The NCAA Tournament isn’t just crunch time for the players

first_imgST. LOUIS — It was loud and crowded in the Syracuse locker room as noon approached at the Scottrade Center on Thursday.All seven players in the Orange’s rotation spoke with a small crowd of reporters. A group of players and team personnel hunched around an iPad to watch the start of Duke-UNC Wilmington. Walk-on Adrian Autry yelled over the noise to offer his side of an age-old debate: “There’s no difference between shoes and sneakers. There really isn’t.”But SU assistant coach Mike Hopkins holed up in the back-right corner of the room with a laptop resting on his lap. In between shaking hands and fielding questions here and there, Hopkins worked on his “personnel report” for Michigan State. If 10th-seeded Syracuse (19-13, 9-9 Atlantic Coast) beats seventh-seeded Dayton (25-7, 14-4 Atlantic 10) on Friday, Hopkins is expected to have a full-on scouting report on the second-seeded Spartans by Saturday morning. Adrian Autry, another SU assistant, is doing the same preparation for Middle Tennessee State in case the Orange wins and the Blue Raiders pull off a colossal upset over MSU.Gerry McNamara, Jim Boeheim’s third and final assistant coach, has been working on the Dayton scouting report all week. But Hopkins and Autry have also been helping out with that, and Syracuse will do its Dayton walkthrough at a local St. Louis high school Thursday afternoon. Once SU was included in the NCAA Tournament bracket Sunday, the whole coaching staff looked at the Midwest region and split up the scouting work between the three former SU guards.Now that plan’s in full swing — and while the players prepare to face the Flyers, the assistant coaches are doing that while staying one step ahead.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOr two steps. Or even three.“Last few days I’ve tried to prepare by really staying up and doing work, not sleeping too much at all. I just go, you’re used to it, you know?” Hopkins said. “… I woke up in the morning at 6 a.m. today and you have your computer propped up and I have all the games and I’ll start watching them.”After hours of combing through game tape and statistics, this is what Boeheim expects his assistants to provide for a given team: a typed scouting report, personnel notes on all the rotational players, and a seven-minute video with 45 to 50 possession that highlight offensive and defensive tendencies.Boeheim will start by watching the “extended” tape on an upcoming opponent, Hopkins said, and the assistants are responsible for cutting 25 minutes down to 15, then 15 minutes down to around seven.“It’s like being a director of a movie at the end,” Hopkins said. “What makes the cut? What makes the final cut? You have to put together the best stuff so Coach has all he needs for the collective video session we do.”Pulling this off — the planning, the time management, the lack of sleep — has grown easier with experience.When Hopkins first started as an assistant in the mid-90’s, he didn’t travel for recruiting and did all of the opponent scouting reports. Two days before the Orange lost to Kentucky in the 1996 national championship game, Hopkins quickly ate dinner with his brother John before the two pulled an all-nighter watching Wildcats tape. Two days before SU beat Kansas in the 2003 national championship game, Hopkins remembers staying up until 5 a.m. watching film while a writer from Sports Illustrated hung out in the room.For the staff as a whole, a Final Four run in 2013 and wins at the Maui Invitational (2013–14 season) and Battle 4 Atlantis (this season) have made these quick turnarounds feel like second nature.“I mean they just know everything, and it no longer surprises me at all,” SU guard Trevor Cooney said. “They’re always working, always watching teams play regardless of who our upcoming opponents are. It’s like clockwork all the time.”On Thursday morning, as excitment bounced off the locker room walls, Hopkins dragged Colby Wollenman’s headshot into a template on his computer screen. Wallenman, an off-the-bench big man for Michigan State, is averaging 1.2 points in 6 minutes per game this season. But Hopkins has to be ready for anything, so he started to type Wollenman’s measurables into his personnel report.Forward. 230 pounds. 6 feet 7 inches.Then his focus snapped and he smiled. The rest, “the good stuff,” will go onto the page when there aren’t as many people around.“It’s going to be an all-nighter,” said Hopkins, and there was a hint of excitement in his voice. “If we are fortunate to win on Friday against Dayton and move on, there won’t be any sleep Friday night.” Comments Published on March 17, 2016 at 4:23 pm Contact Jesse: | @dougherty_jesse Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Superlatives from Syracuse’s 1-0 loss to Michigan in 1st round of NCAA tournament

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 11, 2017 at 1:35 pm Contact Billy: | @Wheyen3 ANN ARBOR, Mich. – No. 14 seed Syracuse (12-7, 2-4 Atlantic Coast) lost to No. 3 seed Michigan (20-2, 8-0 Big Ten) in the first round of the NCAA tournament, 1-0. The first half was a stalemate and Syracuse held firm in the second half even after going down a player to a red card. In overtime, though, U of M won on a sudden-death goal from Meg Dowthwaite.Here are superlatives from the game:The Big Moment: Meg Dowthwaite’s game-winnerUnder 90 seconds into overtime, Michigan crossed the ball toward the penalty spot. Dowthwaite reached out with the side of her stick and deflected the ball at Borg van der Velde. It went to the right of Syracuse’s keeper and into the goal. Senior defender Lies Lagerweij dropped to a squat and put her head in her hands.Syracuse had to play overtime with just five field players after an earlier red card to Elaine Carey and the open space proved too much to defend.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLowlight: Elaine Carey red cardCarey tipped a shot over the goal with just under 20 minutes left in the game. As the ball moved the other way, one official blew his whistle and pulled a red card from his pocket, directed at Carey. She possibly tangled up with the defender on her near the penalty spot but it was unclear what specific action drew the red.Syracuse had to play 19:30 of the game down a player after the first red card given to the Orange all season. It left the Orange playing in a formation lacking a forward as SU kept its defense intact. There weren’t many outlet options for Syracuse for the rest of the game.Stud: Laura HurffSyracuse needed to defend for much of Saturday’s match and Hurff was central to that plan. While much of the team stayed around a set spot, Hurff appeared to have free reign to cover ground and go win the ball. She jumped passing lanes to intercept the ball, tracked back on defense to catch up to odd-player rushes for Michigan and proved vital on defending corners.With under a minute left, Michigan was awarded a corner and looked to score a decisive goal. But Hurff flew off her goal line when the ball was inserted and got to the shooter to get a piece of her shot. She stifled the play Michigan drew up and gave the Orange a shot to force overtime.Dud: Syracuse offenseMichigan entered the game with the second-best goals against average in the country. Much of its effectiveness at limiting SU offensively was possession. U of M possessed the ball for a majority of the game at even strength, and then controlled the ball for almost all of the last 20 minutes once Carey was sent off.Even when Syracuse had the ball, it was unable to create any chances. SU had two corners but didn’t create much from open play. Roos Weers had a strong shot that Michigan keeper Sam Swenson saved with her right leg to deny the Orange in really its only chance on goal.Highlight: Emma Tufts’ through ball to Jennifer BleakneyLate in the first half, Tufts picked up the ball just past midfield. Two defenders closed in on her but she flipped the ball between them to lead Bleakney down the left side of the field. After making it all the way into the arc, Bleakney was able to direct the ball across the center. Neither Erin Gillingham nor Carey were able to get a clean shot on goal, but Syracuse eventually drew a corner.SU couldn’t convert off the corner when Weers’ shot was deflected wide, but the Tufts through ball may have been Syracuse’s best play – and ensuing best chance — of the first game. Commentslast_img read more