Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

Is Syracuse Lucky, Good or Both?

Top-ranked Syracuse remained undefeated this week as freshman Tyler Ennis hit a long 3-point shot at the buzzer to win at Pittsburgh 58-56 on Wednesday night.

Ennis took an inbounds pass with 4.4 seconds left at Pitt, dribbled across midcourt and split two defenders before launching a high shot that swished as time expired. It gave Syracuse a 58-56 victory.

It was exciting game for Syracuse and another shining moment for Tyler Ennis. Ennis even got a call from Vice President Joe Biden after the game to congratulate him on his buzzer-beater that kept the Orange unbeaten (Biden received his law degree from Syracuse).

Did it take a little bit of luck for Syracuse to squeak out the win? Of course. However, there’s a reason Syracuse keeps winning and it isn’t just luck or Tyler Ennis.

Tyler Ennis is definitely deserves the spotlight he has been receiving.  He’s hit many big shots and he’s only a freshman. However, he has the lowest field goal percentage of the eight players that Coach Jim Boeheim rotates on a regular basis.

The one reason Syracuse remains undefeated…..they play as a team.

Syracuse ‘s top four scorers all score in the double digits. C.J. Fair (16.7 ppg), Trevor Cooney (13.9 ppg), Jerami Grant (12.5 ppg) and Ennis (11.9). If one player is cold, it seems like another player steps up.

Boeheim has been hesitant to say this is the most talented team he has ever coached, but this may be one of the most balanced team he has ever coached.

It has definitely been an entertaining season so far, but many Syracuse fans (including myself) are waiting for the letdown.

Even with a school-record 24th win in a row, it’s hard to believe this team will win the tournament when it has had many close games against inferior teams throughout the season.

While they have shown they can beat some of the best teams in the country, they won’t finish the season undefeated. Four of their last five games will be away from the Carrier Dome and two of those games are against ranked opponents (No. 8 Duke and No. 17 Virginia).

The next few weeks will show what kind of team Syracuse really is. How will they play after a loss? Will they finish the regular season strong?

Sometimes you have to be lucky to be really good and Syracuse has a bit of luck and a bit of really good on their side…..I’m hoping both can lead them to a national championship.

In other news….

The Winter Olympics haven’t been as exciting as I had hoped. I’m not sure if it is the time delay…since I always find out the results before seeing the replay in prime time, if it is due to the lack of many interesting storylines or the fact that the U.S. is not living up to its expectations.

If you’re going to lose, at least be creative like Russia’s Alexey Sobolev.  He got eliminated before the finals of slopestyle, but he was the most talked about competitor last week when he put his phone number on his helmet. He got so many texts (thousands) and nude photos (dozens) from women that his iPhone crashed.

Out with a legend, in with a….

Derek Jeter announced that this will be his final season with the Yankees. At 40-years old, he knows he isn’t the same player he once was and he’s decided to leave the game after an amazing career. I’m not a Yankees fan, but I have a lot of respect for Jeter. He is a hard-working, dedicated player and he knew how to manage his life off the field without controversy….and that’s pretty hard to do playing in New York.

On the other end of the spectrum….nearly 200 media outlets attended the Yankees news conference for Masahiro Tanaka (the Yankees new $155-million man). Tanaka chartered a 787 (which normally sits over 200 passengers) for his five friends and his pet poodle. Price tag: $195,000. Welcome to New York!