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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
NCCU 65
EILL 40
 
2nd
NCSU 43
BSU 35
 
2nd
PIT 1
CAR 2
 
3rd
CHA 61
GSW 56
 
1st
UF 4
UNC 18
 
8:30pm Tonight
TULSA
ECU
Final
BOS 102
CHI 109
3rd
CHA 61
GSW 56
 
2nd
TOR 32
DAL 40
 
2nd
DET 41
MIL 47
 
2nd
ATL 33
NOP 28
 
1st
HOU 17
LAC 13
 
1st
OKC 21
NYK 5
 
1st
IND 15
ORL 13
 
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
SAC
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
PHO
10:00pm Tonight
POR
MEM
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
MIN
Final
WMICH 21
NILL 31
Final
SMU 9
HOU 35
Final
IOWA 34
NEB 37
Final
SFLA 0
UCF 16
Final
MARS 66
WKENT 67
Final
KSU 27
AKR 24
Final
BGU 24
BST 41
Final
UMASS 21
BUF 41
Final
EMICH 16
TOL 52
Final
MIZZ 21
ARK 14
Final
SALABAMA 40
NAVY 42
Final
ARZ 42
ARST 35
Final
AFA 27
COLST 24
Final
UCLA 10
STAN 31
1st
VT 0
UVA 0
 
8:30pm Tonight
TULSA
ECU
Final
NCCU 65
EILL 40
 
Final
KU 82
TENN 67
Final
TEXAM 87
NO 65
 
Final
NCAT 57
RAD 65
 
Final
GEOR 58
BUT 64
Final
BRO 81
PVU 71
Final
RIU 66
SCU 44
Final
NARZ 70
SOUTH 63
Final
DART 68
MAST 67
Final
WRST 59
FIU 61
Final
XAV 73
UTEP 77
Final
OSU 73
JMU 56
Final
TXSOU 71
LAM 59
 
Final
TAMCC 75
MVSU 66
 
Final
AKAN 51
MIZST 55
Final
BUCK 80
PSU 88
 
Final
PROV 72
YALE 66
Final
UGA 62
MINN 66
Final
WISC 69
OKLA 56
Final
Terriers 70
NORST 72
 
Final
PEAY 62
STEPH 83
 
Final
FSU 58
CSOU 47
 
Final
VALPO 66
DRAK 46
 
Final
CIN 69
MTST 51
 
Final
SDU 75
PRIN 65
 
Final
WASU 76
RICE 74
 
Final
CSFU 64
USCU 79
 
2nd
GT 54
RIDE 46
 
2nd
TXPA 57
ALAST 73
 
2nd
NCSU 43
BSU 35
 
2nd
TCU 35
BRAD 28
 
2nd
WAKE 50
DELST 56
 
2nd
HART 70
EMERSON 36
 
2nd
STJ 37
GONZ 47
 
2nd
CLEM 42
HIGH 38
 
2nd
SYR 48
HC 37
 
2nd
MD 39
MON 31
 
2nd
JVST 49
SAV 39
 
2nd
MIAMI 59
SALA 44
 
2nd
RUTG 45
VANDY 43
 
1st
PETE 40
TENST 24
 
1st
MARS 10
CLST 19
 
1st
JST 12
HOF 24
 
1st
INDST 17
MEM 17
 
1st
UF 4
UNC 18
 
1st
LATU 9
SAMF 13
 
1st
TULA 31
SELA 23
 
1st
NEB 21
TENNM 20
 
8:30pm Tonight
MISS
CREI
8:30pm Tonight
PORT
MURST
9:00pm Tonight
MARQ
MSU
9:00pm Tonight
ARK
UNT
9:00pm Tonight
NCOL
STET
 
9:00pm Tonight
IND
UNCG
9:00pm Tonight
SJST
WMICH
9:05pm Tonight
MNTST
TXARL
9:30pm Tonight
UVA
LAS
9:30pm Tonight
STLU
MSST
9:30pm Tonight
COLST
PAC
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
NDAK
10:30pm Tonight
ILL
BAY
10:30pm Tonight
UAB
UCLA
11:30pm Tonight
WASH
LBSU
11:59pm Tonight
UCSB
MERC
Final
PHI 0
NYR 3
Final
ANA 1
CHI 4
Final
WAS 5
NYI 2
2nd
PIT 1
CAR 2
 
2nd
NJD 4
DET 2
 
2nd
BUF 1
MON 0
 
2nd
CLB 0
VAN 0
 
2nd
BOS 0
WIN 1
 
1st Intermission
FLA 1
OTT 1
 
1st
STL 0
EDM 0
 
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
MIN