Admittedly my mind hasn't been in basketball the last week, what with all this Marrone business. Even the Devo issue isn't monopolizing my time because I just resigned myself to the fact that what is, is, and there's no reason to get all freaked out over a 9-0 nationally-ranked team just yet. Let's get caught up together...
Despite some first-half sluggishness the Orange cruised to a 79-55 win over Long Beach State. Arinze Onuaku led the Orange 17 points and went 7-7 from the floor. Notable, as if Syracuse were playing in a circa 1990's NBA Jam arcade game, he would indeed be "on fire":
Onuaku has not missed a field goal since the 15:52 mark of the first half in Syracuse's game against Colgate on Dec. 1 - a span of 116 minutes. He has shot 50-of-63 this season (79.4 percent) and leads the nation in field goal percentage by a wide margin. The next closest is Kentucky's Patrick Patterson, who entered the day shooting 72.5 percent.
Boom-shaka-laka. Of course don't get too excited, Onuaku is still in the running for a very dubious free-throw distinction during all of this.
Eric Devendorf and Andy Rautins both added 13 while Rick Jackson had 11. Paul Harris didn't have an especially great game but he did add a poignant quote about where this team's head is at with all of the off-the-court issues:
“People don’t realize, when you go through things, this is the only place where you can just let everything out, in basketball. This is what you love to do. It’s a game, you want to have fun. Everything that happened off the court can be off the court.”
So why did Syracuse get off to such a slow, sluggish start? Don't blame them, says Kristof!, blame the 49ers of Long Beach for sucking so much:
"In general...it's always a little more difficult for us to play against a team that isn't as good as we are. It's hard to play at a great level if the other team doesn't."
Serves you right, LBS. Maybe if you made more shots, we would have to!
One note that deserves a little discussion is the standing ovation that Eric Devendorf received upon introductions before the game. It feels...weird. I know, he's not convicted or proven guilty of ANYTHING and if that's the case then the punishment does not seem to fit the crime. That said, given what we know about the text messages...SOMETHING happened that night and it probably wasn't befitting the kind of person who deserves a standing ovation. Then again, I didn't actually see it so if you did, chime in...
No ten-day rest this time. The Orange must now prepare for the frisky Cleveland State Vikings tonight. The Vikes are 6-4 but don't be lulled into a false sense of security. They've played a tough schedule and were pegged as cinderella in the pre-season by many. Syracuse.com has their scouting report up and CuseOrange has a preview up as well. With a win, the Orange would improve to 10-0 for the first time in the Aughts. The '99-'00 team started the year 19-0. That team went to the Sweet Sixteen. Just sayin'.
The Polls aren't out yet but in the meantime the Bleacher Creature Top 25 has SU at #11 and be sure to check out this point/counterpoint discussion about the state of Syracuse basketball and the Eric Devendorf situation going on over at Bleacher Report.
As for Devo's appeal...we wait...