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Big 12 - From Almost Death to Wild Rebirth

Posted on July 4, 2022 at 11:20 AM Comments comments (0)

  Article by Dan Tortora

  A decade after conference realignment shook the world of collegiate athletics, with Syracuse, Pittsburgh, and Louisville joining the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) as full members and Notre Dame becoming a member of the ACC in everything but football, here we are again with somehow an even larger form of shake-up in the college realm.

  Maryland departed the ACC and Rutgers left the Big East around this time as well, expanding the Big Ten Conference out to 14 full members.

  West Virginia had also left the Big East for the Big 12, and the Big East had dealt with the departures of Miami, Virginia Tech, and Boston College to the ACC years before.

  The Big East Conference had existed for all sports, but with Rutgers, Syracuse, Louisville, and Pittsburgh leaving, there were only four schools remaining that competed in NCAA Division I-A football, inside what is called the FBS, or Football Bowl Subdivision. Those schools were Big East members Cincinnati, UConn, and South Florida, with Temple returning to the Big East right before Syracuse, Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Notre Dame (outside of football) decided to depart.

  Mike Aresco, the then-commissioner of the Big East would not only see those schools poached, but the name "Big East" and the corresponding logo would leave as well with the "Catholic 7" of DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, St. John's, Villanova, Providence, and Seton Hall, and Big East football would disappear altogether.

  Aresco looked to Conference USA's membership to help build what would become the American Athletic Conference (AAC), born out of the rumble of realignment to be a conference that competed in all sports, including football, with Cincinnati, UConn, South Florida, and Temple being founding members who would be joined by East Carolina, Tulsa, Tulane, Memphis, SMU (Southern Methodist), Houston, and UCF (Central Florida) in all sports and Navy in football only, with Navy football joining a conference after over 100 years as an independent.

  As a result, Conference USA had to reload, which they did by bringing in FAU (Florida Atlantic), FIU (Florida International), Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas, UTSA (Texas-San Antonio), and Western Kentucky from the Sun Belt Conference. UNC-Charlotte and Old Dominion would also create football programs to add to Conference USA's competition on the field.

  The Sun Belt was now left with vacancy in their conference, so they added Texas State, Appalachian State and Georgia Southern rose up from the NCAA Division I-AA, or FCS (Football Championship Subdvision), ranks, and New Mexico State and Idaho returned as football-only members. Coastal Carolina would make a giant splash into the Sun Belt shortly after these moves, joining the conference in 2016, and football becoming eligible for postseason play in 2018, as they transitioned from FCS to FBS status.

  Fast forward to 2022...

  Oklahoma and Texas are powerful torch-bearers for the Big 12, or so we thought, as they created a seismic shockwave when they announced their move to the Southeastern Conference (SEC), expanding the SEC to 16 full members.

  The Big 12 responded by taking BYU as a full member, a move that saw BYU give up their football independence, and poach a trio of schools (Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF), from the AAC, to actually get to 12 full members for the first time in awhile.

  In reaction, the AAC addressed their departures by doubling that in their number of additions, announcing that FAU, North Texas, Rice, UNC-Charlotte, UAB, and UTSA will become full AAC members on July 1, 2023, the same date that Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF officially join the Big 12.

  Conference USA also had Marshall, Old Dominion, and Southern Miss announce their move to the Sun Belt, so they had nine schools leave in total. They have since gone and attained Jacksonville State, Liberty, New Mexico State, and Sam Houston.

  Along with Marshall, Old Dominion, and Southern Miss, the Sun Belt is also adding James Madison, gaining four and losing two, with Little Rock joining the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) and UT-Arlington becoming a member of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). Southern Utah will also join the WAC, coming from the Big Sky.

  The ASUN has Austin Peay and Queens University of Charlotte entering competition in 2022 to make up for Jacksonville State and Liberty leaving for Conference USA.

  Realignment's current wave has resulted in these moves as well:

  Atlantic-10 (A-10) will bring in Loyola-Chicago from the Missouri Valley Conference.

  The Missouri Valley Conference will add Belmont, Illinois Chicago, and Murray State. Murray State will also compete in the separate Missouri Valley Football Conference.

  Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) will gain Hampton, Monmouth, North Carolina A&T, and Stony Brook, with James Madison going to the Sun Belt. Hampton and North Carolina A&T are coming from the Big South and Monmouth from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). Mount St. Mary's will enter the MAAC as they depart the Northeast Conference with Bryant, who is heading to the America East. Hartford is leaving the America East, reclassifying from NCAA DI to DIII.

  The Northeast Conference will grab Stonehill, who is reclassifying from NCAA DII to DI, coming from the Northeast-10 (NE-10) conference. Merrimack, also a member of the Northeast, reclassified from NCAA DII to DI, and will now reunite with Stonehill after formerly competing in the NE-10 themselves.

  Lindenwood and Southern Indiana are reclassifying from NCAA DII to DI, each leaving the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) to join Little Rock as new memers of the OVC.

  The Southland Conference is bringing in Lamar and Texas A&M-Commerce while losing none of its membership.

  So the ripple effect of Oklahoma and Texas leaving the Big 12 was felt in NCAA DI FBS, NCAA DI FCS, DII, and DIII. 

  Two schools moving out of the Big 12 created a transfer portal of sorts that has left us with divisions all over the country, as mentioned above, either losing or gaining membership, or in many cases, both.

