Syracuse basketball preview!

#126 R.P.I. Syracuse #79 R.P.I. Virginia Tech: 

Virginia Tech men’s basketball is a nearly stunning 13 up and 4 down and a shiny looking post-Buzzkill 4th place (4-2) in the A.c.c. right now! Having won 7 of their last 8 games since getting back from Maui.

The Hokies have surprised basically anyone and everyone this side of Mrs. M.Young. And are effectively ranked 45th in the A.P. Basketball Top-25 Poll this week! Syracuse on the other hand checks in at a likewise surprising 10 up and 7 down right at .5oo good for or so-so for a semi-respectable 7th place in the A.c.c. And since we last saw the Orangemen they have actually played a good deal better. What with a mutually surprising 63-55 OT thriller of an upset over then #18 ranked and defending national Champion virginia over in C’ville and a smart-looking 76-5o route vs. lowercase A.c.c. Boston College @home. Tho’ you wanna know who is gonna wi and by how much; right? So read on…. to find, out!

Syracuse Head Coach: James Arthur Boeheim: Age=75, 956*–39o (.714) overall and at Syracuse, alike. Jimmy -of course- enjoys the Dean of 2-3 Zoning reputation and for playing
old-school early Big East big-ball down-low.

$2,695,375.oo (with: $130,000 every time Syracuse qualifies for the NCAA Tournament.
He also gets $77,000 in insurance/vehicle allowance and $40,000 in deferred
compensation | i.e. a steal at this level

New(er), wife 1o1…

Baller Boeheim was a walk-on 6′3″ Pt.Guard with the freshman basketball team at Syracuse. By his Sr. year he was the team captain and a teammate of all-American and future Mayor (of Detroit) Dave Bing. Dave was his freshman roommate, and Dave is only in the Basketball Hall of fame himself for his work with the Detroit Pistons. The pair led Coach Fred Lewis’s Orange to a 22–6 overall win-loss record that earned the team’s second-ever N.C.A.A. tournament berth. After graduating from Syracuse, Boeheim played professional basketball with the Scranton Miners of the American Basketball League, during which he won two A.B.L. championships.

Coach Boeheim has only guided the Orange to nine Big East regular-season championships, five Big East Tournament championships, and 28 NC2A Tournament appearances and one National Championship (2oo3 with ‘Melo Anthony). He only has 13 conference titles, six National Coach of the Year awards, and four Conference Coach of the Year awards. He is only a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and the College Basketball Hall of Fame as well. He has only won six International Gold Medals three of which are Olympic. He sucks; fire him, now! Nevertheless, coach B was forced to vacate a backbreaking 1o1 total wins from the 2004–2005, 2005–2006, 2006–2007, 2010–2011, and 2011–2012 seasons due to recruiting violations. He is also down eight schollies over the next year and was suspended the first nine games of 2016.

Boeheim had prostate cancer in 2oo1, and subsequently became a major fund-raiser for Coaches vs. Cancer, he and his wife also inaugurated the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation to help kids from Central New York; God Bless.

Coach Boeheim had previously stated that he would retire in April 2018. However, in March 2o17 he extended his contract to beyond the 2o17-18 season.

(yes, Jimmy’s win total wears an asterisk for his (alleged) brushes/scrapes with the KayCee (Kansas City) suits rulebook(s), quite plural).

Boeheim and his wife, Juli, have three children together: Jimmy and twins, Buddy and Jamie;
he has a daughter, Elizabeth, with his ex-wife Elaine.

Syracuse at a glance:

  • 19th best in Assist:Turnover ratio!! (a very parsimonious backcourt lives here)
  • 21st in most 3’s attempted! (lottsa long-rebounds and running ops live here to boot)
  • 23rd in FG percentage D allowed!! (moved nearly 25 spots to the great).
  • 43rd now in 3-point shooting!
  • 44th most Swats!
  • (now) 53rd in defense of the 3-point shot.
  • 65th in blocks.
  • (everything else C— to C+++, lowest was a slight negative Reb.Margin (215th best); a near 40 spot betterment!).
  • 5-injuries listed. Coach God penta bless!

‘cuse Returning Starters=1

Syracuse Strengths:

Nobody is in da Zone-like Syracuse on D. Jimmy is the 2-3 (match-up) zone sensei & Jedi master.

That and this past summer, the ‘Cuse just took their bouns every few years NC2A allowed overseas trip to Italy whereby they basically gained 2-3 more weeks worth of training camp. So “si”, they should be a bit ahead of schedule for it coming into 2020 A.D.

