Posted on: September 4, 2009 12:12 pm
Edited on: September 4, 2009 12:20 pm
Minnesota Golden Gophers 0-0 (0-0 Big 10)
Gophers Key Returning Players:
QB Adam Weber 6'3" 217lbs - 255-410 (62.2%), 2761 yards, 19 Total TD's, 8 INT
WR Eric Decker 6'2" 215lbs - 84 rec, 1074 yards, 8 Total TD
DB Traye Simmons 5'11" 179lbs - 61 Total Tackles, 4 INT 1 TD
OLB Simoni Lawrence 6'1" 221lbs - 66 Total Tackles, 10.5 Tackles For Loss, 4 Sacks, 1 TD
Previous Season: Minnesota was 7-6 last season with five straight losses to end the year. After starting off the season a sizzling 7-1 Minnesota finally hit some real competition and that coupled with an injury to star Wideout Eric Decker led Minny to 5 straight losses including an embarrasing 55-0 loss at Iowa and a 42-21 loss to Kansas in the Insight Bowl. Despite the complete meltdown at seasons end, the season was still considered a success as it was a far cry from the 1-11 season Gopher fans experienced the seadson before. This season a veteren group of players look to improve on last season and rise into the upper echelon of the Big Ten.
Game Preview: This is arguably the biggest Syracuse University football game in about a decade, the Carrier Dome will be near a sellout and the monicre "The Loud House" will actually have meaning again. There are 3 major keys to victory for Syracuse. The first is contain Weber and Decker, if those two go off on the secondary it will be a long day, but if the Cuse can contain them and not let them get hot, they have a shot. Safeties Mike Holmes and Max Suter are keys as they should have over the top coverage. The second key to victory is ball control. Over the last few seasons Cuse had a ridiculous amount of 3 and outs, putting the defense on the field for 3/4th's of the game allowing teams to pull away in the late third and fourth quarters. That cannot happen this season, especially with the lack of depth and experience, Cuse needs to establish the running game with Delone Carter and Antwon Bailey and at least keep the T.O.P. at 50/50. The final key to victory is YOU, the 12th man, the Dome crowd. If your going to sellout the place you better be in there rockin, when the 3rd down bell chimes and the defense can get a big stop get on your feet and yell, rattle some keys, do something. Show the country that Syracuse football is back and it isn't going anywhere.
My Prediction: The start of the Doug Marrone Era begins with a win. In what is the biggest game at the Dome since probably the 1998-99 season Cuse pulls off the win 24-20. Expect Cuse to jump out early on the Gophers. By halftime though the game has settled into a tie as Weber and Decker hook up. In the second half Minny looks as though they are going to take the game over with another quick score Weber to Decker but Paulus comes back and throws his first collegiate TD, this brings the crowd alive and they will the Orange to victory. With a another score in the 4th Cuse holds off a late Minny drive and collects the W.
Posted on: March 26, 2009 6:17 pm
Edited on: March 27, 2009 9:31 pm
#2 Oklahoma Sooners 29-5 (13-3 Big XII)
Oklahoma Starting Lineup:
G Austin Johnson Sr.
G Willie Warren Fr.
G Tony Crocker Jr.
F Taylor Griffin Sr.
F Blake Griffin Soph.
Key Bench Players:
G Omar Leary Sr.
F Juan Pattillo Jr.
G Cade Davis Soph.
Previous Game: The Sooners defeated the Michigan Wolverines 73-63 in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Sweet 16. The Wolverines where plagued by foul trouble as 4 starters finished with 4 or more fouls. Consensous Player Of the Year Blake Griffin carried the Sooners to victory finishing with 33 points and 17 boards, freshman shooting guard Willie Warren had 16 points.
