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A Case of Nerves Watching Alma Mater Save Me Money

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 19:  Head coach Jim Boehei...

Jim Boeheim


I still get nervous watching my alma mater, Syracuse University, play a game that could send the basketball team to the Final Four in New Orleans. Even at my age.

I’m not going to tell you how old I am, but I will say that Jim Boeheim was an assistant to Coach Roy Danforth when I was at SU.

I had extra reason to be nervous Saturday before Syracuse’s 77-70 loss to Ohio State University. If they had won, I probably was going to have to spend close to $1,500 on flights, a room and two or three tickets for a priceless repeat experience in New Orleans.

You see, I took my older son to New Orleans in 2003 for Syracuse’s national title win over Kansas.

In any event, when I get nervous, I take notes. I also go on Twitter very occasionally and send a tweet. I’m not obsessed like some sportswriters who seem to think their followers need to know when every goal is scored in hockey.

I tweeted once Saturday. It was a message to CBS that I wish it would stop using the overhead camera angle because I really like seeing what is going on and that angle is so distracting that it is next to impossible to see whether shots are going into the basket.

I took a lot of other nervous pre-game, game and post-game notes, some of which I will now share.

You expect the announcers to be great in Elite Eight games. But here Louisville has a lead over Florida in the final seconds and a Gator is about to launch a shot to tie it and play-by-play man Kevin Harlan pronounces it is “for the lead.” Harlan later corrected himself. Too late. Know the score. Louisville won, 72-68.

Boy, CBS “expert” analyst Charles Barkley sure is all over the place. For at least a week, he’s been saying Syracuse’s loss of ineligible center Fab Melo will hurt if the team reaches the Elite Eight. And now he predicts “this will be a very difficult game for Ohio State.” Ut-oh.

Did you have the over/under at eight minutes about CBS play-by-play man Verne Lundquist mentioning the Bernie Fine case at Syracuse? For those scoring, it came up with 11:58 left in the first half.

I wish the announcers would tell us again what conferences these officials come from. Have they ever done or even watched a Big Ten or Big East game? All the fouls being called are distracting from the rhythm of the game. The refs are calling twice as many fouls against SU but the ones against Ohio State are sending its big guns to the bench. Call it a wash.

At halftime with the score tied 29-all, Barkley is talking about Syracuse’s “superior talent” but added Ohio State played better. I’m not sure the talent is all that superior

CBS analyst Bill Raftery is singing SU guard Brandon Triche’s praises after he hits a big three. “”He’s a big time player,” said Raftery. Raftery also was overly enthusiastic about Ohio State guard Aaron Craft every time he did anything defensively.

OK, I don’t want to sound like a homer but a replay just showed that there was a big phantom call against Syracuse, down two. “Come on,” says Raftery after the replay. “Wow,” said Lundquist. Not exactly analysis, but pretty revealing nonetheless. Once again, where do these officials come from and can you be sure they don’t make it to New Orleans?

With SU down 66-60, Lundquist plays the Fab card. “Most significant is the absence of Fab Melo,” he says. You think?

Time for post-game press conference. Boeheim looks and sounds philosophical. “Our offense hurt us,” said Boeheim. “We were not as patient as we’ve been.”

Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph look to be in pain. Especially Joseph, who didn’t have a great game or tournament. He holds back tears as he tries to answer questions. Tough to watch. But at least he’ll be making money somewhere next fall playing basketball.

Switch to ESPN, where Rece Davis, Jay Bilas and Hubert Davis are giving Boeheim big props for coaching in a year with so many distractions. “No question,” said Bilas. “A remarkable coaching job.”

“I love Coach Boeheim,” added Davis.

Then ESPN puts up the stats. OSU took 42 foul shots and made 31. Syracuse made 20 of 25.

I should have known things were going to go south after Sir Charles’ pre-game remark suggesting SU was going to win. Oh, well, look at all the money I saved.

Switch over to MSG for Sabres post-game show after another win puts them in the final playoff position for now. Maybe I can use the money I saved to buy hockey playoff tickets and watch a sport where the officials allow teams to play in the postseason and don’t call cheap penalties.

OK, that’s the homer in me talking just a little bit.


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3 responses to "A Case of Nerves Watching Alma Mater Save Me Money"

  1. Dave G says:

    God I though it was just me but I thought Raftery was embarrasing himself by his over praise of Craft. He gave him credit for simple passes to guys that hit huge big time shots. I don’t get it.

  2. powerlust says:

    Do you know that very few people care about Syracuse?

    Have a good one.

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