Sleeping with the Enemy: The Orange of Syracuse

Well this is it, the moment you've all been waiting for. The time when three of the best blogs on the internet representing the best rivalry in college basketball get to wage war upon one another in one of the greatest Q&A features of our time. As the 11th ranked Georgetown Hoyas get set to face the 2nd ranked Syracuse Orange in what could be the final battle between these two teams at the Carrier Dome, we here at THE GLOBAL PHENOMENON are bringing you all the Syracuse juice you could possibly drink, courtesy of Hoya Suxa and Troy Nunes is An Absolute Magician, two of the dandiest outlets for all things Orange on the world wide web. Gentlemen, these Bud Lights are for you. Once you're done reading this pleasant exchange, Casual answers to their questions can be found right here. Let's do this.

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Spelling Bee Champions. via sammyvegas.files.wordpress.com

Hello again.

HS:
Die.

TN:
Hello. I'm sure this is going to be a pleasant conversation devoid of acrimony.

More fun with Syracuse after The Jump:

I won't tell anyone, but just admit that you're embarrassed that Fab Melo and his academic issues got cleared that quickly so we can move on.

HS:
It's college basketball; pretty much everyone is a knucklehead. I'm pretty sure Victor Page wasn't spending his free time writing submissions for The Paris Review.

TN:
Actually of all the shady things that have happened on my watch while at Syracuse, this is near the bottom. From what I've heard, it was all above-board. Pretty sure far worse has happened involving our basketball players that didn't result in any missed time.

I am happy to talk about Fab using that free time to become our No. 1 tweeter. In the last three weeks he's started his own hashtag, debunked rumors, tweeted about his sorority "tutors" and made dubious statements about Tom Brady's girlfriend. It's an impressive run.

Let's fast forward again to March 22, 2012. Murray State is up one with 8 seconds left. Who is taking the final shot for Syracuse? Is this the team's fatal flaw? Who is the go to guy in the clutch? Do you envision hanging yourself with one of your "We're #1 In December" t-shirts when Syracuse inevitably loses in the Sweet 16?

HS:
Who's taking the final shot? Probably me; Jameson would be preferred. The list of my worries look something like this: 1) Rebounding; 2) Keita not looking like he's playing in a coma; Somewhere down the line) "Go to" player. Syracuse and Missouri don't have dominant usage guys and they've ended up OK. I'll take five/six guys that can skullfuck an opponent on any given night over having to rely on one or two guys to get 20 and win games.

TN:
I see you watch a lot of ESPN. Big Hubert Davis fan, you are.

When it comes to Syracuse's go-to guy "problem," it's not that we don't have someone to take the final shot. It's that we've got so many guys worthy of it that it's hard to say who takes it depending on the situation.

Right now in this moment I want Kris Joseph to take that shot. I trust him above all others. Three weeks ago, I would have said Dion Waiters. Peppered in there as well would have been Brandon Triche and, for a time, James Southerland.

Who do I KNOW is going to take the shot? Scoop Jardine. Not a doubt in my mind. Not a doubt in his, either. I say that while actually loving the new and improved Scoop, but I know deep down who he still is. He's the guy who thinks he's our go-to guy when it matters most. Live by the Scoop, die by the Scoop.

I purchased my "We're No 1" t-shirt solely as a rag to cry into when we inevitably lose in the Sweet 16. However, before that it will be worn proudly to commemorate Georgetown's inevitable loss in the Round of 32.

How many more years do you see Boeheim at the helm? Now that Bernie Fine has brought some scrutiny to the bench, do you still think Mike Hopkins is the automatic successor? Assume he isn't - who would be your ideal candidate to take over for Jimmy B?

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Conference realignment has not made Boeheim happy. via static7.businessinsider.com

HS:
I think Boeheim will play a season in the ACC, piss everyone off there, hang 'em up, kick Daryl Gross out of his job, take over the Director of Athletics position, and re-organize the Big East as a summer league on Newt's new moon base. There's no way that Hopkins isn't getting that job after Boeheim steps aside. The contract is iron-clad. But, if Hopkins -- for whatever reason -- doesn't ascend to the throne, I'd like to see a bear with a pork pie smoking a big ol' cigar and playing the organ grinder start coaching this team. That'd just be too adorable to say "no" to.

TN:
Well, Hopkins is locked into an iron-clad contract to be Boeheim's successor, so short of a bigtime college offering him the moon in the meantime, Hopkins is He Who Would Be King.

Honestly, I go back and forth on Boeheim all the time. At the height of this Bernie Fine business, I thought he'd call it quits at the end of the this season. However, I forgot that Jimmy B is a grudge-holding son-of-a-bitch. And as such, he will use all of the crap he's taken in the past four months to fuel him into working at least 3-4 more years.