Quickie 2–3 tutorial:
The zone-defense concept was invented due to a leaky basketball gym roof vs. … freakin’ w.v.u. back in 1914 during WWI! (of all the things!?!)

strengths: The 2-3 is a zone is designed to: force outside shots, hide weak(er) man defenders, slow/control the tempo and allow fewer offensive shots, period.

weaknesses: The 2-3 zone defense is (in theory) … susceptible to 3-point shooting (due to packing/sagging) the key) and to High-Post/wing shooting mid-range or 3-ball shots in particular. It is also known to be a so-so rebounding set (surprisingly); due to defending a spot on the floor and not blocking out a man naturalistically. Although it slows a game it is not a good D to play when giving chase on the scoreboard accordingly. And the degree of difficulty° or learning-curve effects effectively takes a minute or three to gel and get the timing/spacing of the 2-3 zone down pat.

  • Bourama Sidibe is an imported Bamako, Mali spindly looking baller, who goes: 6′1o″, 21o lbs., Soph., as a C-P/F combo frontcourter who can run the floor, protect the rim and operate pretty adequately enough down low in the post. Sidibe is a defender with a few legit low-block moves. He paces the ‘Cuse with 7.5 caroms and in swats with 1.1 bpg. His 5.2 points on 63% shooting tell you where he shoots -I mean bunny and put-back dunks from- although his bricky 48% from the charity-stripe donates points to opponents. As the occasionally showy Sidibe is mo’ parts finisher, rebounder, defender and less parts developmental with regard to anything else. (although he did have some pretty decent output numbers at St. Benedict’s Prep; so, more was prolly offensively expected here. Time=tell, and so will the weight-room as Sidibe can no longer merely out-height peeps at this power-conference level of basketing). (UPDATE:  or down, nearly across the board since we saw this big ole Malinese last).
  • The second-year Marek Dolezaj is a 6′10″, 184 lb. imported Bratislava, Slovakia; rail-thin, poster-child for protein shakes and slices of cow everywhere. I mean there is string-bean and then there is Marek Dolezaj. And Dolezaj (somehow) grew an inch and then (somehow) shed 10 lbs. for it as well. Marek has been in Euro’ or global competition for five straight seasons; so, I doubt that experience is an issue for him. Dolezaj is said to be a skilled big man with the ability to score inside and out. His European digits paint the pic’ of a box score stuffer, and right now he is dropping you a nearly 300% improved 9.8 ppg, grabbing 7.5 rpg on 1.1 bpg, with 3.1 apg, 1.2 spg and 52% from the floor. Now imagine him if he just finds a credible high school type body to boot. (UPDATE: his O is a little off tho’ his D/rebounding are noticeably better, so we will call this a lateral or  move)
  • 6′6″, 216 lb. r-Jr. year, lead-Swing Elijah Hughes is your alpha scorer this year with 19.5 ppg. He is also an East Carolina transfer baller who pirated his way to nearly 10 ppg and a few clutch-shots in his rookie season of voting. Elijah went to three high schools in his last three scholastic seasons… making Syracuse effectively his fifth team in six seasons of ball— and that is never ever a good look. Though 5 rpg to go with 4.7 apg on 40.5 shooting from deep is no bad look. The book here says that Hughes can dribble and pass and the same as legacy Buddy below, Elijah has something of a shooting tag at the moment. Although kicking in with 1.1 spg and 1 bpg on a rising 44% overall is not the worst look. As this Elijah has testified with not less than six ≥21-point games thus far on 2019-2020. He can crack the 30-point plateau and when Elijah gets it going, he’s a one-man in-game barometer for the ‘Cuse. As the high-side scoring Hughes leaves Orange opponents blue in the face. (UPDATE: Elijah has been on a TEAR of late… nearly adding 4 full ppg to his ppg! Way  here!)
    All In The Family, much?
  • One #35, Buddy Boeheim is a 6′6″, 18o lb. second-season Wing. This Bud’ was only the 2017 All-Central New York Player of the Year after helping the Red Rams to a 21-4 record, and the Section III Class A title two years back. His twin sister, Jamie, is a freshman on the basketball team at Rochester. And oh yes… he might just have the nepotistic swagg to fetch some good seat(s) for his ‘mum’ via asking his pops to ask the… coach. Little Bo’ is second in scoring 15.6 ppg, and he nets a nifty 41.1% of his 3’s with 2.1 rpg and 2.5 apg. The tag here says Buddy needs to expand or round out his offensive game to become more than just a pure shooter. It also says he gets cradle hoops (with a family tree I.V. poured into him) and he is a good setter-upper. As this Boeheim has blossomed and his scoring output is up by 230% this campaign. So pure shooter or not, this kid has the makings of becoming a high-caliber straight weapon from the outside come 2022. With the potential to be an export or overseas, Pro’. (p.s. this legacy baller has had a hot hand of late). (UPDATE: virtually the same numbers verbatim… very consistent or ceiling type of kid here, )

Syracuse Weaknesses:

