Your Syracuse basketball preview!

#48 R.P.I. Syracuse #29 R.P.I. Virginia Tech: 

Virginia Tech men’s basketball returns to vanguard its very own Cassell Coliseum after taking its second (big) NAME visiting curb stomping in the last fortnight of hoopology play.

The Hokies now host likewise (big) NAME Syracuse who checks in at a reasonable 13 up and 5 down on the year (and a tasty 4-1 in Atlantic Coast Clubbing). The Orangemen were picked semi-high in A.c.c. terms by most of my preseason wraps and have most of their 2018 contributors back accordingly. Yes, they are still the zoning champs up at Will’s “jiffy-pop-done” and yet this one is at O&M home. Nevertheless, you wanna know who is gonna win and by how much. So read on, to find… out!

Syracuse Head CoachJames Arthur Boeheim: Age=74, 939*–376 (.714) overall and at Syracuse, alike.

$1,900,00.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:

  • 11th in FG percentage D (38.7% allowed).
  • 22nd in scoring D (63.4 ppg allowed).
  • 27th in 3-point percentage D (30% allowed).
  • 31st in swats (4.8 bpg).
  • 44th in steals (8 spg).
  • 98th in offensive rebounding (11.88 o-rpg).
  • 301st in 3-point shooting (30.4% only).
  • (everything else not less than C—).
  • NO injuries reported (thx @Coach God)!

‘Cuse Returning Starters=4

Syracuse Strengths:

  • The springy Tyus Battle has been in something of a third-year mini-me dip of late; although he’s still the leading Syracuse point getter (18.2 ppg). Tyus goes 6′6″, 2o5 lb., he is an almost skinny looking second-year off-Guard is also a member of the all-A.c.c. Academic Men’s Basketball Team; props insert here (_____), check. Battle was named the New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year (2o16) and he was 25th overall coming outta high school as a five-star (*****) pretty close to “can’t miss” caliber prospect. Although upon review, his scholastic numbers were (seemingly) more quad-star; that; or he ran ball in a Dean Smith kinda confining system— take thy pick. And this would seem to be the case, as his sophomore H.S. numbers noticeably look the part and he did ball at two high schools in total. Then Tyus merely went and hooked-up with the gold-medal winning team at the 2014 FIBA Under-17 World Championship. That does not suck. Battle is basically just a scorer (3.1 rpg) on 79% FT-shooting and 29% from range. And even at 45% overall, he can put the biscuit in the basket; frequently. He is also said to be mainly perimeter player, with a solid all-around skill set, and he is said to be a 1st-option caliber talent. He does have a history of foot injuries (St.Sebastian bless), and some say his handles need work as well. That and a lot of his 2019 numbers are down since the last time we saw him. The book says that Battle is an all-conference type scorer, passer and defender. Though his distancing (deep-shooting) and turnovers are south of all-conference honorable mention. Though this kid is not less than an overseas pro’. Make no mistake on his offensive acumen just like dat. And make no mistake on his S&C… (or wear-n-tear)… as Battle has battled his way though averaging 41 mpg in his last five! (thanks to one OT).
  • Mississauga, Ontario native, and imported 6′8″, 21o lb. sophomoric Oshae Brissett is a lean though leaping looking 3/4 ‘tweener who is third in scoring for the ‘Cuse (13.8 ppg) and setting the pace in rebounding (7.8 rpg). The book here reads that Oshae is more parts S/F, and a long, lean, rangy Three at that. He is said to be a solid defender and a strong finisher in/around the hoop. His defense is said to be ahead of his offense, though his 15.4 ppg last year and ~14 this year makes you wonder how developed he already is (i.e. @his offensive ceiling)? Oshae being now down to 38% from the floor and an off-kilter 28% from deep prolly do speak to this. Even if both shooting metrics are actually close to 4% up from 2018. Still yet, a lotta team would love to have his lively and athletic all-Canadian High School Player of the Yea offensive problems; “eh”. As versatile Wings like Oshae are fringe exported pro’s on their athletics alone. And yes, his both ears… L & R CNN and FOX diamond-earings do have game and will… travel. (although this is a chilly kid of late… as Brissett has shot 40% or worse in five straight games).

