, I forgot how good Doritos are (I shouldn't even have bothered with that trip to the gym this morning) and Marquette and Kentucky have the only decent game going right now.

4:05 - Kent has come out ON FIRE and doubled their first half point total, they are up to 20 points now....of course UNLV has 45. This game would be interesting if Kent still couldn't score, watching a team pull a St. Louis and score 20 points in a game would be worth watching, a run of the mill blow out, not so much.

4:10 - Marquette keeps trying to pull away and Kentucky keeps making 3s and hanging around. Marquette is up 54-49, 8:48 to get the feeling Billy Gillespie thinks he can steal this one. Only 4 guys from Kentucky have scored by the way.

4:15 - Let's review - there are 4 games going on right now, 3 are 20 point blowouts, and then there's Kentucky Marquette. In other words, slim pickings.

4:20 - Enjoy it stoners. Jay Bilas just made a 2 and half men reference, to say I'm disappointed is an understatement. You're better than that Jay. On an unrelated note, CBS should get Travis Henry to guest star on How I Met Your Mother - that's a plug I could live with.

4:22 - If you like teams milking the shot clock, fumbling the ball, bumping each other and basically seeing how many times you can crash into you opponent before the ref blows the whistle, this game is for you. Hopefully there aren't many of you out there.

4:27 - Basketball jerseys on adults are never a good look. Ever.

4:30 - Marquette is up 5 with 2 minutes to go, we might actually get a close game here.

4:36 - You can't stop Joe Crawford and today Marquette can't contain him, he's got 35 and just nailed a 3, Marquette has a 3 point lead with 38 seconds to go......

4;39 - Another Kentucky 3, this one is fun. Marquette is clinging to a 2 point lead like JaMarcus Russell clings to a box of twinkies.

4:43 - Kentucky gave it hell, but in the end Marquette took care of business, winning 74-66. The NCAA tournament is less than 5 hours old and the SEC is 0-2.

4:47 - And we're LIVE at Kent State - UNLV. Guess what, this is a 15 point game with a minute to go. Here's some advice for prospective NCAA tournament teams, score more than 10 points in a half and everything else is cream cheese. Also, don't turn it over 17 times in a half, that's not good for anyone.

4:50 - We are now at the Baylor-Purdue game, Baylor is down 13 with 6 minutes to play, not looking good for the Bears.

4:55 - And we've got an 18 point Purdue lead with under 5 minutes to go, so with that, I'm going to shut this thing down. It's been fun, too bad the games weren't a little better, but enjoy the tournament people.

NCAA Tournament - Part III

Big News, Wes just showed up with more beer and Jay Bilas is doing the color on the Marquette game. As far as basketball announcers and commentators go, I have a mancrush on Jay Bilas, not that there's anything wrong with that.

3:00 - So we've got Marquette and Kentucky going right now, plus UNLV and Kent. Pitt tips in a few minutes, we've got the Marquette game on right now, they are up 4. Interesting tidbit, Tom Crean hasn't won an NCAA game without Dwayne Wade......

3:02 - In addition to being a Big East fan, I'd love to see two SEC teams eliminated before dinner, that would be awesome.

3:04 - Ramon Harris from Kentcuky picks up his 3rd personal foul, nothing will ever beat the time Etan Thomas fouled out of a game against Georgetown in the first half, that was awesome.

3:11 - Marquette and Kentucky have decided to turn this into a football game - a couple of years ago there would have been great joke about which football team was better. Marquette is up 4 with 4 minutes to play.

3:14 - Ladies and gentlemen, Purdue-Baylor - feel the excitement. Pitt is down to Oral Roberts very, very early. Also, it's worth noting, UNLV has a dude with entirely too much hair, I have no idea who he or she is, but its disturbing.

3:17 - What's equally disturbing is Kent's offense, they've scored 6 points in 12 minutes. Maybe next year they can apply for admission to the Big 10.

3:20 - Labatt Blue in the afternoon is a great, great thing.

3:38 - Thanks to my computer melting down, and the tech guy being me (the answer is always to cold boot the thing) we've missed a few minutes. The most fascinating development is that Kent has scored a grand total of 10 points in the first half.......oh and by the way, the first half is over, they are down 31-10 at the half. That my friends is an SU Football score.

