Tag:Syracuse
Posted on: March 8, 2012 4:24 pm
Edited on: March 9, 2012 10:37 am
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Boeheim may be right: Players just don't care

Despite the off-court distractions, Brandon Triche and Syracuse continue to win. (US Presswire)

By Jeff Goodman

NEW YORK -- We've been waiting for Syracuse to slip-up throughout the season, free-fall and spiral downward with all the off-court turmoil that has surrounded the program. 

The Bernie Fine allegations, Fab Melo's suspension and the latest an NCAA investigation into the alleged cover-up of failed drug tests. 

"These kids care about two things," Boeheim said after his team pulled out a 58-55 win over UConn to advance to the Big East semifinals. "How they play and where their girlfriend's are." 

Maybe he's right. 

This Syracuse team improved to 31-1 after the victory against an enigmatic, yet talented Huskies group. 

Let's face it: This Orange group doesn't rank second when it comes to pure talent. In fact, it might not even crack the top five. But these guys have depth, chemistry and most importantly, tunnel vision.

"I don't pay it no mind," Orange sophomore guard Dion Waiters said. "I wasn't here for the drug stuff, the Fine stuff is out of our hands." 

"We don't know anything about it," teammate Scoop Jardine added about the latest news. 

I never gave the 'Cuse much of a chance to win the title. Not when this team goes up against Kentucky or North Carolina. But there's enough talent -- and these guys truly enjoy playing with one another. All you have to do is look at Jardine, spending most of his time on the bench in the second half against UConn, to become witness.

Jardine was busy smiling, laughing and cheering on his teammates, a far cry from the old Scoop - who would have been pouting and complaining about sitting on the bench. 

"He's come a long way," Syracuse coach-in-waiting Mike Hopkins said. "He's become a great leader." 

"The chemistry isn't even close to what it was here," Jardine said. "And I think I was a part of the problem in the past." 

James Southerland, the team's ninth man in what's arguably the deepest rotation in the country, came through on Thursday with a couple of huge second-half shots to made sure the 'Cuse didn't leave New York City early in the Big East tourney. The team's leading scorer, Kris Joseph, struggled -- but there's enough overall talent that this team won't go down due to the issues of one guy. 

These guys have come closer, Syracuse athletic director Darryl Gross, told me -- with all of the off-court issues that have surrounded the program. 

Boeheim addressed Yahoo! Sports  recent story that multiple former Syracuse players tested positive for drugs and the team still allowed them to play. 

"This was reported it five years ago," he said. "We're waiting for them to finish the process." 

Then Boeheim declined to be specific, moments later in the hallways of Madison Square Garden saying only that it's "been a long time." Later Thursday, ESPN reported that the NCAA issued a statement that said it "received a self-report from Syracuse University on October 27, 2010."

"None of this bothers our players, our team or me," he said. "None of this. If things were bothering us, we wouldn't be 31-1. Nothing bothers us." 

Then Boeheim became Boeheim, jovial and sarcasm seeping through while talking to the media on Thursday afternoon in the post-game news conference. He made fun of Kris Joseph for his 1-for-8 performance with an injury to his non-shooting hand. Then he joked that Peyton Manning should come to the New York Jets. 

"How Coach (Boeheim) has handled it all has made it a lot easier for all of us," Jardine said. "He's doing a good job and we're just going up and racking up wins." 

"You don't get many opportunities to be on a team like this," Waiters added. 

Not a 31-win team that has received more attention off the court than it has on it. 


Posted on: March 5, 2012 4:18 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 6:38 pm
 

Report: Syracuse players violated drug policy

The Yahoo Sports story on drug violations is the latest off-court distraction for the Orange program. (AP)

By Matt Norlander


UPDATE: Syracuse University released this statement: "In accordance with NCAA regulations, it is the University's practice to self-report possible violations to the NCAA. We self-reported issues with drug testing to the NCAA, and there is currently an ongoing inquiry. The inquiry does not involve any current SU student-athletes. To ensure the integrity of the ongoing process, we are unable to comment further at this time."

Yahoo Sports is reporting Syracuse men's basketball has dealt with a pattern of violated drug tests over the course of the past 11 years. And not only that, but the program often overlooked, or ignored, those violations while players continued to be eligible. These transgressions could lead to action by the NCAA, if it deems the program willfully violated protocol. The 2003 NCAA championship season is currently under speculation, though not directly or solely, and could be retroactively investigated by the NCAA.

