Support Our Advertisers


« The Top 10 Analysts In College Basketball | Main | The Best 10 NCAA Title Games Since 1979 »

Tuesday Hoops Notebook

Wesley Johnson

One Great Season

I'm still unimpressed by Georgetown, and in the last month I've probably watched Syracuse more than any other team. After watching the Big East rivals square off at the Carrier Dome Monday night, I like the Orange a lot.

Lacking a true superstar, Syracuse beats you with good balance. Its lineup is stacked with many capable players. Looking for a three? Pass it to Andy Rautins. Want some interior strength? Kris Joseph, Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku are your guys. Need an all-around stud? Give Wesley Johnson a call.

Follow | Subscribe | Donate

And don't forget Brandon Triche and Scoop Jardine, who, combined with Rautins, average a combined 29 points and 13 assists per game. That's a pretty nice trio of guards.

After surrendering 14 points to open the game, Syracuse steadily crept back into it and even took a lead into halftime. The Orange stretched the margin to more than 20 points after the break, and cruised to its sixth straight defeat of Georgetown.

The best play of the night wasn't a dunk or a trey or a SportsCenter-esque swat. It was actually a long, left-handed bounce pass from Rautins at the top of the arc to Johnson near the low block. Johnson went up for a dunk, but a foul caused him to pull back, though he still converted the deuce and made the subsequent free throw to stretch the Syracuse lead to 55-40 midway through the second half.

If Syracuse can stay healthy, then surly coach Jim Boeheim looks to have a deep and balanced team that will contend for a Final Four spot in Indianapolis.

FINAL FOUR PICKS: Speaking of the best event in all of sports, I'll be making Final Four predictions each week here on OGS. Here's my first guess:

+ EAST: Syracuse
+ SOUTH: Kentucky
+ MIDWEST: Kansas
+ WEST: Texas

TUBE TIME: Keep your schedule open for the following games this week:

+ Tuesday: Michigan State at Michigan (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)
+ Tuesday: Kentucky at South Carolina (9 p.m. ET, ESPN)
+ Tuesday: Not televised -- Kansas State at Baylor (8 p.m. ET)
+ Wednesday: Vanderbilt at Tennessee (7 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
+ Wednesday: Florida State at Duke (9 p.m. ET, ESPN)
+ Thursday: Wisconsin at Purdue (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)
+ Saturday: Duke at Georgetown (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
+ Saturday: Kansas at Kansas State (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)

CONFERENCE RANKINGS: If the Big East didn't impress you in the first few weeks of league play, Saturday's non-conference wins over the weekend (Connecticut over Texas, West Virginia over Ohio State) should have done some convincing. Here are my conference rankings through Monday night's games:

1. Big East
2. Big 12
3. Big 10
4. ACC
5. SEC
6. MWC
7. Atlantic 10
8. PAC 10

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (5)

will cincy make tourney with 18 wins and .500 in Big east?

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCreighton

If UC finishes .500 in the Big East, that would mean it would need to win five more league games. It would depend on whether those are wins are over Syracuse, UConn, Georgetown or Villanova. But I think UC goes 4-6 the rest of the way, finishing 17-13 and 8-10, and would need to at least get to the Big East Tournament final to get invited to the NCAA. Cronin has maintained Huggins' habit of trying to give away close games to good opponents, but Cronin's boys also seem to fold late in each of the last two seasons. At about this time of year, it has appeared UC could get an NCAA invite, but each time the last two winters, they run out of gas. I expect to see the same this year.

January 26, 2010 | Registered CommenterJohn P. Wise

I think UC is deeper as a team, and Vaughn won't let a collapse happen as a senior this year. Whether that means they will get to the NCAA tournament is another matter, but they won't fold like the past two years. if they do then Cronin should be gone the second the last game is over.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMike Loomis

The Bearcats are definitely deeper, but they still haven't taken that big step to regularly turn close losses into close wins. They sometimes appear not to lose games just as often as they outright win them. Though the depth is evident, the year-to-year growth just hasn't seemed to happen under Cronin.

January 26, 2010 | Registered CommenterJohn P. Wise

i agree especially with the close games that they always seem to lose. i think the lack of consistency with a deep pretty talented team points to practice. i dont get to see every game out here in AZ but any game on i watch or tivo. His in game coaching is not that bad (not great either) but the preparation for the full court press near the end of games has to be sub-par as that seems to give them fits...again coaching in practice. I have a feeling he runs his practices like huggins but does not have the intangible that hugs had to get his players to equate that in game situations. cronin must make the tourny or we need to move in new direction.

January 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCreighton

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>