Sunday, January 24, 2010

This and That... and the Orangemen are 19-1!

No one particular issue on my mind this week… some here are some random thoughts.

  • I assume I’m in the same class as many other Orange fans these days, but I really enjoy watching these guys win. The extra pass on several occasions, the blocked shot when needed, a Wes Johnson highlight play or two a game. The 2009-2010 Orangemen are a lot of fun to watch. And of course, being 19-1 helps out with that enjoyment. But I think they would be fun if they were 13-6.
  • Jim Calhoun, I hope what ails you is over soon. It is good for the Big East and SU basketball to see you prowling the Husky sidelines. We all need our familiar villains, and you are ours. 558-205 at UConn, with a 254-135 Big East regular season record, and 282-151 overall Big East record (including BET). I’m glad Jim Boeheim overtook your total wins by one before you were sidelined, but I do hope you are back soon.
  • Has anyone at Syracuse ever thrown a consistently harder pass than Andy Rautins? He’s throwing bullets all over the court. Sometimes his teammates aren’t breaking for the pass or going where Rautins thinks he is going, and SU ends up with a bad turnover. But those passes he does complete just amaze me. And I love how this year’s team always gives that extra pass, rewarding the trailing teammate on the fast break. That was a complaint of mine last year, and I think that type of passing is a sign of a champion team.
  • Seven blocked shots by Rick Jackson against Marquette. I love to see Jackson and Arinze Onuaku step up big against a small front line. Though the two biggest blocks of the game had to belong to Wes Johnson and Andy Rautins. Johnson’s was spectacular, and I’m not sure what was more amazing about Rautin’s block: the difficulty in it, or the fact the he could even do it.
  • One thing I love about Syracuse this year is their ability to dominate a game even when they are not playing the perfect game. 22 turnovers and 1-8 from three point range would normally kill a team. But they Orangemen dominated the boards with a 46-21 edge. And what I really liked was the hustling by the Orangemen to get all the loose balls. The trademark of the UConn and Pitt programs has always been their ability to grab all the loose balls; they seem to out hustle their opponents to gain every advantage they can get. It was very nice to see Syracuse on that side of the point of view for a change.
  • Hard to believe it, but if Syracuse had played with even half a decent effort of defense in the early part of the second half of the Pitt game, they could be undefeated right now. The Pitt loss was all about Syracuse not trying in the second half and then putting themself in a position where they had to scramble in the end.
  • Lot's of support out there for Jamie Dixon for coach of the year for what he has done with Pitt this year. And it is an amazing job. He did lose four starters and a couple of All-American candidates. But let us keep in mind that he did have a deep bench and a Final Four caliber team last year, so there was some talent returning. It was going to be a tough year for Pitt, but it was not bereft of talent. Jim Boeheim had a similar situation, losing three starters including the #5 overall NBA pick in Jonny Flynn and four of his top seven players and Syracuse was ranked #6 in the preseason Big East, and not ranked in the AP or ESPN polls. They are now 19-1, #5 in the country. I'm not saying Boeheim is a better candidate than Dixon for coach of the year; but I am saying the Dixon is by no ways the undisputed front runner. I think a lot of sportcasters forget how far Syracuse has come this year.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Milestones Revisted January 2010

Syracuse is off to a 17-1 start. This is the fifth time the Orangemen got off to a 17-1, or better start. In 2004-05, they started out 20-1, in 1999-00 they started out 19-0, in 1986-87 they started out 17-1 and in 1979-80 they had a 21-1 start.

They have already beaten 3 top 10 teams this season. Only five other times has a Syracuse squad beaten 3 or more top 10 teams in one season. The last time was 2002-2003, where they beat 5 top 10 teams. 1988-89 and 1989-90 saw the Orangemen beat 4 top 10 teams. And 1990-91, and 1995-96 saw the Orangemen beat 3 top 10 teams.

As of today Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim has 816 career wins, which ties him with Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun for the sixth winningest all-time Division I Men’s basketball coach. Jim Phelan is ahead of them both at 830, a number that is achievable but tough for both coaches to get this year. Obviously, Calhoun and Boeheim will continue to trade this one on-and-off.

Boeheim also continues to be the winningest Big East coach ever with 315 wins (by far the most), and Syracuse is the winningest program in Big East history with the same total.

Andy Rautins is having a stellar all-around season, a stat stuffing year. He’s on pace for 195 assists (assuming 37 games for SU this year), which would be the 11th best season in Syracuse history. He would also surpass his father Leo, whose top season had 192 assists. Rautins is also on pace to pass his father in points; he trails Leo by 147, and Andy’s current pace will have him around 1,081 points compared to Leo’s 1,031.

Rautins currently has 227 career 3 point field goals, making him #3 all time at Syracuse. He trails Preston Shumpert by 22, an amount he should easily get to get himself to #2. Gerry McNamara is secure at #1 with 400.

Rautins is also on pace for 84 steals, which would be 6th best in SU history; he’d have a shot a Eddie Moss at #5 with 85 steals.

Arinze Onuaku broke the 1000 point barrier earlier this season. He’s now at 1,075 career points, #51 all time at Syracuse. He just passed Vaughn Harper, and is 4 behind Pete Chudy. At his current pace, Onuaku will end somewhere around 1,264 career points, just ahead of Paul Harris at #34 on this list.

Onuaku has 726 career rebounds, tying him for 18th with Wendell Alexis. Next on the list is Todd Burgan with 755. Onuaku will end up with around 807 career rebounds, putting him 15th on the list just ahead of Dave Bing, and behind Harris.

Onuaku is currently breaking his single season field goal record he set last year, at 67.5% (81-120) this year; last year he was 66.7%. His career percentage is now 64.6% (468-724), extending his own school record for players with 400+ attempts. He also continues to obliterate the school career free throw percentage, for worst ever. Onuaku is 17-39 this year, or 43.5%, which actually raises his career percentage to 39.3% (139-354). This record is fairly secure, as he has virtually no chance of raising his percentage above Terrence Roberts’ 48%/

Wes Johnson is on pace for 621 points this year, which would be good for 18th on SU’s single season list. He’s also on pace for 324 rebounds, or 14th on the single season list.

The single best 3 pt percentage for a season is Matt Roe with 47.4% in 1990-91 (he was 83-175). Johnson is currently shooting 44.6% (25-56) which would be second best ever (50+ attempts). However, Roe shot from a shorter distance; Johnson’s percentage would be the school record from the current distance. Brandon Triche is hitting at a greater clip 44.9% (22-49), so he would surpass Johnson.

Brandon Triche is averaging 10.5 points a game. He would become the 15th Syracuse freshman to average 10+ ppg. Triche is looking to make some other marks on the all-time SU freshman list with 389 points (10th), 115 assists (8th), and 45 three point field goals (6th).