In all of the excitement around the football team’s matchup with Notre Dame on Saturday, you’d be forgiven for downplaying the Syracuse Orange men’s basketball team’s own trip to New York City this weekend.
The No. 15 Orange face one-time rival UConn on Thursday in a game that matters in the sense that we want to win, but not necessarily in the same way we once did. Conference realignment drove a wedge in between some rivalries for numerous teams, and SU’s with the Huskies is clearly one of them.
Still, playing at Madison Square Garden has long been a part of playing basketball for Syracuse, and this game (and the subsequent game against Iowa/Oregon) is a continuation of that story and sell. And these opportunities still matter when talking about how this program continues to grow and evolve in the last few years of Jim Boeheim’s time at the helm (and then beyond).
Syracuse.com’s Mike Waters tells that story well when talking to former players (and some current coaches) about what it’s meant over the years — something that’s well worth a read.
That, plus the rest of your Syracuse-related links below:
Madison Square Garden remains vital to Syracuse basketball (Syracuse.com)
It will mark the 37th consecutive season that Syracuse will play at Madison Square Garden. ”It’s part of Syracuse University’s basketball identity,’’ Griffin said of the Garden. “When you think about Syracuse, obviously, you think about the Carrier Dome and 30,000 fans, but the next thing that comes to your mind is the Garden. As a kid from Brooklyn, I always wanted to play for Syracuse and play at the Garden.’’
Melifonwu and Williams’ long-armed, physical style isn’t a viable option for Fredrick or Bradshaw. The smaller corners need to stick on receivers’ hip-to-hip and position themselves with a chance to play the ball while running routes alongside wideouts. Fredrick did that perfectly when he intercepted a pass against Florida State in Week 3, stepping inside the wideout and reading quarterback Deondre Francois’ eyes to cut off the pass and take it the other way.
Brissett said the center is rotating better to provide help during defensive rotations. Chukwu knows that “being a defensive stopper” is one of his strengths. Once rotating to protect the rim, Chukwu gets to do one of his favorite things on the basketball court. “When you spike it, I like that one,” Chukwu said. “When I spike it, oh man. That one fills me up with energy.”
With Dungey struggling, coach Dino Babers went with DeVito in the fourth quarter, and he helped deliver a come-from-behind double-overtime win, throwing a career-high three touchdown passes and a career-high 181 yards. DeVito looked poised and confident, and with players like Sean Riley, Taj Harris, Nykeim Johnson and Moe Neal returning, the Orange offense should continue to play at a high level.
“I think it’s the confidence I have in myself,” said Dungey, who starred at Lakeridge High School outside Portland, Oregon, but had few college suitors. “I was under-recruited. Our confidence wasn’t as high as it should have been. “I just put everything I had into this team, this school. It just feels good to finally get some wins out of it.”
Jim Boeheim’s little notebooks carry a big work schedule (Daily Orange)
Great moments in Syracuse-UConn history (The UConn Blog) *ignore these, save the 6OT game reference
UConn, Syracuse battle again Thursday — will it be the last time for a while? (New Haven Register)
The Best Modern Football Teams to Come Out of College Basketball Powerhouses (Sports Illustrated)