  Now, here we are mid-year 2022, and two more moves could do what Oklahoma and Texas did, or these moves could create an even larger crater.

  UCLA and USC, both located on the West Coast in the state of California, are changing membership from the PAC-12 to the Big Ten in 2023, leaving the coast for a conference based in the middle of the United States.

  The irony of this move is that the PAC-10 recently changed their name to the PAC-12 to make sense of their additions of Colorado and Utah that occurred back in 2010, and now their conference is back at 10 again.

  But will it remain at 10?

  Will the PAC-12 remain at all?

  UCLA and USC have proven beyond any shadow of a doubt, if for some reason you have not already witnessed this repeatedly, that geography has nothing to do with conferences anymore.

  If Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah were to move to the Big 12, a conference that once looked vulnerable to the vultures of realignment when Oklahoma and Texas bolted for the SEC, would now become the vulture itself.

  I once saw a world where the remaining eight Big 12 members would be divided amongst conferences as follows: Baylor, TCU, and Texas Tech to the AAC, West Virginia to the ACC, Iowa State to the Big Ten, and Kansas, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State to the PAC-12; I also saw Baylor and Texas Tech moving elsewhere, but either way, out of the Big 12. The AAC could have made a play when they had Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF to expand to 14 (which they ironically got to 14 now anyways) and with their headquarters moving to Irving, Texas, and having Houston and SMU already in Texas as well as having played non-conference games against these schools, there would have been multiple reasons that it could have made sense.

  The Big 12 would have died, after losing two key schools.

  Now the PAC-12 may perish instead, after loing two key schools.

  At the hands of the Big 12...

  This, friends, is what they call playing the long game.

  What once looked like the end in sight for the Big 12 could end up just being a hiccup before the massive feast they are about to present to all of us college sports fans.

  Either way, the Power 5 would shrink to the Power 4, and the AAC and Sun Belt will be rushing to grab that fifth spot.

  It seems like Marvel is not the only place shaking up their universe, and in the vast reality of endless possibilities, we may have only just begun.

  This ride is unlike any you have ever ridden.

  And its twists and turns are not for those prone to motion-sickness.

  Look at the conference sitting next to you for they may not be the one you leave with when you get off this ride.

  Welcome to college football and overall athletics reimagined.

  Make sure to buckle up!

Syracuse Handles BC for 14th Win of Season

Posted on February 19, 2022 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (0)

  Article by Dan Tortora

  Olivia de Havilland would know all about this day in Central New York, as many as us tried to not be "Gone with the Wind" as we walked against the breath of Mother Nature en route to the Carrier Dome to see the Syracuse Orange men's basketball team take on the visiting Boston College Eagles.


  Syracuse came into the match-up even in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) at 7-7, and above .500 overall at 13-12.

  Boston College entered the new-look Carrier Dome at 4-10 in the ACC and 9-15 overall.

  The Orange would get out to their first double-digit lead, 18-8, off of a layup by graduate center Bourama Sidibe at the 10:24 mark.

  There was a lull in scoring, with the board frozen at 21-13 Orange for almost two minutes, from 9:29 to the 7:35 mark.

  Syracuse would thaw out that ice with a 13-2 run that would extend them out to a 34-15 advantage with 3:33 to go before halftime.

  The stat line that could not have been more clear is the one that showed both teams taking 29 shots, with Syracuse making double that of Boston College, 15-for-29 to Boston College's 7-for-29.

  Sidibe grabbed an offensive rebound by a minute left in the first half and had four of five defenders around him as he fought inside. He ended the opening half with three rebounds, two steals, one block, and one turnover in 10 minutes.

  The Orange would head into the locker room ahead by 15, 36-21, on the Eagles. They led by as many as 21 in the first half, while the Eagles never held the advantage for the entire 20 minutes of the opening half of play.

  Boston College would go on a 10-0 run in the second half to shrink a 22-point deficit to 12, 48-36, with 11:47 to play in the contest.

  With 8:22 to play in the game, graduate forward Jimmy Boeheim grabbed an offensive rebound to give him nine total to go with his 10 points, leaving him one rebound away from a double-double on the day.

  A three by Jimmy Boeheim at the 5:52 mark would make him the fourth player on the Orange to connect from beyond the arc in the game, joining brother Buddy Boeheim, a senior shooting guard, as well as senior forward Cole Swider and junior guard Joe Girard, III.

  Jimmy Boeheim would attain a double-double when he pulled down a defensive rebound at the 5:27 mark of the second half, giving him 10 total rebounds to go with his 13 points.

  Syracuse would benefit from strong shooting performances by numerous players, with Buddy Boeheim going 7-for-14, Cole Swider 7-for-13, and Jimmy Boeheim 6-for-9.

  As in the first half, the Orange would never be behind, going all 40 minutes without playing from behind.

  Junior point guard and Central New York native, Symir Torrence, would steal the ball from the Eagles' freshman guard Kanye Jones and send it down the court to graduate guard Paddy Casey from Scranton, Pennsylvania, who would elevate for a layup and connect on the free throw that came with it, giving the Orange their final score of the game and aiding them to a 20-point victory, 76-56.

  The win moves Syracuse above the equator line in the ACC at 8-7 and to 14-12 overall.

  Boston College falls to 4-11 in ACC play, and 9-16 overall.

  Buddy Boeheim and Swider led all players on both teams, with 18 points apiece, Buddy going 2-for-8 from deep and Swider going 3-for-5. Girard followed with 16 on 6-for-13 shooting and 4-for-8 from the three-point line and Jimmy Boeheim with 13.