The news comes just as Syracuse finished one of its greatest regular seasons in program history, finishing with a 30-1 record and on the cusp of a No. 1 seed in next week's NCAA tournament. Does this mean anything for this year's team? That is unclear, but seems unlikely right now. The NCAA hasn't offered up a statement, and Jim Boeheim offered no comment to Yahoo Sports when they told him of their story.

From Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson and Pat Forde:
Over the course of a three-month investigation, four sources with intimate knowledge of the Syracuse men’s basketball program told Yahoo! Sports at least 10 players since 2001 have tested positive for a banned recreational substance or substances. The sources said all 10 of those players were allowed to practice and play at times when they should have been suspended by the athletic department, including instances when some players may not have known of their own ineligibility. The four sources said Syracuse violated its drug policy in at least two areas: failing to properly count positive tests; and playing ineligible players after they should have been subject to suspension.
There is no indication the drug policy violations have taken place this season, willfully or otherwise.

This news adds to the most dramatic off-court narratives during a season in the history of the program, as the allegations of sexual molestation against Bernie Fine was a fireball of a story at the start of this season. There was also a minor off-court story from January was a grades issue related to Orange center Fab Melo, who missed three games.

Syracuse is the No. 1 seed in the Big East tournament and plays a to-be-determined opponent in Thursday's noon ET game at Madison Square Garden.

Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:36 am
Edited on: February 26, 2012 12:47 am
 

UConn, you now need at least three wins in a row

The Huskies need to win three in a row for the first time in 2012 to have a good chance at an at-large. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Matt Norlander

STORRS, Conn. — Well, the objective seems pretty clear now. The defending champions, who haven’t won three games in a row in 2012 will certainly have to do that to get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. If that doesn't seem too grim, consider UConn has only gone home winners in back-to-back games once since we turned to January.

At Providence and then home vs. Pittsburgh closes out the regular season for the nation's most underachieving team. Then it's a first-round game in the Big East tournament against a fellow conference doormat. Realistically, that won't be enough. Another win, a fourth in a row, will likely be required for some semblance of comfort. Getting to three wins in MSG would definitely get UConn into the tournament. That's the big-picture goal now.

Three straight wins. Somehow. Can this team do it? Evidence is lacking.

A 17-11 (7-9) Huskies team filled with NBA talent once again fell short in a big moment. To be frank, it’s completely baffling that this team will end its season without an above-.500 Big East record. The Huskies erased a 17-point second-half deficit but still couldn’t usurp Syracuse, losing 71-69 Saturday night, beaten by the Orange for the first time in program history at Gampel Pavilion. Syracuse (29-1, 16-1) clinched the Big East regular season title. SU’s Kris Joseph had a game-high 21. 

Afterward in the Orange locker room, the bulky, heavy regular-season trophy was passed around and posed with. Triumph. A huge win and plenty of private gloating from the team after it officially achieved something that wasn't expected. The Orange are rolling and a lock for a No. 1 seed.

Syracuse won its ninth straight because the game's ending was marred by a foul call that never was; UConn’s Roscoe Smith was aggressively covered by C.J. Fair as he went up for a bunny. The whistle didn’t come until zeroes were left on the clock, and that signaled the end of the game, not a late foul call. It was a break that didn’t go UConn’s way, and so it was not afforded overtime and a chance to vault ahead of many teams in the at-large field.

"He definitely got fouled," Huskies forward Jeremy Lamb said. "He (Fair) purposely grabbed his arm but didn't get the call."

"I think I made a good play," Fair said with a smile in the locker room afterward.

Don’t fall behind by 17 and that isn’t an issue, though. Connecticut can't get out of its own way, once again. Remember, it was bailed out by an incredible, too-soon 3-point shot by Napier that won the game for them against Villanova Monday. It trailed big early in that game, too. The Huskies had a chance to get one of the best wins any team in college basketball could own.

“The middle was open, I made a strong move and I got fouled, but I think the officials did a good job,” Smith said. “You really can’t call a foul in that type of situation, so yeah, you’ve gotta live with it. ... They (the officials) probably really didn't want to have the game decided on it. I got fouled and everybody seen it. If you didn't see it, it'll be on tonight.”

