Newshouse Sports

The world of sports from a few Syracuse students

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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SU Wins One for the Gipper

Posted by Todd Kramer on November 23, 2008


Head coach Greg Robinson and company celebrate yesterday's huge win

Head coach Greg Robinson and company celebrate yesterday

Say what you want about Greg Roinson as a head football coach, but throughout his four years as head man of the Syracuse football program, I have never heard anyone – from the players on the team, to athletic director Daryl Gross, to other coaches around the country – question Robinson as a person. And that’s why even the most bitter SU football fans should be happy for Robinson after the Orange’s 24-23 comeback win over Notre Dame last night.


For anyone who watched the game on national television yesterday, there was no question how hard the team was playing, and just how excited the team was to win. I’ve heard some people say they expect the Orange to play hard the rest of the way just to attract a potential replacement for G-Rob, but part of me honestly thinks the team was playing for its lame-duck head coach. Not necessarily to help him win his job back, which is out of the question, but out of respect for Robinson as a man.

“It really isn’t necessarily a surprise at all to our team,” Robinson said in his postgame press conference. “They knew somewhere along the line this team was going to do something special. This was an opportunity for them and they knew they had to make the most of it. I give them a lot of credit.”

Who would have thought coming out of this game the opposing head coach would be the one hearing the critcism? Charlie Weis, who started at Notre Dame the same year Robinson took over at SU, is starting to feel the heat after last night’s unthinkable loss. There’s a good chance if Weis didn’t have a $20 million buyout, he would be shown the door at season’s end.

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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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This Weekend Offers a Little More Meaning for SU’s Dantley

Posted by Todd Kramer on November 21, 2008

Adrian Dantley is the father of SU quarterback Cameron DantleyWith just two games left to go this season, and with a 2-8 record, there’s not much for the Orange to play for this weekend at Notre Dame, even if the Orange wants to make Syracuse seem like an attractive place for a potential replacement for lame-duck head coach Greg Robinson.

But for quarterback Cameron Dantley, the game this weekend in South Bend will certainly mean something.  Dantley is the son of NBA Hall of Famer Adrian Dantley, who played his college basketball at Notre Dame under current ESPN analyst Digger Phelps. And, while Cameron expects his father to be rooting for him on Saturday, he admits it might be tough.

“He loves Notre Dame,” Cameron said. “It was a big part of his career. He loves the place. He had a great time when he was there and it was a big part of his life. He always has stories to tell about Notre Dame and what they’re doing now.”

Adrian Dantley averaged nearly 26 points a game for the Irish during his career. That is good for second in Notre Dame history behind Austin Carr, who averaged a whopping 34.6 points per contest.

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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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Remember, it can always be worse

Posted by Matt Gelb on November 19, 2008

So Syracuse slept walk through the first half of last night’s 76-71 victory over Richmond, but the Orange played a decent second half to win a game that, as Jonny Flynn told The Post-Standard, last year’s team wouldn’t have come back to win.

How about what happened late last night in Arizona? Alabama-Birmingham and Arizona played down to the wire…and what transpired is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen in college basketball.

Not once, but twice! Inconceivable.

Arizona is a program in turmoil following legendary head coach Lute Olson’s sudden retirement weeks before the season began. Last night was strike one for interim coach Russ Pennell, who last year, was a TV announcer for Arizona State men’s basketball games.

Maybe he should go back to his old gig.

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SU Basketball Must Stay Focused Before Schedule Heats Up

Posted by Todd Kramer on November 18, 2008

After an easy 85-51 win over Le Moyne on Sunday, Syracuse hosts a Division I opponent tonight when Richmond visits the Carrier Dome.  And for those SU fans who are thinking, “Hey, it’s just Richmond,” be careful.  Games like these are typical trap games for the Cuse, who lost early nonconference games last year to teams like Rhode Island and UMass, which did not help their NCAA tournament resumes out at all down the stretch.  In this game, the second for the Orange in the CBE Classic, SU needs to not look ahead to potential matchups with the last two national champions – Florida and Kansas.  The Orange actually is guaranteed to play the Gators Monday in the CBE regardless of winning or losing to the Spiders tonight, but a loss to Richmond certainly wouldn’t help the team’s confidence going into that game.

The Spiders employ the type of offense that could give Syracuse’s zone defense fits.  Their coach, Princeton graduate Chris Mooney, likes to incorporate Princeton’s famous spread-the-floor, backdoor-cut style, and the team can also knock down three-pointers (Richmond shot 39 percent from beyond the arc in a 24-point win over Division III Randolph-Macon on Saturday).  Any team that can hit its shots can give the Orange a run for its money.

