Blogging Around The Big East: Boeheim 'Clears Air' While Waiters' Rumors Swirl

Dion Waiters (3) of the Syracuse Orange drives to the basket against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Petersen Events Center on January 17 2011 in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

-- Visit SB Nation's Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician for everything Syracuse Orange.

A few days after a stunning 90-68 loss to the Seton Hall Pirates Tuesday night, the Syracuse basketball program (No. 9 in the AP poll and No. 10 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll) is still trying to right the wrongs of its current three-game skid before Saturday's contest at the Marquette Golden Eagles (3 p.m.). Things have gotten dicey enough in the city of Syracuse that on Thursday afternoon, Orange head coach Jim Boeheim conducted an impromptu interview on a local sports-talk radio show, "On The Block" with Brent Axe. Boeheim apparently wanted to clear the air about comments he made after the loss to the Pirates.

"..Boeheim is upset with anyone saying this team 'quit' or that they 'lacked effort.', wrote Sean Keeley of SB Nation's Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician who transcribed and paraphrased parts of the interview. "He felt as though his players gave effort but just played a bad game."

"I thought we gave an effort. I always think that when we're behind or struggling we have to do more," said Boeheim.

On Wednesday, Axe opened his show talking about Boeheim's post-game comments and how it seemed like the SU players quit during Tuesday night's loss. Boeheim called in Thursday to make sure SU fans knew that players didn't quit. Before the interview, many thought Boeheim was calling into Axe's show to address rumors that freshman guard Dion Waiters had been dismissed from the team -- according to some media members, which included Axe, Waiters had told coach Boeheim to "(bleep) off" during Tuesday's loss.

"Whenever we have any announcement about one of our players, we will make an official release and everybody will know at the exact same time," Boeheim told Axe.

Currently, no one on the team has been suspended. After listening to the interview, there was no indication by Boeheim that Waiters won't be with the Orange for Saturday's game. Also during the interview, Boeheim addressed if Waiters swore at him and the coach said he didn't hear anything. However, Boeheim did say Waiters could have said something behind his back but since he didn't hear anything it wasn't an issue.

If there are any updates on Waiters, SB Nation New York will have them.

The upcoming Syracuse basketball schedule features three straight road games: First, the Orange are at the Marquette Golden Eagles on Saturday (3 p.m.). Next week, SU will play at No. 5 Connecticut Huskies, Wednesday (7 p.m.), and at the South Florida Bulls, Saturday (2 p.m.).

On Wednesday night, a lot went down in the Big East Conference. The biggest story was the Providence Friars upsetting the visiting No. 8/7 Villanova Wildcats, 83-68.

"There's a lot to be upset about in terms of last night's game," wrote Chris Lane of The Nova Blog in his 'The Good, The Bad, The Ugly ' recap. "But I think what killed me most was that we showed NONE of the fight that we've been famous for this season."

"Barely over 30% shooting for the game (it felt more like under 20%) including 2-16 and 2-10 efforts from Corey Stokes and Corey Fisher respectively. We almost let Providence score 50 points in the 2nd half. I'm going to throw up."

The Providence basketball program doesn't have a blog at SB Nation, however, I'll give a much earned kudos to the Friars (13-8, 2-6). Providence, which is better than it's record indicates, began Big East play with an 0-6 record. However, last week the Friars beat the No. 23/19 Louisville Cardinals, 72-67. Senior guard Marshon Brooks, the nation's third-best scorer, netted a team-best 20 points in Wednesday's victory. Villanova (17-3, 5-2) has lost two of it's last three league games.


FG 3PT FT Rebounds Misc
G M M A Pct M A Pct M A Pct Off Def Tot Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG
2010 - Marshon Brooks 21 35.1 8.1 16.8 48.3 2.0 6.0 34.4 5.2 6.6 79.0 2.4 5.1 7.5 2.1 3.0 1.8 1.3 2.1 23.4

In the nation's capital, which was blanketed by yet another snow storm, the No. 21/20 Georgetown Hoyas beat visiting St. John's Red Storm, 77-52. The Hoyas (15-5, 4-4), who lost three of their first four conference games, are now .500 in league play.

"Make no doubt about it, Georgetown loves the snow," posted the Casual Hoya's Hire Esherick on Thursday. "Not the type of snow Villanova players liked; I'm talking hardcore, unadulterated, white precipitation that shuts down an entire region and inspires the basketball team to throttle opponents. First Duke, then Villanova, now St. John's - all wins by double digit margins. LET IT SNOW, ALL THE DAMN TIME."

The Johnnies (11-8, 4-5), who won their first three league contests, have dropped three straight conference games. Pico Dulce of Rumble In The Garden had these post-game reactions on Thursday.

"As the Red Storm try to make it back through the uncleared, car-clogged snowy streets of the District of Columbia in the THUNDERSNEEZE or THUNDERSNOW, they are obviously wondering how where the crispness of the early season - the effectiveness of the offense and peskiness of the defense - went."

The St. John's basketball schedule has the Red Storm hosting the No. 3 Duke Blue Devils on Sunday (1 p.m.) at Madison Square Garden. Next week, the Johnnies host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights Wednesday night (9 p.m.) and then travel to the UCLA Bruins on Saturday (1 p.m.).

The Cardinals (16-4, 5-2) rebounded for Saturday's loss to Providence with a 55-54 victory over the West Virginia Mountaineers (13-6, 4-3) on Wednesday night. Sophomore guard Peyton Siva scored the game-winning basket with 4.5 seconds to go in the game

Senior guard Joe Mazzulla scored a game-best 18 points for WVU, which lost what SB Nation's The Smoking Musket thought was a winnable game.

"That's a hard one to lose," wrote WVUIE97. "Honestly, with only 8 guys available, I was impressed with the fight this team put up against a good team on the road. But, moral victories count for squat and that was a winnable game."

The visiting Rutgers Scarlet Knights (12-8, 3-5) had their two-game winning streak snapped Wednesday by the Cincinnati Bearcats, 72-56. Senior forward Jonathan Mitchell scored a game-best 20 points for Rutgers. Senior forward Rashad Bishop netted 20 points for Cincinnati (18-3, 5-3).

"Ultimately, the Bearcats were just too deep," Dave White of On The Banks Rutgers on Wednesday night. "Rutgers did what they could. They trapped, they tried to play smart, but it wasn't all there this game. Rutgers couldn't find the open shots they wanted. Every breakdown happened at a key moment in the game. Need a basket? Turn the ball over instead. Need a rebound? Cincy gets a few offensive rebounds on one possession."

The Cincinnati blog Down The Drive had this take.

"The biggest difference between the first half and the second half in my mind," wrote Matt Opper Wednesday night. "Is that UC went to their "Red" press, or maybe it was the "Black" press. I know it wasn't the "White" one, it was the one where they stick Darnell Wilks or The Wildebeest on the ball. That was the turning point in the game IMO, not the Technical Foul that Mike Rice incurred."

Thursday night in the Big East features the DePaul Blue Devils (6-13, 0-7) at USF (9 p.m.). DePaul will try and make my bold prediction come true. Check out the rest of this week's Big East basketball schedule here.

Would you like to contact Jared? Please do so by e-mail: JaredSmith16@gmail.com or via Twitter: Jared_E_Smith.

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