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Syracuse Seeks Victories as ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Takes Place in Nations Capital This Week 2

Posted on March 12, 2024 by Chris Kent
Capital One Arena in Washington, DC is the host site for the 2024 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament this week.

The regular season is over and now it is time to win or go home as Championship Week in college basketball is here. Syracuse heads to the 2024 Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament this week in Washington, DC with work to do to secure an NCAA Tournament bid. How the Orange fare in the ACC Tournament combined with what happens around the country in all the postseason conference tournaments this week will impact whether or not Syracuse gets an NCAA bid.

The Orange are trending in the right direction as they have been playing their best basketball of the season over the last month. Syracuse went 5-2 in its’ last seven regular season games. Included was an 86-79 home win over then No. 7 ranked North Carolina on Feb. 13 and a quality 87-83 road win at North Carolina State a week later on Feb. 20. The win over North Carolina started the seven-game closing surge and marked the first time the Orange beat a top-10 team since a 95-91 overtime win at No. 1 Duke on Jan, 14, 2019. Although a loss at Georgia Tech followed, Syracuse won its’ next four games to have a shot at getting a double bye in this week’s conference tournament. However the Orange fell out of that scenario and ultimately earned the seventh seed and a first-round bye in this week’s tournament. Syracuse will play on Wed. March 13 at 7 pm in the second round against the winner of Tuesday’s opening round game between 10-seed North Carolina State and 15-seed Louisville. Should the Orange win its’ second round game they would advance to play Duke, the No, 2 seed, in the quarterfinals on Thursday March 14 at 7 pm.

Syracuse head coach Adrian Autry succeeded the legendary Jim Boeheim and has guided the Orange to a 20-win season in this his first season as head coach.

In a year of transition for the Orange program following the retirement of hall-of-fame head coach Jim Boeheim, who spent 47 years at the helm, first-year head coach Adrian Autry has stepped in nicely as Boeheim’s successor. Autry has guided Syracuse to its’ first 20-win season since the 2018-19 season when it finished 20-14 overall and 10-8 in the ACC. Following the legendary Boeheim, who he played for and worked for both as assistant coach and associate head coach, Autry has done a commendable job this year in taking over the program. Autry has lead the Orange to a 20-11 mark thus far and finished with a winning record in the competitive ACC at 11-9. Two wins this season over a good and rugged Pittsburgh team, the No. 4 seed in this week’s ACC Tournament, the road one being a quad one win, help Syracuse’s chances for making the NCAA field. The NCAA selections will be announced this coming Sunday, March 17 on CBS.

The Orange will be out to surprise and make some history this week by making a run toward the ACC Tournament Championship game, something they have never appeared in. The furthest Syracuse has ever gone in the ACC Tournament is the quarterfinals where they are 0-4 (not counting 2020 when they advanced to the quarterfinals to play Louisville only to have that game and the rest of the ACC tournament be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic). The Orange have never played more than two games in an ACC Tournament and they have an all-time record of 5-8 in the event. Syracuse is in its’ 11th season as an ACC member having officially joined the conference in the summer of 2013.

Guard Judah Mintz excels at driving to the basket to score and finding open teammates.

Lead by a group of six productive sophomores, the Orange are a young team. Sophomore guard Judah Mintz was just named to the All-ACC Second Team and leads Syracuse in scoring and assists with 18.7 points per game and 4.5 assists per game. His 4.5 apg and 2.10 steals per game were both third best in the ACC this season. Maliq Brown, another sophomore, became the first center in ACC history to lead the conference in steals per game at 2.23 en route to being named to the All-ACC Defensive Team. Brown shoots a team-best 69.3 percent from the field, mostly on the interior. Brown was inserted into the starting lineup in early January after 7-4 center Naheem McLeod – a transfer from Florida State – was lost for the season due to an injury. Brown has picked up the slack left by McLeod in the middle as he is scoring 9.5 ppg and leads the Orange with 7.0 rebounds per game.

Syracuse gets most of its’ outside shooting and scoring from sophomores Chris Bell, J.J. Starling, and Justin Taylor. Bell is the best and most reliable 3-point shooter on the team as he converts at a team-best 41.5 percent clip from behind the arc. Bell made eight 3-pointers in a win at North Carolina State this season, one short of tying the single-game school record. Starling and Taylor are also threats from beyond the arc along with Mintz.
Bell, Starling, and Taylor have been mainstays with each starting all 31 games this season. Bell scores 12.0 ppg and has made a team best 81 3-pointers on the season. Starling counters with 13.5 ppg while Taylor scores 5.1 ppg. Starling shoots 46.0 percent from the field and his ability to penetrate and find teammates helps in the halfcourt. Taylor shoots 35.7 percent from the field and has made 25 3-pointers this season.

