Another week, another round of questions for Brian at Orange44 to answer. This week the questions range from the semi-important (SU's Tourney chances, SU lacrosse) and the mega-important (food cook-offs and Syracuse-branded edibles).
SU basketball is getting its act together just in time. The only game remaining before the Big East Tournament is Marquette. Can the Orange add that final marquee win to their season for NCAA Tourney statement time?
They certainly have a good shot. With the injury of Dominic James, the senior leader of the team, and the fact that they are not playing well down the stretch having lost three games in a row, Syracuse has a real chance in not only getting a quality win to end the regular season, but they have the chance to play spoiler and keep Marquette from that coveted two round bye in the BET this year.
Last season, a decidedly worse team than the current Orange, Syracuse beat Marquette at home 87 to 72. While both of these teams have improved, on paper these teams look quite even and right now you have to give the edge to a completely healthy ‘Cuse on three blowout wins compared to Marquette who lost one of their best players and have been losing lately. What is for sure, both teams have plenty of motivation for this contest.
On Tuesday we celebrated Kristof!'s final home game for the Orange. What is the one moment that you will remember about KO the most?
Is it wrong to say when he became my friend on Facebook? All kidding aside, I have to say it would be his majestic coast to coast dunk. He stole the ball, dribbled behind his back, went the length of the court, and slammed it down while getting fouled. While he was certainly a celebrated player last season, he was a little fish in a big pond with the arrival of Flynn and Greene. This season he really became a fan favorite and continued to give gritty performance after gritty performance, doing the little, dirty things that we needed and enjoy seeing.
Kristof!, while only a two year player for Syracuse, has done more to earn the respect of the fans in Syracuse than many do in four years of work. For that, and just his overall story of coming from Belgium, working his way from a Junior College, and competition at the highest level of college basketball, he should be commended. Who knows, at the rate we are going his number could be retired by February of 2011.
How far do the Orange have to get in the NCAA Tourney for you to feel like this season was successful?
I have been saying since the end of last season that anything less than a Sweet 16 appearance this year would be a disappointment. With the talent this team possesses, when they don’t have their head in their ass they are pretty darn good. I still think that should be the minimum benchmark for success or these kids will have underachieved. They should, on talent alone, make it that far. Any further, and frankly it is probably sheer luck. But really, isn’t that one of the biggest parts of the NCAA Tournament?
Either way, Syracuse needs to make it to the second weekend of hoops or sadly I think my mind will start to wonder about the coaching staff and just how talented these players really are. Let’s face it, even in a league such as the Big East, falling from 9th to not ranked is pretty epic. Especially after demolishing the big games on your non-conference schedule.
Moral of the story, the kids need to have a somewhat deep run in March for me to feel good about Syracuse hoops in the NCAA Tournament again. I mean I was still at Syracuse the last time we won an NCAA Tournament game, so if you know me you know that no average undergrad at ‘Cuse has seen one.
SU Lacrosse felt the sting of defeat when Virginia beat them last week. Was this a "good loss" or is this a loss that will come back to haunt the Orange?
This was as good a loss as you can have, especially since Syracuse has no automatic bid to fall back on like some lax teams. Much like last season Syracuse lost to Virginia in the regular season and we all know that did not end up hurting them one bit later. Virginia is clearly the best team in the nation and Syracuse is pretty close as evident by only losing by one point. Hence why Syracuse is still decisively ranked #2 in both polls. Frankly, this early in the season I would much rather be #2 than #1.
Either way, there is no need to panic. Syracuse is still a very good team and will surely bounce back with quality wins at other schools and get back to the NCAA Tournament. They have Final Four talent and it will be used I’m sure. I just wish that Syracuse did not look so flat for the majority of that game, and the loss of Danny Brennan was certainly felt.
Coach Marrone recently judged a chili cook-off in Syracuse. What food contest would you most like to be a judge for?
Anything involving Dinosaur BBQ sauce. It could be ribs, it could be chicken, and it could be pulled pork. Frankly anything in that zone would be delightful. And after being familiar with that food for years, and the simple fact I’ve been to the NYS Fair several times, I think I am more than qualified. Frankly what food is more identifiably Syracuse than Dino anyway? If you are going to judge a food contest in Syracuse shouldn’t it be something that is native to Syracuse? Second place would be judging a cooking contest for best use of Middle Ages Brewery products. Nice.
We recently learned about the magic of Syracuse Athletics cereal. What food product should Syracuse brand next?
Shouldn’t Syracuse be in the orange business? Maybe have a line of orange juice called "Otto’s Best" or something. But really, the million dollar idea is a Snuggie with the SU logo all over it. That is clearly where the money is.
However, besides just regular SU cereal, shouldn’t we have something like "DOCTOR’s Disappoint-o’s" or "Greg Robinson Failure Flakes"? It needs to be like Count Chocula and Boo Berry. We need a spin off cereal dammit! By the way, I challenge the readers to submit their best mock up of what a failure flakes box would look like.
You heard the man. Submit your photoshop'd idea for the next great Syracuse-themed food product and if it cuts the mustard I'll post it. Especially if it's a mustard-cutter. Thanks as always to Brian and keep an eye on Orange44 for SU sports updated.