  Senior forward/center James Karnik led all Eagles with 11, followed by sophomore guard Demarr Langford, Jr., and junior forward Quinten Post, each with 10.

Joe Theismann Not Necessarily Buying That Brady's Retiring

Posted on January 31, 2022 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)

  Article by Dan Tortora

  "Tom Brady I don't think will retire, my persoanl feeling is," said Washington Redskins' quarterback alum and Super Bowl Champion Joe Theismann while appearing as a guest on "Wake Up Call with Dan Tortora."

  "I know there's been a lot of reports but Tom hasn't confirmed anything."

  When asked how long he believes Brady will be in the National Football League (NFL), Theismann stated, "I think one more year."

  "Now I don't know if he's gonna come back or not. I think he might come back one more year. Tom's not the kind of guy to make a decision while the playoffs are still going on," Theismann expressed.

  "The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have to evaluate their football team," Theismann added. "Remember, he went to Tampa Bay for a reason, because he felt like they had all the ingredients and just needed basically him to perform at the level that he can perform at to have a chance to win a Super Bowl, and they did."

  "He's not gonna, all of a sudden, ride off into the sunset before the season even ends," said Theismann. "I think he's gonna sit down with [head coach] Bruce Arians. He's gonna sit down with [offensive coordinator] Byron Leftwich. Is Byron gonna stay or is he gonna become a head coach somewhere? Who on that defensive roster is gonna stay? Who on offense is gonna stay, with one of the best lines in football? Who are the free agents? Can the Tampa Bay Buccaneers afford to keep them?"

  "Those are all things that Tom is gonna have a conversation about, and I don't believe he's had a chance to do that yet, sorta decompressing after the season... it's only been a week."

  "The reports of my decline are premature, I guess you can say in Tom's case."

  More Brady in 2022-23?

  Brace yourselfs for impact.

  The G.O.A.T. may not be done on the range just yet after all.

  Hear the full conversation of Joe Theismann's appearance on "Wake Up Call with Dan Tortora" by clicking on this link:

Joe Theismann Believes Washington to Become Commanders

Posted on January 31, 2022 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

  Article by Dan Tortora

  Super Bowl Champion quarterback Joe Theismann, who played for the franchise when they were named the Washington Redskins, stated while a guest on "Wake Up Call with Dan Tortora" that he believes the Washington Football Team will be changing their name to the Washington Commanders.

  "I have not gotten any confirmation from anybody but I think it's gonna be the Commanders," said Theismann.

  "I believe that's who we're gonna be, which I like," he expressed. "I would've liked the name to stay but of course time moves on, and things, circumstances change things, so as it turns out, I think that's who we're gonna be."

  "I'm excited about the logo," Theismann added. "I'm glad we've kept the colors, so that we'll be burgundy and gold, which is exciting going forward."

  "It's gonna be a new start for the franchise," Theismann stated. "It's a new start for the players. They get to create their own legacy forward."

  "There's a lot of newness happening in Washington."

  Hear the entire conversation on "Wake Up Call with Dan Tortora" by clicking on this link:

Syracuse Offense Surges in 2nd Chance vs. Wake Forest

Posted on January 29, 2022 at 10:15 PM Comments comments (0)

  Article by Dan Tortora

  The Syracuse Orange (9-11) played host on a cold Saturday night in Central New York to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (17-4) for their 12th match-up all-time, with the Orange winning nine of their 11 previous head-to-head contests.

  Syracuse had won four games in a row against Wake Forest before Wake Forest took the most recent match-up 77-74 in overtime in Winston Salem, North Carolina.

  They entered the Carrier Dome as exact opposites in conference standings, with Syracuse 3-6 and Wake Forest 6-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

  Neither team led by double-digits in the first half, with Wake Forest getting out to as much as an eight-point advantage and Syracuse extending out to a four-point lead.

  A three from Syracuse senior shooting guard Buddy Boeheim tied the game at 29 apiece.

  Buddy Boeheim would knock down his second deep shot in a row to take the lead at 32-31 late in the first half.

  Graduate forward/center Dallas Walton came right back with a jumper for the Demon Deacons to move Wake Forest back ahead, 33-32.

  There were four lead changes in total in the opening half.

  The Demon Deacons would end the first half making four-straight field goals, going into the break with a 42-39 lead.

  Syracuse would begin the second half with back-to-back jumpers, retaking the lead, 43-42.

  After a jumper by Buddy Boeheim that made it 46-45 at the 17:56 mark, the Orange would never rescind the lead.

  They would start 5-for-6 from the field to expand out to a two-possession lead, 51-45, forcing Wake Forest to take a timeout at the 16:47 mark.

  The Orange continued to pour on the offense, making 10 field goals on 12 tries to begin the second half, extending out to a 61-48 advantage.

  Syracuse continued to charge forward in the second half, elevating up to a 20-plus-point lead at the 7:58 mark when graduate forward Jimmy Boeheim went inside for a layup that brought the score to 76-55.

  With a little over a minute to play, Orange Head Coach Jim Boeheim would send out sophomore forward Chaz Owens along with walk-ons to close out the game.

  Walk-ons Paddy Casey, a graduate guard from Scranton, Pennsylvania, and Arthur Cordes, a sophomore guard from Wallingford, Connecticut, would add one field goal apiece to end the scoring for the Orange, Casey with a layup and Cordes with a three to beat the buzzer, as the Orange rolled in this one, 94-72.