He's made throwaway comments about looking forward to coaching in the ACC but he also makes throwaway comments about how he's probably going to retire soon every season. I would say that the desire to go head-to-head against Coach K and Roy Williams will keep him going at least a few years into the ACC transition.

About the only two things that will cut his career short at this point are any bombshells that drop in the wake of Bernie Fine's allegations and/or winning another National Title. He's probably looking at Jim Calhoun right now and thinking that the UConn coach should have left on top.

Going back to your question about who my ideal replacement for Boeheim would be if not Hopkins...great question, which is to say I have no idea. 2025 Syracuse head coach Gerry McNamara isn't ready yet. I don't think it has to be a "Syracuse man" per se. Anyone except a Thompson, I suppose.

Obligatory conference realignment question: If you had to pick 3 Big East teams to continue playing after you've moved on to the ACC, who would they be?

HS:
Georgetown, St. John's, and Connecticut. My level of shit giving to Villanova is barely registers; they're the pot and all I just want to get my business done. I personally doubt that Syracuse will seriously keep any of these on the schedule on a regular basis. It's not because I think there's any bad blood that'll keep these schools from scheduling Syracuse -- hell, in the end, it's just about selling tickets and those games will draw -- it's just that there isn't going to be room with an 18-game conference schedule, exempt tournament games, and all the rest. It sucks. Basically, the ACC took my blog away from me.

TN:
Arg, there's too many variables! I assume we're talking just basketball here. If that's the case, it's pretty easy.

1. Georgetown. Duh.
2. St. John's. Probably even more of a lock than you guys. We're going to play multiple times in New York City every year, one way or another.
3. UConn. Apologies to Villanova but the Huskies are just more our rival, especially as long as Calhoun remains.

Villanova is 3b, followed by Seton Hall. Eff Louisville.

Speaking of the ACC, how do you see Cuse fitting in to the hoops family over there? Sure, the first few games against Duke and UNC will be cool, but ultimately will you be pining for a game against Seton Hall when you're forced to watch the Orange against Wake Forest from your mom's basement?

HS:
Tobacco Road can suck my dick tits. I mean, Syracuse had to make the move, but they could win 50 ACC Tournaments in a row and it'll still be Duke and Carolina's show (which is still better than being in a conference where fucking Providence is calling the shots). I'm most pissed off about having Mike Patrick on more Syracuse games. That guy can drink gasoline and burp.

People are pumped about Duke, but I'm hate-neutral on Duke. There are only a few schools that actually have a legitimate beef with Duke -- Carolina, maybe Kentucky. Everyone else is just noise in the Duke universe, and if it isn't reciprocal then I can't get wood about it. The games against Carolina and Duke will be super competitive, which will mimic the situation that Syracuse has with Connecticut, but there isn't 30 years of history behind it. So, Syracuse ends up trading its best rivalry with Georgetown for an extra pro-style competitive game and a bunch of league games against, basically, Marquette/Notre Dame's and a bunch of Seton Halls. Whatever. I'll get over it.

TN:
On one hand, you're right. The idea of playing Clemson, Wake Forest and Florida State every year doesn't do much for me. But let's also be honest, yearly games against Seton Hall, Providence and St. John's are driven more by how things used to be than how they are today. I'm not trying to be a d**k here (okay maybe a little) but a lot of the Big East's longtime denizens just haven't been able to keep up.

I'm obviously looking forward to playing Duke and UNC every year. I'm personally excited for the Maryland rivalry, since I've always said we should be playing them all the time. And for what it's worth, the BC rivalry has history and a desire to crush one another. Everything else will take time, if it develops at all. It's the price we pay for sustaining our future.

Is this team's ultimate success going to be measured solely by whether they make it to New Orleans? In your mind, should this Syracuse team win the national title?

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New Orleans or Bust for Cuse? via www.thesportsbank.net

HS:
Knuckleheads will say so, but weird shit happens in a tournament. One bad night and it's "Good night, Irene." It happens to good teams at a surprisingly high rate. So, I don't measure success by round-achievement; there are just too many variables. If you really wanted to judge a season, I think you'd do it through the context of league performance. That's where you see a team shine or wilt because of the nature of the grind. As of now, I think Syracuse has enough to get to New Orleans, but if they run into another garbage matchup like they have the last two years -- Marquette because the committee was on acid last season; a good Butler team the year prior because Onuaku was out (eat all of the dicks, Georgetown) -- then I can't kill 'em for not making The Four.

