Sunday, March 21, 2010


Halfway through the second half of the ass-kicking Syracuse administered to Gonzaga, a tweet appeared in my twitter feed that said, "I feel like I'm watching a game of NBA Jam." I apologize to the author because I can't remember who said* it, but the sentiment was perfect. Playing without Arinze Onuaku, the SU perimeter guys scored like they were in a video game.

I'm not going to lie, going into this game, I was nervous. Gonzaga had the size to give SU fits down low and the discipline and coaching to attack the 2-3 zone. If Rick Jackson got in foul trouble, disaster surely would follow.

Well, we now know a few things:

1) I am an idiot (this is a well established fact)
2) When Wes Johnson and Andy Rautins combine to shoot 9-15 from three point range there's not a team in the country that's going to beat the Orange.
3) DaShonte Riley, when asked to take up space, can take up space.

Let's get to a few observations:

- Brandon Triche, it's nice to see you again. After struggling through almost all of February the freshman has saved his best for last. He's got confidence in his jump shot again, and more importantly, he took the ball strong to the rim and remained under control.

- As was mentioned above, Riley took up space on the defensive end of the floor, put a body on Robert Sacre and and that allowed Kris Joseph and Wes Johnson to clear the glass. Syracuse went from a potential disaster when he entered the game to a 15 point half time lead. That's almost more insane than Kansas losing.

- 31 points on just 16 shots for Wes Johnson. Andy Rautins only needed 13 shots to get 24 points. You don't get much more efficient than that.

- I was less than impressed with Matt Bouldin. That's your WCC player of the year? Really? He was non-existent when his team needed him the most. Robert Sacre and and Elias Harris - those guys can ball.

- Scoop Jardine scored 9 points - but 7 of them came early in the first half when Gonzaga was really executing on offense and the game was tight. He has an incredible knack for playing his best when his team needs it the most.

- In 2003 SU beat four Big XII teams on the way to a national title. With Butler up next, and Xavier still alive in SU's bracket, the potential exists for the Orange to beat 4** mid-majors on the way to the Final Four.

- With the Orange blowing the Bulldogs out early in the second half, we were robbed of any dramatic Gus Johnson calls. Don't fear - Gus is always available at the Gus Johnson soundboard. Go nuts, Gus always does.

- Wes Johnson's hand obviously feels better. So much better, the mainstream media is intent on telling us how he can now handle a laptop.

- Something tells me Arinze's Quad is going to be watched more than Barbaro's leg this week. Let's hope the ultimate result is better.

* By using the team "saying it" I meant someone typed it into twitter. Since no one actually speaks to each other anymore, this now counts as speech. 10 years from now evolution will have phased vocal chords out of the human body, that's a scientific fact - or something.

** Technically I think Vermont is actually a low-major, the America East is brutal, so humor me on that point.


Poncho Sinatra said...

I wonder if Gus is available to introduce my wedding party this summer during the reception entrance. Jock Jamz and a little Gus Johnson would get the party rockin'.

blahga the hutt said...

Despite the fact that there won't be the home court advantage we had in Buffalo, I think the Orange have enough talent, even without AO, to get past Butler. The Bulldogs are good, but I rate them on the same level as Gonzaga.

K-State (who will probably have the home court advantage fan-wise) should beat Xavier, so there should be a SU-KSU matchup on Saturday. I realize that the Orange lit it up from behind the arc on Sunday, but they're going to need an inside threat if they want to advance further in the tournament. In my opinion they will need AO against the Wildcats come hell or high water.

They did well from outside against Gonzaga and could repeat it against Butler, but I think it's asking too much to have just an outside threat on Saturday.