  Buddy Boeheim led all scorers on both teams with 30, making six field goals outside the arc (6-for-11) and six inside the arc (6-for-10).

  Syracuse is now 8-3 this season when Buddy Boeheim scores at least 20 points.

  As a team, the Orange made 10 more field goals in the second half than in the first (23 to 13).

  With the victory, Syracuse moves to 4-6 in the ACC and 10-11 overall.

  Wake Forest is now 6-4 in the ACC and 17-5 on the season as a whole.

Double-Double Trouble for Tigers as Orange Roll

Posted on January 18, 2022 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)

  Article by Dan Tortora

  Donned all in Orange, we saddled up to bear the cold as we walked the hill once again to the Carrier Dome.

  A win would aid the Clemson Tigers in remaining above the Syracuse Orange in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) standings, while a victory for Syracuse would leap-frog them over Clemson to #10 in the ACC leaderboard of 15 member schools.

  The Tigers got out early to a 4-0 lead.

  But the Orange would respond to get their first lead of the game in the initial three minutes of play when junior guard Joe Girard, III, knocked down hi first three-point attempt of the contest, putting the Orange ahead 7-6.

  Graduate center Bourama Sidibe would hear love from the hometown crowd as the unfortunately injury-plagued big man came onto the floor at the 16:30 mark.

  Syracuse would go on an 11-2 run following the aforementioned 4-0 Clemson lead, moving out to an 11-6 advantage.

  Sidibe had his one-handed attempt bounce into the nylon, getting on the board offensively at 13-8 Orange before coming out after spending less than two minutes on the floor.

  Less than seven minutes into the game, Syracuse was 4-for-5 from long range, with Girard accounting for two of them, senior shooting guard Buddy Boeheim for one, and senior forward Cole Swider with one, helping to extend the Orange out to a double-digit lead, 19-9, at the 13:43 mark.

  Clemson would go on a run themselves, 9-0, to shrink their deficit to two, 23-21.

  Graduate forward Jimmy Boeheim would end the Tigers' run with two inside, moving ahead by two possessions, 25-21.

  A "Swider Swat" at the rim would turn into a fast-break on the other end, but Girard's basket would be waved off as a result of him being called for an offensive foul at the rim.

  Syracuse Head Coach Jim Boeheim woulod try different lineups at the 8:57 mark (Junior guard Symir Torrence in for the first time, joining Girard, Buddy Boeheim, Jimmy Boeheim, and junior center Jesse Edwards), where Clemson would out-score Syracuse 4-2, and at the 6:33 mark (True freshman forward Benny Williams and freshman center Frank Anselem would enter for the first time, Swider came back in, and Torrence and Buddy Boeheim remained on the floor), where Clemson would go on a 9-6 run to take their first lead, 34-33, since the 17:18 mark when they were ahead 6-4.

  Boeheim would change the lineup two more times before halftime, switching in Edwards for Anselem, and keeping Torrence, Williams, Swider, and Buddy Boeheim with 3:17 remaining. The teams would tie 3-3 with this lineup in.

  At the 1:42 mark, Boeheim went back to his starting five and the Orange went on a 4-2 run.

  A three by Buddy Boeheim at the 1:14 mark, part of that 4-2 run, would be the final points scored of the opening half, and the field goal would lift the Orange above the Tigers by a single point, 40-39, as the teams headed into their respective locker rooms. Buddy Boeheim was 3-for-5 from beyond the arc in the first half.

  At the half, Syracuse was 6-for-11 from long range, with Girard at 2-for-2, Swider at 1-for-3, and Torrence 0-for-1 to follow Buddy Boeheim.

  Clemson went 4-for-13 from distance, with six players attempting at least one three. Sophomore guard Chase Hunter was their best shooter from three-point range in the first half, going 2-for-4.

  Girard, who went scoreless in the second half a game ago, got the Orange on the board first in the second half of this match-up on a corner three less than 20 seconds into the half.

  Just inside five minutes into the second half, junior guard Al-Amir Dawes would respond to Girard going 3-for-3 at the line by connecting from long range for three of his own, cutting the Orange lead to two, 52-50.

  Syracuse would respond with an 11-4 run to rise up to a 64-54 lead with 12:30 left in the game.

  Boeheim would keep his starting five of Girard, Buddy Boeheim, Swider, Jimmy Boeheim, and Edwards in for almost half of the second period, where the Orange out-scored the Tigers 25-21 for a score of 65-60.

  The first sub for Syracuse in the second half came at the 10:15 mark, with Torrence returning to the court.

  Inside six minutes remaining, the Tigers would play hot potato, moving the ball quickly all over the floor, trying to get a look, but the Orange defense got everywhere and Edwards achieved a block and takeaway to keep the Orange ahead 78-70.

  In a span of less than a minute, Edwards dunked it home and then grabbed an offensive rebound that led to an old-fashioned three-point play at the rim, securing a double-double for Edwards at 13 points and 11 rebounds.

  He would foul out at the 1:03 mark, ending the night with 15 points (4-for-6 from the field and 7-for-10 at the line), 11 rebounds (4 offensive and 7 defensive), four blocks, one assist, and no turnovers, playing in 34 minutes.

