Analysis. History. Perspective.

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 →

Pittsburgh and Villanova Pose Roadblocks for Syracuse in Big East 1

Posted on January 25, 2011 by Chris Kent

Pennsylvania was once known as The Coal State when coal mining was one of its’ leading industries. Regardless of where that stands in the state’s economy today, the Syracuse University men’s basketball team has to wonder if the mines have been rejuvenated over the past decade or so in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. If they were to investigate, the Orange would probably find Panthers and Wildcats mining the coal.

Big East foes Pittsburgh and Villanova have left Syracuse feeling like one who wakes up Christmas morning and finds just that – coal – in their stocking more times than not. Despite a stellar run of success by the Orange since the 2000-01 season, which peaked with their first and only national championship in 2003, Pittsburgh and Villanova have been a thorn in their side. Syracuse is only 10-23 against the Pennsylvania duo since the 2000-01 season commenced.

Rick Jackson of Syracuse battles against Mouphtaou Yarou of Villanova on Jan. 22 in the Carrier Dome. Villanova won 83-72. (Richard Mackson/US Presswire)

The coal was evident twice last week for the No. 3 Orange whose undefeated season of 18-0 ended with back-to-back losses to two of their toughest conference foes, both nationally ranked. First came a trip to the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh where Syracuse lost to the fifth-ranked Panthers, 74-66 on Jan. 17. Pittsburgh jumped on the Orange early en route to a 19-0 lead. Although Syracuse scored the next 17 points to pull within two, they would never lead in the game which featured just one tie, that coming in the second half.

Five days later on Jan. 22, the Orange hosted No. 7 Villanova in the Carrier Dome before a crowd of 33,736, the second largest on-campus crowd in NCAA college basketball history. Villanova prevailed 83-72 behind a timely shooting display that busted the fabled 2-3 zone of Syracuse. It was Villanova’s 13th win over the Orange in the Dome, the most of any Syracuse opponent all-time.

Two games against ranked opponents in less than six full days and the Orange had been humbled with a pair of defeats, knocking them not only from the ranks of the undefeated and from atop the Big East standings, but causing them to drop in the national rankings. Syracuse had to feel as though a lump of coal had been handed to them not once, but twice. The Orange, ranked third in both the Associated Press and the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Polls on Jan. 17, fell to 10th and ninth in the polls respectively on Jan. 24.

Thus, Pittsburgh and Villanova have been the Achilles heel of Syracuse which has otherwise dominated most of their Big East foes. Since the 2000-01 season, the Orange sports a winning record against 11 of the other 13 teams that currently make up the Big East which expanded to 16 teams for the 2005-06 season. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Follow Us Online

  • 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.

      Read more »

    • RSSArchive for Vintage Athlete of the Month »
  • Sign up for Email Updates

    Sign-up to get daily updates of all the great articles and information on Sports Then and Now.

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Check out the best free bets at freebets4all. Learn how to convert online bookmakers free bets into guaranteed cash using the matched betting technique.

  • Affordable Satellite TV Great prices on Dish network packages.

  • Gear up for your next trip with new North Face Backpacks from Shop great Field Hockey Sticks from Grays & Gryphon.

    Football Jerseys

    8mm film to digital
  • Current Poll

    Which Team Will Win the NBA Championship?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Post Categories

↑ Top