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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.

  • Sun Bowl: Duke vs. Arizona State

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NHL: Hurricanes at NY Rangers

    Tonight at 7:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: Louisiana Tech at NC State

    Tuesday at 7:00 pm on WRAL-FM

Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 17
CLE 13
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
Final
TOR 118
NYK 108
3rd
CLE 70
MEM 66
 
6:00pm Tonight
MIA
BOS
6:00pm Tonight
BRK
DET
6:00pm Tonight
SAC
LAL
1st
ORL 0
PHI 0
 
1st
WAS 0
PHO 0
 
7:00pm Tonight
MIN
IND
7:00pm Tonight
OKC
NOP
Final
UVA 76
HARV 27
Final
BGU 68
FERST 82
 
Final
ARMY 72
MAINE 69
 
Final
QUIN 60
ORST 52
Final
CLST 69
USF 65
 
Final
CARK 55
CCAR 72
 
Final
UWGB 66
ARKLR 46
 
Final
RAD 74
CORN 61
 
Final
UNT 62
CREI 58
Final
CAN 67
HC 48
 
Final
USB 67
GHND 52
 
Final
OKST 64
MD 73
Final
WINT 100
REIN 72
 
Final
UGST 68
SMISS 55
Final
NEOM 77
TXPA 72
 
Final
STLU 58
VERM 55
 
Final
UNCA 62
WCU 66
 
Final
EVAN 81
ALAST 63
 
Final
HART 82
FIU 69
 
Final
VALPO 82
GOSHEN 55
 
Final
LIP 69
PEAY 63
 
Final
DEN 46
BRY 48
 
Final
MONT 62
SD 67
 
Final
MTST 65
TENST 47
Final
SAMF 64
LAMON 50
 
Final
SCAR 78
COKR 52
 
Final
HAMP 75
NARZ 66
 
Final
SDU 71
SDCHR 61
 
Final
BC 71
USC 75
 
2nd
NICST 49
TROY 53
 
2nd
BRAD 43
UCI 50
 
1st
UGA 9
SHU 2
 
6:30pm Tonight
ALA
APP
7:00pm Tonight
KSU
NDST
 
7:00pm Tonight
WASU
SJST
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ALCOR
 
10:00pm Tonight
SEAT
SACST
 
1st
DET 0
COL 0
 
1st
EDM 0
DAL 0
 
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
BUF
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
TOR
9:00pm Tonight
WIN
PHI
Final
NOS 14
ATL 30
Final
HOU 25
BAL 13
Final
CAR 17
CLE 13
Final
CHI 14
DET 20
Final
TAM 3
GBP 20
Final
PIT 20
KAN 12
Final
MIA 37
MIN 35
Final
NYJ 16
NEP 17
3rd
STL 13
NYG 27
 
Half
OAK 13
BUF 10
 
3rd
DAL 28
IND 0
 
8:30pm Tonight
ARI
SEA