Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
3/12/2006 12:43:00 AM
The Floor Scene
G-Mac got the last laugh.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
NEW YORK -- In an effort to avoid writing the same Gerry McNamara story that's been posted for the past three days -- not that it hasn't been scintillating, it's just been repetitive -- we take you inside the scene on the court after Syracuse's 65-61 win over Pitt in Saturday's Big East title game:
- Minutes after the buzzer, approximately 10:20 p.m.: G-Mac is wrapped in his second mammoth bear hug in as many days by ex-Orange great Derrick Coleman, who says to the guard half DC's size: "You've got a heart of a lion. There ain't no quit in y'all."
- As McNamara, who scored 14 points and dealt out six assists in the final, takes the podium at center court to accept his Big East championship ring, a 'Cuse assistant coach standing nearby yells, in jest, "Overrated!" (This, in reference to coach Jim Boeheim's tirade from Wednesday.) Hearing that comment, McNamara allows himself a brief smile.
- McNamara, standing on the floor holding his second piece of hardware -- the tournament Most Outstanding Player trophy -- to a small group of reporters: "We proved a lot of people wrong. We could've come down here and played bad and been in the NIT. It looks like we're going to the dance." That they are. From off the bubble to automatic bid in one weekend.
- McNamara huddles with his brother, Tim, and father, also named Gerry, and passes the bronze M.O.P. award to Tim. "They certainly have a flair for the dramatic," Tim said a few minutes later. "There was no doubt this game was going to come down to the wire either way. They wanted it. Everybody on this team wanted it. That showed the last four days."
- At the behest of the mob of Syracuse fans crowded along the edge of the floor, McNamara removes his white, "Big East Champions" t-shirt and dons a new, orange top with "3" on the back, and across the chest, in block lettering, "OVERRATED?!!" He laughs sheepishly, poses for a few cameras, and takes off the statement-tee.
- It's 10:44 p.m., and a fan yells, "Take it down, Mac!" as McNamara slowly climbs the ladder to slice the final strand of the net on one of Madison Square Garden's rims. He clips a few pieces, throws them into the crowd, and then takes down the remainder of the dangling twine. Four riveting days in New York. High drama. A shocking champion (a nine seed!) to the first Big East tourney of the 16-team era. And the resurrection of G-Mac, the shooting star from the 2003 national title game, whose best days, many thought, were behind him.
the real mvp was nichols and his outside shooting. McNamara is indeed overrated. He is similar to Allen Iverson's MVP season who shot under 40%, but in this case, MCNAMARA shot 36% from the field for the season. HARDLY good numbers at all. You can argue that he was double teamed... Well, JJ REDICK and Adam Morrison get double teamed daily and look at their numbers. Syracuse had a great run but it will come to an end in the 1st round of the tourney. McNamara had a great career but it was overhyped by the media.
We had to re-post this one, so here are all the original comments ...
Posted: 11:57 PM, March 11, 2006 by The Oakland Zoo
Thanks for the kind words about the Panthers, or lack thereof. The McNamara bandwagon is a little full, why don't you try a different topic? Like the refs that missed a blatant foul by the Cuse on Krauser with under a minute?
Posted: 12:12 AM, March 12, 2006 by Anonymous
Apparently you're not from Syracuse so were gonna have to ask you to go ahead and talk about the runner-up Panthers somewhere else. The alleged "foul" was, i admit, a physical play. Defensively a little aggressive, offensively a little dramatic. Better luck next year.
Posted: 12:24 AM, March 12, 2006 by Anonymous
Well done...and, oh yes--the refs also missed a Pitt player getting the ball on the baseline earlier on that led to a 2! Proud to say I've bled ORANGE for over 50 years...bring 'em on, the 'CUSE IS IN THE HOUSE!!
Posted: 12:25 AM, March 12, 2006 by Anonymous
The refs missing the blatant foul made up for the horrible foul call on Devendorf when he stuffed Graves.
Posted: 12:32 AM, March 12, 2006 by Anonymous
If you want to bring up missed calls don't forget Krauser's shot to Roberts' jaw. He could have easily been tossed making it a much easier game for 'Cuse. You play with what the refs call...
