The Syracuse Orangemen. The No.4 Orangemen looked awesome last night against No.8 Villanova in a 95-77 victory. They should be N0.1 this week. With No.1 Kansas losing and No.2 Kentucky losing, the 'Cuse should move up to No.1. Purdue is No.3 in the country and they're a very fine basketball team though they took a huge hit when star small forward Robbie Hummel was lost for the season with a torn ACL on Wednesday. Still, the 'Cuse is awesome. They are the great team this country has been lacking this year.
A lot of experts have been saying Kansas is the best team and some were saying Kentucky, but I like the 'Cuse (27-2, 14-2). They clinched the Big East title with their win last night before 34,616 fans, the largest attendance for an on-campus college game ever. They were awesome.
Six guys scored in double figures for the 'Cuse. Rick Jackson had 19, Arinze Onuaku had 17, Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph had 16, Wesley Johnson 14 and Andy Rautins had 12. Rautins, the guy who makes them go, had eight assists. Johnson had 10 rebounds and Onuaku had nine boards, eight on the offensive end, and three blocks.
They've got it all: they play incredible defense in Coach Jim Boeheim's 2-3 zone. They are long, they cover the floor and they really get after you. The only concern for the "Cuse would be an injury because they go only seven deep, but a bad injury would cost anybody. Still with a seven man rotation they need to stay healthy and avoid foul trouble. But overall, they look better to me than anybody else.
They rebound so well. They had 22 offensive rebounds last night. They can really pass, too. When they aren't shooting great, they overcome it with hustle. Rautins is a great three-point shooter though.
The Big East, to me, is the SEC of basketball without a doubt. They have nine quality teams this year. The 'Cuse, 'Nova, West Va., and Pitt are locks for the tourney. Marquette, Louisville and Gtown have a little work left, but should get in. Notre Dame and UConn have to do well in these last two games and in the tournament to make it in and even Seton Hall has a shot. It's just an amazing conference.
For example, Notre Dame defeated Pitt at home by 15 this week and then went on the road to beat Gtown yesterday. That's playing quality basketball and it was with their top player, Luke Harangody, on the bench with a bruised bone in his knee. He's missed the last four games with that injury.
Notre Dame plays a lot like Duke. Their coach, Mike Brey, was a long time assistant for Coach K. Duke has a very fine team for that matter this year.
My number one seeds are: 'Cuse, Kentucky, Kansas and Duke if they win the ACC Tourney. If they don't they still have a shot, or it may be somebody from the Big Ten for that fourth number one: Ohio State or Purdue.
But as Bob Knight said last night, who cares if you're number one, two or three; you've still got a good shot regardless.