  • Quite a bit of roster turnover lives here… what with 4 starters and their 45 ppg and 17 rpg all gonzo.
  • And at least by former Big East towering Syracuse vertical standards; this year’s Orange is not (quiet) as heighty as before.
  • 6′7″, 2oo lb. back-up Swing (2.9 ppg, 50% 3-ball) Robert Braswell is done (double-leg pain shut down for the duration; St.Nikhon twice bless). Ro.Bras was a sophomoric back-up 3, who is a two-time South Carolina high school high jump champion, having won the crown in 2017 and 2018. He captured the title in the spring by jumping 6-10! Yikes, this kid has springs in his legs and he sprezhen sie Deutsch (overseas: U.S. Navy family). Robert is strangely enough not listed in my preview mags tho’ he is listed on the current Syracuse Roster tab. (go fig’ on dis?!?) Though either way; this is an extremely credible athlete to have to sit out at this stage, and he’s been down since the last week of December. (UPDATE: ‘cuse has now shut Braswell down for the duration (Shin, St.Nikhon help!).
  • 6′11″, 215 lb. true-C by way of Amsterdam, NLD, (2 rpg, 1 bpg, 3 ppg on 87% (no typo) shooting) Jesse Edwards is: QUESTIONABLE (bum ankle | St.Phillip bless). His older brother (Kenneth) is a star out at Nor.Iowa so the family tree blossoms round-balls here. Jesse is said to be a skillful low-post baller with legit low-post moves and a tough match-up for us if he goes Tuesday night. (UPDATE: Edwards has been back for two games— though the next game he scores in will be the first since he got back as it appears he has a bit of a way to go just yet).
  • 6′3″, 186 lb. Shooting-G from Harlem, N.Y.C., Jalen “I looks 25-30 years young” Carey is done for an estimated 8-10 weeks post-right-thumb-surgery (St.Julia bless). Done as well are his second-season steadying 4 ppg, 3 rpg, a dime dropped on 39% overall as your back-up One. Jalen was only the 36th ranked baller outta high school according to ESPN. Where he was dinged-up off-n-on tho’ fielded a tag of being an: “outburst scorer” on merely so-so to kinda good teams. He is also a rhetorical studies major; which prolly helps him clap-back when he runs smack. Though the vibe here is he needs more range on his J and needs to take better care of his handles on the rock. (i.e. turnover-prone).
  • 6′10″, 216 lb. Natinga, SSD native and Sudanese John Bol Ajak is (self)-elected to use his r-shirt season and has NO stats accordingly as a rookie or nugget year baller. J.B.A., who is an artist on the side— is said to be less than artistic and downright “raw” on O, although a pure Windex-wiper and defender and woulda been a good anchoring middle man in Jimmy’s 2-3 (match-up) zone. And he is supposed to be still trying to: “bulk up” to get physically ready for the stateside game.
  • UPDATE: now also out for the year is back-up G and second year Jalen Carey (thumb, St.Julia bless). Jalen is a 6′3″, 186 lb. Harlem NYC innercity playground type of Pt.G.3 who only netted 1.5 ppg tho’ he did find his way to a useful 3 rpg in limited substitute minutes. Jalen was only the 38th ranked recruit in all the land per ESPN. As Mister Carey had a pretty dang big scholastic career. Where he was a blow-torch type scorer on a suspect to middleocre caliber H.S. team. Though his series of dings-n-dents seem to have made their way to the middle of New York the state. Godspeed… as more was clearly expected here.

Orangemen Bench: (depth=1 maybe 2’ish depending upon availability)

Brycen Goodine is the only remaining real sub’ for coach Jimmy Bo’… however, he may or may not be remaining as he has a busted beak. (may St.Zoe bless). And they were trying to fit him with a mask to protect his broken-nose over the weekend.

If he does go, Goodine is a 6′3″, 186 lb. pretty well beanpole looking 2016 Massachusetts state title bling wearing kid who attends with a rep’ of being a combo-Wing who can do work on the ball. Brycen gets you 2.2 ppg and appears to have a limited shooting range (29.6% overall, with 0% from behind the arc). From what I could find, it appears Goodine was something of a flammable/accelerant type propane scorer in scholastic terms; albeit not a pure shooting one. Just a pure scorer itself. (UPDATE: actually a bit better recently on O, )

Canada’s alpha baller last year… Quincy Guerrier (6′7″, 222 lb. t-Fr.) was the seminal Syracuse recruit last class and more than 5.7 ppg and 4.8 rpg was expected from his collegiately ready muscular looking body here; “eh“. As Q’ has a mess of Team Canada international and N.b.a. draft camp (their eligibility rules differ from our own) experience to draw upon; although his 58% FT-shooting and not so much. As this kid runs hawt-n-cold. Like double-digit scorer hot; or goose egg cannot Great White North score at all, cold. (UPDATE: moving up if marginally, tho’ marginally ain’t code for worse or for flat, )

4-point home betting Fave V.T. needs to do what to win here?

