We've tallied up the votes and the 2013 Syracuse Orange Blogger (S.O.B.) Awards have been decided. Let's honor the players, coaches, fans and moments from the 2012-2013 Syracuse Orange basketball season.
The award for Best Senior is a two-man race, as expected, with "Big Game" James Southerland taking on Brandon Triche for the honor.
Despite the academic issues earlier in the year and the overall breadth of Triche's career, I was on Team Southerland in this vote:
James Southerland - Triche will probably win the voting here, and I have no real issue with that, but if we're only talking about 2012-13, I think Southerland edges him out. At the end of the season when people would ask me who Syracuse's best player was, I gave a three-pronged answer. C.J. Fair is the team's best player, MCW is its most talented player, and James Southerland might be the most important player. Without James on the court, the Syracuse offense lost a ton of punch and all of the requisite spacing it needed to be effective. On a team without a lot of three-point threats, Southerland was that guy who teams needed to focus on, because he could explode for 30 on any given night. His Big East tournament wasn't quite McNamarian, but it was a ton of fun. While he came up very short in the final four, Southerland had a great season, especially considering the player he was just last year.
Chris and Jared each agreed with me:
James Southerland- I think a lot of people vote for Triche based on his overall career. Most wins as a starter in SU history is a big deal. But I'm taking a more narrow view and just looking at what they accomplished in their final year in orange. Both had up and down years. I think both didn't perform as well as they thought they should. Both have a knack for making big plays, then disappearing for long stretches. I'm going with JSizzle(TM) because, personally, I'm going to remember his senior campaign the best. 9 threes against Arkansas, making the Orange the only squad to win in Fayetteville all year. 19 3s in the Big East Tournament, single-handedly giving Syracuse what it needed to beat Seton Hall and Pittsburgh. Even now, four days after the season is over, I can't recall one play of Triche's that stick out in my mind (aside from his "charge" against Michigan). So, with all other things essentially being equal, the big shot player gets my vote.
James Southerland -- I hate to leave out Brandon Triche, but there's no debating what senior was the biggest key to the Orange's last-season push. Sure, if Triche was lost SU would be down to only two guards and would be in a lot of trouble. But Syracuse was a Final Four caliber team with J-South playing the backend of the zone and being the lone 3-point shooting threat. If he got in foul trouble and needed to sit for long periods of time, Syracuse was in HUGE trouble. That never realy happened late in the season. Overall, those two attributes were so key in SU's March run.
In the comments, garsonf made a strong statistical case for James:
My initial reaction was Triche, but after I took a closer look, I decided Southerland made more sense, even with the suspension. He was a far more efficient offensive player than Triche. In fact, he was our most efficient offensive player, and at times, our only offensive threat. He won games single handedly. He was second on the team in steal %, and had a good block % too. I understand the case for Triche. He was on the floor a lot more than Southerland over the course of the season, which has value in and of itself. And he was a more active part of the offense in terms of posessions used. But he was just a tad too inefficient and turnover prone on those posessions for my tastes. I love Triche. I will remember him more fondly than Southerland, and probably more fondly than any member of this team other than Fair (allowing for the possibility that Grant or Coleman make an impression in the future). But in an honest assessment of who had the better season, I have to give the slight edge to Southerland.
However, as I expected, Brandon Triche took home the rest of the votes and was the overwhelming favorite in our S.O.B. Fan Poll, beating out James 71%-24% with Griffin Hoffman and Matt Lyde-Cajuste picking up eight votes and one-percent a piece. Sean appreciated Triche's consistency:
Brandon Triche - I think Southerland is probably the "sexy" pick here because of his big game prowess and the excitement factor. However, I gotta go with Triche who was the consistent rock this team revolved around. Even if he didn't always bring his A-game, he brought more than we probably gave him credit for.
Andy docked Southerland points for his absence, something that was obviously never an issue for Triche:
Brandon Triche- Triche provided both offense and defense to Syracuse and unlike J-South, he was there all year fake accusations or not. Triche was a leader whether he liked it or not and drove the offense. When things were clicking he would be doing well. Things slowed down when he slowed down. Coincidence? I think not.
The Invisible Swordsman takes the 'local hero' angle:
Brandon Triche - Cuse born, Cuse bred, will be Cuse until he's dead (or one of his inevitable 6'5" offspring signs a LOI to play somewhere other than SU…yeah, like THAT would ever happen)! Quiet leader who had a great career on the hill.
And John discusses Brandon's legacy at SU:
Brandon Triche -- James Southerland was great when he was actually playing well and/or on the court, but I'll contend Triche was more essential to SU's overall success. A tough defender and sort-of clutch shooter, the Orange's winningest player of all time leaves a pretty nice legacy at Syracuse.
Most of you let your votes be heard in the poll, but CuseJay described his decision in the comments. Basically, Triche meant that we saw less Cooney, and he was grateful for that:
I went with Triche. I think we’d have been in trouble without either one of them. No Southerland would have meant a BET exit against Pitt or G’town. No Triche would have meant Cooney as a starting guard. Can you say NIT?
So with a 4-3 edge in the bloggers' vote and a win at the polls, the winningest player in Syracuse history gets one last 'W' as a member of the Orange. Congratulations to Brandon Triche, this year's Best Senior.
Look for more S.O.B. winners today and through the week...