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Cal vs. Syracuse basketball: A 2K Classic Q&A with Troy Nunes is An Absolute Magician


Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Time: 6 PM PT, 9 PM ET


Online: WatchESPN

Radio Stream: TuneIn

In the midst of Big Game week, we have a tournament in New York to play. With Syracuse. Again.

Now, don't get me wrong. It's cool playing a blueblood, regardless of the team. It's just a little weird when it's always the same team, and it's annoying to have to play against that 2-3 zone over and over and find every part of our basketball-loving body constricted to death by halftime. This is Groundhog Day with no Bill Murray in sight to cheer me up at all times.

Hopefully with a new coach and a perimeter-heavy lineup, we can change the formula up. Or something. Otherwise we're going to start driving cars off cliffs.

Thanks to John Cassillo of Troy Nunes is An Absolute Magician for doing this Q&A with us. (You'll see our answers to their questions by clicking here)..

1. We scored 4 more points than you against Kennesaw State, what's it like to be super duper really uber terrible at everything ever?

It's the worst. We keep trying to get better. It just never works out. Maybe one day we can be the Golden Bears...

2. 3rd straight season of Cal vs. 'Cuse, is this year's Orange the most vulnerable?

Compared to the other two, definitely. The large majority of those Syracuse players from that initial 2012-13 matchup are gone, and this year's squad in particular is replacing the lion's share of its scoring. This is also the third game of the season, so if this year's Orange team is going to "find itself," it's unlikely to happen this early -- which makes them at least a little vulnerable.

3. Tyler Ennis is 1 and done, how is Kaleb Joseph?

Since it's so early, the jury's still out on Joseph. He's played well so far, but has not turned heads in the same way that Ennis might have last season. That's not a bad thing, however, and he still has plenty of time to do so. Joseph also needs help from shooters (TBD) who will allow him to rack up more assists and be more of a force in the box score. I'll save comparisons for a month or so. Then we can talk Ennis vs. Joseph.

4. The other freshman, Chris McCullough may have just barely qualify academically. How is his basketball IQ?

Basketball IQ seems fine so far, since he's already rounding into a physical force in the paint and on the glass (averaging 14.5 points and 7.5 boards per game). He's also avoided errors (just two turnovers) and is eating up much-needed minutes on the interior. That was all against two inferior opponents, though, so I guess we'll see what happens against Cal to really gauge where he's at. He has the chance to be an impact freshman, and if that happens, this SU team could suddenly be a lot better than originally projected -- turning an apparent weakness (depth in the frontcourt) into a strength over night.

5. How's the transition to the ACC?

It's been fine. We're kind of surrounded by familiar faces (including SU, seven ACC teams were once in the Big East), so it hasn't been all that weird. The thing that will take time is shifting our hate away from former Big East rivals to teams like Duke. Syracuse's two matchups with the Blue Devils last year helped out a bit there, but there's still a long way to go to meet the level of hate we feel/felt toward the Georgetowns and UConns of the world.

6. What is Syracuse's secret to making Madison Square Garden feel like a home game, even though it is 248 miles away (according to Google Maps)?

Syracuse is not a place most graduates stay once they receive their degrees, and the first stop for many is usually New York City. With huge alumni populations throughout New York State, the City's five boroughs, New Jersey and Connecticut (plus other surrounding areas), it's very easy to pack MSG whenever the Orange are in town. Ask St. John's, who call the Garden home for the most part, yet are drowned in a sea of orange when facing Syracuse there.

7. Allen Crabbe may now be in the NBA (still waiting for him to get hot with his shooting), but how "can Cal get right back in this"?

The players who need to get hot may be different, but the goal is the same. Cal can get right back in this -- like any other team against the Syracuse zone -- with a hot shooter from the perimeter and a few stops on the other end. The Orange's three-point defense hasn't been tested a ton yet, so that's something worth looking out for. Since the Golden Bears won't really have a ton of leeway on the inside (say hello to Rakeem Christmas and Chris McCullough), their best opportunity to score points will be from outside. Score enough and force Syracuse to keep up, and there's a chance you're upsetting the Orange.

8. Mike Montgomery retired from coaching at age 67 this year. How much longer is Jim Boeheim, who is already 70, going to go?

Four or five years ago, I thought Jimmy B. would hang'em up. Now, I have no clue when that'll happen. Recruiting's never been better, and same goes for the program's national profile. If Syracuse can win another title in the next couple seasons, though, I wouldn't doubt it if he just calls it a career immediately following the win. He's not one for retirement tours, and if he leaves, it's not as if he'll vanish. He IS Syracuse basketball, after all.

9. Are you guys tired of playing us yet?

Our site owner, Sean, certainly is, but that's mostly because he popularized a meme that now can't be stopped "Cal can get right back in this..." and is reminded of it every single day. As for Syracuse fans, I'd say it's not the worst thing to have this weird, annual matchup with Cal. Though if you beat us on Thursday... yeah, then we'll be tired of you.

10. Whom do you want to punch in the face?

Georgetown. Forever and always.