Tag Archives: Andy Rautins

Sweet Like Bear Meat!

…To quote Tracy Morgan.

Yes, Syracuse is back in the Sweet 16 after defeating Arizona State today. I don’t have time for a full recap of today’s game, but I wanted to look at the three keys to victory that I mentioned earlier on ASU blog House of Sparky. The Orange hit on all three today in their win:

1. Get Arinze Onuaku and Rick Jackson involved early.

This was obviously something that Coach Boeheim stressed to his players before the game, because the Orange had an inside presence from the beginning. The two big men combined for 10 of the first 20 Orange points, and both finished with double-digit scoring efforts. This was a key to getting open looks for Devendorf and Rautins against the ASU match-up zone.

2. Knock down some threes.

No problems with the outside shot today. Devendorf had five triples and Rautins added three threes of his own. 9-20 (45%) effort from long distance today, compared to the 2-16 showing in the first round. If the Orange shoot like they are capable of from outside, they can be a challenge to any team in the country.

3. Score, score, score!

I wrote that the Orange are 18-3 on the year when the reach the 80 point mark, and only 9-6 when they don’t. Well, they only got to 78, but against a team that was only giving up 60 points per game, 78 is a huge number. The Orange kept the pace where they like it and weren’t bogged down by ASU’s zone. Great offensive day for Syracuse.

Cory from House of Sparky was right on with his assessment on how to beat the Sun Devils. Pendergraph was forced out of the game with about ten minutes left (why did Herb Sendek leave him in there?) which eliminated any inside presence ASU had. While we did allow Kuksiks and Abbott to get open looks we kept the defensive pressure on ASU the eintire game, and limited the damage of James Harden. We also did a great job working inside-out on their zone.

All told, it was a very solid performance by the Cuse hoopsters. Next up is Blake Griffin and the Oklahoma Sooners.

How To Lose/How To Win Against ASU

After reading Sean’s great interview with House of Sparky over at Nunes, I contacted Cory from H.O.S. and asked him how Syracuse can beat Arizona State, and how ASU can defeat the Orange. His responses are below. I provided the Syracuse versions to this question on his site as well. Enjoy.

Three Ways ASU Can Beat Syracuse

Arizona State plays a 2-3 matchup zone that tries to limit interior scoring at the expense of leaving a fair amount of threes open for the opposition. Against a Syracuse team that shoots 34.3% from beyond the arc, this is a tricky proposition.

1. Extend the zone, forcing Arinze Onuaku to make plays.

With Jeff Pendergraph playing solid defense in the paint, Onuaku will be hard-pressed to shoot 66% from the field, like he has been doing all year long. Andy Rautins and Eric Devendorf are far too dangerous to leave open from downtown, so the extended zone will look to force the ball inside.

2. Stay out of foul trouble, Jeff Pendergraph.

Leading us to our next point. Without Pendergraph in the game, our defense takes on a different dimension, with backup center Eric Boateng down low. He’s not very good. He has very little control of his body once he gets some positive momentum, and is prone to hard fouls. Boateng is not a scorer, either, limiting our options on the offensive end.

Let me make this very clear: without the impassioned play of Jeff Pendergraph for at least 35 minutes tomorrow, Arizona State is in huge trouble. Pendergraph takes pressure off of James Harden on the offensive end, and is a force on defense.

3. Revive James Harden’s ailing game.

Harden hasn’t looked like himself since the Pac-10 Semifinal matchup against Washington. Against USC in the Pac-10 title game and Temple on Friday, Harden was focused on finding the open man instead of looking for his own shot. Are defenders catching on to his subtle nuances and shutting him down? I certainly hope not.

When he’s on, Harden has the ability to singlehandedly beat any team in America. He lacks motivation at times, but there will be no shortage of enthuasism tomorrow morning. With a fiery player like Eric Devendorf on the court, Harden will undoubtedly step up his game.

Three Ways To Beat Arizona State

1. Get Pendergraph out of the Game

ASU can be beat when you play with the right mindset. The first step is getting Jeff Pendergraph into foul trouble, as I mentioned before. We are paper thin in terms of size. With Pendergraph on the bench, the zone can be attacked by Onuaku and the strong drives of Jonny Flynn.

2. Keep the defensive pressure on/allow no open looks

Once this objective is complete, Harden now feels the increased pressure of scoring the lion’s share of points for ASU. Give him no room to make anything happen. Force Jerren Shipp and Jamelle McMillan to shoot when they are in the game.

Pressure Derek Glasser in the backcourt, as he is prone to turnovers when the full court press is on. Defensive intensity will help you. Be careful not to give Rihards Kuksiks, Derek Glasser, or Ty Abbott open looks from three, as they will make you pay.

3. Work inside out on offense

Finally, break the zone from the inside. After the matchup zone sags to protect the basket, Devendorf, Flynn and Rautins will be able to find an open shot from outside the arc. From a percentage standpoint, playing Syracuse is a logistical nightmare for Arizona State. From three or from the paint, the high field goal percentage plays into the hands of the Orange.

Thanks to Cory for the insight. Check his blog later more great post-game analysis.