Game Preview: The Sweet 16 is here. The matchup between the #2 seed Oklahoma Sooners and the #3 seed Syracuse Orange. The strong frontcourt of the Sooners against the deadly backourt of the Orange. Contrary to what most people believe, the performance of Blake Griffin will not be the difference in this game. Griffin, who averages 22.5 ppg along with 14.4 rpg, will undoubtedly get his 20 points and 15 rebounds. For Syracuse to win they need to hold the OU guards down on the outside and not allow them to get hot. Against Michigan and their 1-3-1 zone, OU went 6-19 or 31% from 3. If Syracuse can get a performance like that out of Warren, Crocker, Johnson and Davis (all shoot between 34% and 38% from 3) regardless of what Blake Griffin does Cuse should come out on top. If OU is going to win they need to "outshoot" the Syracuse guards. If Flynn, Devendorf and Rautins can shoot like they did against Arizona State it is going to be hard to beat Syracuse. Another key for the Cuse, the X factor, Paul Harris. Other than his 29 point 22 rebound performance against UConn in 6 OT's, Paul has been quiet as of late. He is one of the only guys on the team that isn't on his game. Though, Harris has traditionally shown up for the big games in his career. This is a huge game and if Harris can help the frontcourt with the Griffin's and Pattillo, it would go a long way towards getting a W and a trip to the Elite 8. On a side note, Jim Boeheim is going for his 800th win in the game. That would make him only the 8th head coach ever to reach 800 wins.
My Prediction: Toughest prediction yet. Blake Griffin is the POY, probable #1 draft pick and just all around great player. The problem for OU is they have a severe lack of balance. Outiside of Blake Griffin and Willie Warren there are not any other players that average double digits or are consistant scoring threats. Expect another high scoring game, both teams shoot very well but the balance of Syracuse prevails giving Jim Boeheim number 800 and Syracuse a trip to the elite 8, their first since 2003. 85-82 Syracuse
Final Score: 84-71 Oklahoma
Posted on: March 21, 2009 4:42 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2009 2:20 pm
#6 Arizona State Sun Devils 25-9 (11-7 Pac-10)
Arizona State Starting Lineup:
G Derrick Glasser Jr.
G Ty Abbott Soph.
G James Harden Soph.
G/F Rihards Kuksiks Soph.
F Jeff Pendergraph Sr.
Key Bench Players:
G Jamelle McMillan Soph.
G Jerren Shipp Jr.
C Eric Boateng Jr.
Previous Game: In the first round of the tournament Arizona State defeated the Temple Owls 66-57. Veteren Jeff Pendergraph led Arizona State with 22 points and 7 rebounds, point guard Derrick Glasser had a career high 22 points shooting 6 for 8 from the field. All American James Harden was shut down as he shot just 1-8 from the field and had only 9 points, 11 off his average.
Game Preview: Friday Syracuse got its first tournament win since 2004. Now that that's out of the way Syracuse is looking to make a run to the Motor City. In their way, the Arizona State Sun Devils led by All American guard James Harden. Harden is averaging 20 points per game on the season along with 5 assists. Syracuse will need to key on him because he can create, dish and score and if he gets off it will be a long day. Arizona State, like the Orange, lost in their Conference Tournament Championship. ASU lost to a hot USC team in the title game, one of the reasons for the loss was foul trouble, a common thread in all of ASU's losses. In all 9 of ASU's losses James Harden, Jeff Pendergraph or both have had 4 or more fouls. Having your two best players in foul trouble is never good, but couple that with the fact that ASU really only has Pendergraph in the post and it makes for a rough outing. If Syracuse can get the ball inside to Onuaku, Jackson and hopefully a healthy Ongenaut, and get Pendergraph in early foul trouble it will force ASU to go small or put in their raw center Eric Boateng, which is a huge advantage to Cuse. On the offensive end, Syracuse arguably had their worst shooting game of the season against Stephen F. Austin, they shot 45% overall but from 3 point range Cuse was just 2/16 or 12.5%. It is unlikey Cuse will have two games in a row with shooting like that, especially against a zone defense like ASU's. Syracuse should go inside out against Arizona States' zone, dump the ball in to Onuaku and Jackson to work Pendergraph then kick it out for the open three. On defense Cuse, Onuaku and Jackson specifically, needs to guard the middle of the 2-3, as Pendergraph will be stationed at the high post looking for that easy 14-16 foot jumpshot. If he doesn't get that he'll look to kick it to the many ASU shooters. Harden has made 57 3's (36%), Kuksiks 85 (44%), Glasser 41 (41%), Abbott 38 (26%), McMillan 31 (36%) and Shipp 14 (32%). At least 3 of these guys will be on the court at any time and even though Syracuse is top 5 in the nation in FG% defense will they be able to cover all these shooters in the 2-3 zone? Or will they be forced into man?
