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Sports Then and Now

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 →

Zultan’s Fearless Big Ten (+) Plus College Football Predictions: Week One 3

Posted on August 28, 2010 by JA Allen

The Mighty Zultan Tells Football Fortunes...

Zultan, the mighty soothsayer, hibernated soundly after a glorious conclusion to Big Ten Football Bowl Season last January.

The all-seeing one remained zoned out for months after admittedly over-indulging in some exotic-looking orange punch with the kick of a kangaroo.

The Big Ten pounded its way to an impressive 4-3 record during post-season play which included wins over some very highly ranked BCS teams at the conclusion of the 2009 football season.

The action culminated with the Iowa Hawkeye’s victory over the Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech. After the Hawkeyes rolled over them, GT may still be putting their “wrecked” offense back together.

When the mighty one’s eyes snapped open this week, ready to dig in for another season of football prognostication –– low and behold, the news was delivered.  The Big Red Machine was going to be joining the Big Ten. What a blow!  After years of living in the shadow of the God Almighty Nebraska Cornhuskers, the all-seeing seer now must feel the singe of the hot poker once again––as Nebraska closes in on the neighboring Hawkeyes starting in 2011.

Putting aside his feelings of betrayal, the all-seeing one now marshals the massive skills that allow him to predict the outcome of football contests.  The Big Ten Conference will be a force to be reckoned with in 2010 along with other highly touted football contests each week.

What he wishes to know is––can you outguess him?  Do you feel lucky, well, do you?  If so click here and you can pit your puny predicting powers against the great Zultan.  If you outguess him, then he will announce that you beat him in next week’s column, plus entering your name for a prize to be awarded at the end of the season.

Read the rest of this entry →

College Football Preview: Virginia Tech Looking For ACC “Three-Peat” 1

Posted on September 02, 2009 by Dean Hybl

Defenders have a hard time catching Tyrod Taylor.

Defenders have a hard time catching Tyrod Taylor.

Overview: In recent years, the ACC has been a solid conference, but maligned nationally because it rarely has a team in contention for the BCS Championship. Two-time defending champion Virginia Tech is looking to make a mark on the nationally scene in 2009 with a tough non-conference schedule, but they will likely end up simply fighting for another ACC title. Once dominant Florida State is starting to show signs of life again, but anything short of a league title is considered a bad year in Tallahassee. Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Clemson and North Carolina State are all solid teams that will battle it out each week.

Read the rest of this entry →

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  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Mike Gminski: Four-Year Duke Star
      March 10, 2018 | 11:05 am
      Mike Gminski

      Mike Gminski

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a star big man who achieved great success at Camden Indoor Stadium in the era before Coach K and the One-and-Done big men became the norm at Duke University.

      Much like recent Duke big men Marvin Bagley III, Jayson Tatum and Jahlil Okafor, Mike Gminski made an immediate impact for the Blue Devils. However, because he played 40 years earlier at a time when few players left college early, Gminski spent four years racking up stats and success in Durham.

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