  With 25 seconds left in the contest, Jimmy Boeheim would grab a defensive rebound, giving him 10 total rebounds to go with 13 points, as he joined teammate Edwards with a double-double of his own.

  Girard responded to a scoreless second half a game ago by scoring 15 of his 23 total points in the second half of this contest.

  Buddy Boeheim led the Orange with 25 points, his ninth game of at least 20 points this season. Syracuse is 7-2 when Buddy Boeheim scores 20 points or more in this 2021-22 campaign. 

  After scoring 40 in the first half, Syracuse upped the ante in the seocnd half, scoring 51 while allowing the same amount of points in each half (39) to Clemson, en route to a 91-78 victory.

  Sophomore forward/center PJ Hall, graduate guard David Collins, and Hunter all scored in double-figures for Clemson, with 19, 18, and 11, respectively.

  The win gets the Orange back to .500 at 9-9 overall and moves them above the Tigers in the ACC standings at 10th of 15 schools, with an ACC record of 3-4.

  With the loss, the Tigers are now 10-8 overall and 2-5 in conference play in the ACC.

'Noles Return the Favor, Defeating the Orange on the Road

Posted on January 15, 2022 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (0)

  Article by Dan Tortora

  The last time the Syracuse Orange and Florida State Seminoles' men's basketball teams met on a court Syracuse was ending Florida State's 25-game home-winning streak against conference opponents in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), by the score of 63-60.

  In a lot warmer of a climate, as the Orange and Seminoles faced off for this match-up in Central New York with a temperature below 10 degrees fahrenheit outside.

  Florida State got things started with a layup from freshman forward John Butler about a minute into the contest.

  Junior center Jesse Edwards would be the first on the board for the Orange when he went 2-for-2 at the line to tie the game.

  Syracuse's first field goal would come from senior forward Cole Swider.

  The first lead for the Orange would come at the 16:37 mark of the first half when senior shooting guard Buddy Boeheim would make the team's first deep shot of the day, bringing the score to 7-4 Orange.

  Less than five minutes into the game, there were four ties and one lead change.

  Syracuse would take command of the lead at the 15:12 mark off of a floater by Buddy Boeheim, which made it 11-9.

  Florida State would go on a 5-0 run, but junior guard Joe Girard, III, would respond with his first field goal, and first points, of the game, connecting from long distance to move Syracuse out to a 23-16 advantage inside eight minutes before the break.

  Down 28-18, the Seminoles went on an 8-0 run, getting within two at the 3:50 mark when redshirt-senior guard Anthony Polite knocked down his deeP take to make it 28-26 Orange.

  Buddy Boeheim would break the Florda State run with a jumper at the 3:26 mark, getting Syracuse out to a 30-26 lead.

  Two late threes, the first by redshirt-senior guard Wyatt Wilkes and the second by redshirt-sophomore guard Caleb Mills, gave the Seminoles a 6-2 run to end the first half down just one, 37-36, with the Orange holding onto the lead from 15:12 through the first half of play.

  Girard ended the first half as the only player on either squad to score in double-figures, with 11 to match his jersey number, playing in 17 of 20 minutes.

  Syracuse would begin the second half as they did the first, with Edwards getting the team's first points and doing it at the charity stripe, this time going 1-for-2 off of a flagrant 1 foul called on junior center Naheem McLeod.

  Seminoles' seniot guard RayQuan Evans' old-fashioned three-point play with 18:34 left in the game gave Florida State their first lead since 4-2 at the 18:04 mark of the first half. 

  The timespan between leads for the Seminoles was 19 minutes and 30 seconds, with their last lead and next lead both coming at the 18-minute mark and some change in both halves.

  Edwards, who was the first to score for either side in the second half as in the first, would go strong inside to tie the game at 47 apiece, but Evans would answer with an immediate three to move Florida State back ahead 50-47.

  Nine of Evans' 11 points in the game at this time had come in the second half.

  The Seminoles opened up the second half 4-for-5 from beyond the arc.

  Inside 13 minutes to go in the contest, Florida State was 8-for-12 overall from the field.

  Syracuse would go on an 8-0 run to regain the lead, 60-59, with Edwards inside, followed by Swider for three, and then Buddy Boeheim from deep inside 9:30 to play.

  The Orange would score 10 unanswered points in total before Evans' jumper at the 7:47 mark that made it 62-61 Orange.

  Edwards would dunk it home 14 seconds later to move Syracuse ahead by three with 7:33 remaining.

  Mills made his fourth deep shot of the game for the Seminoles right out of the break (4-for-5) to tie it up at 64.

  Syracuse junior point guard Symir Torrence, who came in at the 14:28 mark of the second half with the Orange down 50-47, aided the Orange to a 64-64 tie.

  Mills ended a drought of 2:03 by both sides with a three, his fifth of the contest, to give Florida State the lead 67-64 with 4:56 remaining.

  Buddy Boeheim would get the Orange withing one, going 2-for-2 at the line, making it 67-66 Seminoles.

  He would respond again, this time at the rim, bringing Syracuse back within a point, 69-68.

  But Wilkes would connect on a corner three to extend Florida State out to a 72-68 advantage inside three minutes to go, with the Seminoles staying hot in the second half, 13-for-23 (56.5%) at the time. With about two minutes to go in the game, Florida State was 70% from three-point range (7-for-10).

  Edwards would go 1-for-2 at the line followed by graduate forward Jimmy Boeheim cleaning up for Edwards on the putback at the rim to bring the Orange within one, 72-71, with 1:06 to play in the game.