Lamenting a foul call that you didn't get is probably not the best way to go for a Huskies team that's talked a bit too much this year, anyway. But to be fair, the players were asked questions and they were honest. I can't fault them much for that. Still, let's step back here and examine. This team has no business booking travel plans to be in the first round, again, of the Big East Tournament. Now it’s finding itself in need of a 2011 New York City repeat. They need a run like the one they had last year. That run isn’t coming. UConn's squandered too much, and now we’re looking at a possibility that for only the seventh time in tournament history the defending champion won’t be making an appearance the following season.

“The message continues to be: full possessions, full games,” associated head coach George Blaney said. “For some reason we continue to not be able to do that. It’s not a question of confidence it’s a question of full possessions.”

If you're curious about the team's attitude, it appears to be positive. Quite positive in fact, and that's significant. Napier and Alex Oriakhi have voiced frustrations throughout the season, but no one was glum or looking to vent Saturday night. Losing a game that was so close to a win is probably reason to punch a locker or rip a pillow in half, but the team seems together and optimistic.

"We can definitely build off this," Lamb said. Smith echoed those sentiments and you're likely going to see a UConn team that won't lack of effort, even if execution continues to be a hurdle.

The elephant-sized acknowledgement of Jim Calhoun's absence should soon no longer be a distraction or side story. Calhoun has been out in recent weeks due to back pain. He’ll have surgery on his back Monday, and the hope is that he can come back March 3 for the team’s regular-season finale, a home game against Pittsburgh.

Calhoun’s return might be a jolt, but it won’t be enough. The team’s got to start winning now without him (it hasn't beaten an above-.500 Big East team since he's been away), then hope it can experience some déjà vu at Madison Square Garden. It doesn’t have to win five games in five days again, but if it doesn’t at least flirt with that story line, uncertainty will loom until Selection Sunday.

Category: NCAAB
Posted on: February 16, 2012 2:28 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 3:19 pm
 

No. 1 senior Nerlens Noel discusses recruitment

By Jeff Borzello

Nerlens Noel's recruitment has heated up since he reclassified to 2012. (MassLive.com)

Since Nerlens Noel announced a few weeks ago that he was reclassifying to the class of 2012, he’s been the most talked-about recruit in the country.

Noel, a 6-foot-10 Massachusetts native who plays at Tilton (N.H.), immediately moved to the No. 1 ranking in the nation. Moreover, the schools pursuing him have really turned up the heat.

“Recruiting has gone crazy all of a sudden,” Noel told Jeff Goodman on SiriusXM’s Inside College Basketball on Thursday afternoon. “I just need to plan out some visits to get out to all these schools. Keep talking to coaches, build better relationships with them.”

Noel is currently considering Kentucky, Syracuse, North Carolina, Florida, Georgetown and Connecticut. He later tweeted that Providence was also on his list, but did not mention them during the interview with Goodman.

He visited Syracuse this past weekend for the Orange’s win over Connecticut, and he will trip to Kentucky this coming weekend.

“I’m talking to a few more coaches to get down to their campuses during vacation,” Noel said.

Noel is the best shot-blocker in the country, and would immediately be the best in the college game too. He has tremendous dexterity defensively, able to cover a lot of ground and alter shots with either hand. Noel’s offensive is constantly getting better, and he is developing post moves and is taking defenders off the dribble as well.

He would dominate defensively wherever he ends up.

“Just a good program where I can go and play and be comfortable with the coaching staff, the whole program,” Noel said. “I know I can develop as long as I’m there, as a player and a person.”

Noel maintains that he is wide open among the six schools he mentioned, and he is still a long way from making a decision.

“I don’t really have a timeframe,” Noel said on the show. “I just want to make sure I get in all my visits to these schools. However long that takes.”

Posted on: February 13, 2012 11:16 pm
Edited on: February 13, 2012 11:45 pm
 

Night Court: Jeff Withey: CBB's most improved

Adorable. (Mocksession.com)

By Matt Norlander

Here’s everything you need to know about Monday night’s miserably slim pickings worth games. Being the good/smart fiancé that I am, I chose Night Courty tonight so tomorrow I’m totally, absolutely, undeniably free. Veteran move. Borzello will be tracking Tuesday's games, so there you go.

Game of the Night: Anyone not in high school right now remembers when Kansas State had a bad basketball program. The Kansas-Kansas State rivalry had approximately no national appeal. Thank God for Bob Huggins and Frank Martin getting the program back to relevance, because the games have been pretty great for the past half-decade. The two went at it again in Manhattan, Kan., tonight, and for the 22nd time in the last 24 meetings there, Kansas emerged victorious, 59-53.