3:40 - Pitt has put an 18-0 run on Oral Roberts and they are beating them 28-13. I have no idea what the knickname for Oral Roberts is........but there's a blow job joke in there somewhere.

3:41 - Levance Fields is a bowling ball with dreadlocks, but he can kill you.

3:42 - Purdue is beating Baylor by 10 and for some reason I could care less, someone send Gus Johnson over there, that thing needs a kick this ass.

3:45 - Purdue is now kicking the shit out of Baylor - why you ask? Because I picked Baylor. My hatred for certain leagues does not help me in my office pool. That, and I'm an idiot.

3:51 - Random pet peeve, when the refs call a charge on a guy after he's passed the ball, that will always piss me off. That and Canadians........(I kid, I kid)

3:54 - Purdue 46 Baylor 27 - half. My bracket is off to a roaring start.

NCAA Tournament - It Continues

Annnnnnnnnd We're back.

1:45 - So here's where we stand, Kansas is making Portland State their girlfriend, no surprise there, they lead by 22 early in the second half. Temple decided they would rather attempt to break back boards than actually score, they are getting slapped around and are down 42-26. In the big early upset, Xavier is clearly intimidated by Dennis Felton's mustache and pinstriped suit, they are losing 46-36 to Georgia. If this holds up, I will have picked exactly one of these games correctly so far. Ugh. I'm building on my success in the Cuse Country NIT pick em.

1:50 - BJ Raymond makes a great play for Xavier, for the life of my I have no idea why anyone would willfully go by the name BJ. 46-40 Georgia, the X-men are getting frisky.

1:58 - Xavier has shot a lot more free throws than Georgia, so Bob Wenzel proceeds to tell a story about a disparity in fouls from a game he coached when he was at Rutgers - he tells this story EVERY TIME he calls a game - how does he even have a job? Oh right, he didn't get caught hiring hookers like Eliot Spitzer.

2:01 - Georgia delivers a dagger of a 3 to stem and Xavier run - theBulldogs lead by 7, the other two games aren't even worth watching.

2:03 - Xavier dunk, its a 3 point game, Georgia is finally starting to play like Georgia, which is comforting. They are turning the ball over more than Yankee managers turned over in the 80s.

2:05 - BJ Raymond hits a 3 and ties it up, Georgia misses 3 point blank shots, Xavier bangs a 3 at the other end, all is right in the world. In other action, Kansas is up 27 and Michigan State is up 15 - no 12/5 upset happening there.

2:10 - Gus Johnson really should be calling this Xavier game, what a waste. Michigan State is up 17 and Gus is more animated than Craig Bolerjack.

2:15 - Number 44 for Georgia, some dude named Dave Bliss, he's a white guy with a beard and looks about 32, wildly overreacts after every foul called against him, it doesn't help his case. Xavier is starting to pull away, they are up 8 with 5 minutes to go. The difference has been Xavier forcing turnovers on the defensive end.

2:17 - Drew Lavender has the best runner I've seen since Sherman Douglas.....more guys need to shoot the runner.

2:18 - In related news the Kansas game is essentially over and Temple can't make any in-roads into the Michigan State lead, which is still at 16. Michigan State is physically too much for the Owls to handle.

2:23 - Temple cuts Michigan State's lead to 10 - if they can make this remotely close, Gus will do the rest of the work, it will instantly become the most exciting thing ever.

2:25 - Pringles have never gotten the respect I feel they deserve, something needs to be done about this.

2:26 - Under 2 minutes to go, Xavier leads by 3, this is about to get interesting.

2:30 - Temple's best player is named Christmas, all I can think of when I hear that is Lloyd Christmas from Dumb and Dumber - today he played like Lloyd.

2:32 - Xavier makes 2 free throws, they lead by 7 with under a minute to play, I feel safe, only SU could blow a lead like this.

2:37 - The first three games of the tourney are in the books, there were no nail biters with Kansas, Michigan State, and Xavier all winning comfortably. Give Georgia credit, they played hard and better than expected. I picked Temple, which didn't work out, so far it's chalk. Be back later.