  Freshman guard Matthew Cleveland would take off to the rim in transition, followed by Evans' stealing the ball away from Girard and making two free throws to close out Syracuse's chances, repaying the Orange for the loss the Orange handed them at home, defeating Syracuse in Syracuse 76-71.

  Florida State Head Coach Leonard Hamilton played 11, with 10 student-athletes getting at least 10 minutes on the court, and the lone under 10 minutes was Buter with nine.

  Mills led the way for the Seminoles with 19, followed by Evans with 15 and Wilkes with 11.

  Four of Syracuse's seven players in action concluded the game in double-figures, with Buddy Boeheim leading with 18, followed by Swider with 17, Edwards, with 15, and Girard with 11. After being the only player in double-figures for either team in the first half with 11 points, Girard did not score a single point in the second half, with Head Coach Jim Boeheim stating, "He wasn't aggressive, I didn't think" in the second half of play.

  With the victory, the Seminoles get to double-digits in victories at 10-5. They are 4-2 in conference play, winning the last three in the ACC, and four of their last five conference games.

  The loss rolls the Orange back under .500 overall at 8-9, and the exact opposite of the Seminoles in ACC play, at 2-4.

Syracuse Wins 120th Bout with Pittsburgh

Posted on January 11, 2022 at 9:45 PM Comments comments (0)

  Article by Dan Tortora

  The Syracuse Orange turned on the Tuesday Night lights at the Carrier Dome to welcome in the Pittsburgh Panthers for their 120th meeting.

  Syracuse leads Pittsburgh all-time with 73 wins to Pittsburgh's 46 in their head-to-head bouts.

  The Orange had won eight of nine, including seven games in a row, before the Panthers took both of their duels last season.

  Pittsburgh would tie Syracuse three times in the first half, and Syracuse would have an answer each time.

  Then, the Panthers would go on an 11-3 run, which began with a three from Mouhamadou Gueye that brought the score to 22-19 Orange at the 8:45 mark.

  Syracuse would respond with a run of their own, 10-2 to end the first half, regaining the lead after losing it at the 5:57 mark as a result of a three by sophomore guard Femi Odukale that advanced Pittsburgh ahead 27-25. At the break, it was 35-34 Orange.

  Girard scored immediately to open the second half on the team's first possession out of the locker room, keeping the momentum going for Syracuse.

  A 12-3 run on the side of the Orange would move them ahead by double-digits, 47-37, just inside 16 minutes remaining in the game.

  The man that opened up the second half with a quick score would pick up his third and fourth fouls quickly as well, going out of the game at the 12:17 mark.

  Less than a minute later, there was a break in the action at the 11:25 mark with the score at 56-41, showcasing Syracuse's 21-7 run to open the second half, tripling the points of their adversary.

  Junior center Jesse Edwards and graduate forward Jimmy Boeheim, like their teammate Girard, would pick up his fourth foul in the second half, Edwards at the 5:26 mark and Buddy with 3:51 remaining. Lucikly for the Orange, there were ahead by 18 at that 3:51 mark, by a score of 72-54.

  With 1:21 to play, Edwards fouled out, ending the contest with 12 points, eight rebounds, three blocks, one assist, one steal, and no turnovers in 32 minutes played.

  Syracuse never trailed in the second half, winning 77-61, over rival Pittsburgh.

  The Orange went 12-for-22 from the field in the second half (54.5%), 11 of those 12 shots from inside the arc, with the team going 1-for-7 from deep in the half (14.3%).

  They doubled Pittsburgh's points in the paint in the second half, 32 to 16.

  Buddy Boeheim led the way for the Orange with 24 points, marking his eighth game this season where he has scored at least 20 points. Syracuse is 6-2 in games this season where Buddy amounts 20 points or more.

  He was 53.8% from the field overall (7-for-13), including 5-for-8 from beyond the arc (62.5%) to go with four rebounds, three assists, three steals, and two turnovers. 

  Jimmy Boeheim followed with 18 points, Edwards with 12, and senior forward Cole Swider with 10. 

  Three players ended the contest with 14 points apiece to lead the Panthers: Odukale, Gueye, and senior guard Jamarius Burton.

  Syracuse and Pittsburgh flip-flopped in two key areas, with the Orange having 11 steals to five by the Panthers and nine turnovers to Pittsburgh's 13.

  The team had five blocks in the game, Edwards with three, Swider with one, and true freshman forward Benny Williams with one.

  In this 120th match-up, the Orange ended the Panthers' two-game winning streak as well as attained their 74th victory in the series.

  For this current season, Syracuse snaps a three-game losing streak, all in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), losing by five at home to the Virginia Cavaliers, by one on the road visiting the Miami Hurricanes, and most recently a three-point loss in overtime on the road against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

  They get back to .500 overall at 8-8 and are now 2-3 in the ACC.

  Pittsburgh now has double-digit losses (10), with an overall record of 6-10. They are 1-4 in the ACC, with their lone conference win coming a game ago 69-67 versus the Boston College Eagles.

Sweet Finale in Duval

Posted on January 9, 2022 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

  Article by Dan Tortora

  It has been a long season in Jacksonville for the Jaguars, to say the least.

  The hiring of college football champion coach Urban Meyer, who won with the Florida Gators (SEC) and Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten), ended with his firing before his only season with the Jaguars ended.