TN:
Yes and yes. Let's not beat around the bush, this team has to go to the Final Four for Syracuse fans to consider it a success. Expectations are at "Final Four, at least" levels, which is always a dangerous thing in college basketball.

Postseason success is the only thing that ultimately matters. No one remembers the amazing season that the '91 Syracuse team had, they only remember that they lost to Richmond in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

And yes, I think this team can win the title. I think Kentucky, Ohio State, Missouri, Duke and a whole bunch of other teams can as well. If there's anything Syracuse and Georgetown fans can agree on, it's that the entire regular season means nothing once the NCAA Tournament starts. And once it does, anything can happen. And that's terrifying when you've been ranked No. 1 for a good portion of the year.

As the preeminent Syracuse bloggers on the internet, have you ever been, you know, ‘approached' by Laurie Fine?

HS:
I'd rather put my dick into early retirement than to touch that dumpster.

TN:
I have not and I have to admit there's a part of me that's offended by that. I mean, I've seen a lot of the guys who played for us in the early 90's. Not exactly a bunch of lookers.

Some of us were planning on going to Milwaukee this year for the Georgetown-Marquette game but the game sold out before we couldn't even log onto the website. Apparently it is their Senior Day or something and they only gave Georgetown the minimum amount of tickets required by the Big East. We are furious at this injustice! What is the best way to make a complete fools out of ourselves by complaining about a home team giving home team fans priority access to tickets? Should we make T-shirts? Write letters to the commissioner? Alert TV stations? Go anyway and hang out at the local Clyde's?

HS:
OK, I'm going to veer off the map here and tell you a story about that morning at the Verizon Center.

So, I had taken the Acela down to D.C. that Friday night. (Incidentally, if you don't want to fly, the Acela is easily the best way to get from New York City down to D.C. You can park your ass in the quiet car, get hammered to the bejesus on vodka tonics, and enjoy some P.J. O'Rourke on your Kindle Fire for three some-odd hours. I highly recommend.) I had gotten up early on Saturday to take a run out by Union Station and over through the Capitol Hill area. As I was putting in my four miles, I could hear some chanting and stuff over by Verizon but didn't think twice about it; I just thought that there was maybe a pep rally or something going on.

I get back to the hotel, shower and change, and head over to Clyde's about 8:30 to meet some friends and put back Tom Collins' (because I wanted to fit in with you Nantucket-summering-clowns). I'm walking up F Street and the chants are getting louder; I don't even think twice about it. I turn the corner on to 7th and, BOOM: There's a couple hundred Georgetown students lined up, assumedly tuned up, screaming their face off. Then, there's me: bright orange Syracuse hat; bold orange hoodie with "Syracuse" across the chest; and six-feet and 160 pounds of legitimate concern regarding whether I had brought my medical insurance card with me. At this point, it was too late to turn the corner and take the long way around to Clyde's. When you brand Hoya Suxa with your face, recognition becomes a bit of an issue (especially when your brand recognition is high for a small, boutique issue). Well, the "Fuck you, Hoya Suxa's!" started flying, the gesturing from the movable baricades started, people started showing me with a particular finger that I was number one. All I could do at that point was walk up the street, call back with the Hulk Hogan "I need to hear you!" hand-to-ear gesture, and just get my ass into Clyde's.

The best part was a girl, had to be about 19, with a "Hoya Saxa" shirt that turned to me just before I got into Clyde's. She shook my hand, commended me on my confidence, and then said, "If you would've died out there, I would've spit on your grave."

The bartender at Clydes put my first shot on the house because my hands were shaking like crazy. All in all, it was a good day, and that's the crap that I'm going to miss when Syracuse is in the ACC.

TN:
Oh God, did they pull that National Marquette Day nonsense on you?

First of all, you guys had that coming last year. If you don't want Syracuse fans to take over your stadium, build a bigger stadium. Wah.

Second of all, so long as you're relatively confident you can win the game, make as much noise about it as you can. Write blog posts, make sassy viral videos, make witty signs to bring to the game, etc. And after you win the game, gloat the s**t out of it.

Learn by watching us. We're very good at that.

Who do you see being the top 4 teams in the Big East when all is said and done?

HS:
Like, at the total end of the Big East? Probably Providence, DePaul, Seton Hall, and St. John's because they'll be the only schools that are too silly to keep trusting John Marinatto to pilot Big East Airlines. This year? Syracuse, Georgetown, Marquette, and maybe Louisville. The Big East Tournament is going to be a shit show this year. There's probably eight teams that could win it this year.