NCAA Tournament - It Begins

So here's the set up, yours truly is parked on the couch in a luxurious townhouse in the Capital District, the local CBS affiliate has just switched from the turds doing noon news to Greg Gumbel, Clark Kellog and Seth "I'm still mad Arizona State didn't get in" Davis. I've got an additional laptop right next to me (admit it, you're impressed) with March Madness on Demand streaming. I've got a fridge stocked with condiments and beer and not much else and lots of sarcasm just ready to be spewed. Let's get it started.

12:20 - We start out with Georgia v. Xavier. For the record I love Xavier, then again I love all teams that shoot a million threes. This means one thing, Xavier is screwed. Georgia features coach Dennis Felton, who is clearly trying to bring back the 1970s porn look all by himself....keep trying Dennis.

12:21 - Craig Bolerjack and Bob Wenzel doing color commentary, that's not good for anyone.

12:25 - It's good too see that there's exactly 17 people in the stands so far. Nice work Washington DC.

12:30 - It's 9-8 Georgia and we are being switched to Temple Michigan State, boo. Check that, Gus Johnson is calling the game. He could make gerbil races exciting (note to self, start underground gerbil racing operation).

12:35 - I haven't seen a Temple game all year, this should be interesting. While we're here, Tom Izzo is a great coach, but I do not like him, not at all, and I don't know why. Both teams are going at it pretty good, this one could be fun, Temple leads 7-6 early.

12:41 - While Fran Dunphy has done a great job, they must have some strange hiring requirements at Temple, they replaced John Cheney and his bulging eyes with Fran and his mustache - and while the stache is trimmed, he looks like a sheep dog to me. 12:57 to go, we are tied at 9. In other action, Georgia continues lead Xavier, 19-15, great.

12:46 - Has anyone ever been to a Buffalo Wild Wings? Seems to me they should move some of that ad budget into actually building locations in areas where they advertise, but that's just me. Over on the computer Georgia is beating Xaiver by 6, and streaming video still has a way to go.

12:54 - Both Temple-Michigan St and Xavier - Georgia are tight. Kansas, my pick to win it all (really going out on a limb there, I know) is putting a beating on Portland State and..........God Damn it - I just got kicked out of the streaming video page - bite me March Madness on Demand.

12:56 - The streaming video I'm watching the Kansas game on is bouncing and making me sick, it's a good thing I didn't tie one on last night - live blogging vomit isn't good for anyone. Kansas is on a 12-0 run, they are up 36-18.

1:01 - The DVR just kicked on, my girlfriend does not miss Days of Our Lives, I share because I care....and because she doesn't read this crap.

1:03 - Temple is shooting 4/19 from the field - not coincidentally they are down 7.

1:05 - Xavier trails Georgia by 7 - an endorsement from me is more deadly than the Ebola virus.

1:07 - There's a graphic displaying the Big 10 teams in the tournament - I hate they way teams in the Big 10 play the game of basketball. They are to entertaining basketball what Dr. Phil is to good TV.

1:11 - Memo to Jared - go eat some deep fried cheese so I don't have to see your goofy mug on TV anymore.

1:13 - Georgia leads Xavier (a team I have in the elite 8) 35-26 at the half. God damn it Sean Miller, I hated you when you played at Pitt, I hate you even more now. Temple is down 11, the sheep dog isn't happy and Drew Neitzel still looks like he belongs to a hate group (he doesn't - it's a joke).

1:18 - Halftime Report - Kansas leads Portland State 49-26, and Michigan State leads Temple 35-26. Be back in a bit, need a beer and some food.

Happy NCAA Tournament Day!

Guess what people, I took the day off and will be parked firmly on the couch watching games while you are avoiding your boss and spending the day watching streaming video and hiding it behind fake spread sheets. The good news for you is that I'll be ripping off the Sports Guy and posting a running diary/live blog periodically throughout the day,. Be sure to check in if your bored and I'll do my best to keep you up to date on what's happening, complete with bad, off color jokes and inane commentary. This is a one day feature as tomorrow, I'll be doing what good lapsed Catholics do on Good Friday - I'm going to a bar.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ebay Item of the Week

Can't get enough NIT excitement? Don't just live the NIT, wear it!

