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Crucial Week Lies Ahead for Syracuse Orange as Huge Games Loom 0

Posted on February 20, 2018 by Chris Kent

An absolute crucial week is about to commence for the Syracuse men’s basketball team. Come late Saturday night, it could end up making or breaking the season for the Orange.

SU LogoWhile Syracuse’s regular season finale on March 3 with nationally ranked Clemson (20-6, 9-5) will carry weight for its’ NCAA Tournament hopes as well, this week’s back-to-back games against ACC bluebloods North Carolina and Duke will be enormous for the Orange as they seek to secure an NCAA bid. Although Syracuse will also compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament March 6-10 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY where its’ play could also factor into their chances for an NCAA bid, leaving most or all of their NCAA fortunes to that event would be risky when it is not yet even known what the seedings or matchups are going to be.

The Orange (18-9, 7-7) will play three of their final four regular season games against teams currently ranked in the top 15 and who also have a top 10 RPI. A win or two against those teams would place Syracuse on solid instead of shaky ground by the end of the regular season. This would be to their advantage and seem to make their NCAA path easier. Although it is possible for a team “on the bubble” to play its’ way to an NCAA bid based on what they do during championship week, it is a tougher road.

The competition level ramps up for the Orange on Wednesday Feb. 21 when defending national champion North Carolina (21-7,

Roy Williams coaches with fierce intensity and has another 20-win season in 2017-18.

Roy Williams coaches with intensity and has another 20-win season in 2017-18.

10-5) visits the Carrier Dome for a nationally televised prime time game at 7 pm EST on ESPN. Ranked 10th in this week’s AP Poll and possessing an RPI of five, the Tar Heels are riding a five-game winning streak that has featured wins over Duke, North Carolina State, and Louisville. Meanwhile, Syracuse has won three of its’ last four games and comes off a 62-55 win at Miami on Feb. 17.

North Carolina has another strong team this year and is lead by the trio of senior guards Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson along with 6-8 junior forward Luke Maye who leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 18.4 and 10.5 averages respectively. Berry II and Pinson not only give the Tar Heels production but a pair of senior leaders in the backcourt who have played in the last two national championship games. Berry averages 17.7 points per-game and dishes out 3.1 assists per-game while Pinson adds 9.3 ppg along with a team-best 4.5 apg. Junior guard Kenny Williams also scores 11.5 ppg.

Berry II is one of the better point guards in North Carolina history. Named to the All-Final Four Teams each of the last two seasons, Berry II is one of just two players in ACC history to be named the ACC Tournament MVP in one season (2016) and garner Final Four Most Outstanding Player in another (2017), joining Duke legend Christian Laettner, arguably the top NCAA Tournament performer of all-time. Read the rest of this entry →

Bob Cousy: Houdini of the Hardwood 0

Posted on February 04, 2018 by Dean Hybl
Bob Cousy

Bob Cousy

The Boston Celtics traded prior to the 2017-2018 season for All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, but the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was the first in a long line of superstars to play for the Boston Celtics.

Before there was Bill Russell and Larry Bird, the Boston Celtics were powered by a 6-foot-1 inch guard from Holy Cross. Bob Cousy was the on-the-court leader for the Celtics in the era during which they emerged as a basketball juggernaut. Read the rest of this entry →

Some Key NBA Foot Injuries Now And Then 1

Posted on December 07, 2017 by Joe Fleming
Bill Walton was never able to achieve his full potential in the NBA due to foot injuries.

Bill Walton was never able to achieve his full potential in the NBA due to foot injuries.

Sprinting and jumping, two of the most frequent activities in professional basketball, are very hard on the feet. And it’s not just the activities on NBA game days. By the time athletes reach that level, their feet have already undergone years of pounding in practices and games since they were teenagers.

Although foot injuries are much more serious when you sprint and jump for a living, these wounds are not limited to top professional athletes. In fact, they are quite common, especially among active people. While your options are usually limited in terms of correcting the injury, it’s always a good idea to follow a doctor’s orders. There are some choices available in terms of recovery including physical therapy, surgery, and bracing. Instead of just any device, use one of these top shoes for foot injuries. They not only hasten your recovery but also add comfortable and maneuverability while you are laid up.

Bill Walton

A foot injury transformed one of the most dominating forces on the hardwood into one of its most prolific towel-waving cheerleaders. Then again, Mr. Walton was always quite a contrast. In college, he was the best player on those unbeatable John Wooden-led UCLA teams. In the 1973 title game, Mr. Walton almost literally beat Memphis State all by himself, scoring 44 points on 21-of-22 shooting in an 87-66 win.

But the foot injuries soon took their toll. After several campaigns on the Portland Trail Blazers team that included two deep playoff runs, an MVP trophy, and a championship title, Mr. Walton missed the entire 1978-79 season in an injury-related holdout. He played on and off for the next decade, even winning the NBA’s Sixth Man Award with the Boston Celtics in 1985. However, Mr. Walton and his foot issues will probably be remembered as the man who still holds the record for the number of career games missed due to injury. Read the rest of this entry →

Syracuse and Kansas Sport a History on the Basketball Hardwood 2

Posted on December 03, 2017 by Chris Kent
Hakim Warrick leaps to block the 3-point shot attempt of Michael Lee in the 2003 NCAA Championship game.

