It’s been a little busy around here this week, so hopefully you can forgive us for not doing links as frequently as we’d like. But with the internet still happy to talk about the Syracuse Orange’s upset win over the Duke Blue Devils for another day, we’re happy to join them.
No “new” ground here, necessarily. Just a run-through of the biggest stories that appeared after the game, plus a rundown of unrelated stories that you also care about because this blog endorses a 360-degree view of Syracuse sports whenever possible.
Enjoy your Orange links below:
Syracuse upsets Duke
Howard said Boeheim challenged him after the Georgia Tech loss to be more aggressive after “not taking control” and “giving up a couple of 50-50 balls.” Those are the kind of plays that defined Howard during his junior season, and he wasn’t making them this season. It took him longer than he imagined, but he finally feels as if he’s regained his explosiveness. “That’s what I want to get back to every game,” Howard said. “Just being in attack mode and being assertive.”
“It was the craziest thing I’ve ever been to,” Weitsman said when reached in Durham on Monday night. “There were like 20 of us in Orange. It was a sea of blue, a legendary arena, like a high school gym. There are so many students there, and they are standing and jumping the whole time. I’ve been to a lot of cool sporting events, but this was the most exciting one that I’ve ever been to.”
“It curved a little bit and it got back on target,’’ Hughes said. “It was either going to go in or hit the back of the rim.’’ Hughes’ miracle shot became even more important at the end of regulation as Duke and Syracuse went into overtime. Hughes joked that the shot helped his 3-point shooting percentage.
KenPom: The success of playing zone vs. man-to-man defense (The Athletic)
It sure seems as if playing zone is a suboptimal choice in the modern game, but the ultimate test of this belief would be walking into the office of Jim Boeheim or Mike Hopkins and telling them that they’re doing this all wrong. While neither Syracuse nor Washington may make the NCAA Tournament this season, I wouldn’t be quite so confident to have that conversation.
Will Tiana Mangakahia leave early for WNBA Draft? (Syracuse.com)
Mangakahia, 23, already clears one of the requirements of the WNBA that eligible players be at least 22 in the calendar year of the draft. She only needs to notify the league of her decision to renounce her remaining college eligibility 10 days before the draft (the 2019 date has not yet been set). Earlier this week, Mangakahia said she thinks she’s ready for the jump but didn’t want to speculate beyond that.
As for the Orange, their overtime heroics not only earned them a reprieve from the NIT, where I was prepared to drop them following Saturday’s home loss to Georgia Tech, but a 10 seed, which keeps Jim Boeheim’s squad out of the First Four — for now. A Saturday visit from Pitt (2 p.m., ACC RSNs/ESPN3) awaits, and danger lurks for Syracuse thanks to a bad habit of playing to its opposition’s level.
Bubble watch: What does it mean to be a lock? (The Athletic)
Advanced stats prove what we already knew: Kyle Whittingham is a special teams master (Football Study Hall)
Syracuse crowned ECAC team of the year (Cuse.com)