Quoting the seller:

"Looks great displayed under a glass plate on a desk or table"

NOW I know what to do with all those extra glass plates lying around my house.

The NIT Sucks

The NIT, still sucking after all these years

Saying the NIT sucks is as obvious as saying Eliot Spitzer is a creep. [As a fascinating side note, his hooker turned up on a girls gone wild video - Joe Francis will be able to pay legal fees for the rest of his life with that one] Anyway, I tried to get excited for last night's Syracuse - Robert Morris game and was about as successful as the Syracuse players. It was obvious they came out a little flat and the whole thing had the feel of a pick up game you play with your younger cousin after your buddies have went home. You know you can beat him, but you're not trying that hard and if you do lose, no one really cares anyway.

Here are a few idiotic observations from last night's epic affair:

* The size advantage SU had was ridiculous, it looked at times like a high school team was matching up with a college team.

* Donte Greene shot the ball well, but if he had spent the night on the block he probably could have scored 50.

* Robert Morris Coach Mike Rice is INTENSE - I like that guy.

* I'm sick of the zone.

* Either SU and Jonny Flynn did a good job of concealing his injury that occurred at the Big East tournament, or the media that covers the team was asleep at the switch on that story - I was shocked to learn that he left MSG last week in a wheelchair.

* Kristof once again brought hustle and intensity to the floor, he never takes a minute off.

* The number of boneheaded plays this team is making at this point in the season is astounding. If I were grading them, they'd get an A for athletic ability and a D minus for basketball intelligence.

* If the season continues down this path, they'll end the Maryland game with 4 bodies on the floor.

* Obviously this team needs all the experience they can get, but they need to make it count, they were only half there last night. If they aren't going to play with intensity and urgency, they might as well shut it down for the year.

* Arinze has had a great year, I love the guy, but he needs to develop a mean streak. He's got to toss aside guys 6 incher shorter than him and attack the rim like John Daly attacks an all you can eat buffet.

* Nice job by the Central New York community, filling the lower half of the dome is a much better effort than in past years (1997 and 2002).

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bizarro World

There are some strange, strange doings in the world of sports these days people. It's definitely got a bizarro world type of feel. Let's review:

- The Syracuse women are IN the tournament, the men are OUT.

- Statistically Paul Harris is the best 3 point shooter still active on the SU basketball team.

- Kige Ramsey is a Superstar, while Bob Costas is taking some heat.

- John Daly is the better musician and Vince Gill is now the better golfer

- The Cleveland Browns appear to be on the verge of being good for a long long time, and the 49ers have no hope.

- Drake is a 5 seed, Kentucky is an 11

- Pro pool players are doping, yet Vince Wilfork is presumably clean

Monday, March 17, 2008

All Things Morris

It's NIT time boys and girls. Tuesday night the Robert Morris Colonials invade the Carrier Dome to take part in the Battle for #66.

We're going to pull a page from the football season and give you a preview of Tuesday night's game. Let's take a look at all things Morris:

Zack Morris: Thumbs down to the preppy. Go ahead though, take the quiz.

Morris the Cat: Thumbs neutral. I'm more of a dog guy, but this feline is a legend.

Jack Morris: Thumbs up to this big game pitcher of the '80's. I'm still bitter the Yanks took part in the collusion of '86 and didn't sign the man who made the splitter en vouge. Plus, he has a cool mustache. That always scores points with us.

Little Joe Morris: Thumbs up to this Cuse alumn. He was UNSTOPPABLE on the '86 Giants on Sega John Madden Football. A first-ballot video game hall of famer.

Mercury Morris: Thumbs down. As much as I pulled against the Taperiots this year, it's clowns like this that make me hope someday someone goes undefeated. As long as the team isn't from Boston.

Adam Morrison: Thumbs down. I love watching the Zags, but the crying was bit much. (Gus Johnson Warning: turn speakers down at work for the link)

Philip Morris: Thumbs down. We've gone smoke-free at T3I.

Chuck Morris: I know it's a reach, but thumbs up to the baddest man on the planet.

Maurice: Thumbs up to the space cowboy.

It Could Be Worse

Chins up Cuse fans. The glass is half full, right? We're a one-seed!

Alright, things could be worse. A quick scan of some headlines today and I learned that the NIT is no longer the only tournament looking to crown #66.

