10:48: Miserable finish, but overall there's a lot more good things to build on than bad things heading into the tournament. The flaws are still there - namely, the long droughts against good defenses, but SU is still a good tournament team. They should get a 4-seed and make the Sweet 16, and beat teams that don't have great defenses.
10:47: It's officially over. CJ Fair just had a rebound taken away from him.
10:45: This sucks. Only one thing can make me feel better after this loss. Brackets.
10:44: Unbelivable block on MCW by Harrell. He even collects the ball and dunks it on the other end. Geez, he's going to be very good.
10:35: Siva has a weird tattoo on his chest and upperbody. And he gives Louisville an 11 point lead.
10:34: MCW has 10x as much talent as Siva, but he's not as good a basketball player.
10:32: I hate that Hancock guy.
10:28: Ugh. Southerland misses a big three. 7:00 to go. Louisville by 7.
10:19: James Southerland re-enters the game with 10:13 to go and the lead all but gone. Boeheim always gambles with his guys in foul trouble. The bigger problem is SU's ball handling. MCW's good game has gone south, and Triche is a basketcase. The BIGGEST problem is Louisville is deconstructing the zone. They just flip it to the free throw line, then make one more easy pass to the baseline.
10:09: Peyton Siva can't hit the ground with a rock.
10:05: Russ Smith cuts it to nine. Now SU is out of sync. Cooney needs to hit a shot to shake up Louisville's D, as he did against Georgetown.
9:57: Yikes... Four on Southerland after SU can't grab the rebound. Ugh. Then again, he's hit his Big East Tournament second half quota of three points!
9:56: MCW at his best... I knew that Southerland three was going in before he even shot it. (And the Fair three before it!) Let's go Orange!
9:49: Boom. Russ Smith hits a wide open three from straight on. That could jump start him. Boeheim calls timeout with a ten-point lead early in the second.
9:48: Here we go...in twenty minutes, Jim Boeheim COULD be alone in first place for all-time Big East Tournament titles.
9:30: Interesting first half, to say the least. SU's defense looks fantastic. It's offense looks decent. Louisville's offense isn't this bad. They're a mess right now. Look for Russ Smith to get it going in the second half and make this a ball game. After all, we've seen SU squander double-digit leads recently, haven't we?
9:29: Sean McDonough questioning Boeheim's timeout, but he ALWAYS takes that timeout if he still has five in the final minute. Always. And Boeheim always does what he always does. (See: starting lineup consistency, for example.)
9:17: MCW with an acrobatic finish, and the foul! SU leads 26-18, with under four to play. The kid has so much talent. He should stay one more year and put together a superstar season. Unfortunately, the lack of PGs in the 2013 NBA draft might tempt him out, and tempt an NBA team to use a surprisingly high pick on him. In that case, I'm afraid we wouldn't hear much from him again.
9:09: The game's a little bit ragged, but in SU's favor. The Louisville guards are a mess. Siva can't figure out the zone. We knew that coming in. But an ice cold Russ Smith is death for the Cardinals. Sure, Louisville has gotten the ball under the hoop for some easy buckets, but Boeheim can tighten the zone to fix that. Even better, just keep clamping down on Smith and Siva.
9:02: Anybody else hankering for some Dick's? Wait...that came out wrong.
8:50: Bad play by Triche, taking a three on a breakaway with no one underneath to rebound. Turns into a three for Louisville, 8 to 3 Orange. Best thing happening so far: Christmas is giving Boeheim positive minutes. I'll bet if you asked Coach which player he would most like to get a good game from headed into the tournament, it would be Rak.
8:46: By the way, I realized two days ago I was doing this running blog upside down, at least for people not following live, which is 99.9999999999999999999... % of the world. Oh well. I didn't feel like copy-pasting it the other direction.
8:44: And Southerland adds another three! That's your Big East Tournament record...forever!
8:43: CJ Fair opens the scoring with a three! How good a sign is that, Orange Nation? Wow.
8:37, Saturday: Once more. Gotta stick with what works. I firmly believe Louisville is a better matchup for SU than Georgetown or even Pittsburgh. Their defense is still tough, but not Hoya-tough. And their offense, particularly Siva, has struggled against SU in the past couple meetings. I'll take SU by three!
9:22, Friday: But it doesn't matter! SU to the finals! Sayonora Georgetown! Unreal game. Goodnight! See you tomorrow!
9:21: If you're Georgetown, you're still furious at Starks' fifth. Ridiculous. Fair to the line...he only needs one. He doesn't get it...
9:19: SU by 3, Hoya ball after Triche hits 1 of 2 from the line, following an 0 for 1 trip by MCW. Interestingly, I noticed Baye Mousa Keita try to step to the line, claiming the foul was on him even though he was forty feet away. (Just kidding.)