TN:
Syracuse, Georgetown, Marquette and Notre Dame. I know, I'm throwing the Irish in there because they beat us, but seriously, do you want to play that team with an NCAA seed on the line? I'm terrified of that giant goon Cooley. And what's the deal with Notre Dame and ugly white guys? It's an easy joke but it's kinda ridiculous at this point.

You could throw Louisville in there but I'm pretty sure they're losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. They just feel like a 7 seed that loses to a directional school. Just a hunch.

You've been tasked with starting Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician University. Who is your first choice of the Big East coaches to run the program? Who is the last choice of Big East coaches?

HS:
Right now, I might take Huggins or Buzz Williams. Huggins gets me to a spot for a decade or so where my program is in good shape and he doesn't have really old balls. Williams is a fire cracker that turns chicken salad into a better, more saleable chicken salad. On the other end of the spectrum, I'm not touching Calhoun. There's tons of reasons why, but mostly because I'd probably burn him at the stake three months into his contract to prove that he's a witch and then I wouldn't have to pay him any dimes due to my totally worth it "If you're a witch, I don't pay you" contract clause.

TN:
At the risk of getting thrown off the bus by Syracuse fans, I think I'd probably go with Jamie Dixon. We all know that Pitt is about to make a monster run and turn into the most dangerous 19-10 team in the Big East Tournament. This year aside, he's done a pretty impressive job over there and they had our number for a long time.

I fully expect them to be back next year, I mean, in terms of play quality, not in the actual conference.

My last choice is probably Calhoun. Not because I think he's terrible, obviously, but let's be honest, he's not gonna be coaching for much longer. I've got a long-term vision for the Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician Runnin' Rabbis and it doesn't include a coach who's gone in 1-2 seasons.

Syracuse has been praised because of its depth. Do you see this becoming an issue next year as some may transfer for more playing time elsewhere?

HS:
No. What I'm worried about next year is if Syracuse is going to win the Big East by two rather than three games.

TN:
I'm not concerned about transfers so much as I'm concerned about players leaving early. There's no doubt in my mind that Dion Waiters is gone after this season. None. He's already getting first-round grades from scouts and he's got an ego the size of Baltimore. He's gone.

The question is whether or not Fab Melo leaves early. Don't laugh! No, I don't think he's ready and I'm leaning towards him staying, but he could be one of those "potential" draft picks. I don't think he's leaving but I would not be too shocked.

Here's the thing, even if they do, the cupboard is going to be restocked. We've got Dajuan Coleman (no relation) and Jerami Grant (actual relation to Horace) coming in, plus Trevor Cooney will join the team AND there's the chance Nerlens Noel and his glorious hair could be in orange.

Depth will not be an issue next year, quality of play could be, though.

It's your last meal in Syracuse, NY. Where are you going and what are you ordering?

HS:
No brainer: Dinosaur BBQ. The great thing about Dinosaur is that it's a mix of styles from across the country; you'd don't need to settle on just beef or pork or whatever. The hybrid style they've developed -- which is rapidly becoming the New York standard -- is beautiful. If we're talking last meal -- like, they're going to wheel me out of there when I'm done and put me directly into the grave -- I'm going to gorge myself with the Tres Hombres: pulled pork, brisket, a 1/4 rack of ribs, cornbread, salt potatoes, and barbeque baked beans. If it's just my last meal at Dinosaur for just a few months, I'm going with the pulled pork and brisket platter with cornbread, salt potatoes, and macaroni and cheese. Both, obviously, with a couple of pints from Middle Ages Brewing Company.

TN:
I'm almost positive I will be banned from my own blog if I don't say Dinosaur BBQ. I know what you're thinking...barbeque...in Central New York? But seriously, it's good. And the place itself is like the Hard Rock Cafe if the Hard Rock Cafe wasn't corporate, wasn't overpriced, had amazing food, actually cared about music and was full of bikers.

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Documented. via farm8.staticflickr.com


How does this game play out? What is the final score?

HS:
No clue. I could see Georgetown winning by 10, I could see Syracuse winning by 10. I don't think it'll be a blowout either way. If Thompson and Clark start bombing away, Syracuse is in deep shit. If Syracuse can get their stuff going inside and Lubick and Sims get knocked around a bit, I think it puts Syracuse is a good spot. I don't think they'll play this one out of the 60's, so give me Syracuse, 65-63. If you're taking the first half, I'll go Georgetown, 28-24.

TN:
You want me to predict a Big East basketball game? In 2012? Are you insane? Every time I do this I am so far off from what actually happens that it's laughable.

All I will say is that I obviously expect Syracuse to win but I expect a great game in front of a very loud crowd who will, hopefully, not throw debris at you. Syracuse 68, Georgetown 63.

And a good day you, sirs and madams.

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