Syracuse men’s basketball roundtable: Everything to know before the ACC tournament

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse (19-12, 8-10 Atlantic Coast) plays a rubber match with Wake Forest (11-19, 4-14) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Barclays Center in the first round of the ACC tournament. Syracuse has historically struggled in Brooklyn, but will need to exorcise its demons and likely go on a mini run if it hopes to make the NCAA Tournament.Our beat writers take on three questions surrounding the Orange ahead of the conference tournament.Syracuse split with Wake Forest during the regular season. What does Syracuse need to do to fend off a pesky Demon Deacons team?Matthew Gutierrez: First, overcome whatever sort of ghosts lie under the Barclays Center floor that have doomed Syracuse, because SU has lost four in a row at that place. Fellow beat writer Tomer Langer, a native of the area, may know the answer.Aside from that, all the Orange really has to do is stick to its identity, which was on full display Saturday in its first win against a ranked opponent this season, as junior point guard Frank Howard pointed out. That’s strong defense — remember WFU’s six-straight 3-pointers? — and reliance on the big three scorers.Any contributions Marek Dolezaj can bring, and any sort of job players can do to minimize turnovers, are plusses. It’s not necessary a formula to beat quality teams, but it’s a way to scrape by.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSam Fortier: Erase Bryant Crawford. Wake Forest goes as their do-it-all guard does, and if Syracuse’s defense prevents him from draining three corner 3s down the stretch — as he did in WFU’s Jan. 3 win — than the Orange should be fine. He greases the wheels, assisting on nearly one-third of his team’s buckets, per KenPom.com, and is a serviceable shooter from all over the floor.SU’s thin frontcourt should be worrisome against 7-foot-1, 280-pound big man Doral Moore, but as long as the Orange keeps him off the boards they should be OK. So, OK, there’s a lot to do to beat Wake Forest in a venue it’s faced some mighty struggles in, but Syracuse should — should — be able to do it.Tomer Langer: Contain Doral Moore on the inside and hope he doesn’t get the ball too much. Moore is fairly athletic and posed some issues for the sometimes slow-footed Paschal Chukwu on the inside the last time these two teams matched up. SU head coach Jim Boeheim said after the Boston College loss last week that Chukwu is playing on sore knees. And while Syracuse’s center did have a nice double-block sequence against Clemson on Saturday, there were multiple times the Tigers got easy buckets on the inside.A lot of the focus will be on Wake Forest’s 3-point shooting after the Demon Deacons hung around in Syracuse back in mid-February by raining from deep. But if SU stretches the zone too far out, Moore can cause matchup issues in an area in which the Orange is depleted.With games on consecutive days throughout the ACC Tournament, will SU’s short bench play a factor?M.G.: You’d like to think so. But because Syracuse didn’t play a preseason tournament against formidable opponents, we don’t really know the answer. Syracuse had little rest between its home loss to No. 1 Virginia and its impressive win at Louisville, so it’s possible that SU can play when tested on short rest. Where it would get murky is if SU must play three or four in a row. Syracuse played three games in five days back in November, but that was in the Carrier Dome versus, you know, teams that visit the Carrier Dome in November.S.F.: Yes. Jim Boeheim’s strategy, which to his credit has seemed to work this season, is that media timeouts provide players adequate rest to get through a game without fatigued legs dooming his team at the end. That works for single games. Now, the ACC tournament schedule foists an untenable workload on Syracuse players who have shouldered heavy burdens this season already, timeouts be damned.Playing nearly 40 minutes a night is tiring, freshman forward Oshae Brissett admitted Saturday, but he hits the ice baths hard in between games to get himself right in the approximately two- to four-day rests he usually has. But there’s none of that now. While a short bench doesn’t guarantee a loss or anything that drastic, it’s going to impact this team and tire them out more than normal.T.L.: Conceivably, yes. I just think it’s a bit overstated how much. SU’s short bench has played a factor all year, even when there’s been rest in between the games, because if guys aren’t on their game, Boeheim has no one else to put in. And, for any team, it would be hard to have to play on the first day and win five-straight games to secure the ACC Tournament crown.But the Orange is used to its playing style, and I don’t think the back-to-back days element will be too different than it is for other teams, because teams tend to ride their star players and shorten the bench in important games, anyway.How many games does Syracuse need to win to make the NCAA Tournament?M.G.: The magic number here might be three. Two wins would probably be attractive in the eyes of the Selection Committee, but that still puts Syracuse in cloudy bubble territory, I think, while three wins this week in Brooklyn punches Syracuse’s ticket to the Big Dance. Three wins would prove that Syracuse can play away from home consistently, beat one or two quadrant one teams, and withstand the rigors of one of the toughest conference tournaments in college hoops.That, of course, means big games from the big three every night and a fourth scorer in Dolezaj. Without the latter, the NIT may be Syracuse’s final destination.S.F.: Two. If Syracuse beats Wake Forest, that impresses no one. But beating a well-rested, top-10 team on the second night of a back-to-back? That would automatically replace Clemson as the Orange’s marquee win of the season and get some double takes from the Selection Committee.No matter what, this won’t be an anxiety-free process. Syracuse fans should intently watch other bubble teams like UCLA, Marquette, Alabama, Baylor, Oklahoma State and, yes, Mike Hopkins-led Washington. Two wins won’t inspire the most confidence, but it’ll get the Orange into the NCAA Tournament in the same way an action hero always slides underneath a heavy, descending door just in time.T.L.: Can I say 2.5? It’s definitely more than one and it really depends on what other bubble teams do as well. Sam is right in saying that if SU beats Wake Forest and then goes on to beat UNC, it would be the marquee win of the season. That being said, picking up really your only marquee win of the season in March might not be enough to sway a committee that looks at a team’s body of work and doesn’t put as much stock into recency. Two wins would give the Orange a jolt, and I think three wins would assure a spot. Comments Published on March 5, 2018 at 10:08 pmlast_img read more