    “Can’t, coach… height!”
  • ESPN’s no.92 and Virginia H.S. escapee, Frank Howard is a senior year, 6′5″, 2o5 lb. combo’-Guard who also nets you a fourth-best 7.6 ppg on 34% overall and 28% from long-distance. Howard is known to be a veteran baller who can handle the Pt.Guard and Wing spots. The scouting report here says that Howard is the alpha passer (3.9 apg) and defender (1.6 spg); although his shooting takes him off the floor from time-to-time. He’s been dinged up all year and that’s prolly why most of his vitals have been cut-n-2018-half. Godspeed here.
  • (ex-Providence transfer) and strapping looking final year, Enugu, Nigeria native Paschal Chukwu (pic) is a whopping 7′3″ send-back-machine at 1.9 bpg. And even though he has found a little right-mass (228 lbs.) he is still a few bricks shy of a true-Center load. In his fourth year, Pascal finds you 4.2 ppg and 6.3 rpg, on a put-back or bunny looking 67%. Although this is a strong anchoring leg to any J.B. zone-defense to be sure; and Paschal is still developing after only having played 6-games due to an eye-injury (may St.Helen, bless; 2019 looking ski-glasses and all). That being said, Chukwu too has been down statistically for the year; although he does court a Connecticut Class M State Championship bling. (although, Mister Enugu has been coming on much sharper in the last ~10 days).
  • r-Third-year Swing, Elijah Hughes is a 6′5″, 215 lb. second-leading scorer this year for the Orange (15.3 ppg). He is also second in 3-balls (38%) and 45% from the floor. The East Carolina transfer is a pleasant surprise to say the least and his quadriceps tats (ink) are the most. Hughes has effectively played for five different teams in the last six years and me neither on seeing that one before (including a Prep’ School National Title game appearance post his second scholastic squad). Hughes was a fluid, all-around H.S. baller who has been dinged and dented in colligate terms (4.5 rpg and a couple of dimes at SU). Elijah is said to be more parts outside-shooter and passer so his silver medal in scoring may be a bit bullish to some. p.s. this is a very hot shooting kid of late; as Hughes is 12-for-23 from beyond the arc over his last three games; with an 80′ splash (make) on top of that.
  • the 2-3: forces longer lower probability outside shots over easier internal work, it slows the game and allows few shots (∑) in total. The twenty-three hides weaker defenders, well.

Syracuse Weaknesses:

  • Several 2018 SU returnees are down, off, slumped or nadir this year. Noticeable drops from guys you would (have) expected to be experienced enough to pick things up.
  • Only one baller I read/studied from last year gained any weight (C, Chukwu, at +2 lbs.). That I’ve never ever seen before. (are they in better shape or dining halls in a recession?)
  • Primetime 5-star (*****) prized recruit Darius Bazle bolted for the “G-League” or Syracuse woulda been picked higher than 4th/5th’is by most of my pre-season A.c.c. magazines.
  • the 2-3: does allow/encourage perimeter shooting (if you have the marksmen). It is high-post weak, like all zones, it defends the floor and does not naturally body-up or block-out well on rebounding. And due to slowing the game it is not a good defense to play when chasing on the scoreboard.

Orangemen Bench: (depth=3’ish)

The second-year Marek Dolezaj is a 6′10″, 18o 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 here. Dolezajis 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 3.2 ppg, grabbing 3.3 rpg on .5 bpg and 58%. Now imagine him if he just finds a high school body to boot.

Bourama Sidibe is an imported Bamako, Mali baller, who goes: 6′1o″, 2o5 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. 3.1 caroms, 2.4 points on 47% shooting in relief. (down nearly 20% and 20 lbs. from 2018)!

Getting up off the dumping @uva and @U.n.c. schnide is all about... what?

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Illationconclusion(s) and OPT digits:

Number of Orange' who could start @Tech=4 maybe 5.