Someone called the Gazelle Group has something called the "College Basketball Invitational" going on this year. No kidding, check out this killer bracket. A best-of-three championship....what is this the WNBA?

So it could be worse. We could have been snubbed by the NIT and forced to CBI-land.

Bring on Robert Morris.

Welcome to Dickipedia

Can't get enough of Billy Packer? Have a longing to learn more about everyone's favorite cuddly, warm, unbiased announcer? While over at Awful Announcing, I stumbled across this Dickipedia entry and it was too good not to share.


Some seeding issues aside, there's a general consensus that this year's NCAA Tournament field is basically pretty fair in terms of who got in, and who didn't make it. I'd argue that its more a result of a certifiable lack quality teams this year than anything else, but nonetheless it's still an interesting exercise to examine how teams that may have felt slighted have reacted.

Arizona State - The Sun Devils were left in the NIT much to Seth Davis' chagrin, but the Arizona Republic gets it right, saying it was their strength of schedule that killed their chances. No kidding.

Virginia Tech - While it was clear Billy Packer was dismayed that his beloved ACC only got 4 invites to the dance, it was also clear that the Hokies didn't do enough to make it. It appears Seth Greenberg calmed down some since saying it was "certifiably insane" to keep the Hokies out, because in this article he actually came off as calm and measured.

Ohio State - Last year's second place team didn't do enough to make it into the field either, and much like this year's Syracuse team, they saw it coming.

Illinois State - OK, no one really thinks this team was snubbed, except for these two guys (fair warning, there is some foul language, be careful if you're at work).

Blast from the Past

While scouring YouTube this morning looking for clips that mock Billy Packer (come on, we've all done it) I stumbled across this video of a 1976 NCAA tourney game of Notre Dame v. Cincinnati and couldn't pull myself away. The short shorts, the tartan floor, no 3 point line, players who have never seen a weight room or injected 'roids, the whole thing is fascinating......

The Quest to be 66

As expected, Syracuse did not get selected for the NCAA tournament and for the second year in a row will be playing in the NIT. Villanova was essentially the last team in the field, meaning if Syracuse had won the opening round Big East Tournament game against the Wildcats, there's a strong chance the Orange would be in the field.

Say what you will about this Syracuse team, but they certainly had their chances this year, they just didn't cash in on any of them. With the field of bubble teams being absolutely terrible, the fact remains that if they win the Pitt game, or the first Georgetown game, or don't lose to Rhode Island or UMass at home they could have been playing in the important tournament.

The Orange are still playing though, and have been graced with a number one seed in the NIT, which is the equivalent of winning the fitness competition at fat camp. They play Robert Morris on Tuesday in the Dome, in front of what will assuredly be a lot people dressed like empty seats.

Since the game is on Tuesday, do not delay - get over to Cuse County and get in the NIT Bracket Challenge - fabulous fun and prizes await.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday Health Update

I know it isn't sports, but this is too good not too share. From this day forward I pledge to get all my medical advice from Kige and YouTube.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Happy Birthday

A special idiot birthday shout-out to 3 Idiot poster and Champ-brother-in-law AJV.
Have several of these this weekend my friend.

Syracuse Basketball 2007-08 Year in Review

While we are all fully aware that Syracuse will be playing at least one more game this season, for all practical purposes, the season is over. Here are some not so well organized thoughts on the season as a whole.


Obviously, the end result of this season will be another trip to the NIT and another year without an NCAA tournament victory. This is profoundly disappointing and the disappointment is compounded by the epic failures of the football program, and to a lesser extent, last year's lacrosse meltdown. It's been a rough stretch for fans of the Orange and the fact that the fans almost NEEDED a good year from the basketball team makes an objective analysis tough to accomplish.

The Good News

Last August, if you would have told me that Syracuse would be playing with a squad that only had 7 players, and those players were 4 freshman, a sophomore who couldn't shoot as a freshman, a junior who hadn't played much and didn't play last year because of a knee injury, and a goofy guy from Belgium who had 2 solid, but not great, years of junior college basketball on his resume - and then told me that team would win 19 games - I'd probably take it.