It's certainly a big brother over little brother ordeal with these two programs, but at least K-State puts up a good fight. I always want to see how K-State brings it, even if it's normally the same result. What concerns me with the Wildcats now is, I'm not sure this team has the makeup to make a tourney run. It falls tonight, and now it gets Baylor and Missouri on the road. It's a 6-9 Big 12 team by next Tuesday night most likely, and so then it'll have to win out, finish 9-9 and get at least a Big 12 tourney win to have hope. Tall task.

Win to brag talk about: You think Syracuse wants to brag? It was its first win over Louisville in eight tries. The first home loss to Syracuse since it joined the Big East in 2005. Boy was it ugly, though. Just brutal basketball. Lots of bad shots. Scoop Jardine was 0 for 8. Gorgui Dieng was 2 for 9. Chris Smith was 3 for 11. Dion Waiters was 3 for 10. Kyle Kuric was 1 for 8.

This game felt like it was played on a court with pot holes and in the rain and with half-pumped tether ball. No flow and neither team deserved to win, but someone had to. Winning ugly adds another character trait to Syracuse, though it’s one few teams every really want to embrace. Win’s a win, though, and this cements — barring a three-game losing streak at some point — Syracuse as a one seed in the East regional next month.

Player who deserves improper benefits: It’s Jeff Withey. Eighteen points, 11 boards, NINE BLOCKS. First guy with that kind of stat line in three years. This junior is transforming into prototypical Reliable and Forceful White Kansas Center. I didn't see it coming. He's genuinely awesome and fun and unpredictable to watch. His play makes me believe Kansas can make a Final Four run and not have it be a fluky thing. Love Withey. Gotta get Withey on the phone. Gotta get Withey to tell me how to live my life. Incredible turnaround. He's the most improved player in hoops this season.

Player who does not deserve improper benefits: Royce White is the player with pro potential for Iowa State. He’s a matchup problem for a lot of teams, but Baylor isn’t one of them. The Bears won at home tonight, remaining undefeated against teams who don’t have “MIZZOU” or “KANSAS” sewed onto their jersey. White had seven turnovers and hurt the team in some needed spots. He did manage 14 points of 7-of-12 shooting. It wasn’t awful, but we’re dealing with a light slate here.

A quick note on Baylor. I heard ESPN.com’s Andy Katz mention he thinks this team will do better once it’s out of the Big 12 and playing in the NCAA tournament. Maybe. But who says it can’t continue to pick on all the other teams? I’d be very intrigued to see what happens to a five-loss Baylor team that only fell to Kansas and Missouri. Where would they get seeded? The argument for the 3 is legitimate.

Another player who does not deserve improper benefits: K-State's Angel Rodriguez was a killer, also getting way too Bill Gates with the ball. Seven turnovers, 0-of-8 from the field, zero points.

Numbers don’t lie

  • 48. Belmont defeated Stetson 107-93 Monday night. It was the 48th time this season a game between two D-I teams had one squad score more than 100.
  • 6. Louisville fans want a reason to be positive tonight? Under Pitino in the Big East, Louisville doesn’t always pull off six-game winning streaks in the Big East. They did this year, and in the prior two times, Louisville made the Elite Eight (2009, 2008).

Notes

  • Due to school rules, Kevin Foster of Santa Clara has been suspended for the remainder of the season.
  • Hats off to Stetson's Aaron Pegg, who went out and had himself a night, scoring 31 in the Belmont game.
  • Mississippi Valley State's now 13-0 in the abysmal SWAC. Delta Devils have a good chance of returning to the dance.
  • I'm going sunflowers over roses tomorrow. I suggest you do the same. Roses are more stale than last Wednesday's bread.

Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:30 am
Edited on: February 13, 2012 10:33 am
 

Podcast: CBS Sports Net's Wally Szczerbiak joins

Tom Izzo is doing it again. Think about it, if MSU gets a one seed, shouldn't he get Coach of the Year? (US PRESSWIRE)

By Matt Norlander


OK, for a day, for one podcast, no writers. I had to get someone who's actually played the game to come on and give a different perspective. That man is CBS Sports Network analyst Wally Sczcerbiak. (My boss, and Miami University alumnus, Eric Kay, is so thrilled right now. This podcast's for you, man.) 

Wally's new to Twitter and would appreciate your follow, so go ahead and give him a click. Enjoy the pod. It's a breeze.
 
