After reading an article Sean posted over at TNIAAM(http://www.nunesmagician.com/2009/3/17/801490/hate-is-a-strong-word-but) which I also agree is based on someone trying to sensationalize a story, I found another take on Eric Devendorf in the tournament. I was doing my daily read of http://www.fanhouse.com/, which I also have listed under my links area, and found a podcast involving their writers and ESPN's Doug Gottlieb. They have it so that you can listen to the entire interview or split up into six segments. In segment 5, they discuss the Big East, Connecticut and Syracuse in the tournament.
Towards the end of the clip, they discuss the Orange. Doug says this team could be a one and done or a Final Four team and could go either way. He didn't think fatigue would be a factor and talks about when he played against them in 1999 in the tournament. Doug then talks about Eric win it or lose it for a team, "loves taking the big shot but is a turnover waiting to happen" and if he talks trash like he did in the Big East, will be T'd up(given a technical foul) by tournament officials. He then refers to Jonny Flynn as "playing much more unselfish as of late" as well as calling him a "warrior and great kid". He also talks about Arinze Onuaku who he says, "when healthy, can be a beast inside". He also talks about the defense by calling it an "ole hand up hairy defense who can be beaten by a team with a hot hand" who sometimes don't have "respect for their own opponent".
For the link to the entire interview, click here http://backporch.fanhouse.com/2009/03/17/fh-podcast-6-1-espns-doug-gottlieb/ . I enjoyed the interview and the break down including his analysis of why St. Mary was not the best team left out of the field of 65 but in fact it was San Diego State.
Now, normally I would pick apart his analysis and possibly take those comments and call him an Orange hater but if your honest with yourself, isn't he partially correct, especially on the Devendorf parts. Plus, he did prove he can be positive when it comes to breaking down this team in that he said they could go Final Four. I like watching Eric play but sometimes he can be as much of an asset to this team as he can be a distraction. Doug is also not the only to point out in the past few days how much Eric's gestures and smack talking was prevalent during the Big East tournament and could cost this team with the right official just looking for a reason. As much as he has saved this team with his big game three point shots, he has also had some costly turnovers as well.
So which Eric Devendorf will show up in the NCAA tournament? I think it will be both but it's more of a matter of when and where he will bring those aspects of his game into play. He has proven he has all the ability in the world to play at this level whether it is out there to shoot the long ball or even drive to the lane when he has one (or sometimes make a lane where there is none even). And he does handle the ball quite often so turnovers do happen but him and Flynn will both have to be very careful this time around. All it takes is one loss and you are going home for the a few months so everyone has to be playing their best ball of the year or else Stephen F Austin will enjoy taking advantage of it with the winner of Arizona State/Temple waiting in the wings in case they sneak by.
Will Jonny Flynn show the world that he is the best point guard in college basketball? Will AO be that presence inside we will need especially as this team advances? Can Rautins return to that guy who was hitting double digit three pointers or at least hit them in the clutch like he did in that six overtime win against the Huskies? Will the Waffle provide that intensity he brings to this team in the hopes his last game as a Syracuse Orange is in the NCAA tournament finals? And what Rick "Action" Jackson will show up to help the inside game? Tune in on Friday around noon EST to find out and let's hope we see the team that I think can compete with and beat any team in this country. Go Orange!