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Clu reviews some amazing happenings from the world of Syracuse. Apologies from Jobu for the tardiness of this post. Don’t blame Clu, folks!

Two weeks ago, Syracuse was in the midst of finals week, you would have thought that nothing was going to go on in college basketball right? You guessed wrong! There was a massive breaking story that started to develop late in the week in regards to about 95% of all the non-football members of the Big East basketball conference, which is monumental for the basketball world. Thankfully, this gave me something to write about. There’s also the fact that Syracuse hoops started back up over the weekend in both Men’s & Women’s hoops. So let’s get started!

Quarterback Ryan Nassib Named First Team All-American

Nassib's 2012 accomplishments did not go unnoticed!
Nassib’s 2012 accomplishments did not go unnoticed!

When this story broke Sunday afternoon, I was shocked, impressed and proud of course. Pro-Football weekly’s nominations are a little different from the other All-American nominations, which are done through the NCAA. The All-Americans are  determined based on thorough and extensive feedback from NFL scouts and coaches, who take into consideration how players from multiple positions grade out both in their assignments and by the quality of critical playing traits… All that fancy terminology means that they look at a players skill, football temperament, instincts and try to recognize players that they expect will become outstanding players at the professional level.

For their Quarterback selection, they chose Ryan Nassib. I’ve covered Nassib extensively throughout the 2012 season, and he has done a fantastic job leading Syracuse to come from behind wins, setting school records, etc. I guess many NFL scouts have recognized what he has done as well. I mean scouts to see him as a steal because he is ranked as the #10 QB to enter the up coming NFL draft. Of course, his stock could rise or fall depending on how well he performs at the NFL combines, but for now, congratulations, Ryan. Hopefully the success he had at Syracuse will translate over when he plays professionally.

Womens Hoops Rolls Past Binghamton

Elashier Hall helped Cuse to a big win last week.
Hall helped Cuse to a big win last week against Binghamton.

Saturday afternoon, the women’s hoops team was in action against SUNY Binghamton. The Orange got out to an early lead and never gave it up, taking a 30-17 over the Bearcats into halftime. Elashier Hall led the Orange in scoring with 14 while they cruised to a 68-45 win. With the win, the Orange are now 10-1 on the year and looking to continue a strong season. Kayla Alexander also added 12 points and blocked 4 shots to make her Syracuse’s all time lady shot block leader. It also happened to be the 300th block of her career. Despite the Orange’s mediocre shooting (31% from the floor, 35% from three-point range), defensive contributions from many key players made sure that Binghamton stayed at bay was never able to find any momentum.

Coach Boeheim Gets Closer to His 900th Career win! ‘Cuse beat Canisius

Boeheim accomplished what only two other coaches ever have. (Kevin Rivoli/AP)
Boeheim accomplished what only two other coaches ever have. (Kevin Rivoli/AP)

As mentioned before, Coach Boeheim was sitting on win #899 Monday night. His team was at home and set to go up against a very formidable University of Detroit team. Many felt this was going to be a trap game for the #3 ranked Orange because the Titans were a very good team shooting from beyond the 3-point line. For the first half of the game, you could have guessed otherwise, as Detroit only scored 21 points in the first half and their shooters couldn’t make a three pointer to save their lives. Syracuse cruised into halftime with a 40-21, Michael Carter Williams, who ranks first in the NCAA in assists, was dealing, while James Southerland showed his hot hand from beyond the 3 point line making 5 threes and finishing with 22 points on the night. Boeheim was 20 minutes away from winning his 900th career win.

Then the second half started up and, while I was watching the game, it almost felt that Syracuse just decided to put it on cruise control. When that happened, Detroit started hitting three pointers and throwing up alley-oops like they were up by 35 instead of down 20. The Orange got sloppy on D and then Detroit started to mount a comeback with a 16-4 run in the second half of the second half (if you follow me). The Titans managed to cut the lead to 3 at 67-64, ‘Cuse. With about a minute to go, Detroit had no other option than to start fouling Syracuse, which sent them to the line to make their free throws. MCW stepped up and made 5 out of 6 of his free throws and he finished the game with 12 points and 10 assists for his 6th double-double in a row. Syracuse ended up winning 72-68 and going to 10-0 on the season. Boeheim got his 900th win and joined two legends in Bob Knight and Mike Krzyzewski as the only three coaches to get to the coveted 900 win mark.