  A team that had the first pick in the 2021 National Football League (NFL) Draft entered their final game of the 2021-22 season with potentially being the last team in the NFL once again, gaining the first pick of the 2022 NFL Draft.

  One season ago, Jacksonville was 1-15.

  They came into their home stadium at TIAA Bank Field at 2-14 for this match-up with AFC South divisional foe, the Indianapolis Colts.

  An interim head coach in Darrell Bevell, who had been hired by Meyer to be his offensive coordinator, was leading the Jaguars out for one more ride, to end on a high note with something to build upon, a pebble of hope for what is to come.

  The Jaguars opemed things up by scoring on the first drive of the game when rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence found wide receiver Laquon Treadwell on 2nd-&-Goal from the Colts' two-yard line, giving them the first lead of the game, at 7-0.

  Another positive on this opening drive is that Jacksonville took close to half of the time off of the first-quarter game clock, running their 12-play, 75-yard drive from the 15-minute mark to 7:48 left in the quarter.

  Indianapolis decided to go for it on 4th-&-2 and were stopped, giving Jacksonville possession by midfield, on their own 41, inside six minutes left in the first quarter.

  After a punt by the Jaguars on their second drive of the contest, the Colts would lead their own 7+ minute drive, getting their first score of the game when Michael Badgley cashed in from 41 yards away at the 9:12 mark of the second quarter, bringing the score to 7-3 Jaguars.

  When Jacksonville took their first timeout of the half at the 5:33 mark of the second quarter, Lawrence was 13-for-14 passing.

  Lawrence would come out of the timeout completing his 14th pass of the game, going down middle to wide receiver Marvin Jones, Jr., for a 29-yard gain to the Colts' 12. He would end this drive 4-for-5 and the team would conclude the drive with a 22-yard field goal from Matthew Wright to extent Jacksonville out to a 10-3 lead with 3:06 before half.

  At this time, Lawrence was 15-for-17 passing, and it would have been 16 completions if the completed pass to Jones was not out-of-bounds.

  The Jaguars would take an 11-play, 71-yard drive to the end of the first half, with Wright getting his second field goal of the contest, connecting from 20 yards out, giving the Jaguars a 10-point advantage at the half, 13-3.

  Lawrence was 19-for-25 in the first half, with 208 passing yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. He would have had 20 completions if not for the drop by Laviska Shenault, Jr., at the conclusion of the first half.

  Outside linebacker Josh Allen had two sacks in the opening half on Colts' quarterback Carson Wentz.

  Indianapolis running back Jonathan Taylor was held to 18 yards on eight carries in the first half, and no touchdowns.

  The Jaguars would begin the second half by thwarting the Colts' hopes at a score, with linebacker Damien Wilson sacking Wentz for a loss of nine yards and forcing him to fumble. Nose tackle DaVon Hamilton would recover the ball on the Colts' 23-yard line.

  Jacksonville would capitalize with their third field goal of the game, with Wright booting it through from 39 yards away, giving them a 16-3 lead at the 11:36 mark of the third quarter.

  Immediately following the Jaguars' punt on their next drive, Wentz would have his pass attempt to tight end Mo-Alie Cox thwarted by Wilson, who would intercept Wentz on first down, giving the Jaguars the ball on the Colts' 45.

  Running back Ryquell Armstead, who was called back to the team during this season, would be called upon for all three carries on this drive, taking the first of them 26 yards to the Indianapolis 19-yard line.

  Lawrence went 3-for-3 on this drive, with the final completion going to Jones for a three-yard touchdown, the team's second touchdown of the game, clawing the Jaguars out to a 20-point advantage, 23-3, with 3:08 left in the third quarter.

  The Colts would take a drive out of the third quarter and into the beginning of the fourth quarter, but they would not take it into the end zone. Running back Jonathan Taylor, who came into this match-up with 1,734 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns, was held out of the end zone on 4th-&-1 at the Jaguars' one-yard line.

  Wright would tack on his fourth field goal of the game from 31 yards away, going 4-for-4 on the day, and advancing Jacksonville out to a 26-3 with 8:20 remaining in the game.

  Almost four minutes later, at the 4:26 mark, the Colts would reach the end zone for the first time in the game, when Wentz connected with wide receiver Michael Pittman, Jr., from 12 yards out. Pittman would also reel in the two-point attempt, making it 26-11 Jaguars.

  Bevell would elect to go for it on 4th-&-2 and Lawrence would keep it for the first down, securing the victory for the hometown Jaguars, giving them a 3-14 record for this season.

  Lawrence finished the game 23-for-32 with 223 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. Worth noting, those nine incompletions included more than one drop by his receivers.

  Adding onto the victory, Jacksonville will still receive the #1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft thanks to the Detroit Lions defeating the Green Bay Packers in their season finale.

  Congratulations to Darrell Bevell, attaining a win as interim head coach of the team.

  The Jaguars found a way to win, gain momentum  for next season, and, with a little help from fellow cats, the Lions, secured the best draft capital in the game.

  Who would have seen this coming?

  It has been a long season in Duval.

  But this one has a happy ending... and a new beginning.

Cavaliers Stays Poised, Outlast Orange on the Road

Posted on January 1, 2022 at 8:25 PM Comments comments (0)

  Article by Dan Tortora

  Four days after the Syracuse Orange men's basketball team was meant to have their Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) home-opener, a game versus the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets that was postponed due to COVID concerns, the Orange tipped off against the Cavaliers of Virginia.