Quadir Copeland brings versatility and athleticism off the bench for the Orange and scores in a variety of ways.

The Orange are at their best when they are able to run, score in transition, and create steals to generate scoring opportunities. Mintz is the catalyst for that style of play as he can get to the rim and create scoring opportunities for others. While Syracuse can execute in the half court, they can go stale in that mode if their shots are not falling and they don’t get rebounds. Helping to combat that is the play of Quadir Copeland, another sophomore and a key reserve. Copeland brings energy and creativity with his passing and athletic ability. After playing in 20 games as a freshman, he has played in all 31 games this season and been a big contributor. As a freshman, Copeland averaged 2.1 ppg., 1.6 rpg., 0.5 apg., and 0.5 steals per game while playing in 20 games during which he shot 34.1 percent from the field. Copeland has improved upon all those averages this season while playing in all 31 games to date. He has per game averages of 9.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.5 steals. In addition, Copeland is shooting 48.1 percent from the field, a big improvement from a year ago which has given balance to the Orange offense. Copeland’s play came to the forefront this season on Jan. 20 when he drained a 3-pointer as time expired lifting Syracuse to a 72-69 home win over Miami.

More clutch play like that might be needed by Copeland and the Orange this week if they are to have a long stay in the ACC Tournament. A recent projection by NCAA bracketologist Joe Lunardi had Syracuse listed as a team that was being considered for an NCAA bid. The strength of the Orange resume is highlighted by their two wins each over Pittsburgh and North Carolina State along with the big win over North Carolina. Syracuse also has a neutral site win over Oregon. However the Orange missed opportunities for strengthening their resume with losses to both Tennessee and Gonzaga in the Maui Invitational back in November. Tennessee was ranked No. 7 and Gonzaga No. 11 in the AP poll at the time of those games. If Syracuse is to move onto solid ground, it will have to land some wins this week and hope that the results of other teams they are competing with for NCAA spots work to their advantage. The game results of the Orange and those of many other teams across the country this week will have much to do in determining the fate of Syracuse.

Elite Eight Battle Between Duke and Kentucky in 1992 was a Classic Thriller 1

Posted on March 24, 2022 by Chris Kent

I

t was a game that epitomized March Madness. The 1992 East Regional Final of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament between Duke and Kentucky was as thrilling a game as one can imagine. Basketball pundits and fans everywhere witnessed a game for the ages. It was an instant classic packed with as much drama as a play on broadway in New York City.

Actually, it was played in Philadelphia, PA at The Spectrum and featured the east region’s top two seeds. On Saturday March 28, 1992, the Blue Devils and the Wildcats battled in a game that is remembered as a theatrical masterpiece. Veteran broadcasters Verne Lundquist and Len Elmore called the game for CBS Sports and did a masterful job. With a trip to The Final Four on the line, the two nationally ranked powers went back-and-forth much of the game leading up to a frantic, thrilling, and dramatic finish.

Having just fallen behind by one point on a Kentucky basket after which they used their final timeout with 2.1 seconds left in overtime, Duke inbounded the ball under the Wildcats’ basket. Sophomore forward Grant Hill prepared to make the long inbounds pass which was nearly the full length of the court. The call by Lundquist sounded like this:

“There’s the pass to Laettner…puts it up…(Buzzer sounds) Yessssssssssss!

Hill’s long inbounds pass was caught by 6-11 senior forward/center Christian Laettner just outside the top of the foul line where he made a turnaround jumper as time expired. Echoes of Lundquist’s call have lingered on for decades since this fabled play.

Christian Laettner makes a turnaround shot to beat the final buzzer lifting Duke over Kentucky in the 1992 East Regional Championship Game of the NCAA Tournament. The win sent the Blue Devils to their fifth straight Final Four. Click on the above photo to watch a replay of this full game, one of the best basketball games ever played.

Ecstasy resulted for the Blue Devils while Kentucky was left in anguish. Laettner’s basket, a swish, lifted Duke to an improbable 104-103 win and sent the Blue Devils to The Final Four for the fifth straight year. Wildcat senior forwards John Pelphrey and Deron Feldhaus, each standing 6-7, defended Laettner on the final play. Pelphrey made a reach for the ball before backing off to avoid fouling for Kentucky. Feldhaus was closer and raised both arms up on Laettner as he took the epic shot.

