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Jared Fialko

My Super Bowl started Saturday in Syracuse

Posted February 1
Updated February 2

With all due respect to that "other" big game in New York, Sunday's spectacle could get left in the dust in terms of entertainment by that classic in Upstate NY.

Two things:

a) Apparently, anything outside of the "city" is declared the Upstate according to the folks from the Empire.  From Albany to Binghamton to Buffalo to Syracuse.

b) Yes, I'm aware that Super Bowl 48 isn't actually being held in New York, but doesn't it sound that much more appealing instead of New Jersey?

At the risk of being called bias, for those who are unaware of my school ties, I am a Syracuse grad.  My college experience started with rushing the Carrier Dome floor following a complete start-to-finish victory over defending national champions, UConn, and wrapped with absolute madness on Marshall Street sparked by Carmelo Anthony and Gerry McNamara.  I credit the latter with my reassurance that I wanted to be in the broadcast news business.  My first instinct following Hakim Warrick's swat, which helped seal a three point win over Roy Williams' Kansas Jayhawks in the 2003 title tilt, was to grab my camera and speed across campus.  For those of us not fortunate enough to trek to New Orleans, the popular watch party was inside the Dome.  I made it to "Anarchy Avenue" just quickly enough to watch what can only be described as an Orange wave.  Think Indiana Jones, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" being chased by a horde of Hovitos, "Jacques!  Start the plane!"

My orange allegiance aside, as a straight up fan of college basketball, I'd be hard-pressed to think we may witness a better game this season.  In terms of talent, importance, atmosphere, what could possibly top it?  On one hand, the undefeated, number two ranked team in the nation with a chance to set a school record for wins to start a season in Syracuse.  On the other, a team showing renewed fire and passion, the likes of which we expected from, with a coach "at the top of his game," says Amile Jefferson, in Duke. The venue, only the largest on-campus game in NCAA history, as a record 35,446 saw the berth of a new rivalry.  Not one based on proximity, ala UNC/Duke, or sheer hatred, ala Georgetown/Cuse, but rather, sheer prestige and history of both programs involved.

As I've been telling everyone ,well at least those who listen, that Duke was a downright bad matchup for Syracuse.  The Orange make their bread-and-butter with the 2-3 zone, which is highly susceptible to be cracked from behind the arc.  The Blue Devils knew it, and they jacked up treys early and often. It kept them in a game late in the second half when with Jabari Parker and Jefferson riding the pine, they should've been dead to rights. Trailing by seven, Tyler Thornton came off the bench and drilled back-to-back-to-back triples, and all of a sudden, we've got a ballgame. Of course, the biggest bomb dropped came from the hand of a guy you had to feel good for.  Rasheed Sulaimon had such a streak of hard luck at the beginning of the year, that some started to doubt if he'd ever be the same player we saw flashes of brilliance of in 2012-13.  Trailing by three, with four seconds left, Sulaimon drove the floor, skillfully avoiding a foul, which would've put him at the line for a useless two, and put up a prayer answered at the horn. That came just seconds after the previous hero, Thornton, looked like he might be the goat, after unselfishly making an extra pass under the basket to Andre Dawkins which resulted in a turnover, instead of what could've been an easy bucket for No. 3. 

While the collective air might have been let out of the Dome, I can assure you that one member of Orange Nation appreciated it.  He sits just a few feet from Jim Boeheim.  That being, my fellow-Scrantonian, McNamara, who once pulled a similar move in the 2006 Big East Tournament against Connecticut.  A dagger that came one day after his game-winner against Cincinnati and one day before, his ridiculous feed to Eric Devendorf to drop Pitt, en route to being the first team to win four games in four days in the now-heavily mutated league history.

Sadly for Duke, their 15 three's couldn't atone for the most important category on the stat line Saturday, fouls. Between Parker and Jefferson fouling out in regulation and Dawkins sitting on four PFs, no one could stand toe-to-toe with the Orange's inside game.  Jerami Grant flat out abused the interior in overtime and the "Ole" style defense, which was present during the final six minutes since Jabari and Amile didn't want to risk picking up number five, enabler the stronger, more physical Orange to do their dirty work in the paint while Duke would have to make hay from outside. From there, it became a numbers game, as Parker/Jefferson/Dawkins, who accounted for 43 of the Devils' points, could only watch the conclusion from the sideline. In a battle decided by fouls, maybe it was the one that went uncalled that sealed it for Duke.  As Rodney Hood lifted off to what potentially could've been the game-winning dunk, he was met by two hands.  One on the rock, one on his forearm.  Almost simultaneously.  The referees kept their whistles tucked away.  Good call, bad call, too close to call? Whatever way you want to slice it, it provided one more talking-point for a 91-89 overtime Syracuse win that will likely be remembered as a classic.

"There's never been a game as good as this one," SU coach Jim Boeheim beamed immediately afterward.  "Duke played phenomenally. It's just a great game, in a great place, and I'm just proud to be part of it."'

Just think too, this is only round one!  Round two comes in exactly three weeks inside Cameron Indoor Stadium.  Approximately 26,000 fewer fans will be in attendance, but imagine the atmosphere.  Now that the two winningest coaches in NCAA Division I Men's Basketball history have film against each other to review, what adjustments will be made? Two icons of coaching, legends of the game, good friends at that too, Team USA Basketball compadres. 


"He's too good," laughed Boeheim, in regards to Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. "I don't like coaching against him."

As of a few days ago, some sites had tickets for the February 22nd clash in Durham going for $900.  They won't be that cheap after tonight.

Currently listening to: Muse - "Time is Running Out"


 

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  • GunnyGoesArrrgh Feb 2, 11:03 p.m.

    The Duke/Syracuse game was by far the best game I've seen this year, and probably will remain the best until the rematch in Cameron. I didn't want that game to end, but I think both coaches were very happy when it did. Duke and Syracuse played out of their minds and left everything on the court. I can't wait for the rematch.

    As for the Super Bowl, it was a big disappointment because it was never competitive.

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
Final
SFG 11
KAN 4
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
 
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
Final
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
Final
WASU 37
ARZ 59
Final
CLEM 16
SYR 6
Final
LAMON 18
TXST 22
Final
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 34
Final
COLST 45
WYO 31
Final
LSU 10
MISS 7
Final
TENN 20
ALA 34
Final
AUB 42
SCAR 35
Final
PSU 24
OSU 31
 
3rd
UTAH 10
USC 14
 
Half
WASH 0
ARST 10
 
1st
HAW 0
NEV 0
 
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
Final
TOR 1
BOS 4
Final
NYI 7
DAL 5
Final
PHI 4
DET 2
Final
OTT 2
NJD 3
Final
MON 3
NYR 1
Final
STL 3
CHI 2
Final
NAS 0
PIT 3
Final
MIN 7
TAM 2
Final
ARI 2
FLA 1
3rd
CAL 1
WAS 3
 
3:00pm Today
WIN
COL
 
4:00pm Today
LOS
CLB
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
OTT
 
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
SJS
 
9:30pm Tonight
VAN
WAS
 
9:30am Today
ATL
DET
1:00pm Today
CIN
BAL
1:00pm Today
NYJ
BUF
1:00pm Today
NEP
CHI
1:00pm Today
TEN
HOU
1:00pm Today
JAC
MIA
1:00pm Today
TAM
MIN
1:00pm Today
CAR
SEA
1:00pm Today
KAN
STL
4:05pm Today
ARI
PHI
4:25pm Today
PIT
IND
4:25pm Today
CLE
OAK
8:30pm Tonight
NOS
GBP
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14