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For over 25 years, Bob Matthews has held the title of Rochester's most popular sports writer/commentator. For over 20 years, Bob has hosted WHAM's nightly sports talk program...consistently ranked at the top of his time slot!
From 1978 to 2012, Bob Matthews was a sports columnist for the Times-Union and Democrat and Chronicle and a regular "As the Sports World Turns" contributor to the Gannett News Service. He is the only person to be selected Press-Radio Club Sportswriter of the Year (five times) and Sportscaster of the Year, and was a pioneer inductee into the Frontier Field Walk of Fame.
A Rochester native, Bob graduated from Brighton High School where he played varsity baseball, basketball and served as student council V-P. Bob is also a veteran, serving his country in Vietnam.
Always opinionated and outspoken, Bob's proudest accomplishment is advocating for Frontier Field. His all-time favorite athlete...former Red Wing Luke Easter. One of his sports regrets……not being around for the glory year of the Rochester Royals.
For a change, Syracuse will not be highly touted entering the college basketball postseason. There are no great expectations for the Big East Tournament starting Wednesday afternoon against Seton Hall – let alone the NCAA Tournament.
Remember the impressive 18-1 start this season? Coach Jim Boeheim warned that his team wasn’t THAT good. The Orange are 5-7 and I’m wondering if they’re THAT bad.
I say somewhere in between.
If SU can get its act together it might surprise. If SU plays the way it has lately, it could lose in the second round of the Big East and NCAA tournaments.
The loss at Georgetown last Saturday was beyond embarrassing. The Orange lacked intensity and energy. They were outhustled and appeared confused and disinterested.
In two losses to the Hoyas, SU scored 46 and 39 points.
The key to a turnaround is the backcourt – Brandon Triche, Michael Carter-Williams and Trevor Cooney.
For 19 games, Triche and Carter-Williams appeared to be among the top-five guard combos in the nation. They’ve been mostly brutal since. Here are their numbers in SU’s seven losses during the 5-7 slump to end the regular season:
Triche 25x90 from the field (.278), including 4x35 (.114) from 3-point range…26 assists…24 turnovers
Carter-Williams 32x85 from the field (.376), including 5x25 (.200) from 3-point range…25 assists…25 turnovers.
Triche has appeared lost on the court. His confidence appears shot. His leadership has disappeared. He’s playing more like a raw freshman than a polished senior. At times he appears to be playing hurt.
Carter-Williams often tries to do too much. He’s supposedly headed for the NBA draft. He isn’t ready. He’s less ready than Jonny Flynn was and how much did leaving SU after his sophomore season help him? He was the No. 6 pick in the 2009 NBA draft. His most recent team was the Melbourne Tigers of the Australian Pro League.
Red-shirt freshman Cooney, by all accounts an uncanny long-range shooter in practice, might improve with experience, but he hasn’t been the zone-breaker SU was hoping for this season: .312 (39x125) field-goal percentage and .264 (24x91) three-point percentage…3.7 –point average in 30 games.
SU might surprise in the next few weeks but I’m not counting on it.
YOU MIGHT NOT AGREE WITH ME BUT…
The better Tiger Woods plays, the more interest in the PGA Championship at Oak Hill in early August. Sunday’s WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral was his 76th career victory. If he hasn’t returned to peak form, he’s close. He needs 9 more wins to top Sam Snead’s PGA Tour-record 84. I like his chances much better now than one or two years ago.
Manny Ramirez is scheduled to report to the EDA Rhinos of the China Professional Baseball League. He’s eligible to return to Major League Baseball but no team is interested – yet. He played winter ball in the Dominican Republic for the first time in 18 years in an attempt to show MLB scouts he still can hit at age 40. In 181 at-bats, he hit .298 with 8 HRs and 27 RBI. His MLB batting line: .312; 555 HRs; 1831 RBI…Hard to believe he couldn’t help a team as designated hitter. Like the Minnesota Twins, maybe?
Derrick Rose’s return to the Chicago Bulls has been delayed by sore hamstrings. He’s trying to return from reconstructive knee surgery. Why risk it? The Bulls would need Rose at 100 percent to have any chance of knocking off the Miami Heat in the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoffs. Why rush him?
Shawn Evans is one player the Rochester Knighthawks shouldn’t have traded. He’s playing for the Calgary Roughnecks and leads the National Lacrosse League in scoring (72 points; 25 goals and 49 assists in 11 games).
Give the Los Angeles Lakers credit for improving from 17-25 on Jan. 23 to 16-6 in their last 22 games. They figure to make the playoffs. Kobe Bryant won’t accept anything less. But they probably couldn’t beat Oklahoma City or San Antonio in a best-of-seven series. I think the Los Angeles Clippers also would beat the Lakers, but it would be very interesting.
STATS AND FACTS…
The special teams of the Rochester American really are special. Entering this week, Rochester ranks 2nd in the 30-team AHL on the power play (22.0 percent; 56x255) and 3rd in penalty killing (86.1; 199x231)…Rochester ranks 10th in average home attendance: 6,457. The AHL average is 5,650.
The parent NHL Buffalo Sabres aren’t nearly as proficient on special teams: 30th on the power (11.8 percent; 11x93) and 23rd in penalty killing (78.7 percent; 82x93).
Miami, Denver, Oklahoma City and San Antonio are a combined 110-14 at home this NBA season.
The Baltimore Orioles were 54-23 in games decided by one or two runs last season.
This is the 30th anniversary of the final season for the CBA Rochester Zeniths.
The New York Yankees had 30 grand slam home runs in the past three seasons. No other team had more than 14.
PGA Tour leaders: Money won -- Brandt Snedeker $2,859,920 (in 5 events); Tiger Woods $2,671,600 (in 4 events)…Scoring average -- Tiger Woods 68.48; Charl Schwartzel 68.677; Brabdt Snedecker 68.834.
NBA point differential leaders: Oklahoma City +9.7 points per game…San Antonio +8.6…Miami +7.3…Los Angeles Clippers +6.8.
The Los Angeles Dodgers will have 10 players making at least $11 million this season.
Craig Anderson (Ottawa Senators) leads NHL goalies in goals-against average (1.49) and save percentage (.952) by wide margins. He last played in the minor leagues with the 2006-07 Rochester Americans (23-10-1 record; 2.56 goals-against average); .919 save percentage).