Browsing Posts in Syracuse

Written By: Matt Vereb

Saturday afternoon’s home matchup against the Syracuse Orange figures to be an emotional one for the Lousville Cardinals. Saturday marks the final game at one of college basketball’s storied arenas, Freedom Hall. Freedom Hall has been the home of 6 National Championships and 684 Lousville wins. L’Ville definitely has history on its side when it takes on the Orange.

The Louisville Cardinals(19-11 Overall, 10-7 Big East) need a big win over Syracuse to improve their NCAA tournament hopes. They defeated the Orange(28-2 Overall, 15-2 Big East) earlier this season, 76-70 at the Carrier Dome. The Cardinals were able to contain Syracuse star, Wes Johnson. Johnson was 5 for 20 from the field in that game. Lousville has been playing irratically lately. winning at UCONN, 78-76 on Sunday, but losing by 21 at Marquette on Tuesday.

Syracuse on the other hand, has been playing great basketball since losing to Louisville last month. They have won four straight games including an impressive road win at Georgetown and an 18-point beat of Villanova last Saturday.

With the Big East regular season title in hand, the Orangemen really don’t have anything to play for. Vegas is favoring Lousville, but beating any team twice in one season is a tall order. Especailly if that team is currently the #1 team in America, looking to avenge a tough loss.

The Cardinals have history and emotion on their side. The Orangemen are playing great basketball and will want to keep their momentum up heading into the Big East tournament.

This is definitely the game of the day.

Prediction: #1 Syracuse 82 Louisville 78

What do you think ‘Cuse fans?

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Written By: Matt Vereb

#1 Syracuse University won the 2010 Big East Regular Season Championship this evening by defeating St. Johns, 85-66. Syracuse(28-2) shot 53% from the field, including 35% from behind the arc. More notably, Seniors Andy Rautins and Arinze Onuaku left Senior Night at the Carrier Dome with a trophy in hand. Onuaku led the scoring for the Orange(21 points). Rautins added 14 points.

With a redemption game at Louisville looming on Saturday, the Orange must be prepared. The Cardinals handed Syracuse one of their two losses this season. ‘Cuse will want to keep up their momentum heading into the Big East Tournament. Look for Forward, Wes Johnson(15.7 PPG) to take over the tournament. Johnson is a dynamic scorer who is in the running to win Big East, ‘Player of the Year’.

Big picture, Syracuse, Kansas, and Kentucky are the three best in college basketball. One of these three teams will win it all. Kansas has excellent leadership and guard play while Kentucky boasts an inexperienced, yet extremely talented team. Of the three, Syracuse, in my mind, is the most prepared for March. Syracuse plays in the toughest conference in America. Does that mean they are my pick to win it all? I don’t know yet. I want to see how they perform in the Big East Tourney. Check back here for future updates…Bookmark Us

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Written by: Kenny Mauss

For the first time since 1990, the Syracuse Orange is ranked number 1 in a regular season poll. Fresh off of a dominating performance at home in the Carrier Dome Saturday night in which they defeated Villanova 95-77, Syracuse moved from 4 to 1.

While the Orange certainly deserve this, they were aided by losses from all three teams that had been ranked ahead of them. Kansas fell to Oklahoma State, Kentucky fell to Tennessee and Purdue (who already lost Hummell for the season) fell to Michigan State yesterday.

The Orange have essentially guaranteed themselves a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament in the coming weeks barring a loss to St. John’s at home on Senior Night, along with a loss in their first game in the Big East Conference Tournament. I don’t foresee ether happening. Syracuse started the season unranked, and has risen all the way to #1. I think it is well deserved, and that the play will continue at this level all the way through the remainder of the season.

What does everyone else think? Is this team worthy of #1? Are they national title contenders?

Written by: Kenny Mauss

It wasn’t just another win. It was a dominating performance that the Orangemen displayed last night vs. the Wildcats of Villanova. Winning 95-77, Syracuse was able to use its strong inside effort and rebounding to pace the Orange over Nova. Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku combined for 36 points and were basically unstoppable inside. Andy Rautins scored only 12 points but hit 2 big 3’s that shifted momentum for the Orange. Nova was up as much as 9 points in the first half, but Syracuse was able to chip away as they turned their defensive effort up and started pounding the ball inside.

