Pregame Shootaround: Duke and Syracuse headlines the first day of February

Leave a comment

GAME OF THE DAY: No. 17 Duke at No. 2 Syracuse, 6:30 p.m., ESPN

Could this get any juicier? Let’s ignore, for a second, the fact that the team currently sitting in first place in the ACC will be taking on the team that may be playing the best basketball in the ACC. Let’s also ignore that this is the game between the biggest name in the ACC and the biggest name to join the ACC. Then we can also look past the fact that there are going to be somewhere around 35,000 people in the Carrier Dome to watch this game. Or Coach K vs. Boeheim.

Let’s focus, instead, on the fact this game will feature one of the nation’s three remaining undefeated teams taking on a team that features arguably the nation’s best player and just so happens to be well-suited to breaking down the Syracuse zone. Going beyond the multitude of story lines, the game itself should be fantastic.

THE OTHER GAME OF THE DAY: No. 6 Kansas at No. 25 Texas, Sat. 4:00 p.m., ESPN

Kansas vs. Texas was the single biggest game in the Big 12 for a number of years, and it looks like it may be that way again this season. The Longhorns are much improved this year, defending as well as anyone in the Big 12 and getting enough out of their offense to slide into second in the conference standings. Texas might also be the best matchup of any Big 12 team with the Jayhawks given the size they have inside to combat Joel Embiid and Perry Ellis. The problem? If the Andrew Wiggins that has scored 56 points in the last two games shows up, I’m not sure Texas has a chance.

WHO’S GETTING UPSET? No. 21 UMass at St. Joseph’s, Sat. 6:00 p.m., CBS Sports Network

Based on the way that they’ve played over the last month, UMass is one of the most overrated teams in the country. They’ll visit St. Joe’s after losing at St. Bonaventure on Wednesday. St. Joe’s will be looking for revenge after a 66-62 road loss at UMass on January 8th. With both of these teams being tied for third in the A-10 at 4-2, this will be a big game for the winner to keep pace with conference leader St. Louis, who is still unbeaten in the league at 6-0.

MID-MAJOR GAME OF THE DAY: Wright State at Green Bay, 7:00 p.m., ESPN2

Two of the preseason favorites in the Horizon collide as the Raiders (13-11, 5-4) travel to face the league-leading Phoenix (17-4, 7-1). Green Bay was cruising through the Horizon League until a 75-60 loss at Valpo earlier this week while Wright State desperately needs a conference road win after losing two straight to have any shot at the league’s regular-season crown.


1) There will be four games on the NBC Sports Network on Saturday:

  • 12:30 p.m.: George Washington at Dayton
  • 2:30 p.m.: George Mason at No. 19 Saint Louis
  • 4:30 p.m.: Drexel at Towson
  • 9:00 p.m.: Penn at Harvard

2) No. 7 Michigan State will be without Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson on Saturday as they face Georgetown, which is key for the Hoyas. They don’t have much size inside and this will be a must-win game for them.

3) If you’re looking for an entertaining basketball game, check out No. 23 Oklahoma at No. 16 Iowa State. Both teams spread the floor, shoot threes, play at a faster and struggle defensively.

4) No. 11 Kentucky is coming off of an embarrassing road loss at LSU. Missouri, who is better at home, just picked up a win at Arkansas. Will trends continue? The Tigers need this win if they are going to be a tournament team.

5) No. 1 Arizona will put its undefeated season on the line against a good Cal team that desperately needs this win. Cal has lost three consecutive games in Pac-12 play since starting 5-0 and after an overtime home loss to Arizona State earlier in the week, the Bears can’t afford to get swept at home by the Arizona schools.


  • Texas A&M at No. 3 Florida, 4:00 p.m., ESPN3
  • Evansville at No. 4 Wichita State, 3 p.m., ESPNU
  • Colorado State at No. 5 San Diego State, 7 p.m., ESPNU
  • Baylor at No. 8 Oklahoma State, 2 p.m., ESPN
  • No. 9 Villanova at Temple, Sat. 4:00 p.m., CBS SN
  • UCF at No. 12 Louisville, 9:00 p.m., ESPNU
  • No. 24 Ohio State at No. 14 Wisconsin 12 p.m., ESPN
  • No. 22 Memphis at SMU, 2 p.m., CBS SN


