April 3, 2016
HOUSTON - Such a dream Final Four matchup for the NCAA: one school under protracted investigation for past widespread academic fraud against a group that didn't have its head coach for this season's first nine games as part of serious NCAA sanctions that kept the school out of last season's March Madness festivities. North Carolina can expect to hear more about its NCAA fate anytime - except this particular weekend - while Syracuse has already put its transgressions in the rear view.
April 1, 2016 |
THERE AREN'T many people who thought 10th-seeded Syracuse still would be standing among the Final Four. No matter what you think of Jim Boeheim, the guy can coach. But his mystifying matchup defense is just one of the topics now that everyone has settled into Houston. There's the NCAA infractions that led to Boeheim's nine-game suspension and the 108 wins that subsequently were vacated. And the late-season slump that dropped the Orange's RPI to 72 still wasn't enough to keep them out of the NCAA Tournament field.
March 31, 2016 |
THE FINAL FOUR coaches have won 2,835 games among them. Roy Williams and Jim Boeheim are in the Hall of Fame. If Lon Kruger and Jay Wright keep up their current pace, they may join them in Springfield one day. Boeheim has been on the Syracuse sideline for 989 wins. The NCAA says 101 of them don't count anymore, but the games were won so, for our purposes, they are part of the total. Williams has won 782 at Kansas and North Carolina. Kruger, the only coach to take five schools to the NCAA Tournament, has 590 wins at Texas Pan-American, Kansas State, Florida, Illinois, UNLV and Oklahoma.
March 29, 2016 |
Somebody has to show up in Houston next weekend hearing they're the best team. Based on events this weekend just off South Broad Street, that squad would have to be North Carolina. As good as Villanova and Oklahoma have looked in this NCAA tournament, the Tar Heels earned the label at the Wells Fargo Center, seamlessly alternating between flawless and rugged. Not only because North Carolina is the only top seed left in the tournament. Whatever it took, this group seemed to have it against Indiana and Notre Dame.
January 10, 2016 |
The 40th season in the life of Jim Boeheim as Syracuse's head basketball coach resumes Saturday night, and what better way for him to return from a nine-game suspension than to run into No. 6 North Carolina before an expected crowd of more than 25,000 at the Carrier Dome? The NCAA imposed the suspension on Boeheim last March for rules violations, finding that the university failed to control its athletic department and was guilty of impermissible benefits, academic misconduct and errors in drug policy.
March 21, 2015 |
Having received limited playing time in two years at Syracuse, former Lower Merion High basketball standout B.J. Johnson said Thursday he will transfer. "He wants a chance to go somewhere where he can maximize his playing potential, get 25 minutes or more a game," said his father, Bobby Johnson. "And with the year off, he'll have time to work on his body and put on a few pounds. " Johnson made the announcement the same day that Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said in an hour-long news conference that he and the university will appeal punishments for academic and benefits violations.
December 22, 2014 |
Were Villanova fans going to storm the court just for forcing overtime? It was that kind of Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center. The home team trailed for all but 24 seconds of regulation. The visiting team was Syracuse. "I think sometimes we don't thank our rivals enough," Villanova coach Jay Wright said later. "When Syracuse comes in here, this place is rocking. I'll tell you, I don't like it when they have a lead at the end and this place is chanting, 'Let's go Orange.' But I know our people get fired up when they come in here.
December 21, 2014 |
Rakeem Christmas can't help but laugh when he hears himself described as a garbage man. A former McDonald's all-American from the Academy of the New Church, the 6-foot-9 Philadelphia native has spent most of his career at Syracuse around the basket making athletic putbacks and blocking shots. His lagging offensive game - coupled with the fact that Syracuse (6-3) is usually loaded with talent - has never caught up with the once-lofty expectations. But this season, his final with the Orange, things seem to be coming together.
March 21, 2014 |
BUFFALO, N.Y. - This is apparently a minority opinion, and so be it. But putting Villanova and Saint Joseph's in adjacent spots in the same NCAA Tournament bracket is a cynical, lousy bit of business committed by the selection committee. A Holy War in March is wholly unnecessary. It plays to story lines and television ratings and misses the point of the thing entirely. Philadelphia does not get everything right, but it does get college basketball right. When it comes to this time of year, we celebrate the wins and lament the losses and that's about as critical as we get. We hope, most of all, that everyone gets something good out of the journey - and, best of all, sports writers get a chance to avoid writing about Chip Kelly and DeSean Jackson for a week or 2. But this bracket intrudes on that mindset.
March 21, 2014 |
BUFFALO - Behind Jim Boeheim, his Syracuse players had begun filing on to the First Niagara Arena floor for practice, and he turned wistful for a moment, flattening his mouth and shaking his head as he paused to consider what might have been. Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel on the same college team? It might have happened. It almost happened. "Yeah," Boeheim said, "it could have. " Besides the Sixers' Brett Brown, there may be no basketball coach who can offer better insight into Carter-Williams and Noel and their potential than Boeheim.