Syracuse is now 7-0 vs. ranked teams and has made a legitimate case to be the number 1 team in the country after both Kansas and Kentucky lost yesterday. At worst they have clinched a share of the Big East championship and the number one seed in the Big East tournament. The last time they were Big East regular season champions, they won the national championship. If there was ever a doubt if Syracuse was for real, that changed last night.

Syracuse has mostly liked secured themselves a #1 seed in the tournament but that isn’t good enough for Jim Boeheim’s team. Expectations are sky high, and they backed  it up last night. We’ll see if they back it up with a #1 ranking tagged in front of their team. I say yes, they will.

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Written by: Kenny Mauss

The Jim Boeheim led Syracuse Orangemen are welcoming the Wildcats of Villanova to the Carrier Dome this evening in front of an expected record crowd. Syracuse comes in at 13-2 in the Big East (26-2 overall) and Villanova enters tonight at 12-3 (23-4 overall). It’s a matchup between the top 2 teams in the Big East and two of the top teams in the country.

Villanova has beaten Syracuse two consecutive times in New York but with a win today, Syracuse can clinch its first regular season conference championship since 2002-2003. Not coincidentally, that was the year the Carmelo Anthony and Gerry McNamara led Orangemen won the national championship.

Syracuse comes in ranked #4, and Villanova #7, but ‘Nova has struggled of late. Villanova started the season with lofty expectations, coming off of a Final Four Appearance that left them one game from a national championship. For the most part, they have met all expectations, ranked in the top 10, and fighting for a regular season Big East championship. The surprise has been what Syracuse has been able to accomplish thus far this season. They began the season losing to a Division II exhibition game vs. Le Moyne and entered the season unranked.

Today’s game will most likely determine the #1 seed in the Big East Tournament, the Big East Regular Season Championship, and quite possibly a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament in a few weeks. This game will be about as big as the expected crowd tonight at the Carrier Dome.

Prediction: Syracuse 82- Villanova 76

The Syracuse Orange’s 11-game win streak was snapped today as the Louisville Cardinals beat Syracuse, 66-60. Syracuse’s leading scorer, Wes Johnson was 5-20 from the field. Syracuse looked almost uninterested at times during the game. ‘Cuse could have used a lawyer to bail them out in this game.  Perhaps the Orange overlooked the Cardinals, who lost to St. John’s 74-58 earlier in the week. With three tough Big East games in the next two weeks(@ Georgetown, @Providence, Villnoa); Syracuse must wake up and play harder. Today’s loss drops ‘Cuse to 11-2 in the Big East, 1/2 game behind Villanova for 1st place. Expect #3 Syracuse to drop to #5 in the next AP poll.

Louisville now gains some momentum as they look to stay afloat in Big East play. Louisville has now defeated Syracuse on 5 straight occasions.

Next Game: Thursday at Georgetown

As I sat and thought about an NFL Draft related article I could write on this snowed in day, I figured with the theme of the blog I could write about NFL prospects coming out of the Empire State. This proved to be quite the issue, considering New York is better known for its basketball prospects. Another factor is that there are only two FBS schools in New York, and neither is particularly good: Buffalo and Syracuse are simply stuck in rebuilding mode. The Orange of Syracuse finished a dismal 4-8, and the Bulls didn’t fare much better at 5-7. Both schools have a few players who will be selected in the upcoming NFL Draft, but one wide receiver from Syracuse will certainly be the wild card and is by far the most interesting prospect from these two schools: Mike Williams..

Mike Williams was a physical specimen on the field at Syracuse. Listed at 6’2, 205 pounds, he was big enough to avoid the jam at the line in college. The fourth-year junior was well on pace to rewrite the Syracuse receiving records, held by a wide receiver you may have heard of named Marvin Harrison. His 4.55 speed is by all means not elite, but good enough to make him a productive NFL receiver.

With what sounds like a solid overall build for a wide receiver comes the personal and off-field issues that have plagued Williams’ career with Syracuse. After a monster 2007 season when he posted 60 catches, 837 yards, and 10 touchdowns, he missed all of 2008 after violating Syracuse’s “Academic Integrity Policy” and being forced to transfer to Onondaga Community College to pull up his grades and become eligible again. In 2009, Williams came back and continued the successes that came in 2007: through the first seven games he hauled in 49 catches, 746 yards, and 6 touchdowns. Then, on November 2nd he casually strolled into head coach Doug Marrone’s office and promptly announced that he quit the team, just days after learning he would be a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist, which names the best wide receiver in college football.