It is sometimes easy to forget how undermanned this team truly was. The starting backcourt tore their ACLs, the lone senior flaked and left the team, even a bench guy who could have given them some needed minutes, Devin Brennan McBride, succumbed to shoulder problems and never set foot on the court. Even given all these hurdles they managed a 9-9 record in a very tough conference and the aforementioned 19 wins.

Paul Harris also took huge steps forward, especially in the second half of the season. In addition to his trademark tenacity, Paul developed a mid-range jump shot and showed signs that if he continues to work, that range will continue to grow. He's the best 6'3" rebounder I've seen since Charles Barkley and while he still has many holes in his game - too many turnovers and questionable decision making are chief among them - his progress was a great thing to watch.

Jonny Flynn proved he could play with the big boys. Due to circumstances beyond his control he basically played every minute of every game down the stretch and proved he has all the tools to be a special, special player. Consistency is something he can improve on, but you also get the feeling that when he's surrounded by more weapons, he'll make a lot of players better. Jonny is the type of player that if he's asked to do less, will eventually give you a lot more.

Donte Greene struggled down the stretch but still showed why he was considered one of the top recruits in the nation. We all know his shot selection was poor at times and everyone wants to see the 6'11" guy play more in the paint, but he still averaged 17 points and more than 7 rebounds a game. Let me also take a moment to address the sentiment I've seen sporadically that suggests the team would be better next year without him. That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. It's borderline retarded actually. Donte Greene is a very good basketball player - and you know what very good basketball players do - they get better. He's a freshman - he's skinny. He had to play 40 minutes a game and be one of the team's only 3 point threats. I'd be willing to pay Eliot Spitzer's hooker tab if he comes back next year and isn't 25% better than he was this year. Oh, by the way, he was pretty good this year. Will he stay - who knows, but we should all be hoping the answer is yes.

Arinze Onuaku really showed the world he can play the game of basketball. He's got soft hands, he's an adept finisher and an absolute beast down low. He needs to work on his passing, but he's the first scoring threat SU has at center since Otis Hill, and he too will get better.

The Bad News

Obviously the defense was pretty much terrible the whole year. They would display flashes of competency (that may be the title of my autobiography someday) mixed with stretches of ineptness, culminating in giving up 54 points in the second half to Villanova in the Big East Tournament. I loathe criticizing Boeheim, he's in the Hall of Fame, the NCAA title was amazing, he knows what he's doing, but I'm sorry, I'll never buy the argument that you can't get talented athletes to play man to man, regardless of their age.

I've played basketball - organized and pick up - my whole life. I'm not very good, but I learned the fundamentals of man to man in the 7th grade. They haven't changed and they aren't that complicated. Instilling the desire in players to play tough defense is another story altogether and maybe that's what he's talking about. Defense and rebounding aren't fun, they are about hard work and desire. I understand the zone is here for as long as he's here (which I hope is as long as he wants) but I think I speak for a large majority of SU fans when I say we'd all love to see some more man mixed in. Even if they played it poorly, what would it matter - because they played the zone poorly for long stretches this year.

There were far too many turnovers this year, the consistency and mental lapses were also wildly frustrating, and the Pitt and Georgetown losses were true kicks to the groin. The explanation is that they are a young, shallow team, and it makes sense to have those problems, but it still was frustrating to watch.

The Bottom Line

Once you get past the fact that we all WANTED so much from this team, and look what they were actually working with, the end result isn't that bad. I thought the Devendorf injury was devastating and even shorted handed they fought their way through the season and had NCAA hopes until yesterday. What would they have been with Rautins, Devendorf and Josh Wright? We'll never know. What I hope we learn next year is how good they will be with all of them back. As we learned this year, its impossible to predict what next year's team will look like, but right now the future is bright, and the wait for it to get here will feel like forever.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ebay item of the week

The Nova game stunk. The Cuse is NIT bound. There's only one way to cheer up all of our readers (both of you out there)....let's turn to the world of sports-collectibles and the Ebay Item of the Week.

This week T3I drops the green flag and heads to the world of NASCAR. There's no better way to honor your favorite driver than with a commemorative shotgun shell. Starting bid only $7.00. That's a steal friends.

And don't plan on using these to hunt Fords or Toyotas, the seller makes that clear:

"Collector item only, not for use."