Congrats to Syracuse. They are the most dangerous team in the dance.
Posted: 12:33 AM, March 12, 2006 by it was an off foul
if it was a foul..it was an offensive foul..he put his shoulder down and plowed into him. so don't cry too much. It is funny how the poor sports come out after they lose.
grew up in the 'cuse and love the team. was at MSG last night and tonight and the energy was just great. the crowd loves g-mac becuase he is just a class act, that's all there is to it. he deserves all the credit he gets because he is a true team player and a true hero.
I just wanted to know where you all think Gerry will be picked in the draft and how he'll do in the League. Personally, I'd like to see him go in the first round, but I just feel as if teams will overlook him as just a shooter. But you can't teach sheer determination to win or leadership, two traits Gerry is renowned for. Luke, I'd like to know what you think of Gerry's future.
Quit all this overrated talk about GMac. Everybody knows he's no lottery pick, but the kid has got ice in his veins and plays as tough as anyone who has ever dribbled a ball. He's the heart and soul of SU. How can anyone not respect that. As for the BET, how bout some love for McNeil. He stepped up big all tourney. No fouling out and he gave SU a great inside presence all weekend! We've been looking for that all year.
Syracuse has earned five BE tournament titles and one national title- 3 of those titles came in the last four years with G-mac on the floor. Give him his due. Bad calls are all over the place. i still believe Villanova beat North Carolina in last year's NCAAs.
There are always the detractors, the doubters the naysayers. A bad call, a missed call and all the other issues people look for when their team does not win. This without a doubt will go down as one of the greatest tournament victories for Syracuse. Gmac was just destined for sports immortality at the Garden. I have seen about 10 Syracuse games this year and the big men were of no help to Gmac all year. After Boheim's statement, the big guys took stalk of themselves and realized they have the ability and decided to help Gmac. I am from Northeastern Pennsylvania and have seen him play and read about his exploits when he was playing in high school. His four years at Syracuse have been magical. I am sure if he was to be asked by a reporter a real "intelligent" question on how he would sum up his four years he might answer: "Truly Magical." He has been a great asset to Northeastern Pennsylvania, Syracuse and college basketball. He has been a good student, and has made his parents proud with his actions on and off the court. He is truly a individual that that has represented Syracuse and Northeastern Pennsylvania in an exemplary fashion. Of course the whiners in this blog are just that whiners. After the NCAA tournament they will be whinning again!
Syracuse did an exceptional job in Big EAST-Best in the country.I don't think Duke or Gonzaga can survive against this year's big east teams.Connecticut,Nova,WVU,Pitts,Georgetown....Syracuse -without Mcnamara,they might not have won even the first game.He is the real MVP and pretty much singlehandedly won the Big East title.
Congrats to the Panthers for playing a tough game; it's too bad they have to go home to a bunch of whining loser fans, as some of the hilcixh postings above witness. Maybe Gerry has been over-hyped during his career; when you nail six treys in the first half of the national championship game during your freshman year, that's bound to happen. That's not his fault, though. And it's certainly not the fault of two-time defending Big East champions, Syracuse. Hopefully, the pitiful Panther fans we're hearing from are just a bunch of high school boys who should be home in bed.
To me the defining moment of this final game was McNamara and Devendorf mediating with Krauser after the alleged "punching" incident. It is nice to know there is still sportsmanship in America. I am so glad that did not ruin an otherwise wonderful sporting event. Hats off also to the refs who chose not to make an issue of it by enforcing a Technical Foul or diqualification; they certainly could have. Kudos also to Krauser for just letting it go. Good luck to both teams in the NCAAs; you've both earned it!
to the krauser whiner, he had it coming to him. you can't push/slap another player after a play and excpect God to shine on you later in the game. He has a perpetual whiney look on his face, now I know why. He is not very happy with himself, he is inadequate and tries to find ways to compensate by using cheap physical assualts on the floor. I of course am referring to his sissy move on roberts earlier in the game.