My Prediction: ASU has been good all season. We all know James Harden is going to be a lottery pick and Flynn is right up there with him. What this game comes down to is rather or not ASU can stop Onuaku, Jackson and a returning Ongenaut in the post and if Syracuse can hold down the the ASU shooters along with Harden. ASU may come out a bit slow, as the tip is 10:10 a.m. their time, but it should be a relatively high scoring game as 3's rain down in Miami from both teams. Onuaku, Jackson and Ongenaut eventually just overpower ASU and Cuse prevails 84-75.
Final Score: 78-67 Syracuse
Posted on: March 19, 2009 11:25 am
Edited on: March 20, 2009 2:09 pm
#13 Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks 24-7 (13-3 Southland)
Stephen F. Austin Starting Lineup:
G Eric Bell Jr.
G Girod Adams Jr.
F Josh Alexander Sr.
F Nick Shaw Sr.
C Matt Kingsley Sr.
Key Bench Players:
G Eddie Williams Soph.
G Walt Harris Jr.
F Benson Akpan Sr.
Previous Game: The 'Jacks of Stephen F. Austin defeated the Texas San-Antonio RoadRunners to win the Southland Conference Tournament by a score of 68-57. Matt Kingsley led the 'Jacks with 20 points and 6 rebounds. Josh Alexander and Eddie Williams each chipped in with 16 points.
Game Preview: Syracuse is finally back in the NCAA Tournament after a 2 season hiatus. Although, 2 years is nothing compared to actually never being in the tournament, like Stephen F. Austin. This is SFA's first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history and also the first for their Head Coach Danny Kaspar, compared to 24 appearances for Jim Boeheim. That is one of the big reasons as to why Syracuse should easily win this one. That along with the fact that Syracuse is one of the hottest teams in the Tournament. Winning 8 straight by an average of 20+ before losing to Louisville in the Big East Tournament Championship because of fatigue. That issue of fatigue has been brought up many times over the past week as analyst after analyst questions the legs of the Syracuse's players. "I'm only 20-years-old, I'm young," Flynn said. "We're used to playing basketball all the time back home." So fatigue should not be a factor after a full 5 days of rest. For SFA to try to wear down Cuse they need to play their hard nosed defense they have played all season. SFA ranks 2nd in the country in opponents points per game and allows offenses to shoot just 37.2% from the field. They haven't played an offensive juggernaut like Syracuse though. Syracuse shoots 48.8% form the field, thanks mostly to Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku who both shoot over 62% from the field. Cuse also averages 81 ppg, tops in the Big East and top 5 in the nation. If Syracuse even has a below average day on offense it is still better than most teams. The question is on the defensive side of the ball. Lately, Syracuse has been great in their 2-3 zone, forcing TO's, bad shots and giving opposing teams offensive fits. It will be interesting to see how SFA scores the ball. The 2-3 will take away 6 foot 9" star center Matt Kingsley down in the low post, and SFA only shoots 31% from 3 on the season so they make knock down a couple long range shots but not as much as they would need to win. 5 foot 3" point Eric Bell will not be so eager to go into the teeth of the 2-3, and if SFA wants to try to beat Cuse down the floor they will turn it into a run and gun type of game, which is not their style. Look for SFA to try and lull Syracuse to sleep with long offensive possesions and then try to get a good shot with under 15 seconds to go in the shot clock.
My Prediction: Matt Kingsley is a great player for Stephen F. Austin, so is Josh Alexander, but Syracuse is bigger at literally every position. They have been battle tested and they have a coach who has more experience than anyone in the South Region. Syracuse will not be fatigued and they will run away with this first round game. 77-57 Syracuse.
Final Score: 59-44 Syracuse
Posted on: March 7, 2009 11:38 am
Edited on: March 7, 2009 4:49 pm
#13 Marquette Golden Eagles 23-7 (12-5)
Marquette Starting Lineup:
G Maurice Acker Jr.
G Jerel Mcneal Sr.
G Wesley Matthews Sr.
F Lazar Hayward Jr.
F Dwight Burke Sr.
Key Bench Players:
G/F Jimmy Butler Soph.
G David Cubillan Jr.
