Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Syracuse Powers Past the Irish

The Syracuse Orange concluded a three game road trip last night with a strong victory over Notre Dame 84-71. The win, coming just 2 days after a hard-fought road victory against West Virginia, highlighted why this year's team is so dangerous - versatility. In the first half the Orange beat the Irish from the perimeter, with Andy Rautins and Wes Johnson leading the way. In the second half, the big fellas, lead by Arinze "free throws are easy" Onuaku, established an inside presence that Notre Dame, and their cabbage patch kid look-alike star forward Luke Harangody could not match.

Here are some quick observations on the game.

* The game was called by my favorite announcing crew of Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas and Bill Raftery, but let's just say it wasn't their strongest night. McDonough started off the game by calling Arinze "Rick Jackson" on two separate trips down the floor. Then in the middle of the first half, they "switched" and had Bilas/Raftery doing play by play and McDonough doing color. Let's just say it wasn't their best night. However, it still beats listening to Duke Vitale and Mike "ACC" Patrick any day of the week.

* As noted above, the first half was the Andy and Wes show (sorry Scoop). Coming into the WVA game Rautins had been struggling a little from distance, but after these last two game it's clear his shot is back on track. Likewise, Wes Johnson hit some mid-range and deep shots that forced Notre Dame to play SU honest. A couple of the threes Rautins made were from Syracuse. Range has never been an issue for him.

* Notre Dame really took seats out of the remodelled Joyce Center? That seems crazy in this day and age.

* The Orange came down with a severe case of Abromaitis, as Tim made 5 three pointers and had a couple of others rattle out. Coincidentally, the form on his shot eerily similar to the now departed Kyle McAlarney. Those are not good memories. I do not wish to see Tim Abromaitis again.

* I was a little surprised Mookie Jones didn't get into this one. Unlike West Virginia, Notre Dame doesn't play constant pressure, man to man defense and he certainly could have squeezed off a few shots. Then again, the way Rautins was playing, it would have been insane to take him out.

* While I criticized Arinze for his play against West Virginia, he was a completely different player against Notre Dame. Especially in the second half, both Onuaku and Jackson really asserted themselves. Most teams in the country cannot match up physically with the size and bulk these two bring on any given night. I'm going out on a limb here, but I suspect at halftime Boeheim made it a point to get these guys more involved - and boy or boy did they ever respond. Hell, Arinze even made some free throws.

* Let's give credit where credit is due -- Tory Jackson can pass the damn ball. Some of the looks he had in traffic last night were outstanding. Harangody should walk around campus protecting him, because he feeds the big fella like workers in a zoo feed an elephant.

* The thing I'll enjoy most about Tim Higgins will be his retirement. I'll bake him a cake and everything -- or at least give him some candy.

* Kris Joseph is an explosive athlete. The best thing he did last night was grab two offensive rebounds off missed free throws. There are few things more demoralizing than not getting the ball back after your opponent bricks a freebie from the line.

* The win last night moved Jim Boeheim past Jim Calhoun on the NCAA all-time win list. Anytime you can beat Calhoun, that's always fun.

1 comment:

Boss said...

Good stuff as usual Lins...great point on the K-Jo boards off of missed free throws -- seems like those are the things that other teams always did to us in past years.

BTW: Are officials getting worse at the block/charge call, I catch loads of college hoops and this year all the defender has to do is fall down and there is a whistle...how about a play-on every once in a while!

And agreed the announcer swap was a disaster.