9:14: 51.3 to go, SU by four, MCW going to the line for 1-and-1. Meanwhile, Duke falls. Et tu, Georgetown? Not quite yet... CJ's dunk replayed. Chequez-vous votre pantalons!!!!
9:13: CJ! Redemption! And a horrible call by the refs goes SU's way at the other end. Out on Georgetown? Whatever... MCW turns it over, eschewing the makeup call. SU by four. Hoya ball. 1:15.
9:11: Georgetown is out of sync on offense without Starks, but they get it into the paint and get a bucket. Hopkis. 55-53 after he misses the FT. AGGGGHHHHH!!
9:09: Starks fouls out on a cheap one. Too many whistles late in this otherwise perfectly officiated game. That's a shame. But good for SU!!!! Watchout for the makeup foul now...
9:05: I can't take five more minutes of this. But if I have to, I have to!
9:02: Boeheim hates it, but normally that jumper from the left side is a layup for CJ. Not tonight. Defense wins championships. No three from Starks. Keep the ball out of Porter's hands if possible. 13.7 seconds to go.
9:00: Coincidentally, Baye Moussa Keita, literally translated, means "7 for 7 from the free throw line." My hands are shaking.
8:50: Mikael Hopkins has been nothing short of brilliant. He's been physical but controlled, and technically perfect in his movement and decisions. He cuts the lead to two as the game hits the last TV timeout. I can barely type now. This is why the Big East Tournament is the G.O.A.T.
8:48: Fair is 2 for 14. I don't know WHAT is going on...
8:46: Great timeout by Boeheim as the Georgetown fans get to their feet. SU by four with 5:52 to go.
8:45: Triche has a look in his eyes all of a sudden. Porter ALWAYS has that look. He cuts it to five.
8:40: Geez, this game is intense! Refs letting them play, too. Ummm.... I don't know what else to say. Play good basketball, SU!
8:30: Right on cue, offensive rebound from CJ and a tough put back, AND ONE from Triche! He missed a wide open floater at the start of that possession though. You can see the wheels turning as he gets those shots off. He still doesn't look himself.
8:29: Starks cuts the lead to five. SU looking a little tight on offense! Game tightening up with mucho minutes left... Hang in there Orange!
8:21: These shots are nice when they're falling, and MCW's playing fine, but we still need another guard who can penetrate this Hoyas D. What was the name of that shifty guard we had recently? Small but strong? Really could put the ball in the net when he got in the paint? Played for JD? What was his name again? Brandon Triche! What? He's still on the team? Coulda fooled me...
8:17: James Southerland! Ties the record for threes in the Big East Tourney! Somewhere, Gerry McNamara is nodding and smiling. And that somewhere is... Syracuse's bench!
8:15: Three fouls on Starks is HUGE. Otto Porter is the man, but the Hoya machine doesn't operate without Starks. That's why JTIII leaves him in.
7:52: 29-20 SU at the half. 10 points to 39! We've gotten the bare minimum that we wanted from this tournament: a couple wins and we're playing much, MUCH better heading into the NCAAs. The second is just icing... Agonizing, nerve-wracking icing.
7:49: Cooney finally misses and Georgetown finally hits on the other end. The whole "big lead at the half" thing almost backfired yesterday, but I'll always take a big lead over a small one. Call me crazy.
7:42: Last time down the court, Georgetown forces Fair to his right and he puts up a brick. This time, Fair gets it to his left, gets baseline, and finds COONEY in the corner for three. NYLON! SU by...well, a decent margin. Let's leave it at that for now...
7:37: I gotta say, I liked that Cooney shot as it went up. Honest. Catch and shoot. Let's give him another one as long as Georgetown is playing this zone. (Because that zone destroyed us last in the regular season finale...) SU leads by 3! Exciting! Nervous!
7:31: This week my brother, Dan (@D_Arras) and I were trying to list the top 5 calls that officials love to make the gesture for: 5.) Indicating possession when another, closer official doesn't have the call and looks to his colleague for help; 4.) Jump ball (who doesn't love giving something two thumbs up?); 3.) Technical foul + You're outta here! 2.) Count the basket on a foul AND goal tend; 1.) Charge
Did we miss any?
7:27: As I pressed "enter" on that Grant praise, he lets Otto Porter blow by him, then has a hand in an SU turnover and heads to the bench. Ugh.
7:25: "Every. Rebound. Is. Contested." -Jay Bilas. Jerami Grant pulls down a tough one. Grant hasn't done any big things lately, but he's done some little things. He's not just taking up space out there. Georgetown fans offer a "Lord & Taylo" taunt with MCW on the line...
7:22: Hated that MCW three at least as much as Jay Bilas did. We have to work the ball inside, as impossible as that can seem against these Hoyas. As I twittered earlier today, attacking the Georgetown D has about as much a chance of success as two hobbits finding their way into the heart of Mordor. Much better, though, on the feed to Keita. He can finish if we get him the ball inside. We're hanging in there...