View Results

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Illationconclusion(s) and OPT digits:

Number of Orange who could juice @Tech=4'ish, maybe even 5.

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is… and borrowing on the introduction of the header up above… with two teams that had been seemingly moving in opposite directions, this one instantly leaves you wondering out-loud if something further ‘surprising’ might just happen here?

As ‘cuse is prolly not quite so impoverished as they have seemed and you have to wonder about the inseam of these upstart big-bad-Hokies who have been rather hard on opponents of late?

i.e. and to thoroughly mix my sporting-metaphor all the more… you really do have to wonder if one of these two ‘trotters due to “bounce” in horse racing terms?


Our handy-dandy friend the so-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame is calling for a 5 point ‘Cuse upset VomiT in this one. (mostly due to their uva successful work(s)).

The annualized year-to-date vitals say that… VeeTee is up +1 in shooting percentage margin (only on D as the O’s were tied for the year and go fig’ statistically on that), VeeTee is up another +1% in in 3-point percentage margin (only on D as the O’s were tied for the year and big-O triple-double originator go fig’ statistically on that | “aye” I looked this up twice; on two different statistical listings; wowow!)  and then -of all the damn things- VeeTee is up +.1 (that’s 1/10th) in rebounding margin for the duration!?! (on the offensive glass). Insanity 1o1… insert here (_____), check. As… “there are lies there are damn lies and then there are…” No word yet from old Dr. Mann over in Hutcheson Hall.

The most recent 5-game metrics say that… the Orange is up +4% in shooting percentage margin (virtually all per their O), the Orange is up +10% in 3-point percentage margin (all on O as ‘cuse is en fuego here) and the Orange are now up a useful +5 carroms in rebounding margin in the last fortnight of work(s).

  1. Nolley has scored in double figures in 15 of the Hokies’ 17 games.
  2. Nolley also is the team leader (by 18 makes) with 48 3-pointers on the year.
  3. Radford is 19-of-24 from the field in the last four games and has averaged 10.3 rebounds per game over the last three outings— in spite of being 5′14″!
  4. Legacy Boeheim has made multiple 3-pointers in each of the last nine games.
  5. Cone has put up 19, 10 and 15 since his break-out moment @Syracuse. Likewise, Cone is virtually ~65% from 3-point-land during this coming-out tear.
  6. The Orange have given up an average of 52.5 ppg since they bucked-down on D and since we saw them last.
  7. Syracuse has won nine of the last 12 in this series.

‘Cuse is up +2% at the charity stripe for the year.
VT is up +1 on R&R and is sleeping in their own beds here.

The Call

No. 78 Net Ranking Syracuse @ no. 34 Net Ranking Virginia Tech:

High-noon kick-off!

Well, here we are and if Syracuse seems familiar to you they sure seem even more familiar to me and to the 7th of January 2020 A.D. proper— as we just popped the Orangemen up about ~10 days go up in Will pet: “Jiffy-Dop Dome”.

The caveat/thingy being… although Virginia Tech men’s hoops IS indeed winning and play some sharp hoops; only Syracuse has really improved and they have improved more than a little bit at that.


Or in other words… I game that sure felt like I surely would be picking Vah.Tech has moved nearly all the way to “EVEN” or to a ‘push’ type contest. Even when running O&M ball on our very own hardwood @home.

As I read that Jim brought in a couple of advisors to help him tweak things similar to what Coach-Fu just did last Autumn per Coach Kill.

As the ‘cuse is finally starting to connect his signature 2-3 match-up zone defensive dots, their three’s are falling and their star (Hughes) is rising.

Therefore, ergo, to Whit, making this one a tougher one to pick than Eye had expected. As this has that C.B.I. best two outta three vibe to it to me. A coin-toss game and if you don’t like the result? C.B.I. run-it-back best 2-outta-3.

As I am inclined to feel that this ballyhooed Orangeman Zone D
is due to take us outta our offensive zone; here.

That and we have one heeluva a game
to look forward to up… next.


(52% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech
=67, Syracuse=73




4 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. You know how to beat that zone….bust the 3s…live and die by the 3 with Nolley penetration. VT 71 Sorryexcuse 68

  2. Good game breakdown as usual. We’ll need to break that matchup Z a little better this time as those 3s may not rain down. And the usual female shot – couldn’t find any Cuse crotch pics ? No worries – my final read sadly because I do appreciate the Xs and Os prowess. Smh

  3. This game is tricky. Cuse is playing better but hopefully home court helps and some 3s fall. Close game. VT 65-60. At this point maybe playing with house money but Fan’s expectations getting higher.

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