Congratulations to SU! I have followed them since 87 and can't remember being more proud except for 2003! This was a physical game from the start, quit whining about the calls. It's the Big East! Why aren't Pitt fans calling out their missed free throws and blown layups, and 3 pointers.
To Lowell and the rest of the Pitt fans, my condolences. It must be tough watching your team lose to an overhyped, overrated team like Syracuse. But what does that make you and your team then? Pathetic, win a national championship...wait get to a final four and then come talk to me, but until then please shut your mouths. I guess it makes sense having to live in Pittsburgh of all places and never having won anything of significance, you don't even know how to lose with class. Offensive foul on Devendorf? Are you kidding? Watch the tape, throwing your shoulder into a defender doesn't get you free throws. You don't get a bail out call there. 4 years, 2 big east titles, tons of big east records and a national championship. You couldn't dream of that. The only thing overrated is the intellegence and class of Pitt fans.
Go Cuse !!!...No one thought that cuse was good enough,even Luke,seeing his poll numbers....Yes Syracuse lost 3 straight games before even coming to the BIG EAST Tournment,but it takes a champion team to win it all...and that what they did...NCAA Tourney is just around the corner,but all keep in Mind its a different ball game alltogether,because syracuse will be playing teams like itself there......Last but not the least...The last 4 days showed that SU Hoops Team is here to stay even after Jerry leave,just because they are a great bunch of basketball players WHO PROVED that thye can play ball.Thanks for a memorable weekend.An SU FAN ALWAYS....
If Pitt fans feel they lost the game on the Krauser no-call, the shuold be ashamed of themselves. Pitt was shooting the double bonus with 8 mins to go in the game, yet SU was still in the 1 and 1 until the final seconds. So who had more fouls called on who? Do the math. SU didn't score a bucket for 8 1/2 mins in the second half! And you still lost. Pitt had all sorts of opportunities to win but couldn't make it happen. If you want to call G-Mac overrated, that's just fine with us, just as long as you call him a national champion and a two time Big East Tounament champion in the same breath.
In response to Lowell, it isn't really fair to compare McNamara to Redick and Morrison because (1) they play different positions, and (2) I haven't ever heard anyone put Gerry in their category. If people were mentioning Gerry and Adam/JJ in the same sentence then by all means you would have a valid point. They aren't though, seeing that nearly everyone talks about Redick and Morrison as potential mvps and lottery picks, while I haven't heard any expert mention McNamara as a first round pick let alone a lottery pick. Also, Redick and Morrison have better supporting casts and they play in weaker conferences.
lowell is an idoit, he has never watched duke, obviously. one, the defense in the BE is ten times more agressive and better than what it is in the ACC. two, JJ redick is NOT constantly double teamed, he is always open. all he needs to do is run around and coach k's cronies just set picks for him. about 80 percent of his shots are uncontested. plus, gerry plays in the better league with better competition. also!, JJ cannot hit the big shot, he has come up short in the NCAAs. Gerry will always have the one up on redick, with that national championship. Gerry has the heart of a lion, and to say JJ's got the same would be lyin.
Some people just like to say incendiary stuff to get the die-hards juiced up...thanks Lowell. Fact of the matter is that while it's true that McNamara's "numbers" in the tournament weren't all that much different from his regular season stats and the "emergence" of the Juniors FINALLY happened. You can't erase the fact that GMac is the leader of this team and the one that everyone, except Devendorf, looks to in crunch time for the big play in a close game. Since his Freshman year, he's had to shoulder more and more of the burden each year with less polished talent each year. In that span he's also improved many facets of his game, which you may scoff at, but it's true. For my money, I'll take 10 guys like GMac vs. ten anybody else's and in any sport. What he did this week is just a sample of what he did every game for four years. There are very few players, at any sport & level of play, who bring it like he does for every game for every minute of the game. Cuse fan in RochNY
Congratulations to the Orange for a fantastic tournament from a Pitt fan who was there! On a warm Saturday in March, Gerry McNamara won the MVP trophy in the Big East tournament, and Rudy Gay washed his car. 'nuf said.