7:10: Southerland opens his account with a 4-point play after a ragged start. Tied at 6. This looks like it's going to be a battle, with both teams trying to get the ball into the paint against two outstanding defenses. If SU hits its shots from outside they'll stay in it. So...same story as usual.
7:05: This is going to be a tough game, as we all know. Georgetown's defense is ridiculously good. I'm just hoping we keep it close. I think we will. Hoyas win by 2 en route to the last Big East title.
7:04, Friday: Stick with what works, right? I'm not at the Garden. I'm back in Manlius. On the plus side, I've got a laptop. So let's keep this going! SU-Georgetown, for the final time in the Big East!
4:43, Thursday: Whew! MCW saved us! And our reward is a chance to make a proper ending to the SU-Georgetown rivalry. We're headed back to Syracuse though. Good times at the Garden!
4:28: The SU fans here are not happy with the officiating. That said, Keita just threw his body into a Panther as a screen. It goes both ways...hopefully. SU by 4, 3:47 to go. This game is razor tight.
4:19: Getting a little tight here. A little tight. Pitt fans woke up a minute ago when their boys cut it to 5. But that shot from MCW was, I dunno, Scoop-esque? Need more offense...need to get it back into the paint.
4:07: 9 minutes into the second half, SU's offense has grinded to a crawl but Pitt has only trimmed 3 points off the lead. If SU can prevent a Pitt run they'll be OK. If they keep hitting threes they'll be great.
3:32: 40-27, half! 40 points! Against Pitt! Crazy. Pitt looks bad. They can't sustain their defense deep into the shot clock. Dixon might consider zone in the 2nd. That's given MCW and especially Triche fits. Orange can't stay this hot from deep. Another interesting stat: 10 FTs by Pitt to 0 for the Orange.
3:25: James Southerland on the other hand..!
3:23: Michael Carter-Williams' jump passes are driving us crazy. It's a fundamental of basketball. Don't leave your feet to pass.
3:14: Big game James! Southerland love Garden! SU by 12, 5 minutes to go in the first.
2:57: Cooney hits a tough layup in traffic to put the Orange up by a point at 11:30 in the 1st. My brother starts yelling, "Cooooooooney!" I say, "Is that what we're supposed to say when he scores? I don't even remember him scoring before. I don't know what to do."
2:47: Geez, I'm wound up for this game. Feel like I just chugged a coffee. SU's offense is looking good, getting the ball deep into the paint against a good D. Just need to finish these chances. Good sign that Southerland hit his first jumper. Get him and CJ the ball!
2:24: really excited to see the Orange play in orange. A million times better than the home whites.
2:23: Great crowd at the Garden. There weren't many empty seats as the first game was ending. Lots of Orange. But lots of anti-Orange too.
2:20: Wow. Georgetown's defense is good. Cincy got to 39 with more than 10 minutes to go so I thought they were going to blow past our total. They did not. They barely got past the free throw line for the rest of the half. If Georgetown's guards get hot they could make a run deep in the tournament.
1:23: With SU advancing this session turned into a tough ticket. All the SU fans are playing wait-and-see. The prices doubled on stubhub immediately after SU won yesterday. If SU advances tomorrow night's ticket is going to be even hotter.
Thursday, 1:20pm: Got to our seats by the start of the 2nd half of Georgetown-Cincy, in time to see Cincy go on a run and tie it up. Would love to see a close, enjoyable game now because I have a feeling, one way or another, that SU-Pitt is going to be torture.
Wednesday, 4:17: Feeling good, up by 17 after MCW's over the shoulder pass to Keita. Now all I need is Southerland to hit a shot from the Reese's logo to earn himself a year's supply of peanut butter cups.
3:57: "Who does this #13 think he is? Stanley Ipkiss?!?" - Brother Dan. Bonus points to everyone who gets the reference.
3:45: Over 39 points! We did it! With time to spare!
3:16: Keita with a couple points and a couple rebounds. Good energy as always. Coincidentally, Baye Moussa Keita, literally translated, means "Poor man's Kristof Onganaet."
3:08: Brandon Triche is playing with a load of poop in his shorts.
2:59: I can't believe Mick Cronin is allowed to coach both Cincy and Seton Hall. (That is Cronin, right? He's white...bald...)
2:55 pm: It's good to be back in the garden. Very cool place. And it was fun to have the crowd 80% Pro-Orange...until the game started.
2:50 pm: MSG - James Southerland is shooting like CJ Fair. That's about the only good thing happening right now.
10:08 am, Wed: Somewhere in Pennsylvania... One of my favorite things about the Big East is the sense you have, even in the middle of Manhattan that it is an event, and that people from all around are coming to be there. We've stopped twice and spotted multiple people wearing orange headed to the game.