Posted on: December 8, 2010 4:12 am
Edited on: December 8, 2010 6:55 am

Jardine: We're always gonna be a good team

NEW YORK -- The Jimmy V Classic featured four ranked teams playing two lopsided games.

That's basketball, I guess.

The matchups don't always match up so well.

But that doesn't mean it was a wasted trip. I still watched four schools that'll be playing in the NCAA tournament come March play at Madison Square Garden in December. And though I had already seen Kansas, Memphis and Michigan State in person this season, Tuesday night gave me my first look at Syracuse from courtside, and, obviously, I came away impressed. Rick Jackson (17 points and 16 rebounds) was terrific in the 72-58 victory over Michigan State, and the Orange managed to win despite making just two of 11 3-point attempts. They looked flawed in some ways, but mostly strong. So now I promise -- seriously, Syracuse fans, I promise -- to do what most have been doing for weeks, i.e., get the Orange into the top 10.

They'll be there when I update the Top 25 (and one) late Sunday.

"I'm not gonna say we answered [people's questions], but this really showed what we can be," said Syracuse guard Scoop Jardine, who, to his credit, acknowledged it was reasonable to question the Orange given that they lost three starters from last season's roster. "[Coach Jim Boeheim] goes at us no matter what. He's going to always get the best out of us, and that's why I thnk we're never gonna settle for less. We're always gonna be a good team. Long as he is here coaching Syracuse, we're always gonna have a good team."
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 17, 2010 8:59 am
Edited on: November 17, 2010 9:00 am

Boeheim isn't sure he has any good shooters

Syracuse is 3-0 and ranked 10th in the AP poll despite losing Wesley Johnson, Andy Rautins and Arinze Onuaku from last season's roster. All things considered, not bad. But that doesn't mean Jim Boeheim is pleased with how things are going, especially not with how his team is shooting the ball.

Consider the following rant after Tuesday's 66-55 win over Detroit (in which the Orange shot 36.4 percent from the field and 23.3 percent from 3-point range): "If somebody was guarding one of these guys, you know, I might have some kind of an understanding. You're in college. You're not in high school. You're in college. You've got a scholarship. They don't guard you. You've got to be able to make that shot. If you can't, you know, you shouldn't be in college playing basketball. That's why guys don't play. Everybody told me what great shooters [we have]. Well, the two great shooters are 2-for-22 coming off our bench. So now would you please explain to me how they're great shooters? And I don't want to [hear], 'Well, they make them in practice.' Let me tell you something right now: I can make them in practice. If no one guards me, I can make them."

Click this link to watch the full video of Boeheim's press conference.

I love the way the Hall of Famer doesn't pull punches with his own players.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: November 9, 2010 8:40 am
Edited on: November 9, 2010 8:51 am

You remember Syracuse from last season, right?

Tennessee lost an exhibition to Indianapolis on Monday night.

Indianapolis is a Division II school.

So now the folks who talk about college basketball in November -- and that number isn't nearly as high as I'd like it to be -- are making predictable and sweeping generalities, apparently forgetting how another school that wears orange suffered a similar embarrassment a year ago last week.

"Hopefully we can learn from this and move in the right direction," Syracuse's Wes Johnson said after last preseason's exhibition loss to Division II Le Moyne. He then proceeded to learn from it and move in the right direction, i.e., the direction of a Big East title and No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Which is why Bruce Pearl shouldn't be overly concerned.

Granted, there's a chance what happened Monday at Thompson-Boling Arena will ultimately prove to be the first sign that the off-the-court drama surrounding the program will have an on-the-court effect that'll cause the Vols to fall short of expectations. But it's just as likely that this defeat means absolutely nothing, which is pretty much what I told a distraught Syracuse fan who emailed after the Orange's loss to Le Moyne last November and proclaimed his favorite team's season "just ended before it ever began."
"This isn't going to be as bad as you think or as bad as it was Tuesday night. I can't find proof right now (I've been looking for 15 minutes), but I believe UMass lost an exhibition in the 1995-96 season, then went on to make the Final Four. Grand Valley State famously beat Michigan State in an exhibition two years ago, and the Spartans still made the Sweet 16. So losing a game like this isn't necessarily a prediction of what's coming."
Those were my words filed within 24 hours of Syracuse's loss to Le Moyne.

My levelheadedness served me well.

