Orange::44 asked for a chat exchange to talk about the game and the team, and I am more than happy to oblige. He had some interesting answers on the current + future state of the Orange, Boeheim's elder father status, the missing Mookie Jones, and Norm Roberts... enjoy! And please check out the post game wrap up, the Jingle of Car Keys.
Pico: Is Syracuse always that sloppy? What's at the root of the team's problems, the inability to knock off teams like they did early in the year? Is it all Arinze Onuaku?
Orange::44: Syracuse is usually not that sloppy and Onuaku is usually not the biggest offender. Traditionally Eric Devendorf is leading the team with turnovers, and has had some horrific assist to turnover ratios this season. Onuaku simply just had a bad game (but between you and me he usually has bad hands, he just does not make too many turnovers). And even in many of our losses, they had between 12 and 15 turnovers, not usually 20. Chalk it up to not caring and playing looser with the lead on their side.
Pico: What is with Boeheim's aversion to the bench? Should he be playing a few more guys? Would Scoop Jardine or Mookie Jones make a difference?
Orange::44: Scoop Jardine, had he not been out all year, would be playing, however last year he was hit or miss on a lot of occasions. I do not think that Jones is really ready to be a solid and consistent contributor yet. I do not think that Boeheim thinks this either, hence why he has not played in the last few games. Traditionally Boeheim only likes to play seven or eight players at most anyway, and he has been playing only about seven the last few games, so he is not that far beyond his usual. I think he does wish the freshman were developing a little faster, but with the talent he has on the floor, he is content in letting them play as much as they do.
Pico: What was your take on [the debacle] that is St. John's?
Orange::44: This is the kind of game that the Orange have been looking for and needed down the stretch, and this is pretty much par for the course for the Red Storm. Sadly St. John’s has never really recovered from the Mike Jarvis era. With Norm Roberts being so enthusiastic about the school, being a pretty good coach, and the fact that St. John’s theoretically has first crack at all that NYC talent, St. John’s should be no worse than the middle of the Big East every year in my opinion. Sadly, Norm just has not pulled through yet, if he ever will. Either way Paris Horne is a great player, but he cannot do it alone. Syracuse was just too much and too good tonight to even give a prayer to St. John’s. This game was delivered as advertised basically.
Pico: Boeheim's getting a little up there in basketball years... is there any talk that the game may have passed him by? Do you think that is a factor in college basketball?
Orange::44: I have read some blogs of current students that seem to think that the game has passed him by, but I have to strongly disagree on a number of levels. Obviously Boeheim (and to a lesser extent his staff) can still recruit, even in today’s text messaging world. The man is in the Hall of Fame. He now owns the NCAA record for 20 win seasons with 31. He will most likely have his team back in the NCAA Tournament this year. He also is obviously a great basketball strategist and loves what he does. How can anyone say that the game has passed him by just yet? I’m one of the biggest critics when the team phones it in, and when they make stupid mistakes. I can be objective enough to say "well maybe this guy should retire and let Mike Hopkins take the program." But that day is not yet.
Pico: Are the Orange an NCAA lock yet? If they make it, guess their seed and how many rounds they go.
Orange::44: Yeah, I think most likely they are. That Memphis win is doing wonders now, and Kansas is currently leading the Big XII. Plus they now have eight conference wins, and will most likely finish .500 or better in the league with over 20 wins. This team should be in again, no matter what happens in New York City this time around. I think this team will be a six or seven seed in the tourney, and they are talented enough to get to the Sweet 16. After that, it will take a lot of guts, talent, and luck to get any further.