February 27, 2004

Slow Day for Media Run-Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chas @ 9:49 am

Not a lot to comment on in the papers today. There’s an article on how defense in the Big East is the key to the best teams (Wow. Defense in basketball wins. Who’d a thunk?) There is also lots of love for Pitt from Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim from his requisite teleconference with the media concerning the game on Sunday.

Jim Boeheim is one of 31 coaches who votes in the ESPN/USA Today college basketball poll. His most recent ballot listed Stanford at No. 1 and Saint Joseph’s at No. 2, but he conceded Thursday that his rankings don’t truly reflect how he feels.

“I don’t think either of those teams are better than Pittsburgh,” said the Syracuse coach, who voted Stanford and St. Joe’s ahead of third-ranked Pitt (25-2) because both are undefeated. “Pittsburgh is the best team in the country right now overall.”

The rest of the article is full of quotes from other Big East coaches and ESPN commentator Jay Bilas singing the praises of Pitt.

Up in Syracuse, there are a couple articles that I missed earlier in the week from the Syracuse student paper. An article focusing on Pitt’s home winning streak and the glory that is the Pete. An impressively honest piece assessing the Syracuse team, and giving the fans news they may not want to read.

Truth is, there’s still a prevailing belief that the real Syracuse team has yet to emerge, as if some late-season bloom will reconvert an inconsistent, sloppy 2004 team into the dynamo of 2003. Well, after watching Syracuse sputter – but win – two consecutive games in the past week, I’m ready to admit it: these are the real Orangemen. Ugly. Unsightly. But sometimes, effective.

Copying and pasting a national championship formula from one season into the next is almost impossible. This season has proven it, convincingly. But that’s OK, once expectations are realigned with reality. By almost any account, last year’s title lifted expectations – perhaps unfairly – for Version 2.0 into the stratosphere. Jim Boeheim teams normally begin the season underrated, then spend the next four months disproving it. This year, the opposite has been true.

The Orangemen began the season a vastly overrated team, the product of both an easy out-of-conference schedule and the respect normally afforded by poll voters to the defending champs. The Associated Press ranked the Orangemen the No. 7 team in America as late as Nov. 23. Now, three months later, Syracuse is playing without three of its six leading contributors from last season.

I have to admit, Syracuse has a very good student paper and accompanying website.

In an article from today, looking at the game, the author feels rebounding will be the key. I hope so, because that totally favors Pitt. Pitt has the superior inside game.

The Syracuse Post-Standard looks at the freshmen on the team and finds, surprise, that they’ve been a bit inconsistent.

Fairfax Cuse has his take on a similar round-up.

Pitt’s Website hasn’t been working this morning. I’ll have to check it for game notes later.

Syracuse Silencing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Chas @ 9:15 am

Syracuse University doesn’t want anyone to know what the students really think of their professors.

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