So while I do wonder if the Vols will miss Wayne Chism, J.P. Prince and Bobby Maze more than most anticipated, the reality is that I've seen Pearl win with rosters much worse than the roster he has now, and I'll still be shocked if Tennessee isn't a borderline Top 25  team that competes for the SEC East title and makes the NCAA tournament. In other words, Monday's development didn't change my opinion of the Vols one bit. My guess is that they'll bounce back Friday and open the regular season with a double-digit win over Chattanooga, just like they were always going to do.
Category: NCAAB
Posted on: October 30, 2010 6:57 pm

Elite point guard decommits from Texas

Myck Kabongo, MaxPreps.com's No. 2 point guard in the Class of 2011, publicly decommitted from Texas on Saturday and told recruiting analyst Dave Telep that he's now considering Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina and Syracuse in addition to the Longhorns.

"I'm not opening it up to everybody, but I'm going to open it to certain schools," Kabongo said. "I'll look at Syracuse, Duke, North Carolina, Texas and Kentucky. That's it."

Kabongo committed to Texas in January 2009.

He's now the nation's highest-rated available recruit.
Posted on: August 23, 2010 7:22 am

Coaching clinic in Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- I'm spending the next couple of days -- i.e., Monday and Tuesday -- here on the Florida campus, and not because I'm starting graduate school. Rather, I'm speaking at an annual coaching clinic organized by Florida associate head coach Larry Shyatt. It should be both fun and educational. I'm glad I'm involved.

Here's the rundown of Monday speakers:

9:15: Brad Stevens
10:30: Del Harris
12:00: Me
1:45: Jeremy Foley
2:30: Jamie Dixon, Shaka Smart, Matthew Driscoll
4:00: Buzz Williams
5:15: Rick Turk
6:30: LuAnn Humphrey
7:45: Billy Donovan

Coaches scheduled to speak Tuesday include Matt Painter, Sean Miller, Travis Ford, Scott Duncan, Mike Hopkins, Brendan Suhr, and Kevin Eastman. I'll try my best to Tweet anything interesting. So make sure you're following me at this link.
Posted on: August 6, 2010 1:12 pm
Edited on: August 6, 2010 1:14 pm

Syracuse gets commitment from elite big man

Class of 2011 star Rakeem Christmas announced Friday that he plans to play college basketball at Syracuse, choosing the Orange over offers from Georgetown, Florida, Texas, Rutgers, Oklahoma, and Florida International.

Christmas is a 6-foot-10 shotblocker who should be great in the Syracuse zone.

MaxPreps.com ranks Christmas 16th nationally.

He's No. 9 at Scout.com and Rivals.com.
Posted on: August 4, 2010 3:21 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2010 11:20 pm

Report: Chicago star set to commit to Kentucky

Anthony Davis, a 6-foot-10 forward from Chicago who could prove to be the best prospect in the Class of 2011, will announce soon that he'll play college basketball at Kentucky, according to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times.

The paper cited a "reliable source."

Davis' commitment would give Kentucky three of the nation's top six prospects from the Class of 2011 (according to the latest rankings at Scout.com) and almost certainly ensure John Calipari will sign college basketball's best class for the third consecutive year. Davis would join Michael Gilchrist (No. 1 at Scout.com) and Marquis Teague (No. 6 at Scout.com) on the list of early UK commitments. Scout.com has Davis No. 5 nationally, but he is expected to be higher when the rankings are updated thanks to an unusual rise to prominence during the July evaluation period that concluded last week.

Davis was also reportedly considering Ohio State, DePaul and Syracuse.

An interesting aspect of the Sun-Times story came in the ninth paragraph, where the writer, Michael O'Brien, reported some are "alleging that the commitment cost $200,000." O'Brien described the allegation as a "rumor" and offered no sources for it. The prospect's father, Anthony Davis Sr., denied the "rumor" to the paper.

(UPDATE: The Sun-Times has removed, without explanation, the $200,000 allegation from O'Brien's story.)

(UPDATE No. 2: Lawyers representing Kentucky sent a letter to O'Brien late Wednesday formally demanding that the Sun-Times "withdraw the publication from any source from which it has been published, and issue an immediate statement that you know of no credible evidence indicating that there is any truth to the 'rumors' referred to in your article." O'Brien is yet to respond.)
Posted on: August 4, 2010 9:04 am
Edited on: August 4, 2010 9:06 am
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