The Dag Bag – 1/12

Got a question for Matt? Email him at and he’ll answer it in his next Dag Bag.

Were you worried by Syracuse’s performance against Seton Hall?

Not really, to be honest.  Was it a dismal first half scoring performance?  Yes.  Twenty points in a half is never a good sign.

Was the game a little closer than I would’ve liked?  Sure.  But, it was the Orange’s first true road game of the season.  You had to expect it was going to be a bit different than normal.

Did I expect two Seton Hall players to out-rebound the entire Syracuse team, a team that out-rebounds its opponents by an average of five per game?  It was definitely a little disconcerting.

But, if you remember back to last year’s game against the Pirates, Herb Pope (20 rebounds on Saturday) had 17 rebounds in the game.  This guy averaged close to 11 boards a game last season.  The dude can clean the glass.

And, lastly 19 missed free throws is atrocious.  But what Jim Boeheim team is ever well-equipped to shoot very well from the charity stripe? I always assume free-throw shooting will cost Syracuse one game a year.  So, if its performance from the line against Seton Hall didn’t cost them the game, imagine what will happen in the game where free throw misses do cost them the game.

In assessing the Orange, it’s safe to use Boeheim as a barometer.  When he’s upset about the team’s play, you should be, too.  When he’s OK with it, so should you.

After the close win over Seton Hall, Boeheim was asked how the team was able to come away with victories in so many of these kinds of games.

“It must be coaching,” Boeheim said. “Coaching or good luck.”

If he’s all right with it, I am, too.

What can we expect from the football program now?

Following the Pinstripe Bowl win and the rest of bowl season, things are looking up for the Syracuse Orange football program.  Head coach Doug Marrone has got the team moving in the right direction after his second season, one or two years ahead of schedule.

Granted, the team loses a lot of the nuts and bolts of the defense, its strongest facet of the game this past season (that is, until the Pinstripe Bowl game).  But, consider this:

– Syracuse finished fourth in the Big East standings behind UConn, West Virginia and Pittsburgh.

– UConn’s head coach, Randy Edsall, bolted town for Maryland before the team could even land its flight back from its Fiesta Bowl shellacking.

– West Virginia has made Bill Stewart a lame duck coach next season as Dana Holgorsen becomes the coach-in-waiting.

– And, Pittsburgh hired Todd Graham last week, the program’s third head coach this month.

With all of the coaching moves, it will take each of those schools a year or two to adjust to the new regimes.  Meanwhile, Marrone’s crew lends some cohesion and stability to the Syracuse program.

The other schools are perhaps more likely to tread water or take a step back while the new coaches instill their philosophies.  However, Syracuse looks like it will continue to be on the rise.

So, by 2012 when TCU enters the Big East picture, Syracuse may very well have the second best program in the conference behind the Horned Frogs.

There’s been a lot of talk about Carmelo (Anthony) being traded. Where do you think he ends up?

I do a lot of work for NBA TV and, and that has been the million-dollar question around here the last two days.

Everywhere I turn, I hear his name.  Normally, I would love it because I have such a healthy, yet inexplicable man-crush on the guy.  But, nowadays I cringe to hear his name because I don’t think this situation has shown him in the best light.  But that’s for a different day.

Where do I think he lands?  I’m not entirely sure, but my gut tells me he’s not getting traded this year.  And I think I’m in the minority in thinking that way.

Here are the reasons I think the trade won’t be consummated:

1.  Melo wants to win, doesn’t he? If this trade gets done, you’re looking at a Nets team that consists of Melo, Brook Lopez, Richard Hamilton, Chauncey Billups and a supporting cast of guys like Jordan Farmar, Travis Outlaw, Kris Humphries and Sasha Vujacic.  Is that a team that’s capable of making the playoffs?  Yup.  Is that a team that’s coming out of of the East?  Absolutely not.  But, this brings me to my second point.

2.  Chauncey wants a buyout if traded.  Billups is a Denver guy.  He played his college ball at Colorado.  Playing for the Nuggets is a homecoming for him.  And, when he’s done with his playing career, he wants to work in the Denver front office.  If he wants a buyout when he gets to New Jersey, that’s a main cog in the deal that vanishes for nothing.  Why would New Jersey sign off on that?

3.  Denver wants to include Al Harrington.  That would be Al Harrington with four years and $28 million left on his deal.  That would then erase any salary relief the Nets might gain from the trade.  Again, why would they sign off on  that?

4.  Melo’s first choice has always been New York. That would be the Knicks, not the eventual Brooklyn Nets.  Let’s face it, the Knicks don’t have nearly the amount of assets to pull off a deal for Carmelo this year.  But, if Anthony waits til the end of the year, he can opt out of his contract and become a free agent. Yes, I know that means he may have to accept less dollars on a contract after the Collecting Bargaining Agreement.  But, he could certainly make up for that in endorsements in the Big City.  And, then the Knicks wouldn’t have to give up anybody and could surround Melo with Amar’e, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Ronny Turiaf, Toney Douglas and a still-raw Anthony Randolph.  I think that’s a better supporting cast than New Jersey would have with Carmelo.

Now, I could write this and he gets traded tomorrow and I look like a joke — wouldn’t be the first time.  Do I see advantages for Denver, New Jersey and Carmelo to get this thing done sooner rather than later?  You betcha.  I’m not sure all the wants and needs of everybody will match up for a deal to get done.

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

About Matt Dagostino 115 Articles
Matt currently works as an on-air talent and producer for Turner Sports in Atlanta, where he is from. Among his responsibilities are voicing over highlights for,,, and He has also served as an associate producer for TNT’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs and TBS’s coverage of the MLB Postseason. Matt also has experience as a minor league baseball play-by-play announcer and as a PA announcer in D-I college athletics. Matt graduated from Syracuse University in 2005.