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Best Local Sports Teams in El Paso 0

Posted on March 05, 2022 by John Harris
UTEP, then known as Texas Western, won the 1966 NCAA Basketball Championship.

In the very southwest of Texas, situated on the Rio Grande, sits El Paso, the 23rd largest city in the nation.

And yet – there are no major league sports teams there.

Though there are approximately 678,000 residents there, the number doesn’t necessarily dictate major leagues teams.

Despite that, there are still plenty of local teams at the collegiate level to enjoy. The University of Texas El Paso itself has numerous Division I teams across sports.

The next time you’re in the area looking at El Paso houses for sale, check out one of these organizations.

El Paso Rhinos

The Rhinos are the premier amateur junior ice hockey team in the city. Former El Paso Buzzards pro hockey player Cory Herman founded the team in 2006 and serves as head coach.

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Syracuse and Duke Clash Again 0

Posted on February 26, 2022 by Chris Kent

Syracuse versus Duke.

Syracuse head basketball coach Jim Boeheim and Duke head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski shake hands at half court before a game at the Carrier Dome. Together, the two have totaled over 2,000 victories during their hall-of-fame careers.

Coaching legends, hall-of-famers, and close friends in Jim Boeheim of the Orange and Mike Krzyzewski of the Blue Devils. The duo are the two winningest coaches in college basketball history and are coaching royalty. Cameron Crazzies and record-setting Carrier Dome crowds. Plain and simple it is must see television.

For nearly a decade the matchup has been a featured attraction in the Atlantic Coast Conference and all of college basketball. The sport welcomed the annual clash of titans when Syracuse joined the ACC in 2013. Since then this matchup has been nothing short of brilliant.

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Syracuse Rises in March with Runs to Sweet 16 and Beyond 6

Posted on March 27, 2021 by Chris Kent

Double-digit seeds usually have a short stay in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. In fact, only five double- digit seeds have ever reached the Final Four since 1979 when the selection committee began seeding teams. While the intrigue, drama, and excitement of this event is largely built on these lower seeds knocking off their favored counterparts, they typically have been eliminated during the first weekend of play after a win or two if you include the First Four which started in 2011. Not if you are Syracuse.

The Orange have defied the odds. Syracuse has advanced to the Sweet 16 in three of the last five NCAA tournaments as a double-digit seed. The Orange are there this year as a No. 11 seed and will meet No. 2 Houston in the Midwest regional semifinals tonight. Tip-off is set for 9:55 pm EST.

Syracuse has added to the appeal of March Madness over the years based on its’ dramatic play.

While this success is a credit to the coaching of hall-of-fame head coach Jim Boeheim and his heavily capable assistants, it is also Syracuse’s fabled 2-3 zone defense that is a major factor in befuddling opponents as they are not used to it. A proven winner and an elite coach, Boeheim and his assistants do a masterful job of getting the most out of their players and improving during the season. While the Orange have finished anywhere between sixth and 10th in the final ACC regular season standings over the last six seasons, Syracuse is typically on the upswing the last week of the regular season as they head into March.

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Making NCAA Basketball Predictions for Beginners 7

Posted on December 24, 2020 by Kumar Vishnu

Basketball can be serious business to a lot of people, and NCAAB (National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball) can be an extremely important part of college basketball for many fans. Even before games start, it is easy to focus on future NCAAB picks, and there is sometimes money to be made in making NCAAB basketball predictions of your own. But why do it, and what is it for?

Why should you make NCAA basketball predictions?

Predictions aren’t just a personal preference that you use to focus on a team that you like: they can be an important way of trying to identify possible upsets and underdogs and can really draw you into the experience. For some people, they are also a good way to make money, focusing on personal or ‘professional’ bets before the games have even begun.

Beginners and newcomers to the idea of predictions need to remember that there is no such thing as a “100% chance” of a particular result – there is a reason that upsets have become so popular, with many players actually hoping for them simply because of the drama and excitement that they can cause.

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Dale Murphy: A Hallmark of Excellence
      July 2, 2024 | 1:53 pm
      Dale Murphy

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a standout player of the 1980s, remembered not only for his exceptional skills on the field but also for his exemplary character and sportsmanship.

      Born on March 12, 1956, in Portland, Oregon, Dale Murphy’s journey to becoming one of the most respected players in baseball history is a testament to dedication, perseverance, and a genuine love for the game.

      Early Career and Rise to Prominence

      Murphy was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the first round of the 1974 MLB Draft. He made his Major League debut on September 13, 1976, at the age of 20. Initially a catcher, Murphy transitioned to the outfield early in his career, where he would solidify his place as one of the premier outfielders of his era.

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