Posted on: January 1, 2011 7:24 pm
Edited on: January 1, 2011 7:44 pm
The record can be attributed to the quality of the team on one level and to the advantageous schedule on another, and we'll all know at a later date what deserves more of the credit. You can do a lot of things in college basketball, but fake your way through the Big East isn't one of them. So Syracuse will either prove itself as a legitimate top five team or not in due time. But for now, all I know is this: The Orange are 15-0.
We can debate why.
But we can't debate that.
No, Syracuse hasn't gone on the road and handled a quality opponent (or even played a true road game). But Saturday's 70-58 victory over Notre Dame at the Carrier Dome means Jim Boeheim's team now owns wins over the schools ranked 15th (Notre Dame) and 20th (Michigan State) in the latest Associated Press poll, and the Orange haven't lost to a school currently ranked outside of the top 20, which isn't the case for No. 6 Pittsburgh, No. 8 Villanova, No. 9 Georgetown, No. 11 Kentucky, No. 12 Purdue, No. 13 Texas, No. 14 Minnesota, No. 16 BYU, No. 17 Kansas State and No. 18 Texas A&M. In other words, it's still hard to tell if the Orange are great, but it's already clear they're pretty darn good and better than expected.
And ranked appropriately.
(That's fair, right?)
Either way, I can't wait for Jan. 17.
That's when Syracuse plays Pittsburgh at the Peterson Events Center.
Syracuse will almost certainly enter 18-0; Pitt should be 17-1 or 16-2. The Big Monday showdown is this season's only scheduled game between the Big East powers. It could decide the league championship. More than anything, though, it'll give the Orange their first road game against a ranked opponent and provide context, one way or another, to this perfect record. Win at Pitt and any remaining doubters can be called haters. Lose at Pitt and what happens over the subsequent two weeks in games against Villanova (home), Marquette (road) and Connecticut (road) will be telling.
Like I said, everything will sort itself out in due time.
But what's important now is that Syracuse is 15-0 overall, 2-0 in the Big East.
Is that the start of something big?
Honestly, who knows?
But I do know this: It's a helluva start.
Posted on: December 29, 2010 12:28 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2010 12:29 pm
Has any team played as many tough games in hostile environments this season as Georgetown? The Hoyas opened at Old Dominion (Nov. 12), then played Missouri in Kansas City (Nov. 27), at Temple (Dec. 9) and at Memphis (Dec. 23). Now they're set to open Big East play Wednesday night at Notre Dame, which means Georgetown is about to play its fifth pseudo-road game -- vs. Missouri in Kansas City is technically a neutral-site game -- against a Top 25-level team.
That would be ambitious for anybody.
It's especially ambitious for a Big East school that still has road games at Villanova (Jan. 29), Syracuse (Feb. 9), UConn (Feb. 16) and Cincinnati (March 5), but it's doable with a team led by experienced guards like Chris Wright, Austin Freeman and Jason Clark. For proof, consider that the Hoyas enter with an 11-1 record, and that their only loss came by three points at Temple, otherwise known as the favorite to win the Atlantic 10.
Also: Georgetown is a 3-point favorite at No. 15 Notre Dame.
That suggests the Hoyas are really good.
But if you've been watching, you knew that already.
Posted on: November 26, 2010 10:57 pm
Edited on: November 27, 2010 8:12 am
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- I'm not one of those who sits around and complains about "slow" basketball or even "bad" basketball. But there's no denying what I've spent the past two days watching here at the Old Spice Classic has been mostly ridiculous.
I've watched eight games -- four each day -- and seen nine teams shoot under 40 percent from the field, three shoot under 30 percent from the field. The winners of three of the eight games have won despite scoring in the 50s, and one of those winners spent Friday participating in the silliest half of basketball I've ever seen.
"I've never seen a half like that," said Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, so that makes two of us. "Never had 21 points at halftime and been up 16."
(Well, who has?)
In case you didn't piece that together, allow me: Notre Dame and California played in a winner's bracket game Friday, and the Irish led 21-5 at the half. Seriously, it was 21-5. At. The. Half. The Bears shot 8.0 percent from the field in those 20 minutes. They had more than twice as many turnovers (11) as points (5), more than four times as many fouls (9) as field goals (2). It all contributed to one of the lowest combined point totals in a half since the shot clock came into effect in 1986, and thank god the Auburn-Alabama football game was on to serve as a distraction.
"I've never done the math and said, 'We're up 16 and we have 21 points,'" Brey said. "Never seen anything like it."
And hopefully we never will again.
Posted on: November 26, 2010 12:59 am
Edited on: November 26, 2010 8:13 am
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Old Spice Classic is really developing into a nice event.
Especially the consolation bracket.
I watched four games spread over nearly 12 hours Thursday here at the Milk House, and I saw a bunch of things I didn't expect to see. Like Boston College beating Texas A&M a week after losing to Yale. And California beating No. 21 Temple in what was supposed to be (but doesn't really look like) a rebuilding year for the Bears. And Georgia blowing a 12-point lead in the second half of a double-overtime loss to Notre Dame. Had I been asked to predict all four first-round games, I would've nailed Wisconsin over Manhattan and missed the other three. It was a strange day, but also typical given that this is college basketball and it's still November. In 11 hours I get to do it all again.
Here's Friday's schedule:
(All times ET)
Notre Dame is 5-0.
Cal is 3-0.
Posted on: February 16, 2010 12:17 pm
Here's Tuesday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: Love your work with the Poll Attacks. Please keep up the good work. How in the world does Notre Dame, who amazingly had six points in the coaches poll last week GAIN three additional points after losing to Seton Hall and St. John's?
It's awesome that I'm creating a little army of Poll Attackers.
We're gonna have to get T-shirts made.
Anyway, to the question: How did Notre Dame lose two games to teams with a combined Big East record of 9-15 and gain three points in the coaches poll? I have no freaking idea. None. It's incredible. And I appreciate you pointing it out.
Posted on: October 2, 2009 10:57 am
Edited on: October 2, 2009 11:00 am
Notre Dame wing Scott Martin tore his ACL in a workout Thursday and will miss all of this season.
"It was [on a] jumpstop," Brey said in a text message sent to CBSSports.com. "No one around him and he goes down."
Martin transferred from Purdue after one season in which he averaged 8.5 points and 3.8 rebounds.
He sat out last season because of NCAA transfer rules.
He was expected to be a starter at Notre Dame.
Posted on: June 15, 2009 4:13 pm
Edited on: June 15, 2009 5:47 pm
Notre Dame junior Luke Harangody has decided to withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to school, Irish coach Mike Brey told CBSSports.com on Monday afternoon.
"He's [coming] back," Brey said via text message.
This development will give Harangody the opportunity to leave Notre Dame as the school's all-time leading scorer.
The post player averaged 23.3 points and 11.8 rebounds last season.
Posted on: February 12, 2009 11:30 pm
Edited on: February 12, 2009 11:39 pm
The phone rang late Thursday, I answered it, then asked one simple question.