Tricks and treats for Syracuse football and basketball

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Is it a trick or treat this year for men’s hoops?

Halloween always brings a lengthy To Do List. Candy supply? Check. Jim Boeheim and Dino Babers masks? Check. Costume for the family pet? Check. So as you prepare for the pending candy coma sure to befall your kids, let’s take a look at some tricks and treats relative to the Syracuse football and men’s basketball teams.

Trick

Stop me if you’ve previously come across this news bulletin but the basketball team has yet to land a commitment from the 2017 class. But since Syracuse is involved with a handful of recruits who are the best of the best in their class, landing a blue chipper or two will take time and effort. An abundance of playing time to offer as bait sure doesn’t hurt either. Conventional wisdom says that once JB lands that first big fish…cough…Quade Green…cough…others will quickly follow given the chance to play with a point guard of his stature. With the early signing period right around the corner, fans should receive some clarity soon.

Treat

Never mind potential recruits, have you seen this year’s roster? Syracuse is a wagon! And a versatile one at that! After receiving a late commitment from freshman Taurean Thompson and plucking grad transfers John Gillon and Andrew White III from the college free agents list, the Orange reloaded for a shot at back-to-back final four runs.

Trick

After earning a 31-17 signature win over Virginia Tech in which Donovan McNabb, Stephen Brominski and Troy Nunes weren’t needed, Syracuse could’ve easily suffered the classic letdown on the road one week later against Boston College. BC hadn’t won an ACC game since defeating Syracuse at the end of the 2014 season. The Orange was its own worst enemy as it committed 16 penalties for 135 yards, had three turnovers, missed a field goal and surrendered an 89-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

» Related: During bye week, Syracuse football can taste a bowl game invite

Treat

Despite a litany of miscues, Syracuse hung on to beat BC by making key plays on offense and defense when it absolutely had to. Previous Orange squads would’ve shrunk in the moment and given away a game it dominated in all facets except the scoreboard. A few years from now fans might be looking back at the VaTech and BC wins as a true turning point

Trick

Speaking of schedules, the basketball team’s ACC portion has a less than desirable Saturday slate of home games; Pittsburgh, BC, Florida State, Virginia and Georgia Tech are all the Dome crowd gets. And none of those are scheduled to be night games. Additionally, Syracuse plays Tobacco Road royalty North Carolina and Duke only once each.

Treat

But, the Duke game is at home. And the last five games of the regular season are certainly worth watching. Syracuse plays Louisville twice along with the aforementioned Duke. The other two contests are both against Georgia Tech. As Josh Pastner works to rebuild the Yellow Jackets, having those two games at the tail end of the season might come in handy as the Orange will certainly be fighting for ACC Tournament seeding, and, ideally, the regular season crown.

Trick

A record of 4-4 through eight games certainly is a sign of progress especially since SU surrendered a combined 157 points in losses to Louisville, South Florida and Notre Dame. But as Lee Corso has been known to say, not so fast my friend! The remaining four contests include a road trip to Clemson, a visit from Florida State and a season finale at Pittsburgh. Only a home contest versus NC State seems legitimately winnable.

Treat

Babers told the fans that they’re going to like the cake he and the players are baking and that they shouldn’t eat the batter. If he bakes cakes as well as he delivers post game speeches, the coming seasons are going to be sweet!

Happy Halloween! Except to those of you who give out boxes of raisins instead of candy. Disgraceful!

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About Steve Auger

Steve Auger is a freelance writer whose work has covered a variety of topics including sports, pets, parenting, healthy living, local government and human interest stories. His work has been published on Care.com, Tom’s of Maine, Purina’s Petcentric.com and the Westford Patch. Steve’s been a diehard Syracuse sports fan for over 25 years. To this day, the words “Smart takes the shot” still make him cringe. Follow him on Twitter @Corner_Cube.
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