In fact, according to Paul Harris, the Orange has been preparing for the Spiders offense since even before its first game.  This is what Harris had to say in a story from’s Donna Ditota:

“Actually we’ve been talking more about Richmond than Le Moyne, to be honest with you. Basically, we’ve been going over in practice a lot of back-door cuts and really, their whole offense.”

With a tougher nonconference schedule this year than in years past – aside from the CBE Classic, Syracuse hosts Virginia and visits 12th-ranked Memphis – it is imperative for the Orange to pick up wins against teams it should beat.  With the game televised on ESPN, tonight is a chance for SU to make a statement with a date with Florida just around the corner.

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Top 5: Next Syracuse head coach

Posted by Matt Gelb on November 18, 2008

Counting down the candidates most likely to be the next Syracuse football head coach…

Randy Edsall could be telling the truth. We dont think he is. (Associated Press)

Randy Edsall could be telling the truth. We don't think he is. (Associated Press)

1. Randy Edsall, Connecticut head coach
Yeah, we know what he said yesterday. But that’s what the head coach of a team currently fighting for bowl positioning is supposed to say right now. He doesn’t want the Syracuse job opening to be a distraction to his team and staff and Connecticut. Fair enough.

Coaches lie, though, and Edsall is included. Disinformation is part of this whole merry-go-round, so Edsall remains the favorite. He coached at Syracuse for 10 years after playing as a backup quarterback. He knows the Big East. He has the recruiting pipelines. And this is the opportunity to fix his alma mater and with help from some donors, SU could reach his asking price of $2 million-plus. ODDS: 10-1

2. Mike Locksley, Illinois offensive coordinator
He’s young and he’s probably one of, if not the best recruiters in the nation. Locksley is reportedly interested in a head coaching job and at this point, he could be the best fit out there if Edsall sticks to his guns. He has constantly convinced the top players from the D.C.-metro area to go to Illinois and that’s enough credentials for us. The only drawback? No prior head coaching experience. But he’s ready for the gig. ODDS: 16-1

3. Turner Gill, Buffalo head coach
He fits the mold of Locksley, except he has head coaching experience. Gill has turned Buffalo, the perrenial doormat of Division I-A football, into a bowl contender. That in of itself is miraculous. But, as’s Stewart Mandel says, he might be overqualified.

It’s entirely possible Gill would be eager to jump from the MAC to the Big East. But here’s the thing: Gill can do better. Much better.

That being said, we think Gill takes a long, hard look at the Syracuse job. Still, he might be holding out for a return home to Nebraska and could just want to wait in Buffalo. ODDS: 25-1
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Count Edsall Out in SU’s Search for a New Coach…Or Should We?

Posted by Todd Kramer on November 17, 2008

One heavily publicized candidate for the Syracuse football head coaching position has removed his name from consideration. Connecticut head coach Randy Edsall – a Syracuse alum who this past weekend beat his alma mater by 25 – says he is not interested in the opening created by Greg Robinson’s dismissal.

You can read Donnie Webb’s blog for more, but here are some quotes Webb refers to from The (New London, Conn.) Day:

“There has been speculation in various media outlets that I am a candidate for the job. But with all due respect to my alma mater and the people at Syracuse, I am not interested in being a candidate.”

“I just want to continue to coach at the University of Connecticut and prepare my team for this week’s game against South Florida and the rest of our 2008 schedule. I don’t want this to become a distraction to my players or coaching staff as we move forward.”

I agree with Webb’s interpretation of these quotes that it still may be premature to count Edsall out. The quotes – especially the second one – sound like typical coach speak. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him backtrack down the line.

Edsall is a former backup quarterback for the Orange and served as Syracuse’s offensive coordinator from 1980 until 1990. The ties are there, but it will probably come down to money in the end.

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Greg Robinson fired; Jim Brown celebrates

Posted by Matt Gelb on November 17, 2008

Jim Brown played at Syracuse from 1954-56. (Associated Press)

Jim Brown played at Syracuse from 1954-56. (Associated Press)

Jim Brown made his displeasure for the Greg Robinson Era at Syracuse public last month when he spoke out against the beleaguered head coach on an ESPN feature.

Well, suffice to say, the former Syracuse legendary running back was thrilled at the news that Syracuse had fired Robinson.

“It’s a great day, because we have an opportunity to start anew and work together with the new coach,” Brown told The Daily Orange.

Brown is just one of many former Syracuse football players to express his anger at the current situation. Rob Konrad wrote a letter to Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross with a suggestion for head coach. Other alumni have done the same.

On Sunday, Gross made the inevitable official, firing Robinson, who is now 9-36 in his four years at Syracuse. It’s the worst four-year stretch in the 117-year football history at SU.

Oh, but don’t worry: Brown likes Robinson as a person.

“He’s a great human being,” Brown said, “but the program is headed nowhere.”

Well, after Sunday’s events, nowhere is somewhere.

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