Big East Hoops

Archive for the 'Syracuse' category

And the fun begins!

November 3, 2009 9:12 pm by Coach O

Just watched Lemoyne beat Syracuse 82-79. I know it’s only an exhibition but it was fun anyway.

Tomorrow night Ill be at the UConn – American International game in Hartford. Didn’t someone tell these guys there’s a World Series going on?

Making a name.

March 14, 2009 8:55 pm by Mister D

Sure. We know what Championship Week and March Madness are all about: the drama and the tradition of the best college basketball teams in the nation going head-to-head, trying as hard as they can to make it to the field of 65. And for those that do make it, it’s about playing in a do-or-die tournament that’s probably the most exciting in the world.

But beyond those general, overarching pursuits, this time of year is also about college players making a name for themselves (and, potentially, millions of dollars in a sweet NBA contract because of their name recognition).

I’ll give you an example. Last year, which names did you hear constantly throughout the season? Michael Beasley. OJ Mayo. Kevin Love. But who, after an amazing NCAA Tournament where he went from a no-name point guard to absolute stud, was the first pick in the NBA draft and the likely NBA rookie of the year? Derrick Rose. He went from nobody to mega-star.

Rose went from little-known guard to #1 pick.

In fact, there are several guys every year who start out the month of March as relative no-names, and who play their way, either by way of their conference tournament or the NCAA tournament, into the NBA. Russell Westbrook, Mike Conley, Brandan Wright, Jeff Green. I could go on.

The point is, these guys made a name for themselves in March, and they decided to capitalize on it. If they’re smart (assuming they care about making lots of dough), athletes will make the jump and cash in on their name when the buzz is up and player stock is high. After the past 48 hours, I fully expect Jonny Flynn to do this. A few days ago, nobody outside of the Big East knew who Jonny Flynn was. Now, everyone knows this guy is a warrior, a talented floor general, and somebody with tons and tons of heart who also happens to be quite marketable. As much as I love his game and would not want him to leave, I actually think he should leave. His name recognition will never be higher. His stock is up. Sell. There are perils if you don’t.

Donte Greene made the jump.  Maybe Jonny should too.

We said on this site a two years ago that super-frosh Scottie Reynolds, after he dropped 40 on UConn (in Storrs, no less) late in the year and had an amazing Big East Tournament, should have left for the NBA. Was he polished enough for the NBA? Probably not. Was he a little soft? Probably. But his name recognition was huge. He was all over the national media, and we argued that he should have cashed in and gone to the NBA because the opportunity might not arise ever again.

Two years later, he’s still a great player on a solid Villanova squad. But all of a sudden he’s the second-best player on his team, and he isn’t glowing in the national spotlight (especially not after scoring 2 points on 1-6 shooting in the Big East semifinal the other night). Now, maybe he goes nuts in the NCAA Tournament this year and turns some heads. And maybe he gets a shot at the NBA after a stellar senior season. I still like his game, and I think he could make it in the next level. But he had the chance at making millions back in 2007, and he missed it.

So if you’re reading this, Jonny, think on it. Guaranteed cash in an economy like this? Be like Derrick. Don’t be like Scottie.

Syracuse or Georgetown?

December 30, 2008 10:57 pm by Big Willie Style

Both had impressive wins to start the Big East season. After the Hoyas dismantled #2 UConn the other night, the Orange fouled it up with an impressive 24 point victory against Seton Hall. While the Pirates are not as impressive as the Huskies, they’re not a total scrub, and have already defeated Virginia Tech and nationally ranked USC so far this year.

While most will be impressed with the Hoyas “upset” (although some disagree), give me the Orange right now. Routins scored 26 points, including 7-10 3 point shooting, and Devendorf had 20 himself. Don’t get me wrong, this is real close, but it’s always fun to compare the Orange and Hoyas. And for now, I think Syracuse has had the slightly more impressive start. As a bonus, we get to see this classic matchup in just about 15 days.

The Second Five

November 11, 2008 10:39 am by Coach O

the first five teams are all serious contenders for the Big East title. That doesn’t mean that the next group should be counted out. Each of the 2nd five could rise up to challenge UConn or Louisville for the championship.