Shelley is the man

Photo: Gene Puskar, AP

Shelley Duncan is really scoring points with T3I. First was last September's "autograph-gate" which left 86er Nation quite upset.

Now comes today's skirmish with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, I mean Rays. Bonus points for the 5th Grade-esque "What did I do?" look from Shelley. Payback stinks.

It could be worse Tampa. You won't be on the receiving end of a Roger Clemens roid rage this summer.

Welcome to the NIT

For you sick bastards that just can't get enough of the stink bomb of a game played today in Madison Square Garden, the Post Standard has its stories up.

Syracuse - Nova - Live Blog - 2nd Half

And we're baaaaaaaaack. I have to think with the way that first half ended Boeheim let the team have it - they played 16 good minutes of basketball and wasted it away in the last 4. The most important 20 minutes of the season starts now.

1:03 - In case you were wondering, lunch consists of leftovers from last night instead of the Jumbo Dog and Knish combo at MSG, which is reasonably priced at $437. Oh what I wouldn't give to have the opportunity to purchase some overpriced food and beverages right now....

1:08 - Nova takes it's first lead since 2-0, they lead 29-28.

1:10 - No one, I mean no one, flails his arms like Paul Harris. No need to worry though, KO gets an offensive rebound put back, SU leads 30-29.

1:10 - KO is heating up, he gets another garbage hoop, SU immediately gives up a 3 at the other end. It's 32 all.

1:12 - In the last 2 minutes Jonny knocks down a 3, Harris gets a loose ball and lays it in, SU leads 37-32, Nova time out.

1:13 - Random thought during the timeout, I love the way Jay Bilas isn't afraid to call out refs when they miss calls. He's so good I can't believe he went to Duke - he must not have taken How to be Hated 101, which these days is a requirement in Durham.

1:17 - Following an AO dunk, SU heads into the TV timeout ahead 39-36.

1:23 - Sorry, was distracted by work - present score 41 all, 13 minutes to go. This one is going down to the wire - great.

1:26 - Ah, just like old times, Nova hits another 25 foot jumper against SU, it was Stokes this time. SU misses at the other end, Nova then gets calle for a travel. 11:42 to go - Nova 44 SU 41.

1:30 - Harris makes one of two, Nova 44-SU 42. Scottie Reynolds is really locking up Flynn right now.

1:31 - Things aren't going well for SU fans, Nova is on a run, SU can't score and is slow getting back, Nova leads 48-42, timeout SU.

1:32 - 13-2 run for Nova right now, another SU turnover. This is pissing me off.

1:34 - Another Nova deep 3, the wheels are coming off the season. 52-42.

1:36 - Donte answers after an offensive rebound by KO. Nova is getting away with murder under the boards, the calls are going against SU. Nova is making a ridiculous amount of 3s. This BLOWS, 58-47 Nova. Kill me.

1:39 - SU breaks out the junk press, Scottie Reynolds nails another open 3. Lather, rinse, repeat. 61-47 Nova, 6:22 to play. TV timeout.

1:41 - I just jabbed pencils in my eyes, sadly I can still see.

1:44 - SU is in full blown panic mode, taking horrible shots and not getting anything going offensively. Jay Wright, shocked that things are going so well, calls a timeout.

1:46 - Nova is on a 24-6 run. They lead 65-47, get your NIT tickets now. Arinze just fouled out, after posting a grand total of 4 points.

1:47 - Scoop Jardine with a 3 - he's great when SU is down 20.

1:48 - Scottie Reynolds decides to drive the lane, SU decides it would not be wise to stop him, 69-50 Nova, under 4 minutes to go.

1:52 - The SU players are mailing it in at this point, Flynn misses a free throw, Harris misses a 12 footer, which leads to a foul at the other end.

1:53 - Scoop Jardine is the A-Rod of this team, he's great when it doesn't matter. He makes a 3, SU gives up another dunk on the other end.

1:54 - Score Update - Nova 73 SU 57 - 2:50 remaining.

1:57 - Jay Bilas calls last year's snub unjustifiable. Thanks.

2:00 - The walk ons enter the game - good times.

