|There was an empty seat on the Syracuse bench for its game against Colgate|
(Photo by Nate Shron/Getty Images)
The Syracuse Orange once again crushed it's local "rival" the Colgate Red Raiders, winning 92-47 in the first game since the allegations against Bernie Fine became public. The game went as expected, with a deep talented team crushing another inferior opponent. The post-game press conference was 10 times more interesting than the actual game.
As for the game itself, it wrapped up a four game stretch that basically served as an extended exhibition season for the 5th ranked team in the country. The good news for SU is that the team breezed through this part of the schedule with no hiccups and got extended playing time for a very deep bench. The good news for the fans is that the Orange will face some stiffer competition, and some more interesting games, starting this week in Madison Square Garden.
The highlight of the game for SU was James Southerland scoring 7 points in 17 seconds during one stretch in the first half. It wasn't Reggie Miller scoring 8 points in 9 seconds, but it wasn't too shabby either:
A few quick observations on the game:
- Right now the team's two best offensive players are James Southerland and Dion Waiters. Interestingly, the reason for each is confidence.
- For Southerland, he's been playing with supreme confidence that he's found this year. Last year he didn't have it. The difference has been remarkable.
- For Waiters, in addition to being in better shape, he's reigned in his confidence. He's playing under control, sharing the ball more and as a result he's a much more efficient offensive player. Plus he's a freak athletically.
- I love watching this team press and Southerland is ideal for guarding the baseline. Long and athletic, he showed how he can create nightmares for smaller teams trying to inbound the ball. I'm curious how much Boeheim will press as the season goes on.
- Champ and I have decided - James Southerland's nickname needs to be Colt 43. Much like Billy Dee Williams, he's SMOOTH and he works every time.
- Hopefully Kris Joseph's knee isn't a season-long problem. It was a no-brainer to rest him in the second half.
- One concern I have with this team is that they aren't actively trying to feed the post. While Fab Melo and Rakeem Christmas aren't polished offensive players, they still need to send the ball down low, which will allow them the play inside out and get better looks on reversals and kick outs. You can't survive all year on dribble-drives and jumpers.
- Having three legitimate shot blockers makes this team dangerous.
- Fab Melo was a little off today, but you can tell how much Bernie Fine means to him from this AP story.
In terms of the press conference/Bernie Fine situation itself:
- It was fascinating watching Jim Boeheim handle the media after the game. While the Hall of Famer can be cantankerous and combative with the media, no one knew exactly what to expect. SU asked the media to only address the game, but everyone knew that wouldn't happen. Boeheim did his best to talk about basketball and stick to the script, but that's just not him. He believes Bernie is innocent and he's fighting for his friend. He couldn't hold it in and frankly that's OK. I don't believe you should attack an alleged victim, but you should also be able to defend someone you feel has been wrongfully accused. JB did that after the game.
- Boeheim is not alone in defending Fine - as players, coaches, and former ball boys from across the country have spoken out loudly and clearly in defense of the assistant coach. It's a vivid contrast from what is going on at Penn State.
- We can only hope the investigation is done in the most thorough and expiditious manner possible -- because if Bernie Fine is innocent, he will have been egregiously wronged -- and if he's guilty, then he needs to be held accountable. The worst outcome would be ambiguity.
- The Post Standard coverage of this issue has been detailed and fair. The ESPN coverage of the incident has been embarrassingly one-sided. I for one, agree with Jason Whitlock's take on how Mark Schwartz and his colleagues are "covering" the incident.
- I've never been a big fan of Bud Poliquin, but I think he hit a home run with his column today.
Hopefully justice can be served in this case and we can get back to basketball - because much like the current players at Penn State - the members of this Syracuse basketball team had nothing to do with this incident.