Previous Game: Marquette lost it's 3rd straight with a 90-75 loss at Pittsburgh on Wednesday. After Pitt got the lead up to as many as 10 in the first half, the halftime score was 36 to 43 in favor of Pitt. Then in the second half Marquette went on a big 21-5 run to go up by 9. Pitt answered with their own run going on a 21-2 run in 10 minutes. Pitt gradullay pulled away from there. Lazar Hayward led Marquette with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
Game Preview: When Dominic James went down with a broken foot to end his career, Marquette was a top 10 team, now 3 games later they are 0-3 without him. Marquette now relies heavily on the play of 3 players, Jerel Mcneal, Lazar Hayward and Wesley Matthews, who will all most likely play 40 minutes today. Outside of those three, the cupboard is bare, the next best threat is F Jimmy Burke at 4.8 ppg and 3.5 rpg. For Syracuse to go into Marquette and beat them on Senior Night, they need to do 3 things. Defend, Paul Harris said earlier this week that the team needs to realize Boeheim loves zone, so they need to work hard at it and play it well. Lately Cuse has been stellar on defense allowing teams to shoot just 39% from the field along with 55 ppg. Secondly is rebound. Marquette is a very small team tallest player is Dwight Burke at 6 foot 8. Syracuse needs to be tenacious on the boards, Onuaku, Jackson and Harris need to hit the boards all night. Lastly is RUN. Marquette wasn't deep with Dominic James, now without him they are even thinner with really 5 guys that are viable players, 3 of them should play all 40 minutes. If Syracuse runs and runs and runs like we've seen all season they have a great chance for the W. The key matchup is Onukau v. Burke. Expect Marquette to double AO in the post leaving someone wide open on the outside. If they don't double down Onuaku should be able to go to work all night against Burke.
My Prediction: Syracuse seems to have locked up a bid after 3 straight 24+ point wins. This game is huge for BET seeding and NCAA tournament seeding. It is Senior Night and Marquette will be playing for DOminic James, but I think Marquette is going to really continue to struggle without James, they are just too thin. I don't see them getting very far in the BET or the NCAA's if they don't get it together. Syracuse wins it 86-77.
Final Score: 86-79 Syracuse OT
Posted on: February 28, 2009 5:20 pm
Cincinnati Bearcats 18-10 (8-7 BE)
Cincinnati Starting Lineup:
G Deonta Vaughn Jr.
G Larry Davis Soph.
F Rashad Bishop Soph.
F Alvin Mitchell Soph.
F Mike Williams Jr.
Key Bench Players:
F Yancy Gates Fr.
G Dion Dixon Fr.
F Darnell Wilks Soph.
C Steve Toyloy Fr.
Previous Game: Cincy kept its Big Dance hopes alive beating West Virginia at home 65 to 61. It was Bob Huggins' home coming as he returned to the Bearcat nation where he coached for 13 seasons. Yancy Gates carried the 'Cats with 22 points (career high) and 11 rebounds, the freshman shot 9-11 from the field.
Game Preview: Cincinnati is smack dab on the bubble, they really need a big win against a good Syracuse team on the road. Syracuse on the other hand has all but locked up their tourney bid, a win against Cincy would probably do the trick. This game is going to be decided by Point Guard play. Flynn v. Vaughn, that should be a great matchup to watch as those two will be no doubt going back and forth with one another all game. If Syracuse can contain Vaughn and not allow him to create for others they have a great chance for the win. Besides Vaughn, Gates is an unherelded freshman in the Big East, Onuaku should have no problem with him down low though. A key for Cincinnati is rather Mike Williams will be able to suit up. He could seriously help them against Syracuse as he is Cincy's 3rd leading scorer and 2nd leading rebounder. For Syracuse 2 guys have become consistent leaders in Eric Devendorf and Jonny Flynn with a 3rd in Kristof Ongenaut emerging. Devendorf has hit some huge shots down the stretch of games this season and Jonny has been a stronghold all season, KO has come on very strong as of late, as the postseason nears they need to cut down on turnovers and the other 4 main guys need to get into postseason play mode. Devo and Jonny appear to be ready along with lone SR. Kristof Ongenaut. Over the final 3 regular season games Cuse fans should look to see improvement in Rautins, Onuaku, Jackson and Harris as they will be very key in the dance.