On the docket:
  • From the beginning: If he had a good knee, how many points would Wally average in college today?
  • 3:35: Which current hoops player does Wally think most resembles his game?
  • 4:30: It's been 13 years since Wally played college hoops. I ask him to compare the eras and say which one is better.
  • 6:15: Kentucky as the clear-cut top team, it's a talking point that's picking up steam. But Syracuse is 1A, and a strong 1A.
  • 9:34: Tom Izzo and coaching and the common threads between the best basketball coaches. I also ask him to pick his coach of the year, given only the optino of Izzo and Frank Haith. Is that a hedge I hear from Wally?
  • 16:25: The results that stood out the most to Wally from over the weekend. There is mid-major love to be handed out.
  • 18:52: Since Wally's been a part of so many teams and played basketball for so long, I took the opportunity on this podcast to get his perspective on things that most writers flatly can't interpret the same way. At this point, I ask him what February feels like and how teams stay on message without looking ahead ot March.
  • 23:36: Think you might be a little surprised with Wally's take on conference tournaments.
  • 26:45: We wrap up things with a couple teams Wally and I are high and low on. He doesn't hold back with his Baylor and Perry Jones III critiques, which is refreshing to hear.

Again, I thank you for taking the time to listen to the podcast--whenever you can. I ask that you, if you like what we're doing here, encourage like-minded hoopheads to subscribe in Tunes as well. Guests like Wally, Jay Bilas, Seth Davis, they're the guys who make me sound better and make the podcast worthwhile. The other guys? Gary Parrish and Jeff Goodman, they really make it entertaining, and of course you can count on our trio show each Wednesday. The RSS feed is another way to keep the podcasts coming to you ASAP. We've got a Zune download link as well.


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Posted on: February 1, 2012 11:42 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 11:43 pm
 

Report: Syracuse big man Fab Melo back Saturday

By Jeff Goodman

Syracuse is getting its big man back. 

The Post-Standard reported that sophomore Fab Melo, a key reason why the Orange spent numerous weeks at No. 1 in the country and are considered a championship contender, will play Saturday at St. John's. 

The 7-footer has missed the past three games due to academic issues. 

Syracuse was 1-2 in that stretch -- including its first loss of the season at Notre Dame. 

Melo is averaging 7.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game and leads the team in blocks with 60. He was a disappointment last season, but shed weight in the offseason and has been a factor on both ends of the court this year. 

Without him in the lineup, freshman Rakeem Christmas has slid over and started in the middle and C.J. Fair has moved into the starting lineup. 

Syracuse is 22-1 overall and in first place in the Big East with a 9-1 mark. 

Posted on: January 31, 2012 10:00 am
Edited on: January 31, 2012 10:03 am
 

Court docs state Fine's wife slept with players

By Matt Norlander

In court papers obtained by the New York Daily News, Bobby Davis, the man who first accused Bernie Fine of sexually molesting him, states Fine's wife, Laurie, was intimate with many Syracuse basketball players.

It was the tape of Laurie Fine talking to Bobby Davis about Bernie Fine's sexual molestation problems/habits that gave this story its fastest legs and overall credibility. Davis has also said before -- and Laurie Fine alludes to it in the infamous phone call -- that Laurie Fine successfully pursued sexual action with him while he was in high school.

Here's an excerpt from the Daily News' story:

[Davis states] he overheard Laurie Fine and the wife of another coach talk about performing oral sex on players, and the “specific size and physical attributes” of their private parts.

The new affidavit was filed in New York State Supreme Court on Monday by attorney Gloria Allred, who filed a lawsuit last month on behalf of Davis and his stepbrother Michael Lang. The suit charged that Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim defamed them when he said they lied about being sexually abused by Fine, Boeheim’s longtime assistant.

“It is not only Fine’s relationship with me and other boys that would have tipped Boeheim off. For years, Bernie Fine’s wife Laurie Fine had sexual relationships with basketball team players. Players used to talk openly about it as a known fact.”

The affidavit also states Davis' account of Laurie Fine and Davis going to an off-campus house in 1993, where a player boasted of sleeping with Laurie Fine. "A few years later," according to the story, Laurie Fine and another coach's wife spoke of oral sex with players while Davis drove them from one place to another in Syracuse.

Davis attacked Boeheim in the affidavit saying, "I believe Boeheim deliberately chose to ignore what he knew was improper behavior, or actually knew precisely what was happening and did nothing to intervene."

Syracuse fired Bernie Fine in late November. Syracuse is yet to respond to this story.
 
 
 
 
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