So the Syracuse Orange basketball team beat the Lumberjackers of Stephen F Austin, in SFA's first ever NCAA tournament appearance, 59-44 and a win is a win, right? This team needs to thank AO, Jackson and Flynn for this win because minus Harris's rebounding skills ( a phenomenal 16 boards for the game), nothing else was helping this team. Andy was shooting ice cold (0-6 from the floor), KO was sick, literally, and did not play and Devendorf has one of the worst games I have ever seen him play ( 3-11 from the field and 1-5 from three point range),though to be fair, I don't always get to see Syracuse games either living in North Carolina and working evenings.
Kris Joseph has a sweet looking three but was making a few, what I call learning mistakes. The syracuse.com basketball group made a great assessment via Twitter that as well wondering why KJ was getting the fire of brimstone for his one or two miscues when Devo had more bad plays then I can count. Devendorf has 10 point still and only 6 turnovers but it looked a lot uglier then that.
Jonny Flynn had 16 points but he also had 7 turnovers, most of which were passes trying to make plays where they weren't inside. He did make some great plays in the first half, especially finding AO and Jackson down inside.
The second half though reminded me of a Y team where the guys had never played together and were trying to feel each other out. They were sloppy, even to the point Coach Boeheim was calling TO's to try and get them to wake up. It looked like even though they were safely up big, they were still trying to force too much.
The Orange were very effective defensively, especially the two big men and kept the Lumberjacks in check, only allowing 2 players into double digits (10 and 12 points, respectively). They also combined to force 6 turnovers and had 11 blocked shots, which may not sound huge but watching the game you could tell it was effective (though the Lumberjacks only shot 25% from the field too). Had this been a better team, this Syracuse team would be walking along South Beach on their way to an airport to fly back to Syracuse.
Next up is the Arizona State/Temple winner and this team will need to wake up now if they want to have a chance in that game. I think a healthy Kristof will help things out a lot because to me, he is a catalyst for this team. He has that intangible to get the rebound, play with fire that can spark the whole team and open up the floor more to others. Yes, rebounding was covered well this game but there is just something about this team that is better when Kristof is in the game. Is it the Waffle's intensity that makes everything better? I don't know but I hope he is better by Sunday because I think we will definitely need him.
So until Sunday, let's enjoy the other action as the Big East teams have shown signs of struggling as well (Villanova knows where American University is now I bet) but still managing to win and represent the league well. I also hope to maintain my 2 losses in my brackets for as long as I can as well. Isn't it amazing how sometimes you can fill out 6 different brackets with some variation and yet only have 2 wrong a piece on them?
For another Orange viewpoint, check out The Orange Report here (his is better anyway but I had started this before I found out he did so I am posting it for the heck of it): http://orangereport.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/sfa-1st-round-analysis/