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Looking ahead

Posted by Matt Gelb on December 6, 2008

How long can Jonny Flynn and the Orange stay undefeated? (Associated Press)

How long can Jonny Flynn and the Orange stay undefeated? (Associated Press)

It’s a fun game everyone plays: Schedule watching.

What do I mean? Well, Syracuse is 8-0 and now people are wondering, “What if?”

What if Syracuse is undefeated headed into Memphis?

What if Syracuse beats Memphis on the road and is undefeated going into Big East play?

What if Syracuse is 17-0 going into the Georgetown game?

It’s not as unreasonable to think that as it was a few weeks ago. Syracuse is off for a week for finals, but after that, the real fun starts.

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Dude, where’d the students go?

Posted by Matt Gelb on December 2, 2008

Yeah, not very excited.

Yeah, not very excited.

OK, OK, I know. It’s December. It’s Colgate. Finals are coming up.

But don’t you think the Syracuse students would have been out in full force to thank the Syracuse men’s basketball team for quite the Thanksgiving week? Not exactly.

The announced crowd for Monday night’s game was 18,422, but the student section wasn’t even half full. There was little excitement or noise coming from the students, and it definitely didn’t feel like Syracuse was the No. 16 team in the nation.

So we’re putting the Syracuse student section on notice.

The Orange played a game as a ranked team for the first time since Nov. 23, 2007 — over a year ago. Last week, SU beat Florida, Kansas and Virginia to improve to 6-0. What more do the students need to come out to a game?

Heck, it wasn’t even raining or snowing.

Syracuse’s No. 16 ranking in the AP poll is the highest since Dec. 2, 2006, when SU was No. 15 before losing to Wichita State. That’s reason alone to celebrate.

Not that Jim Boeheim was attacking the students, but on Friday, after Syracuse’s 73-70 win over Virginia — without the students in attendance — the head coach praised the crowd.

“The fans were tremendous tonight,” Boeheim said. “Best I’ve seen in a long time. They were great, absolutely great.”

So even the venerable Boeheim is noticing. Funny, considering the main criticisms of the SU student section in the past few years have been the court rushes against Georgetown. Some would say Syracuse fans should rarely (if ever) rush the court, but that’s another conversation.

Still, how about a little emotion right now?

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What’s With the New AP Top 25 Basketball Poll?

Posted by Todd Kramer on December 1, 2008

Yes, it’s still very early, but it has to come as at least a little bit of a surprise to most college basketball fans that Syracuse was left out of this week’s AP Top 25 poll. Nonconference wins against Florida, Kansas and Virginia were apparently not enough to vault the 6-0 Orange into the AP poll. What’s even more surprising is that both Kansas (No. 22) and Florida (No. 17) each moved UP in the new standings, despite losing to the Cuse in the CBE Classic last week. And Louisville is somehow still ranked third, despite losing to Western Kentucky last night. Does that make any sense?

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A Time to Reflect as the Orange Face the Jayhawks

Posted by Todd Kramer on November 25, 2008

Fans might remember the last time Syracuse and Kansas played each other.  Just in case you didn’t, or just want to feel happy, take a trip down memory lane with this video…

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About Boeheim’s scheduling

Posted by Matt Gelb on November 25, 2008

Boeheim has to be pleased with how his aggressive scheduling has worked so far. (AP)

Boeheim has to be pleased with how his aggressive scheduling has worked so far. (AP)

At Syracuse’s basketball media day, Jim Boeheim was asked about his schedule. After his response, a few snickers emanated from the media contingent.

“It’s basically the same schedule we always played, except those two intersectional games we played in January or February are now being played early because of the Big East playing 18 games,” Boeheim said. “We’ve always played the tournament.”

Of course, this hasn’t been true with Boeheim’s recent schedules. Last year, when Syracuse traveled to Virginia on Dec. 5, it was the first time Syracuse left the state of New York before January since the 2001-02 season.

Now, tonight, Syracuse has a chance to beat the last two NCAA national champions on consecutive nights. The Orange’s defeat of No. 17 Florida on Monday night was SU’s first non-conference win against a ranked team since it topped Memphis on Nov. 19, 2004. Even more amazing: The last time Syracuse beat a ranked non-conference team while outside of the state of New York was Nov. 23, 2000. On that night, SU beat No. 22 DePaul, 92-84, at the Great Alaskan Shootout.

So it’s a rematch of the most important game in Syracuse history tonight in Kansas City, where Kansas will have the crowd behind it, despite the game officially counting as being played at a neutral site.

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Syracuse hosts Oakland tonight…Another Trap Game?

Posted by Todd Kramer on November 21, 2008

A few days ago I wrote that Syracuse needed to stay focused for its game against Richmond.  Well, the Orange took care of the Spiders — albeit just by five points — but tonight’s match up with Oakland could pose some problems for the ‘Cuse.  With a date with Florida just around the corner, SU needs to once again take care of a team it should beat.  

And beating the Golden Grizzlies will be no cakewalk.  After losing its first game of the year at Cleveland State, Oakland rebounded with a big win on the road against Oregon. Coach Greg Kampe has his team playing well despite the loss of senior forward Derrick Nelson, who is out 4-8 weeks with a foot injury.

“We lost our best player,” Kampe said by phone.  “But I think we’re still a pretty good team.”

In Nelson’s absence, junior point guard Johnathan Jones has been impressive.  Jones’, a preseason mid-major All-American selection, scored 32 points in Oakland’s win over Oregon.  The 5-11 Jones should at least challenge Orange point guard Jonny Flynn on both ends of the floor.

“He can shoot, he plays defense, he can pretty much do it all,” says Dave Pemberton, beat writer for the Oakland press who writes a blog called Pemberton’s Point.

Shooting guard Erik Kangas is one of the best pure shooters in the Summit League, and maybe the nation. Kangas and Jones should pose some problems for SU’s backcourt, but look for the Orange to impose its will up front, which could mean a big night for big man Arinze Onuaku.

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Local Basketball Talent Commits to Syracuse

Posted by Todd Kramer on November 20, 2008

Brandon Triche officially signed his letter of intent to play for head coach Jim Boeheim at Syracuse next season. Here’s a promo video Triche made with a buddy of his to show off some of his skills:

Triche, a 6-foot-4 guard from Jamesville-Dewiit High School, was named the 2008 New York Class A Player of the Year after leading the Red Rams to the Class A state and federation titles. He averaged 20.2 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds last year for J-D. For more information on Triche, visit the SU Athletics website.

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