6. Syracuse –

Frontcourt – The loss of Donte Green will take its toll on the SU frontline. Arinze Onuaku was a pleasant surprise in the low post for the Orange. He averaged 12.8 ppg and 8.1 rg and played tough in the paint. The other man in the frontcourt is still in doubt. Because of the plethora of guards available, Boeheim may use 6-5 Paul Harris as the power forward. A voracious rebounder and a 14.5 ppg scorer, Harris also averaged over 8 boards a game. The problem with that is a lack of height. If Harris moves to the ’3′ position, Krostof Ongenaet has starting experience and is 6-8. Grade – B

Backcourt – Jonny Flynn was Big East co-rookie of the year last season. He is a proven point man and also contributed 15.7 ppg. Eric Devendorf is back and will try to continue his 17 ppg average that he had when he went down last year. So now with Devendorf and Flynn that should be enough, right? No….. Andy Rautins, a sharpshooting small forward is returning after a year off with injury. So a backcourt of Flynn, Devendorf and Rautins would force a move of Harris to the ’3′ position. Grade – A

Coaching  – Jim Boeheim still gets the most out of his players. He is a Hall of Fame and National Championship coach and has a very talented group here this year. Grade – A-

OVERALL  – SU can give some teams fits this year and have the talent to make a run at the title. Will they miss Donte Green? Probably. Will they miss his crazy shot selection and defensive indifference? Not at all. If the orange can improve their defense this season they will finish higher than 5th. If not, I see them in 6th place. Grade B+



Frontcourt – Dante Cunningham had a solid season last year. he averaged in double figures and over 6 rpg. Antonio Pena and Shane Clark are adequate post men and Casiem Drummond will backup both post positions. All major players down  low are 6-8 except Drummond who is 6-10. The Cats hold their own down low but will have trouble with the frontlines of the top rated teams. Grade – B-

Backcourt  – Scottie Reynolds will win some games for Nova. He will also lose some. Sometimes Reynolds needs to involve teammates when his game goes south. He is one of the most talented and exciting guards in the country. Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes will split time at the point. The problem here is that Reynolds controls the ball most of the time and the point guard occasionally gets involved in his offense. Dwayne Anderson will start at the ’3′. His outside shooting won some key contests for the Cats last year. When Anderson and Reynolds are on their game, Nova can beat anyone. Reggie Redding lends experience behind Anderson. Grade A-

Coaching – Jay Wright is a great coach. He has shunned the NBA and isenjoying his stay in Philly. He will get the most out of his group and probably lose some hair when Reynolds gets out of control. Grade – A-

OVERALL  – Nova is a dangerous team. They went to the Sweet Sixteen last year and did not lose any key players from that team. But they will also lose a game or two that should be easy wins. Grade – B


Frontcourt – Roy Hibbert will be missed. His steady play (and 3 point shooting) was a plus for the Hoyas. But DaJuan Summers is a talented player and can take his game to the outside if necessary. 6-10 Greg Monroe looks to start at center but he is a Freshman. FSU Transfer Julian Vaughn and Henry Sims (Fr) will backup down low. Grade C+

Backcourt – Jesse Sapp returns after averaging 9.7 ppg last year. Austin Freeman had a great freshman year and brings experience on the perimeter. Chris Wright recovered from his injury to get valuable minutes last season. But Jonathan Wallace will be sorely missed by GTown this year and no one will immediately take his leadership place. Grade – B

Coaching – JT3 was the media darling two years ago when he led the Hoyas to the Final Four. Last year was more of a struggle as teams worked on getting Hibbert into foul trouble. This year there are some question marks. Can Summers lead this team into the top 5? Don’t think so. Losing Wallace and Hibbert may be too much to overcome. 7th or 8th looks about right. Grade – B-

West Virginia

Frontcourt – Year two of the Huggins reign is here and Joe Alexander is gone. Good news and Bad News. Da’Sean Butler returns, but at 6-7 he is more a swing player than low post presence. Wellington Smith, John Flowers, and Cam Thoroughman are names that really don’t strike fear in opponents eyes down low. Devin Ebanks is a freshman that may make an impact. Grade C-

Backcourt – Alex Ruoff returns and will be a top long range shooter for the Neers. Joe Mazzulla should take over the point after logging impressive minutes last year. That leaves the ’3′ where Butler should play if he is not needed at the power forward. Grade – B-

Coaching – Huggins didn’t take long to get WVU going last year in his style. It makes sense that they should be familiar with the new tough man to man D and hard-nosed offense. He always has his teams playing hard. Grade B+