  • Richmond at VCU, Sat. 11:00 a.m., ESPN2
  • N.C. State at North Carolina, Sat. 1:00 p.m., ESPN2
  • Northwestern at Minnesota, Sat. 2:00 p.m., Big Ten Network
  • Arizona State at Stanford, Sat. 4:00 p.m., PAC-12 Network
  • Arkansas at LSU, Sat. 5:00 p.m., ESPNU
  • Boise State at UNLV, Sat. 8:05 p.m., CBS Sports Network
  • Tennessee at Alabama, Sat. 9:00 p.m., ESPN2
  • Saint Mary’s at BYU, Sat. 11:00 p.m., ESPN2

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim no fan of paying student-athletes

Syracuse Orange head coach Boeheim watches his team play the Michigan Wolverines in the first half of their NCAA men's Final Four basketball game in Atlanta

With the O’Bannon lawsuit gaining some momentum in the form of EA Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company deciding to settle with the plaintiffs the concept of student-athlete compensation (beyond what those on scholarship currently receive) has been discussed with greater frequency in recent weeks.

On one side of the equation are those who see the television contracts and coach salaries and believe that athletes in revenue sports deserve more. And on the other side are the traditionalists who believe that athletes are well-compensated currently and don’t need to be paid.

Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim could best be described as a traditionalist in this regard, and his response to a question from the audience during Wednesday’s New York State Associated Press symposium illustrates this.

“That’s really the most idiotic suggestion of all time. Jay Bilas has pushed it a little bit. And I respect Jay a lot. I think you have to understand something. It’s really very clear. This is really clear.

“I laughed all the time at Chris Webber, who said he didn’t get any money at Michigan because they sold his uniform and the school got all this money and he didn’t get a penny. He didn’t then say that because of the platform he had at Michigan where he made All-American and they went to the Final Four and that he ended up signing a pro contract and ended up making over $100 million playing basketball. Which is what the great players do, and those are the uniforms that sell in college.

“So he didn’t get his $30,000 or $40,000. Well he did, but not by legal means. That’s proven, that’s not something I’m speculating on. But he got his money. Juwan Howard played 20 years in the NBA, also on that Michigan team. Made over $100 million. There’s a guy named Rob Pelinka on that team, who got his scholarship, his full scholarship, became an agent, is Kobe Bryant’s agent, made a lot of money. But he got his $50,000 education for free.”

Boeheim went on to cite the education that players receive, as well as the opportunity for those who meet the qualifications to receive a Pell Grant (additional need-based aid). As Rob Dauster noted earlier today “we’re still a pretty long way” from there being major change to the current model of collegiate athletics. And one of the sticking points will clearly be the scholarships that athletes receive.

Should there be an outright payment to supplement the scholarships? How about a stipend that helps close the gap between the full cost of attendance and the scholarship received? Or will things remain just as they are? It’s pretty clear when Boeheim stands on the matter.

This is just one issue the powers that be will need to address in the future, with the time frame likely being determined by the outcome of the O’Bannon lawsuit.

Syracuse, Georgetown close to renewing acquaintances?

Big East Conference
1 Comment

Many likely remember the drama surrounding the meetings between old rivals Georgetown and Syracuse this past season, with all the dramatics surrounding it being “the last time these two will play” as members of the Big East. Well it seems as if the two programs are close to agreeing to a ten-year contract, with Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross saying on his radio show that Syracuse has already signed the contract.

Syracuse Athletic Director Daryl Gross said Wednesday night on his radio show on TK99 that there is a 10-year basketball contract on the table that would bring Syracuse and Georgetown together on the hardwood.

Gross said Syracuse signed the contract and is waiting for Georgetown to sign off on it. There was no mention of when the games would be played.

Of course there are many moving parts to be considered when it comes to non-conference series, whether it’s television arrangements or the other games the programs have on their respective schedules. And on Thursday Gross stated that there are still details to be worked out, especially when considering how quickly Georgetown had to move in regards to it’s conference situation. But it’s always good for rivals to continue to play each other, regardless of what’s happened due to conference realignment.

In this current era of conference realignment (going from 2003 to present) some of college athletics’ best rivalries have been cast aside over hurt feelings and anger. But in the end, what’s gained from such actions? The fans ultimately lose out, and it can be argued that the players lose out as well when considering the history of games such as Kansas/Missouri.

Syracuse leads the all-time series 49-41, with their 58-55 overtime win in the Big East tournament semifinals being the most recent meeting between the two schools. Led by Otto Porter Jr. the Hoyas won both regular season meetings, one of which being a 61-39 conquest in the regular season finale for both.

