3 questions with Matt Dagostino

Matt Dagostino is a 2005 alumnus of Syracuse University and currently, the host of “The Young Guns” on 790 AM “The Zone” in Atlanta. Prior to that, he was the studio host for TBS’ Hot Corner on MLB.com and has also been a baseball play-by-play announcer for Chicago White Sox affiliate, the Kannapolis Intimidators, the Wilson Tobs of the Coastal Plain League and Toronto Blue Jays affiliate, the Auburn Doubledays, in 2005.

Recently, he sat down with The Juice Online to answer a few questions.

The Juice: Tell us more about your show, “The Young Guns.”

Matt Dagostino: My show, “Young Guns,” is a show on Sports Radio 790 The Zone in Atlanta. It is me and three other guys, all in our 20s. We won a contest to host a nighttime sports talk show. We beat out somewhere between 150-250 other people — the numbers always change, every time they tell us — in a “come one, come all” format. So, regular Joes walked off the street to compete, as well as people who had previous radio/broadcasting experience. I’d like to think the fact that Newhouse was attached to my name played a part in me being one of the winners.

We host a show three nights a week from 7 to 9 p.m., and it can be heard locally in Atlanta but also on the Web at 790thezone.com. We talk a lot of local sports, especially college football, which reign supremes in the south. But, we also touch on national sports topics as well.

TJ: What do you think of this year’s Syracuse basketball team?

MD: Living in the South and no longer having DirecTV, I haven’t been able to watch every SU game this year like I have in the past. But, thanks to ESPN3.com, I’ve been able to follow them pretty closely so far.

I’ll admit, the way they came out of the gates had me worried. It seemed like every game, they were up or down by no more than two or three points at the half to marginal teams. I think Jim Boeheim, while embellishing some things for motivational purposes, was right in his assessment that this year’s team was “the most overrated team he’s ever coached.”

Then came the Michigan State game. I watched that game and wondered, where was this team earlier in the season? They showed me — and everybody else — a lot that night, and they’ve carried it over to the other games since then. Now, they’re beating teams by 20-plus points, instead of having to work down the stretch to eek out six- and eight-point wins.

Individually, I think most of us expected Rick Jackson to be the solid contributor on the team this season. But, I don’t think anybody expected him to do it the way he’s done it. I mean, we’re talking legit double-doubles on almost a nightly basis. Scoop Jardine has been solid as well. I think Kris Joseph is working his way through becoming “the guy” on this team on the perimeter, and he’s capable of doing it most nights. The freshmen, as a unit, have underperformed somewhat compared to the expectations.

Fab Melo has not lived up to his billing. Dion Waiters has impressed the most out of the freshman class. C.J. Fair has proved himself to be useful. And Baye Mousse Keita has shown he’s capable of providing solid minutes. None of these guys look like one-and-done — or maybe even two-and-done — kind of guys. And we all know one thing, Boeheim and Bernie Fine will make sure those guys improve each and every season.

TJ: How far do you think the Orange will go?

MD: They’ve got potential. To me, they don’t seem like a powerhouse school, even with a No. 5 ranking and an undefeated record.  But, I look around and wonder who, outside of Duke, really is a powerhouse school this year. This team looks capable of winning a couple games in the NCAA Tournament, maybe more or maybe less.

With conference play starting Tuesday, we should begin to learn more about how tough this team will be. I have an ongoing argument with a co-host of mine on the radio [an Ohio State alumnus], who says the Big Ten is the best conference this year.  At the start of the year, I believe they had three of the top four teams in the country.  Now, Syracuse has beaten Michigan State, and the Big East has five of the top 10 teams in the nation.  I still don’t see any conference being better than the Big East, regardless of how many teams it has in the conference.

As always, I’ll wait until the Orange starts banging with the Pitts, Georgetowns and Villanovas of the world before I make a final judgment of how good they can be.  But for now, they’ve handled the tests that have come their way.

Check out more with Matt Dagostino and “The Young Guns” on http://www.790thezone.com/.

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