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.