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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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  • StunGunn 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.

  • NFL: Panthers vs. Cleveland

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Indianapolis at Dallas

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  • Sun Bowl: Duke vs. Arizona State

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers vs Cleveland

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • WCBB: Duke vs. Kentucky

    Tomorrow at 3:00 pm on 620am

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  • CBB: Louisiana Tech at NC State

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
Final
MVSU 60
NCCU 94
 
Final
UNCW 66
ECU 54
Final
CAR 2
NYR 3
Final
CHA 104
UTA 86
2nd
WVU 75
NCSU 66
 
Final
NYK 90
PHO 99
Final
NOP 88
POR 114
Final
CHA 104
UTA 86
Final
HOU 97
ATL 104
Final
DAL 99
SAN 93
Final
DEN 76
IND 73
 
Half
LAC 50
MIL 52
 
Final
LALAF 16
NEV 3
Final
UTEP 6
UTST 21
Final
COLST 10
UTAH 45
Final
AFA 38
WMICH 24
3rd
BGU 20
SALABAMA 7
 
Final
GEOR 81
CHAR 78
Final
WKENT 67
LOU 76
Final
MICH 51
SMU 62
Final
CIN 47
VCU 68
Final
BSU 77
ABCHRIST 33
 
Final
PROV 85
UMASS 65
Final
AMER 46
MNTER 45
 
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
Final
IUPUI 71
SALA 65
 
Final
VILL 82
SYR 77
Final
VT 64
CITA 61
Final
DUQ 79
MLOWELL 63
 
Final
FAIR 61
BEL 73
 
Final
YALE 60
GTDNS 64
 
Final
FD 76
DEL 74
 
Final
PSU 73
DREX 68
Final
UNCG 64
ELON 71
 
Final
ILL 62
MIZZ 59
Final
CAMP 90
MONT 64
 
Final
LONG 106
PSUBEAVER 74
 
Final
HOU 63
SCST 71
 
Final
FSU 75
SFLA 62
Final
BING 51
BONA 69
 
Final
RUTG 68
RFLSH 73
 
Final
MCNST 69
TOL 83
 
Final
JVU 84
TRUETT 55
 
Final
GT 65
VANDY 60
Final
INDST 56
EILL 60
 
Final
BUT 73
IND 82
Final
STEPH 94
ARTCH 57
 
Final
OREG 83
DELST 70
 
Final
Terriers 61
FATL 56
 
Final
TXARL 89
HPYN 50
 
Final
KU 96
LAF 69
Final
ARKST 67
MARS 58
Final
MEM 78
ORU 63
Final
KNST 53
UMBC 66
 
Final
NW 67
WMICH 61
Final
MIZST 65
EMICH 77
 
Final
CHIST 77
STJOE 54
 
Final
KENT 83
UCLA 44
Final
COC 68
DAVID 80
Final
RIU 69
DET 55
Final
UCR 78
HOUB 67
 
Final
MURST 89
ILLST 77
 
Final
NWST 89
LALAF 85
 
Final
WAGN 66
MON 74
 
Final
MVSU 60
NCCU 94
 
Final
PITT 81
OU 77
Final
TENNM 77
PBY 60
 
Final
WYO 57
SOUTH 39
 
Final
AFA 75
UCD 81
Final
MSST 51
USCU 53
 
Final
JMU 71
HIGH 80
 
Final
TXST 90
HTILL 56
 
Final
DRAK 54
ISU 83
Final
SHU 73
UNH 60
 
Final
SCU 72
NE 78
 
Final
MSU 64
TXSOU 71
Final
UF 63
WAKE 50
Final
ND 94
PURD 63
Final
SHSU 61
PVU 44
 
Final
AUB 89
XAV 88
Final
AKR 92
BLUFFTON 53
 
Final
DAY 78
BU 62
 
Final
UNCW 66
ECU 54
Final
CLMB 82
HOF 77
 
Final
GMAS 86
IONA 81
Final
TOWS 53
LAS 67
Final
MAN 73
MRGST 69
 
Final
CCST 76
YALE 84
 
Final
PEPP 63
RICH 65
Final
MAR 58
STJOE 75
Final
KYST 71
TEXAM 64
Final
MAST 72
VALPO 75
 
Final
UMKC 104
INCWORD 110
 
Final
IDST 50
CALST 59
 
Final
NIOWA 56
IOWA 44
Final
SIUE 61
UWMIL 56
 
Final
TEX 78
LBSU 68
Final
TCU 88
TXSA 57
Final
ARK 85
SEMIZ 67
 
Final
NCOL 69
JVST 60
 
3rd OT
ARST 79
LEH 81
 
Final
NMST 67
NMU 69
 
Final
WASH 69
OKLA 67
 
Final
GRCN 81
STED 55
 
Final
WEBER 73
WLVRN 61
 
2nd
WVU 75
NCSU 66
 
2nd
SDST 51
BST 41
 
2nd
GONZ 51
CPSL 44
 
2nd
PAC 62
FRES 56
 
2nd
PORT 76
MNTST 49
 
2nd
CSNO 56
TAMCC 62
 
2nd
UTST 46
SDKST 56
 
1st
BYU 32
STAN 22
 
11:30pm Tonight
UNLV
UTAH
Final
LOS 4
ARI 2
Final
CLB 3
CHI 2
Final
BUF 1
COL 5
Final
PIT 3
FLA 1
Final
CAR 2
NYR 3
Final
MON 4
OTT 1
Final
TOR 4
PHI 7
Final
NYI 3
TAM 1
Final
NJD 0
WAS 4
Final
MIN 5
NAS 6
2nd
VAN 2
CAL 1
 
2nd
SJS 0
STL 0
 
Final
WAS 27
PHI 24
4th
SFX 35
SDC 28