Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day of the Dolphins at Carrier Dome for stunned SU hoopsters

Syracuse voters elected their first female mayor Tuesday night, but that wasn't the biggest story in the Salt City. Not by a long-shot. No, the most newsworthy story of the day was LeMoyne College's shocking 82-79 upset of SU in an exhibition basketball game.

Think U.S. hockey team vs. the mighty Soviets. Think tiny Chaminade vs. a University of Virginia basketball team that featured 7-foot-4 Ralph Sampson. Think Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson.

Yes, it was only a practice game, so to speak, and it won't count against SU when the NCAA tournament selection committee convenes in mid-March.

Still, you never expect a Division II team - even a good one - to knock off the nation's 25th-ranked Division I team.

SU guard Andy Rautins, who is from Syracuse, called the loss "embarrassing.''

In recent years, Division I programs have been allowed to play two preseason exhibitions against DII teams. As a favor to LeMoyne, which is located only a few miles from the SU campus, Jim Boeheim always schedules one of them against the Dolphins. These are supposed to be final tune-ups where the DI club barely breaks a sweat.

As stunning as this upset was, I wouldn't put too much stock into it. SU still is going to boast an NCAA-bound team this winter. But you can rest assured that this was a serious wake-up call - like an air horn going off in your ear at 3 in the morning.

Let's just say that practice today could be very interesting.


Although I'm an SU alum, I'm happy for LeMoyne, and their coach Steve Evans. Like moi, he is a Rome, N.Y. native, so I always like to see fellow Romans succeed.

Steve's dad, Stan "Buddy'' Evans was a legendary high school hoops coach at Rome Free Academy and a superb junior varsity baseball coach. I learned more baseball from him in my one season of JV ball than I did in all my other years of playing the game combined. Buddy Evans wound up coaching junior varsity baseball with great success for nearly 40 years, which must be some kind of national record. I feel badly that he never got an opportunity to coach baseball at the varsity level. He truly was deserving.


I said the Yankees in seven, so I'll stick with that prediction, but I won't be displeased if I'm off by one game.

1 comment:

Max Robertson said...

Some of the greatest coaches of all time were Modified to Junior Varsity. That's where the real teaching goes on.