Hakim Warrick leaps to block the 3-point shot attempt of Michael Lee in the 2003 NCAA Championship game.

In one of the most thrilling finishes in NCAA championship game history, Syracuse beat Kansas 81-78 to clinch its’ first and only men’s basketball national title in school history in 2003. Hakim Warrick’s block of Michael Lee’s 3-point attempt with 1.5 seconds to play secured the title which became official when the Jayhawks’ ensuing possession resulted in a missed 3-pointer by senior guard Kirk Hinrich as time expired.

It was a euphoric moment in Orange history.

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, in his 27th year at the helm at the time, won his first national title in his third trip to the championship game. Boeheim and the Orange had come up short in two prior championship games against Indiana in 1987 and Kentucky in 1996. The third time for Boeheim as head coach at Syracuse (he was an assistant coach on the school’s first Final Four team in 1975), proved to be the charm.

The two met again on Dec. 2 as they dueled in the Hoophall Miami Invitational at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Fla. where Kansas won 76-60. Both teams were 6-0 entering the game. Each school posted home wins over Texas Southern, Oakland, and Toledo in earlier rounds of this Invitational in November.

Since their ’03 title clash, there have been many changes in the college basketball landscape. Conference realignment has dominated among the six power conferences and both schools have been impacted by this. The Orange left The Big East after the 2012-13 season to join the Atlantic Coast Conference in the summer of 2013. Meanwhile, the Jayhawks have welcomed in such teams as West Virginia to the Big 12. We’ve had mid-major teams like George Mason (2006), Butler (2010, ’11), and Virginia Commonwealth (’11) make The Final Four with Butler finishing as the national runner-up in both 2010 and ’11. Read the rest of this entry →

Rise Of Analytics Help Trigger New Era In Sports 2

Posted on October 27, 2017 by Kent Tukeli

Advanced analytics have completely changed basketball and baseball strategy at the highest level. After decades of traditional wisdom ruling over the NBA and MLB, coaches and front offices were forced to adjust to new data sources which revealed valuable competitive insight.

Professional hockey went through a major change in the 1990s, with NHL betting odds favoring teams which made the switch to trap-based defensive systems. Since then scoring has almost returned to pre-trap levels as analysts attempt to utilize modern analytics to uncover the next big edge in hockey. And the best sports betting sites have had also had to adjust their betting lines accordingly.

NBA Analytics Created The Three-Point Revolution

Basketball might be the most extreme example of how analytics has influenced a sport’s strategy at the highest level. NBA champions of the 80s and 90s ruled the paint, including legends like Magic Johnson, Hakeem Olajuwon and Shaquille O’Neal. The action has moved far away from the key, with the three-point shot dominating the newest offensive schemes and strategies.

The record for three-point attempts was broken once again in the 2016-17 season, this time by the Houston Rockets, who bombed their way to a second-round playoff exit. The previous record holders, the Golden State Warriors, earned their second NBA championship in three years. No team has won a ring without elite three-point shooting for nearly a decade.

Basketball analytics have progressed to personal electronics worn by players around the clock, with players being monitored almost incessantly. Before the modern age of the three-pointer, a three-point shooting center or power forward was a rare luxury. Now, players who previously focused on banging in the paint must develop a jumper if they expect to start on most NBA rosters.

Curry-KD

MLB Analytics Lead To Home Run And Strikeout Records

Perhaps the most stat-intense sport in the world, baseball has always recorded the history of their game meticulously. The advent of modern analytics and micro data has allowed statisticians to run through an abundance of data to determine the best hitting, pitching and batting strategies. Read the rest of this entry →

Remembering the Boston Celtics Comeback of 2008 1

Posted on October 11, 2017 by Aleksandra Udovenko

2008_NBA_Finals_–_Game_2It was without a doubt one of the greatest comebacks of all time. And that includes the incredible Liverpool comeback in the 2005 Champions League Final. In fact, it was so thrilling that even the most casual of basketball fans will probably be able to tell you where they were when the Celtics put in one of the most heroic performances the NBA has ever seen.

But first a little background.

It was 2008, and the Boston Celtics, with fresh recruits Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, had made it to the Championship Finals. They faced their age-old rivals the LA Lakers in what many neutrals billed as the Finals matchup of the century. The Celtics went into the Finals series as the record holders for most NBA Championships, yet it had been 22 years since their last win. The Lakers were second to the Celtics in terms of Championships won, but that didn’t stop them from being the favorites.

At home, the Celtics won Games 1 and 2 before heading to the Staples Center where the Lakers managed to win Game 3 81-87. The series was set up for a barnstorming Game 4, and the significance of the result cannot be understated. With the Celtics leading the series 2-1, a Lakers win would have tied the series and put a serious dent in the Celtics confidence. And in the first quarter, that’s exactly what looked like was happening. Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Bill Freehan: Michigan Man
      May 12, 2018 | 6:21 pm

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was an 11-time American League All-Star at one of the most demanding positions in baseball, yet outside of Detroit his exploits have been largely forgotten.

      For more than a decade, Bill Freehan was the rock behind home plate for the Detroit Tigers. In addition to earning All-Star honors 10 straight years and 11 times overall, Freehan was a five-time Gold Glove winner and in 1968 finished second in the American League in the MVP voting.

      A true “Michigan Man”, Freehan played his entire sports career representing teams from Michigan.

      Read more »

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