Every week Brian from Orange44 and I trade questions and answers. This week Brian talks about what it was like to be at the Lacrosse Final Four and watch SU win it all, Jonny Flynn's prospects and the chances of yet another semi-pro basketball team in Syracuse.
What was the atmosphere like in Foxboro this past weekend?
Overall, unlike other NCAA events, the Lacrosse Final Four is a big time family atmosphere. There were tons of kids playing lacrosse and various other tailgating games in the parking lot (hitting my car with f’ing lacrosse balls), plenty of grilling, and various adult beverages. It is not quite the epic level of an elite college football game, but it is damn close. Additionally, there are tons of players from other schools, be it other DI schools that didn’t make the tourney, or even other DII and DIII schools. Last year I actually played beer pong against members of the Drexel lacrosse team. This year, the atmosphere was also fun in the lot with several elaborate tailgate set ups.
Inside the stadium, you could feel the excitement, especially on Monday. On Memorial Day the crowd was about 70% all out Syracuse fans cheering (when Cornell didn’t silence them with a goal). It only crescendoed when it was a one goal game. The crowd was down after Syracuse lost the ball with about 30 seconds to go, then of course we know what happened. Kenny Nims caused a turnover, there were several improbable passes, Nims gets the ball in front of the crease and puts it in with 4.5 seconds left, and everyone in orange jumped to their feet and went absolutely nuts. While I am sure it was satisfying to watch on television, it was awesome to be there. Unlike basketball and football, NCAA lacrosse tickets are fairly cheap, easy to come by, and if you are even remotely into the game or a specific school at all, they are very entertaining. Also, obviously judging by this decade and history, we are more than likely to win it all… which is nice.
You were there for Syracuse's 11th national title, what was it like to watch the game and those final minutes?
I must have said "well that’s it" like four or five different times in that last five minutes. I was relegated once that turnover I mentioned above occurred that this was just not Syracuse’s year for a title. Cornell had outplayed them for the first 57 minutes and I thought well my perfect record attending the Final Four was ruined. Then that miracle play happened. It seems, save for last season when Syracuse won by three goals and it was pretty evident in the last few minutes of the game we were going to win, that Syracuse loves winning games in exciting and unconventional fashions. Examples would be winning by one on Memorial Day against Navy in Baltimore in 2004, or beating Virginia in double overtime in last year's semifinal. Syracuse can’t beat UConn in regulation so it takes them six to do it. I could go on and on but you get the idea.
More than most schools, Syracuse seems to make memorable and occasionally unbelievable games come out their way. Those final minutes fall into this idea. When Nims made that shot everyone in our section jumped up and went bonkers. I was sitting next to a nice lady who worked in the Carrier Dome at concessions and her family who were fairly quiet the whole game and they were screaming. The stadium, although not deafeningly loud like the Carrier Dome would be, was very excited and very loud. Everyone could tell that the momentum had fully turned to Syracuse’s side, and that overtime would probably be kind to ‘Cuse. Well it was, and when Cody Jamieson put in that goal it was hugs all around and another gold trophy to hoist. It was excellent being there for another National Championship.
One complaint though; I could have stood to not hear Zombie Nation after every single Syracuse goal. They could have mixed it up a bit.
Any reason to think Syracuse can't threepeat?
One big reason would be the loss of Sid Smith. Galloway will be solid in goal again, and there are other playmakers on the defense, but Smith was simply one of the best defenders the Final Four has ever seen. Clearly Syracuse’s offense will be fine and left in the capable hands of Jamieson, Tim Desko, and others. The defense is a bigger question however. That being said, we are easily a top three team to start next season, and I would buy your tickets to Baltimore, host of next year's Final Four, now because we should at least be making another appearance there. As for another ring, we’ll have to wait and see next season.
Jonny Flynn is being slotted anywhere between 8th and 17th in the draft. Where do you see him going?
Anywhere in there sounds about right. Other than my 2006 NBA Draft experiment in which I liveblogged the entire thing and watched 5 hours of draft coverage, I am not a huge NBA fan and don’t usually concern myself with Syracuse players once they are no longer on the team other than some Sportscenter highlights. What I think would be awesome however is the NY Knicks drafting him. Flynn, a native New Yorker, would be a nice fit there. Most mock drafts have him around the ten spot going to the Bucks. At this point it is all pure conjecture though. He is talented enough for a pick around #10 and if he falls any lower it will be a travesty. Kind of like Thabeet being picked #2 overall. A travesty.
Jim Boeheim is now on record saying Brandon Triche will start next season. Good thing?
I think it probably is a good thing for Triche. This will get him in the proper mindset to know what responsibilities he will have and that he needs to focus and practice to be able to handle that and the rigors of a Big East slate. It might not be great for Scoop, but let’s face it; he probably was not going to start anyway. He missed all last season and the year before that he disappeared halfway through the Big East anyway. This should take some pressure off of Scoop, allow him to sub into games and build his experience and skills back up to the level he should be at, and overall I think it will benefit him in the long run. While I do not think Boeheim should be in the habit of announcing his starters before the season even starts, in this situation it makes sense and good for him in recognizing that.
Next year, another ABA franchise will attempt to make it work in Syracuse. How long you giving it?
Over/under: 2.5 months. I’ll take the under, but just barely. Honestly, in this economy, why would anyone start a business that relies on expendable income from families for entertainment purposes? Especially when most of those families, if the are going to get season tickets, would do so for Syracuse University. Noted exceptions would be the Crunch and the Skychiefs (yes, I still call them that), but those are long standing franchises in the community and have a fair amount of support from the public and local government. Unless there are a lot of local boys on this team, why would the locals really shell out enough money to keep that team going. It didn’t work before and I would argue this is a worse time than that point to attempt to start another team. When the economy improves more than it currently is, maybe by next season, it would make sense to try and have another professional basketball franchise in Syracuse. But in the meanwhile, it seems pretty poor business to me.
Thanks as always, Brian. Orange44. Do it.