March 12, 2007


Orange left off ‘dance list’

Boeheim disappointed with NCAA tourney snub


Associated Press/Darron Cummings
NCAA selection chairman Gary Walters responds to a question during a news conference in Indianapolis Sunday. He headed up the committee that selected this year’s NCAA tournament field.

AP Sports Writer

SYRACUSE — It’s been only four years since Jim Boeheim led Syracuse to its only national championship. On Sunday night, it seemed like a lifetime ago for the Hall of Fame head coach — his Orange were not selected to play in the NCAA tournament and he was stunned.
“I have no way of understanding why we’re not in the tournament. You look at the numbers and it’s hard to believe. But it’s done. There’s no use in talking about it,” Boeheim said calmly after addressing the team. “Their opinion is that those teams are better than us. I’m very disappointed. It doesn’t do any good to get angry.”
It was the first time Syracuse (22-10) failed to make the NCAA tournament since the 2001-02 team finished 23-13 overall and 9-7 in the Big East. And it’s only the sixth time in Boeheim’s 31-year career at his alma mater that his team was not selected.
Despite exuding confidence after Syracuse snapped No. 9 Georgetown’s 11-game winning streak two weeks ago and finished the regular season winning five of its final six games, Boeheim said he was nervous when the selection show began. The 16-team Big East landed only six squads in the tournament after getting eight in a year ago.
“I’m always worried,” Boeheim said. “I was worried all weekend. It’s happened to us before. The players and coaches are tremendously disappointed. We were 7-3 in our last 10 games. We felt that would be enough.
“I would imagine we’re one of the few, if not the only team ever in a BCS conference with a 10-win season that did not get in the NCAA tournament. I don’t know what the thought process is. What’s done is done. There’s not much I can do about it.”
After struggling through a midseason slump, Syracuse played its best basketball of the season in February, going 6-1, and also has a 5-5 record against the field of 65 teams selected to play in the NCAA tournament.
The wins: 72-58 over Big East champion Georgetown; 75-64 over Villanova; 70-58 at No. 18 Marquette; 72-64 over Holy Cross; and 78-60 over Penn. The losses: 74-66 to No. 13 Pittsburgh; 76-71 at No. 12 Louisville after blowing a 14-point second-half lead; 78-75 at Villanova; and twice to No. 20 Notre Dame, 103-91 at home and 89-83 on Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Big East tournament.
Good numbers. Not good enough this time.
“To say that I’m shocked would be an understatement. I was waiting for another bracket to come up,” said Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross, who planned to begin making calls to find out why Syracuse was bypassed. “I think it’s the shock of the country.”
“I’m amazed Syracuse didn’t get in,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said without being asked after his_Spartans were selected the ninth seed in the East Region with a first-round matchup against eighth-seeded_Marquette.
Syracuse finished the season tied with Marquette for fifth in the Big East at 10-6 and beat Connecticut in the first round of the Big East tournament before falling to the Irish.
“We had four league road wins and beat the best team in the conference by 14 points late in the year,” Boeheim said. “You look at our overall season, and it was better than some in the tournament.”
Boeheim has long been criticized for the Orange’s nonconference schedule, which this season also included wins over Colgate, St. Bonaventure, Baylor, Hofstra, Holy Cross, Canisius, Northeastern, UTEP, and St. Francis of New York. Syracuse did schedule difficult opponents in December in Drexel and Wichita State, and the Orange lost both games at home.
“I don’t think that has anything to do with it. We’ve been doing that for 31 years,” Boeheim said of the nonconference schedule. “Obviously, the committee thinks that Arkansas, lllinois and Texas Tech are better than us. If 10-6 in the Big East isn’t good enough to get in, then I don’t think we should be in the Big East.”
Now, the Orange, who suffered first-round losses in their previous two NCAA tournament appearances, have to get ready to play in the NIT. It won’t be an easy adjustment.
“It will be very difficult for them to get geared up,” Boeheim said. “The players are disappointed.”


Joslyn NCAA champ

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. — Distance runner C. Fred Joslyn became only the second SUNY Cortland athlete to win an NCAA Division III Men’s Indoor Track and Field title.
A senior from Chenango Forks, Joslyn captured the national title in the 5,000-meter run to highlight a strong showing by the Red Dragons as the two-day event hosted by Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology came to a conclusion Saturday.
Joslyn won in a time of 14:31.29, almost two seconds ahead of runner-up Jon Phillips of New York University.
“It feels so awesome to win this race,” said Joslyn. “I just wanted to stay toward the front. I knew I had a good kick, so I didn’t care if I was first or fifth as long as I could see the front ahead of me. I knew I could hang in there.”
He earned All-America honors for the third time, having finished fourth in the indoor 5,000 meters last year and was fifth in last year’s outdoor 10,000 meters.
Joslyn is the first national champion for the Red Dragons since Stefan Mascoll won back-to-back 55-meter dash titles in 1998 and 1999. Joslyn’s title also gives the Cortland athletic program at least one individual national champion across all sports for each of the last 21 years.
Cortland came a whisker away from having two other champions, too. Senior Christiana Acquaviva was second in the women’s 55-meter hurdles and junior sprinter Amaan Siddeeq was a runner-up in the men’s 55-meter dash.



Dragons win big in Sunshine State

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Junior Matt Vitalone went 3-for-5 with a homer, and sophomore pitcher George Jweid allowed four hits and one run before being lifted in the sixth inning, as SUNY Cortland opened its week-long Florida baseball trip with an 11-1 victory over Rowan University on Sunday.
The Red Dragons, ranked sixth nationally, improved to 3-0 with the victory. The Profs, ranked 27th nationally, are now 3-3.
Rowan, like Cortland, was a 2005 NCAA Division III World Series participant and fell one game short of a repeat Series trip last spring.
Vitalone drove in three runs with his hot bat. Junior John Giametta Jr. also homered and junior Cortland High grad Sean Caughey was 2-for-5 with a run-scoring double for the Red Dragons.
Jweid struck out seven and walked one for his first victory of the season. Junior Nick Baker struck out three and did not allow a hit or walk in an inning and a third, while senior Jason Hauck did not allow a hit, struck out two and walked two over the final two frames.
Cortland jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Senior Jim Basnight led off with a walk and advanced to third on an errant pickoff throw. Caughey doubled to drive in Basnight, stole third and scored on a wild pitch.
Rowan got a run back in the third on three straight two-out singles, the last a run-scoring hit by Tim Edmeads.
Cortland answered with three runs in the top of the fourth. Sophomore Paul Merriweather singled and went to second on a passed ball. Senior Travis Robinson walked and, two batters later, Vitalone singled to drive in a run. With two outs, junior Nick DeVito hit a two-run triple to right center.
Cortland picked up two more runs in the sixth on a one-out double by senior Dan Maycock followed by a Vitalone two-run homer. A two-run pinch-hit single by freshman Andersen Gardner and an error accounted for the Red Dragons’ three runs in the eight, and Giametta hit a solo homer in the ninth to close the scoring.