Got a question for Matt? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and he’ll answer it in his next Dag Bag.
1. How do you think SU will do the rest of the way?
Well, the Orange has four games left on the conference schedule: (1) Hosting Rutgers (2) At Villanova (3) At Georgetown (4) Hosting DePaul.
Syracuse should win the Rutgers and DePaul matchups.
And, I’d like to think it could win either the Villanova or Georgetown game, but I couldn’t tell you which one. So, let’s give the Orange three more wins, putting it at 11-7 in the Big East.
Currently, SU is eighth in the conference but just a half game behind fourth. So, there could still be plenty of jostling down the stretch, but it seems like it’s headed for one bye in the Big East Tournament, not two.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Orange as a five-seed in the NCAA Tournament at this point. My feeling still remains this team is capable of being a Sweet 16 team. But, I could see it not even getting that far.
2. What kind of effect do you think Jim Boeheim’s rant [following SU’s win over West Virginia on Monday] has on the players?
Hardly any effect at all in this instance.
This rift was strictly between Boeheim and the media. There are times when a coach can go off on the media and it will have an effect on the team.
For instance, remember back during the Big East Tournament a few years ago when Boeheim proclaimed, “We wouldn’t have won 10 (bleepin’) games if it weren’t for Gerry McNamara?”
Well, that kind of tirade lets a player know coach has his back. That can inspire confidence.
There are other instances in which a rant could have a negative effect on the team if it leads to a big distraction and drags on.
I don’t see this being a case like that.
3. OK, I’ve had enough of this. [Former SU star] Carmelo [Anthony] is going to the Knicks one day. The Nets another. The Lakers the day after that. Do you still think he’s staying put in Denver?
– Melo fan
I do, despite a new rumor seemingly every single day. Let’s look at the options:
Knicks – The latest rumored proposal had Denver sending Melo and Chauncey Billups to New York for Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Eddy Curry and at least one future first-round pick.
That’s a steep price. Yes, you get Billups, too, if you’re the Knicks. But Felton has been good in that system. Gallinari is a useful piece. And, do the Knicks even have a first-round pick anytime this decade? I’m only 37 percent kidding when I ask that question.
For New York, it has little incentive to give up useful pieces when it has a great chance of getting him in the offseason. The only useful piece that is truly expendable is Wilson Chandler, whom Anthony would take up the bulk of the minutes at his position, and due to the fact that he’s going to be a restricted free agent and will be due a pay raise, will probably price himself out of the team’s budget if Melo is on board.
Lakers – Melo for Bynum has some merits, but the Nuggets would not get the financial relief they covet. And for the Lakers, I’m not convinced they need Melo. What they need is to play better. They obviously have the pieces in place to win a championship. And Bynum gives them that unique quality of having two good 7-footers when Bynum is healthy.
Nets – Reports today indicate the Nets have reached out to the Nuggets in an effort to rekindle talks about Carmelo. New Jersey can give Denver the best package in return for Anthony, but it has already ceased talks once. Was that just a negotiating ploy or is the gap too wide to close?
And, with all of these teams now, time is running out. With a week to go until the trading deadline, time is of the essence.
Will the time constraints cause Denver and one of these teams to have a greater sense of urgency? My guess is nothing will be worked out by the 24th and Melo remains a Nugget through the end of the season before departing for the bright lights of Madison Square Garden in the offseason.
Matt Dagostino is a Senior Columnist for The Juice Online. He is also a host on the “Young Guns” on Sports Talk 790 The Zone in Atlanta. See more at http://www.790thezone.com/youngguns/