Thursday, March 17, 2011

Will Scoop (Jardine) deliver? That's the big question facing SU in NCAAs

Two scoops might be desirable at your favorite ice cream stand, but two Scoops haven’t always set well in the stomachs of Syracuse basketball fans.

We’re talking, of course, about Orange point guard Scoop Jardine, a polarizing player who has been both good and bad this basketball season.

He has made clutch shots with games on the line and he has made bonehead decisions with games on the line. Continuing with the ice cream metaphor, his play been both palatable and ajada-inducing, often within the span of mere seconds.

Consistency has not been a hallmark of the fourth-year junior’s play, and that’s why I can’t agree with Jay Bilas’ assessment that the ‘Cuse will be headed to Houston and the Final Four. I just think that at some point Scoop is going to serve up one of those head-scratching turnovers or low-percentage shots that turns victory into defeat.

I do believe, though, that SU will make a run. On my bracket sheet I have them reaching the Elite Eight before getting bounced by Kentucky, who I have upsetting the East’s top seed, Ohio State. My other Final Four picks: Pitt, Kansas and Duke, with the Jayhawks winning it all.

I also believe there will be several early round upsets. I like 13th seed Belmont knocking off No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 12 Clemson beating No. 5 West Virginia and No. 11 Gonzaga over No. 6 St. John’s.

Interestingly, Bilas, a Dukie whom I think is the best college basketball analyst on television, has three Big East teams reaching the Final Four – SU, UConn & Pitt, with Kansas winning it all.

For Syracuse to go that far, they will need consistency and judicious decision-making by the aforementioned Jardine, take-charge play by Kris Joseph, hot-shooting by Brandon Triche and some contributions from freshmen bigs Fab Melo and Baye Moussa Keita.

Can’t wait to see what unfolds. Let the madness begin.
If they had a tournament for the all-name team, I believe SU would win hands down. Besides Scoop, Baye Moussa and Fab, you have Mookie Jones. Tough name line-up to beat.

Of course, the best of the interesting names in college basketball belongs to Jimmer Fredette of BYU. Other ‘name-players’ I would include from this year’s NCAAs: Shabazz Napier (Connecticut); Hippolyte Tsafarack (Memphis); Vander Blue (Marquette) and Dash Harris (Texas A&M).
COMING ATTRACTIONS: I’ll be on Bob Matthews’ radio talk show on WHAM 1180-AM tonight from 7-8, so give us a call to talk about the NCAAs and sports of all sorts at (585) 222-1180.

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