Here’s a little history about Coach Jim Boeheim for those of you who dont know much about him. He came to Syracuse as a walk-on player 50 years ago… 50! He was roommates with, and played along side of Syracuse great David Bing, who is actually the current Mayor of Detroit. Boeheim helped lead the Orangemen (cause they were called that) to their first final four appearance in 1975 as an assistant, then took over as head coach in 1976, taking Syracuse to three national championships and winning his first national title in 2003. The rest, as you know, is history. Congrats Coach B on your 900th win!

Departure of Seven Schools Leave the Conference in Doubt

This once meant something, but not anymore. (Jacquelyn Martin /Associated Press)
This once meant something, but not anymore. (Jacquelyn Martin /Associated Press)

This was truly a sad day for Big East basketball, mostly due to many recent moves that involved the Big East Football program (Rutgers going to the Big 10 and Louisville to the ACC). Many of its non-fbs schools became upset with the direction in which the conference was going. The “Catholic Seven” schools unanimously voted to leave the Big East Conference and form a new conference. Many of the schools were original members of the Big East when it formed back in 1979; Georgetown, Seton Hall, Providence, St. Johns, Villanova, Depaul and Marquette. Some of these schools felt they were being labeled as “second class,” and they decided that it was in their best interests to disband as a group. Because they left as a group and not individually, a stipulation in the NCAA rules stated that they are not required to pay an exit fee, compared to some of the schools in years past who left as individual members. The schools are set to leave the Big East conference after the 2015 season.

Now how exactly did all of this unfold? Many people look at what the conference has done on the football field, as in the lack of direction from the Big East football commissioner. His actions would send a shockwave that directly impacted the decisions that these schools made to disband from the Big East on the basketball court. With the departures of Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame (in basketball), West Virginia, Louisville and Rutgers, the Big East was left scrambling to fill in some big program voids. They solved the problem by band-aiding the issue. They brought in football dominant programs from other conferences like San Diego State, Houston, Tulane, SMU, Boise State, Central Florida and Navy. Out of all of these additions, the Boise State and San Diego State additions drove me nuts. These schools are not geographically on the east coast… As a matter of fact, they are on the west coast, so how can an east coast conference allow these other schools?!  Because the majority of the moves were football driven. The conference has become obsessed with looking for bigger football revenues, none of these schools are known for their basketball teams, which (in all respect to Big East football) is what the conference was originally known for.

Big East hoops was started in 1979, about 12 years before Big East football. Their idea was to have this conference of northeast powerhouses to compete with the SEC/ACC and become one of the premier basketball conferences in the nation. Even when they expanded in the mid 2000s to add Louisville, Marquette and Cinci, they only became better. It was only a few years ago that the Big East sent 11 of its 16 teams to the NCAA tournament, 11! thats unheard of in basketball. And of course, every year it seems that the Big East always has 6-8 teams ranked in the top 25. This move is not fair for the other programs, such as Georgetown or Villanova, who rely heavily on their basketball programs, to be disregarded because the football conference wants to bring in SMU or Tulane. This is not the level of competitiveness that Big East basketball has been known for.

Some of these Catholic Seven urged the Big East not to add in some of these other programs, but they did it anyway. These schools fought back and they left the Big East a shell of the shell of the original conference it had already become. The only question that I have with these schools that are set to leave is where do they think they can compete on a revenue standpoint? It has already been proven that college football generates way much more money than college basketball.

So what now? What will become of the remaining Big East schools and the new programs who agreed to come to the conference for football? Will these new schools reconsider their moves now that the basketball conference has all but disbanded? What do teams like Temple, Cinci, South Florida, and UCONN do? All have some real issues they need to resolve and fast. Do they beg to go into the ACC? The Big 10? Maybe even some of the mid majors like the Atlantic 10? What ever they decide, the Big East is a joke and no longer the powerful conference it once was.

This post is dedicated to those children and staff who tragically lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown CT.

About Big League Clu

Clu Haywood leads the league in most offensive categories, including nose hair. When he sneezes, he looks like a party favor. Also, he's been known to hit the ball "too high" and alleges to have illegitimately fathered Jake Tayor's non-existent children. You can also find him on Twitter @bigleagueclu