My Prediction: Next season Cincinati could finish in the top 4 of the Big East. Right now they are too young and not deep enough to get in the big dance. Syracuse will lock up their NCAA bid and start to show they are in postseason form. Cuse wins it 83-70.
Posted on: February 21, 2009 1:17 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2009 3:17 pm
#12 Villanova Wildcats 21-5 (9-4 BE)
Villanova Starting Lineup:
G Scottie Reynolds Jr.
G Reggie Redding Jr.
G/F Dwayne Anderson Sr.
F Shane Clark Sr.
F Dante Cunningham Sr.
Key Bench Players:
G Corey Fisher Soph.
G Corey Stokes Soph.
F Antonio Pena Soph.
Previous Game: Nova defeated Rutgers 82-72 on senior night for the Wildcats. Rutgers, who is 0-7 in away conference games kept it close for most of the game but Corey Fisher put the game away in the final 10 minutes with some key buckets. Fisher finished with 14, Stokes with 17 and Reynolds with 21.
Game Preview: Last time these two met, Nova put a hurtin on them boys from Upstate. That was just two weeks ago and it is etched in the minds of the Syracuse players. After knocking Syracuse off the bubble last season and then making them look like high schoolers a couple weeks ago Syracuse had better be up and ready for this one. Syracuse is coming off a long eight day rest in which everyone healed up in to get ready for their final stretch. Expect the typical Cuse 2-3 zone early on, and also expect Nova to devour it early on, Boeheim should know from the last game 2-3 against Nova=loss. We should see man from Cuse much earlier then we usually do because of this, and Syracuse should thrive off of it. Key players to watch for are the Corey's off the bench, we know Reynolds and Cunningham will get theirs but Cuse needs to hold Fisher and Stokes down in order to get the W. Last time Fisher had 14 points and 6 assists and Stokes had 16 points and 8 rebounds, too much for bench role players. As for Key Cuse players to watch it's all on Arinze Onuaku and Paul Harris, they need to be tough on the inside and and start playing at their highest level to get ready for the postseason. Arinze finally showed he was 100% last week v. Georgetown when he had the type of game we had become accostomed to seeing, 15 points 13 rebs and 4 blocks, he has another game like that and Cuse is in great shape for a W. Paul on the other hand really needs to step his game up, over the last 7 games he's avergaing 9.3 ppg, before that he had scored in single digits just 3 times out of the 18 games, he will be a key player come tourney time, and his play will depend on whether Cuse gets bounced in the first or goes into regionals.
My Prediction: With a win Syracuse locks up a tournament bid and can start playing for seeding, with a loss Syracuse inches toward that bubble. Cuse will pull off the victory. Jonny Flynn is averaging 21.25 ppg in his career against Nova along with 4.75 assists, that coupled with a long eight day rest and a Carrier Dome filled with over 25,000, Syracuse wins it 85-73.
Final Score: 89-86 Villanova
Posted on: February 14, 2009 2:57 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2009 2:59 pm
Wow, one of the bigger collapses in Syracuse history, but luckily Syracuse was able to pull off the w 98-94 OT. After a very even first half in which Kristof Ongenaut was ejected for an elbow to the head of Dajuan Summers Cuse went into the half with a 33-32 lead. Then in the 2nd half it was Cuse jumping out with a 10-0 run to start the half and stretch the lead to 11. With 8:20 to go in the half Cuse went up 16 with a 3 pointer by Eric Devendorf, after that the Hoyas kicked it into high gear going on a 33-17 run to end 2nd half. Chris Wright had a career high 25 points and he hit the long 3 near the end to tie the game up. On the ensuing possesion Syracuses's JOnny Flynn gave the ball up and gave G Town a chance to win with seconds to go but Dajuan Summers missed the last second 3. In OT Eric Devendorf took over hitting two key three's and Jonny Flynn hit key FT's going 15-16 on the day to lead Syracuse to victory. There was 6 Cuse players in double figures lead by Jonny Flynn who had a career game with 25 points, 13 assists, 5 rebounds and 4 To's. Eric Devendorf had 23 and Arinze Onuaku proved he is finally back to 100% with a double double 15 points and 12 rebounds. The Cuse improved to 19-7 (7-6 BE). Syracuse now has an 8 day rest until they get a revenge game against Villanova at the Dome.