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is… the ‘Cuse has been hot of late -just ask then no.2 Duke- and Jimmy may have them just starting to round into forum as I type.

As the Orange have won seven of their last eight and are playing better by the week. If/when they can shed their offensive yo-yo or inconsistencies… this is a sleeper defensive A.c.c. pick.

As the ‘Cuse has been heating up from the outside with the basketball while chilling opposing peeps out recently from range as well.

Virginia Tech is +3 on rests or R&R and running at home and after being on the Atlantic Coast road since Wednesday night, that has to be a factor here.

Though does that factor into an O&M VicTory or not vs. the always squirrelly Syracuse much vaunted 2-3 zone?

As the ‘Cuse and that 2-3 zone are an Association ‘esque 571 miles into this two games in three days roadie and that makes me wanna say that home is where the heart (and the fresh shooting legs); be.

To be sure… just ask ESPN 8 pm Saturday night and ESPN3 streaming if your local i-net/cable provider so provides.


     However, by reading these very words you did ask me… and if you ask me the numbers don’t lie. The first number is that V.Tech has not L as a host (10-nil), although ‘Cuse has not been beaten when traveling as a guest (3-zip).

Our handy-dandy friend the s0-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame says… V.Tech routs the ‘Cuse by 23 at home. Which seems a bit binary (2-game-count) skewed to me. i.e. Forum Guides need three, four, hits before they round-robin soar.

The year-to-date or seasonal-stats connote that… V.Tech is +4% on shooting-margin overall, +5% on 3-point margin and staggeringly nearly +2 boards on the glass in annual terms! (note: the yearly margins were all about V.Tech being better on O and ‘Cuse being better on, D).

The most recent five-game metrics, however, aver that… oh, how things have, changed. As ‘Cuse is now up +7% on shooting-margin from the floor, up to an amazing +14% on 3-point margin and yet V.Tech is a nominal +1 in rebounding margin on the glass.

  • The Hokies give up 61.9 points per game -11th-best in the nation- while the Orange aren’t far behind at 62.8 (18th).
  • Hokies Pt.G. Justin Robinson needs eight assists to set the school’s all-time record.
  • (p.s. for you cappers, 80% of the ‘Cuse last five games have had 72 or 73 as one team total or the other)

 the call
I do wanna favor Virginia Tech @home, here gents.

I am want to agree that we are the Vegas big-board betting-line (VT-6) or Virginia Tech has been installed as a six-point favorite in our New River Valley chilly late January backyard. Granted…

I do however part company with the index predictors that I consult -like the ESPN one- up above that have V.Tech pegged as a mid-80’s percentile favorite to win straight-up. That’s just non sequitur for a 2-3 zone max’ defense that typically holds peeps to high 30’s percentile shooting year-in and year-out.

Because as you can see above… one could rightfully argue that these are two ships passing in the… night.

And one could be forgiven for wondering if Buzzketball has peaked —(as someone did wonder out loud here just a few weeks ago). Likewise, you have to wonder if ‘Cuse is just rounding into roundball form. (i.e. just sniffing up on their ceiling).

In upstate New York, I’d sure pick the Orangemen to leave the Hokie-bird all black-n-blue.

Over in the New River Valley -where any A.c.c. visitor wins about 3/10 times- and with extra prep time for P.J.’s flexbone and Jimmy’s zone-defense… this game is a toss-up, pick ’em, or even by me.

Homesteading Buzz and Co. have a decent shot.
Although this one is not the long-shot the rest of the alleged cognoscenti say.

(59% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech
=71, Syracuse=72




4 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Bourbonstreet, I love reading your stuff, very entertaining and informative! I will say that I am glad you missed your prediction for tonights game however! Keep up the good work. I look forward to your next writing.

  2. “Our handy-dandy friend the s0-called Forum Guide of Graham Houston fame says… V.Tech routs the ‘Cuse by 23 at home.”

    Damn that’s awful. They missed it way wide of the mark by…1 point. 😀

    1. Which is, unusual, this early with less than the nominal data-point count.

      …sports=humility. Just add… time.


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