Transfer News:Striker Richmond Boakye to wear No.99 jersey at Atalanta

first_imgRichmond Boakye-Yiadom will wear the ’99′ jersey for the entire duration of the 2014/15 season after Atalanta agreed to his choice of the hundred-minus-one figure.The Ghana international, who wore ’18′ at Juventus, Genoa and the Black Stars, did not request the same shirt number that he wore last season at Elche.At Elche and Sassuolo, he wore his favourite ’9′ shirt but, at last year’s World Youth Championship in Turkey, he wore the number ’20′ in the Black Satellitessquad.Ahead of next year’s African Cup of Nations in Morocco, the 21-year is already showing valuable promise after scoring four times in his debut game for theSerie A outfit last Sunday.last_img read more

Cubs edge Kershaw, Dodgers, 3-2

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error If Kershaw claims the National League Cy Young award this season, it will be despite the number in the loss column, which grew one larger after the Chicago Cubs’ 3-2 defeat of the Dodgers in front of 52,326 at Dodger Stadium.“That wasn’t I guess what we’ve come to see as typical Clayton tonight,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “I thought they fought him pretty good. Even some of the strikeouts he gets and outs he got, they fouled off and fouled off some balls. He wasn’t quite as sharp as he’s been.” The Dodgers have averaged less than one run per game in the last four losses for Kershaw (13-8), who remained in the game after being hit in a left ankle he said was fine after the game. As dominant as he has been this season – Kershaw’s 1.72 ERA entering Tuesday was the fourth lowest for any pitcher through 27 starts in 40 years – he has lost a surprising eight games and three times received not a single run of support from the Dodgers.But Kershaw’s worst, for example, represents another pitcher’s best. Seriously. Joe Blanton, who has struggled across town for the Angels, never gave up less than two runs in any of his 20 starts this season. Kershaw’s counterpart, Cubs 2013 All-Star Travis Wood, has a 3.09 ERA on the season but entered with a collective 5.16 ERA in first five August starts. The left-hander allowed just one unearned run on five hits with a pair of walks in seven innings to the best offense in the Major Leagues since June 22.Kershaw preferred to discuss Wood rather than his lack of run support.“Wood’s a good pitcher. He’s an All-Star for a reason,” Kershaw said. “He kept us off balance tonight, had a good cutter working all game. It’s just one of those things. You’re going to run into some good pitchers every once in a while.”Wood (8-10) aided his own cause with a leadoff single to left field in the third inning and was driven in by Dioner Navarro for an unerned run on a catcher’s interference scored an error by the Dodgers’ A.J. Ellis.A Cubs team with a .238 batting average that ranks the third worst in the Majors, had two base runners in five of the first six innings and collected seven hits off Kershaw, the most he has allowed in more than two months. He needed 108 pitches to get through 5 2/3 innings.In the sixth inning, first baseman Cody Ransom’s single was followed by Kershaw’s third walk of the night. Starlin Castro followed with an RBI single, prompting visible frustration from Kershaw as the last place team in the National League Central took a 2-0 lead. The Dodgers cut into the lead in the bottom of the sixth thanks to Hanley Ramirez, who went 3 for 4 and scored both the Dodgers’ runs. Ramirez, who blooped a single in front of the right fielder in the sixth inning, advanced to second when Wood overthrew the first baseman on a pick-off attempt and scored on Juan Uribe’s single to right field.“I didn’t feel like we weren’t just up there wailing,” Mattingly said. “I think we were trying to get to (Wood) and kind of started whittling away, but just couldn’t get to him.”The Cubs promptly regained a two-run lead in the seventh. Donnie Murphy produced the second single of the night off the ankle of a Dodger pitcher which reliever Ronald Belisario followed by hitting a batter to lead the bases with no outs in the seventh. Ransom’s ensuing double-play ground ball was enough to score the eventual winning run.Ramirez pulled the Dodgers within a run on Andre Ethier’s RBI single in the eighth inning, but Skip Schumaker’s double play ended the Dodgers’ threat.After the second-place Arizona Diamondbacks prevailed in 10 innings on Tuesday, the Dodgers’ 8 ½ game in the National League West was still the second largest divisional lead in the Major Leagues next to the Atlanta Braves’ 13 game lead in the National League East.The Dodgers have the best record in the Major Leagues since June 22, but have lost five of their last 10 games. “I think we got some guys that are a little tired,” Mattingly said. “We’ve been a little bit run down. We’ll be fine.”center_img It all went wrong for Clayton Kershaw Tuesday night.Which is to say the Dodgers’ ace saw his scoreless streak end at 18 innings. On an unearned run.The line drive off his left shin in the sixth inning punctuated his shortest outing since April 23.For the Major League leader in earned-run average, giving up two runs – one earned – in 5 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts constitutes a bad night.last_img read more