After all the hype and the arguing and the name-calling and the defending, the worst thing that could happen right now is if Syracuse went out the day after being voted No. 1 and laid a stinkbomb against The Ghost of St. John's at home. Shields up, people.
It's Senior Night and that means it's the last time Arinze Onuaku and Andy Rautins will play in the Dome (assuming the most massive free-fall in modern college basketball history doesn't happen and Syracuse ends up in the NIT somehow). You know what that means...it's time to compare these two players to television chefs:
Ask Andy Rautins about any of it, ask him if he’s been surprised with what he’s done so far during his basketball career at Syracuse University, and he’ll shake his head and probably wonder if you’d ask Emeril Lagasse if he’d impressed himself with his last marinade.
It’s a funny thing, work. Do enough of it, and mix in a fair amount of talent, and you can evolve from a 6-foot-4 freshman wisp of 165 pounds (with bocce balls in his pocket) into a 6-foot-5 senior force weighing a tenth of a ton.
EASY, Bud. I want to get inside Andy's head, not his pants pockets.
So to be fair, I have to admit I don't know the first thing about the Red Storm this season. Taking a look at the standings I see that they're basically right where we left them. Near the bottom. At 15-13 (5-11), it's been another one of those seasons for the Storm. And if not for D.J. Kennedy, who leads the team in scoring, rebounds and steals, who knows where they'd be.
Cuse Country warns SU fans not to be fooled, however. St. John's isn't as bad as you might think.
They started the season 10-2, losing only to Duke (by 9) and Cornell (by 5) while beating a few quality opponents in Temple, Siena, and Georgia. But when conference play began, they showed themselves to be far from ready to contend, going 5-11 to date. However, a closer look at the record reveals a team that is not to be dismissed too lightly. While they lost games to Rutgers and Providence, they popped Louisville by 19 points in the Garden just a couple weeks ago. They also won at Notre Dame and at USF, were two points away from toppling Marquette, and had 7-point losses against Georgetown and Pitt. So they are far from being doormats. SU should expect their best punch, too.
At the end of the day there's no reason for the Orange not to win this one by 15-20. Then again, that usually means they'll win it by 5. Hopefully the No. 1 team in the land acts like it.