Cuse Making Some Lists

Jeff from CollegeHoopsNet.com’s March Madness All Season blog has some tournament previews up, and the Orange fair pretty well overall from where Jeff sits. Here is a look at the Syracuse players on the lists as well as some potential tourney opponents:

Top 30 Three-Point Shooters: Andy Rautins is 16th. Potential second round opponents Arizona State (Rihards Kuksis, #3) and Temple (Dionte Christmas, #26) are also represented on this list.

Top 12 Backcourts: Orange crack the top 5 in this one, behind UNC (#1 seed in the South regional), Gonzaga (#4 seed in the South), Memphis, and Washington. Fellow Big Easters Villanova (7th) and Marquette (9th) also make the cut.

Top 10 Trios: UNC (#1) and Gonzaga (#10) make the cut in this one as well, with the Orange trio of Jonny Flynn, Eric Devendorf and Paul Harris coming in at 9th. While Harris is the 3rd leading scorer on the club and the leading rebounder, he has been horribly inconsistant of late. In the UConn game he finished with 29 points and 22 boards, but if you look at the other games he’s played recently, you’ll notice a pattern of mediocrity:

  • Marquette: 9 pts, 5 reb
  • Seton Hall: 4 pts, 6 reb
  • West Viginia: 6 pts, 4 reb
  • Louisville: 5 pts, 4 reb

Granted, fatigue played a huge factor in the WVU and Louisville . But with Jim Boeheim yanking him in and out of the lineup lately because of his inconsistent play and the emergance of Kristoff at the 4, I think Paul has had a rough couple of weeks. I think any success Syracuse will have in the NCAA tourney will only come if Paul brings his “A-game” to the table.

Then again, Arinze Onuaku makes Paul Harris look like Mr. Consistency by comparison. What the hell happened to A.O.? I guess I’m glad our back court is playing as good as it is.

We’ll hopefully have a Q&A with Jeff this week, including some more info on SFA.

Big East Tournament- The Final Countdown

I’ll admit, titling this post “The Final Countdown” is just an excuse to run this video:

Long live Gob!

Now, onto the Big East Tourney Final. Just writing that sentence gets me pumped. In fact, I haven’t slept more than six hours combined the last two nights. This team has gotten me jacked up to the point where I probably shouldn’t operate heavy machinery and I’m ok with that.

On with the preview with a look at some stats for both teams:

Louisville Key Team Stats Syracuse
73.9 Points scored 81.5
61.5 Points allowed 72.2
.450 FG% own .489
.391 FG% opposition .411
.361 3PT% own .350
.305 3PT% opposition .291
408 Offensive Rebounds 438
815 Defensive Rebounds 911
1306 Total Rebounds 1476
1.2 Assist/Turnover Ratio 1.2
17.2 Fouls Per Game 15.4

Syracuse actually stacks up quite well to Louisville on paper. The Orange score more and shoot better from the field (except from 3), but the key to the Cards is their defense. They are 2nd in the Big East in opponent FG%, 2nd in blocks, and 1st in steals. They are also 2nd in the conference in scoring defense. Interesting note- if Syracuse wins they will have beaten the 1st, 2nd and 4th best scoring defenses in the conference in three straight days.

Syracuse will have to keep up their recent trend of taking care of the ball, something that gets harder to do when you’re tired and you’re facing an opponent who likes to press, both of which are factors in this game. I have a feeling Devendorf, Rautins and even Harris are going to have to chip in to take some of the pressure off of Flynn. He is gassed and Louisville knows this. They will be in his grill all night and would be stupid to lay off of him as he has proven time and time again to be the heart of this team.

The key for Syracuse will be how they can rebound defensively in the zone with their tired legs. Louisville features three very good rebounders in Earl Clark (8.8 rpg), Terrance Williams (8.5 rpg) and Samardo Samuels (4.7 rpg). While Samuels doesn’t have the gaudy numbers of his two teammates, he is averaging 2.5 offensive rebounds per game, good for 14th in the Big East. In the January loss to Louisville at the Carrier Dome, the Orange gave up 21 offensive rebounds to the Cards, the most they gave up all season to an opponent. If Syracuse wants to win they need keep the Cards away from the offensive glass.

Can they pull it off? I’m not sure. But then again I didn’t think they would handle West Virginia after 6 overtimes. Tonight I think it catches up to them and they go down after a valiant effort. But a four or five seed could await them if they keep it close.

Louisville 70 – Syracuse 59

Canada Takes Early 2-0 Lead, USA Closes With 120-63 Run

Tonight Team USA dominated Canada 120-65 in an Olympic tuneup. Carmelo Anthony helped lead the way with 20 points on 7-12 shooting and grabbing 6 rebounds. Carmelo played well on the offensive glass, getting three easy put-backs in the lane off of his teammates shots.

It was a very uneventful evening for current SU player Andy Rautins: 16 minutes, 0 FG attempts, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 2 turnovers and 2 fouls. On the plus side he left the game with all of his knee ligaments intact. Rautins ran a little bit of point gaurd tonight for his dad’s squad, but it didn’t seem to matter: Canada committed 25 turnovers that led to 43 US points.

The US was running whenever they got a rebound or steal. Jason Kidd threw a nice full court pass to Carmelo, who in turn dished to Chris Bosh for a nice dunk. The US was a little sloppy in their own right, committing 19 turnovers. They were almost a bit too unselfish-sometimes passing once more than needed. But I’m sure they’ll pick up their play leading into Beijing.