If Georgetown and Syracuse can finalize the contract that’s a good move for both schools. Sure, it won’t be the same since they’re no longer conference rivals. But this would be far better than if the two programs would have gone with the “we’re mad so we’re taking our ball and going home” approach that some other schools have taken in recent years.

Jim Boeheim, reporter feud at Final Four press conference (VIDEO)

Jim Boeheim
This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!

Questions about Jim Boeheim’s future with Syracuse had drawn attention in the weeks prior to the Final Four, but he appeared to have cleared them up before his team’s matchup with Michigan Saturday night.

But’s Gregg Doyel asked the question again in the video above, drawing the response below:

Q. When do you think you’ll decide, announce, whether or not you’re coming back next year?

BOEHEIM: Why would you ask that question? I expect it from you. I know you. Why ask that question? Are you going to ask John Beilein that question.

(WATCH: Video of the exchange here)

The exchange went back and forth for a few more moments before Boeheim moved on to another question. But he circled back around at the end of the press conference when asked about whether he wanted to coach in the ACC. Boeheim proceeded to go on a pro-ACC tangent. Below are some of his key points:

On the remaining Big East:

“I love the Big East, but if the Big East was the same as it was, or even remotely the same, I would quit because I wouldn’t be happy. The Big East is not there at all. In fact, there’s more Big East teams in the ACC than there are Big East teams in whatever the conference is, American whatever.”

On travel:

“For us to be able to stay on the East Coast, and predominantly all our games are an hour and a half, almost all, and in the Big East, without this crazy expansion, we had to go to Florida, we had to go to Marquette, Notre Dame anyway. So we had long trips. We’ll have the same long trips that we had. When you’re chartering now, it’s mostly an hour, most of these trips.”

On the ACC’s impact on his personal decisions:

“I mean, the ACC has absolutely zero input into whether I would not coach next year. The only reason that I would not coach next year is because I didn’t feel I could do a good job or wanted to do it, and I have no feeling at all now that that will be the case. Usually right now I would have that feeling. If I don’t have it now, I’m not going to have it in September.”

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Home of Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams destroyed by fire

Michael Carter-Williams
Leave a comment

The Boston-area home of Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams was destroyed by fire as the sophomore and his team beat California Saturday night in San Jose, Calif., in the Round of 32 of the NCAA tournament, multiple outlets are reporting.

The home reportedly belongs to Carter-Williams’ mother, Mandy Carter-Zegarowski, who was in San Jose to support her son Saturday at the time of the fire.

According to a Boston television station, the rest of his family was at home watching the game when the fire broke out. It is believed that the cause of the fire was a wood stove outside, but the origin is still under investigation. There were reportedly no injuries.

Carter-Williams scored 12 points and had three assists in the victory. He was notified of the fire after the game by his mother. Sunday morning, he gave a thank you to the public via his Twitter page.

Syracuse now advances to the Sweet 16 to face the winner of Indiana and Temple, two teams that play Sunday.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Syracuse outlasts California to advance to Sweet 16

Michael Carter-Williams
Leave a comment

Despite turning the ball over 15 times and shooting 26-of-41 from the free throw line in its Round of 32 matchup with California Saturday night, No. 4 Syracuse has advanced to the Sweet 16 with a 66-60 win at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.

C.J. Fair led Syracuse with 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the floor. Three other players joined him in double figures, including James Southerland, Baye Keita, and Michael Carter-Williams. The Orange survived a 12-minute scoring drought in the second half to get the victory.

Syracuse’s main responsibility defensively Saturday was to contain the Pac-12’s leading scorer, Allen Crabbe, and force Cal’s offense to find production elsewhere. Partly due to a lack of aggressiveness from Crabbe and party due to the way Syracuse was playing defense on him, Crabbe finished with eight points on 3-of-9 shooting and turned the ball over five times.

That forced freshman Tyrone Wallace to take nearly double the number of shots he had been averaging throughout the season, not helped by cold shooting from guard Justin Cobbs either.

Syracuse now moves on to play the winner of Indiana-Temple, which tips off Sunday at 2:45 p.m. ET. Temple already beat Syracuse earlier this season when the two teams met at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 22. If Indiana were to advance, they would likely have the three-point shooters capable of breaking Syracuse’s zone defense. Syracuse would need to be physical inside against Indiana forward Cody Zeller and work to make the Hoosiers take contested shots to counter.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_