From an NFL Draft standpoint, after reading paragraph 2, you’d imagine teams are wondering where they would have to trade up to get the services of the Buffalo, NY native. However, after reading on, we see that there are major character issues here, like many other NFL wide outs. By quitting his team just five games early, Williams undoubtedly cost himself hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in contract money. Going into the offseason, he should have been in the discussion of top FBS receivers, not one if you can even bother to waste a fourth or fifth round draft pick on.

Ironically, I have a feeling that his NFL career will begin somewhere very close to where his college one began: Buffalo. Buffalo will be in desperate need of a receiver as Terrell Owens already has one foot out the door. The one issue that I have with him going to Buffalo is the new head coach, Chan Gailey. If the Bills do draft him, Gailey will need to do everything humanly possible to keep Williams on the right path, which so far hasn’t happened yet in his life.

Prediction? Mike Williams will be a third round draft pick, probably by a team close to home in the New York area.

Written By: Kenny Mauss

First Written: Feb. 10

Tonight will mark the first game between Uconn and Syracuse since the 6 OT thriller in the Quarterfinals of last years Big East Conference Tournament. While there is about .000025% chance this game will be more exciting than the greatest college basketball game ever played, the game between these two rivals is always a battle…

Expect nothing different tonight even though all signs point to Syracuse dominating the Huskies this evening in the Carrier Dome. Taking a page out of Lee Corso’s book, “Not so fast, my friend!”. While Syracuse is riding a 10 game win streak, and Connecticut is 0-5 on the road this season that doesn’t mean this is a gimmie for the ‘Cuse. Connecticut may only be 14-9 this season, but they play in the best conference in basketball and are physically tough enough to beat the Syracuse zone.

Connecticut is only 1-4 against ranked teams this season with their only win coming against the then #1 ranked Texas Longhorns. The Huskies though, have defeated the Orange in 5 of the last 6 regular season matchups, along with winning 3 of the last 4 inside the Carrier Dome.

Tonight’s game will not reach the excitement level of the last time these two teams met, but it will go a long way for both teams. Can Syracuse continue their record setting start to the season and march towards a #1 seed by defeating one of their biggest rivals? What about Connecticut? Can they turn their season around, and make a push towards solidifying a berth into the NCAA tournament? A win over #1 Texas and #2 Syracuse sure will help their cause. We’ll find out tonight what Connecticut has to offer and whether or not Syracuse can continue the winning form.

Written By: Kenny Mauss

The Syracuse Orangemen were not ranked when this season began. Outside of campus (and yours truly) nobody expected the type of season that has occurred thus far in upstate New York. They have climbed to #2 in the most recent AP Poll, which is there highest ranking since winning the National Title in 2003 led by Carmelo Anthony and Gerry McNamara. It has been a very exciting season thus far for the Orangemen, starting with there back to back victories over  then #13 ranked California and #6 ranked North Carolina in the Garden early in the season. They still haven’t cooled off. They currently sit at 23-1 with a 10-1 record inside of the Big East. Jim Boeheim’s squad has definitely solidified themselves as not just Big East contenders, but are playing National Championship quality basketball, and have continued to play at this level for the entire season…

Led by Wesley Johnson, the transfer from Iowa State (1 of 8 transfers over the entire 32 years that Jim Boeheim has been head coach) along with sharp shooter Andy Rautins the Orange have been able to score lots of points against all kinds of teams this season. Freshman Scoop Jardine has the Orange pushing the ball upcourt throughout the game allowing for lots of transition opportunities. While the Orange have been scoring nearly at will against the best conference in men’s basketball, perhaps more impressive has been their ability to play defense this season. Jim Boeheim is known for his 2-3 zone he employs at the Carrier Dome and how tenacious it can be at times. This season though, the Orange have played more man defense than usual, because of their speed and length. Because of their past, when teams game plan for Syracuse, they prepare their offense to play against a zone defense. This year though, the ability to play man defense, even if only several possessions a game, has caught the opposition by surprise. The ability to play man defense is the x factor for Syracuse this season. If they are able to continue stellar defense while scoring at will, they will win the Big East this year, and be destined for a  Final Four appearance.

With only 7 games remaining in the Big East regular season for the Orange, plus the Big East tournament, The Orange seem to be on there way to a #1 seed this coming March. While it may not have been expected when the season began several months ago, expectations are now as high as the Carrier Dome and it is a good time to be a Syracuse basketball fan. There hasn’t been this much excitement since Carmelo and Gerry were in the Orange.