2:02 - Final Score - Villanova 82 Syracuse. 63. I have to say I'm shocked at how the second half unfolded, especially with the way the game started, but it was a microcosm of a weird, weird year. Syracuse gives up 54 points in the second half and loses by 19. I feel like I got hit in the head and I need to get a few TPS reports done, so the analysis will have to wait for later.

Welcome to the NIT - Population - Syracuse.

It's GO TIME - Syracuse-Nova - Live Blog

For the first time since the mid 1990s I'm not at the Garden for the Big East Tournament - to say I'm a little disappointed is like saying Governor Spitzer screwed up a little. Lucky for me, I have access to a TV here, so let's get this started.

12:05 - Cuse wins the tip - Paul Harris gets hammered, no call, great.

12:06 - First miss for Donte, not a good sign. Second miss a minute later, long live the Unabomber.

12:08 - 3 minutes into the game, it's 2-0 Nova - shootout!

12:09 - Paul Harris nails a 3, it was never more than a foot above the rim 3-2 Cuse.

12:10 - A second Paul Harris 3, 8-5 cuse. Weird.

12:11 - first TV timeout, it's a sloppy game so far, SU leads 8-5, Donte is 0-3.

12:13 - We come back from a break showing a montage of SU close losses this year, suck my balls CBS.

12:14 - Scottie Reynolds fouls Kristof! Silly Scottie, no human can stop Kristof! KO proceeds to make 1 of 2. SU leads 9-5.

12:16 - Arinze swats a ball into the stands, he's been a beast on the defensive end so far. Donte hits a deep 3, he's 1-4. Syracuse leads 12-7. A minute later he hits one in transition, 15-7 cuse!

12:20 - We're back from the timeout, Nova turns it over again, the Wildcats are very accommodating today.....and we're at the under 12 timeout - still 15-7 cuse.

12:22 - Donte takes an outrageous 25 footer and nails it - no complaints here 18-7 cuse.

12:24 - Scottie Reynolds with 2 free throws, then a tough lay up sandwiched around a Flynn miss. 18-11 cuse.

12:26 - Paul Harris with a nice pull up in the lane, he's really shooting the ball today. 20-11 cuse.

12:27 - Apparently no one got the memo to block out Shane Clark, he's hitting the boards hard today. Just had a tip in. 20-13 cuse.

12:29 - Two SU turnovers in a row, 7:45 left in the half, SU leads 20-13.

12:32 - Even with excellent defense, Nova comes out of the break and scores, Harris follows it on the other end with an offensive rebound, got fouled on the put back and made both FTs. 22-15 SU.

12:34 - Nova scores, followed by a 15 foot bank shot from Donte - 24-17. SU is active and playing hard, however they didn't get the BOX OUT memo, Nova is attacking them on the boards.

12:36 - I'm thinking of going down the street to the store and offering to pay $8 for a Bud Light, just to feel like I'm in the Garden.

12:37 - Kristof has a dunk waived off, they said he traveled, I disagree, Kristof can walk on water, there's no way he can travel.

12:38 - 3:58 until half, SU leads 26-18. They need to smarten up and get the ball to Arinze down low. Nova shoots free throws coming out of the break.

12:40 - Miller High Life commercial - honestly, High Life? That's skunk piss, if you like High Life, or know someone who does, please contact me, because I don't.

12:42 - Nova makes 1 of 2 out of the break. Flynn turns it over, he's struggling so far.

12:43 - A Donte 3 rattles out, but his shot looks good today, he hasn't hit the backboard on a 3 yet.....

12:45 - 28-19 SU, this hasn't been a well played game so far, but both teams are really going after it.

12:47 - SU continues to turn the ball over at an alarming rate. Harris makes a great block on the other end, but gets whistled for a foul. On the next possession, another turnover, as Arinze is called for an offensive foul - he quickly heads to the pine.

12:48 - another turnover, Nova scores, SU leads 28-24.

Halftime: Just a brutal end to the half for the cuse, they had about 5 turnovers down the stretch, Nova makes a 3 at the buzzer as they end the half on an 8-0 run. Score:

Syracuse 28
Nova 27

If Syracuse is to win this game, Jonny Flynn has to play 100 times better, he's been awful. Too many turnovers from Scoop and Harris too.