  Here in the Carrier Dome on this New Year's Day dance between two teams donning orange in their garb, Virginia got things started, getting out to a 7-0 run in the first 1:59 of the game.

  The first fied goal and first points of the game for Syracuse came from graduate forward Jimmy Boeheim, who connected from long distance at the 17:30 mark, bringing the score to 7-3 Virginia.

  Including the 7-3 score, the Orange would get within two possession three times early on, but the Cavaliers continued to keep separation.

  Senior forward Cole Swider would get Syracuse within one possession on a three-ball coming at the 13:07 mark, which made it 15-12 Virginia.

  From there, the Cavaliers would stretch out to a 10-point advantage, 23-13, with 7:58 to go in the first half.

  Senior shooting guard Buddy Boeheim would launch a three inside five minutes before half and connect with the nylon to cut that deficit in half, brigning the score to 27-22 Virginia.

  With less than four minutes on the game clock before the break, Syracuse was 7-for-22 from the field, with the five of those seven makes coming from beyond the arc, where they were 5-for-14 after the three by Buddy Boeheim that made it 27-22.

  Sophomore forward Kadin Shedrick would take advantage of a wide open paint to dunk it home on back-to-back plays, extending the Cavaliers' lead to 31-24.

  Down by three, Buddy Boeheim would launch a three early in the shot clock and brother, Jimmy, would bail him out, grabbing the offensive rebound over the box-out attempt, and putting the ball in off the glass to make it a one-point game with 53 seconds left in the half. This was the closest Syracuse had been to Virginia since 0-0.

  Jimmy Boeheim went 1-for-2 at the line, missing the second.

  Junior center Jesse Edwards would take over from there, going after the missed attempt, getting possession for the Orange, going to the ball to grab the inbounds pass, dribbling to the paint, and putting up an off-balance shot to tie the game at the half, 33-33.

  With 31 seconds off the clock in the second half, Jimmy Boeheim gave Syracuse their first lead of the game, 35-33, off of his layup at the 19:29 mark.

  That lead would not even last 30 seconds, with senior guard Kihei Clark connecting on his own layup at the 19:05 mark, tying the game at 35 apiece.

  Less than a minute later, Virginia had the lead once again, when junior guard Armaan Franklin saw his three-point attempt be graced by the inside of the nylon net to make it 38-35 Virginia at the 18:24 mark.

  The Boeheims would connect when Buddy fed Jimmy, who finished at the rim with a dunk and a free throw to follow, giving the Orange their second lead of the contest, 47-45, at the 13:27 mark of the second half. That gave both Syracuse leads to the offensive plays of Jimmy Boeheim.

  Shedrick would make his presence known again, tying the game 14 seconds later on his layup, at 47-47.

  Sophomore guard Reece Beekman would give the lead back to the Cavaliers at the 12:50 mark off of his own layup, bringing the game to 49-47 Cavaliers.

  Buddy Boeheim's third deep ball of the game would get the Orange to within one possession, 52-50, at the 11:44 mark.

  A little over two minutes later (9:24 mark), Jimmy Boeheim's layup would tie the game at 52-all.

  Clark responded 21 seconds later, taking the lead back for Virginia at 55-52.

  The Cavaliers would expand their advantage to just shy of double-digits, up nine at 61-52, with 6:29 to go in the contest.

  With a three at the 3:51 mark, Buddy Boeheim got the Orange within one possession, down 65-62, and gave himself at least 22 points in all of the last three outings for the Orange, having gotten to 28 points versus the Brown Bears and 22 versus the Cornell Big Red.

  However, Clark would respond immediately with his own three-ball, moving the Cavaliers back out to a two-possession lead, ahead 68-62.

  Buddy Boeheim would make two free throws out of the break to make it 68-64, and Clark continued his habitual behavior of responding to Syracuse, getting to the rim for a layup to bring the score to 70-64.

  A three by Buddy Boeheim with 1:19 to play, his fifth make from beyond the arc in this match-up (5-for-11), made it a one-possession game, 72-69 Cavaliers.

  Syracuse would miss its last three field-goal attempts, all from beyond the arc, en route to a 74-69 loss to Virginia.

  The loss brings the Orange to 1-1 in the ACC.

  Virginia moves above .500 in the ACC thanks to the victory, at 2-1, after previously defeating the Pittsburgh Panthers at home and losing to the Clemson Tigers in their home.

  The Cavaliers would make more than half of their attempts (30-for-57) in the game (52.6%), connecting on eight more shots than the Orange, with three less attempts than the Orange, who went 22-for-60 (36.7%).

  Half of Virginia's team would end the game in double-figures in scoring, with Clark and Franklin leading the way, each with 17 points, followed by senior forward Jayden Gardner with 15 and Shedrick with 12.

  The Orange were led by Buddy Boeheim, who had 27 points in 40 minutes, and was the only Syracuse player to not come out of the game. He has now scored at least 20 points in seven of the team's 13 games this season.

  Syracuse's only other player in double-digits in scoring was Buddy's brother, Jimmy, with 18 in 38 minutes.

  In a game where the Orange out-rebounded their opponent, 37 to 33 overall and doubled the offensive rebounds of the Cavaliers, 18 to nine, they still found themselves on the losing side of things, with Virginia scoring more points in the paint, 40 to 24, and points off of turnovers, 14 to seven.