OVERALL – Losing Alexander and Darris Nichols may be too much to overcome in this tough league this year. WVU should be in the top 10 in the BE but barely. Grade C+


Frontcourt – Mick Cronin has done a marvelous job taking a team with only a handful of scholarship players two years ago and making them a respectable foe last year. Mike Williams transferred from Texas and then was injured all last season. He is expected to anchor the low post in the absence of John Williamson. Anthony McClain and Kenny Belton will man the center position but neither has shown any flashes of brilliance thus far. Yancy Gates is a freshman who may break into the starting lineup during the season. Grade C-

Backcourt – Deonta Vaughn is one of the most exciting players in the league. Vaughn won some games on his own last year and may have to do the same this season. Larry Davis has experience but brings a 4.3 ppg average which doesn’t compliment Vaughn too well. Rashad Bishop should be the small forward this season after starting 20 games last year. Grade B

Coaching- As said earlier, Cronin has to be admired after what he has done to bring this program back from the disaster of two years ago. He shows enthusiasm on the bench and that translates to his players. He has also been successful in his recruiting efforts. Grade – B

OVERALL - Vaughn will draw most of the attention from opponents and will have to work for every point he gets this year. There is some talent here but not enough to compete with the big boys at the top of the conference. Top 10 finish will be a struggle. Grade – C



Weekend bullets

March 2, 2008 3:49 am by donald
  • The Marquette-Georgetown game this weekend was one of the best Big East games all season long (we’ve had a ton this year). Much sympathy to Big Willie who was forced over to the Florida game. Big play after big play from both teams. If you have a few minutes in your day, watch the clips below — it’s a condensed version of the end of regulation.

    Georgetown down 57-59 with 1:27 left. This happens:

    On the next play…

    Burke misses the free-throw, so its Marquette 61, Georgetown 59, when Hibbert makes a great pass to a cutting Ewing…

    Ewing makes 1 of 2 free throws, and Georgetown fouls Wes Matthews of Marquette, who makes both free throws. At this point, the score is Marquette 63, Georgetown 60. Then this:

    My take: he did get fouled, Jonathan Wallace sold the foul really well…but that was like the fourth straight call that Georgetown got in a row.

    More links from the blogosphere: Cracked Sidewalks, Hoya Saxa, and AOL FanHouse, where Charles Rich breaks out the truth:

    You know, some people will say that Georgetown has something magical happening very quietly. Others will say that they are just getting some incredible luck/breaks/calls by the refs that have to go the other way at some point.

    I can understand both views, but I’m leaning towards luck issue. Not that it can’t carry them pretty far. Not that they the Hoyas didn’t put themselves in the position to win those games. Not that Georgetown is a bad team or isn’t capable of winning a lot of games in March without getting things to fall their way. It’s just that the Big East play has been exceptional in the bounces going Georgetown’s way.

    Whether it was the block/goaltend call at West Virginia; a last second “foul” that 9 times out of 10 would be a no-call; and now getting a 3-point foul called in the final seconds Georgetown has had the late calls go in their favor.

    Not to give myself credit here, but my Duke-Georgetown theory is really holding up.

  • This weekend, Syracuse was the anti-Georgetown, and Georgetown the anti-Syracuse. Georgetown somehow won a game they totally didn’t deserve to win (see Jonathan Wallace getting “fouled” at the end of regulation above, as well as . Syracuse, on the other hand, found a way to lose a game to Pittsburgh in which they were up by 11 with less than 4 minutes to go.
  • One thing that has always amazed me about Georgetown is their ability to use the last 10 seconds of the shot clock as effectively as the first 10 seconds (or any other 10 seconds, on the other hand). Coach Thompson must run some sort of drill to ensure that they don’t freak out with the shot clock expiring. More often than not, they get a backdoor pass or an open three in the last few seconds, something that is utterly devastating to the defense.
  • West Virginia still has no quality win. They could have gotten one this weekend against UConn, but fell behind early. Monday’s WVU-Pitt game will be an absolute must for both teams. The winner of that game makes the NCAAs. The Big East may be the biggest, baddest conference out there, but they aren’t sending 7 teams to the big dance. Monday’s matchup will be something to watch. Mark my words: Joe Alexander will disappear. Why? I’ll be watching the game. He is one of those players that suck so hard when I’m watching, but put up big games when I’m not (such as his 32 point outburst against UConn this weekend).