Racing fills TV void

Rich Fyle column

From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:

If there’s one constant theme surrounding the Syracuse University men’s basketball team this season, it’s that the Orange is wildly unpredictable.

That goes with the territory when a squad is mostly dependent on the success of 3-point shooting.

Here’s a perfect example of SU’s streakiness — a bad first half against Georgia Tech on Saturday is followed by a supreme second half for a clutch victory; when the Orange wins it is mostly because of top-notch 3-point shooting by Buddy Boeheim, Elijah Hughes and sometimes Joe Girard III (who can be erratic at times beyond the arc); and when the Orange loses it is mostly because sluggish offensive play, careless turnovers and failed long-range shooting.

SU (15-12 overall, 8-8 ACC) needs to win its final four games, and considering that the remaining opponents (Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Boston College and Miami) are less than formidable — all second-division clubs — the chances remain good the Orange finish will the regular season with a 19-12 mark before entering the ACC tournament at Greensboro, N.C.

If SU can avoid a speed bump during the rest of the regular season and then manage two or three ACC tournament wins — perhaps even reaching the semifinals — it could certainly be in the conversation for being an NCAA Tournament bubble team. However, anything short of that, the Orange would be NIT-bound for the second time in four seasons.

n NHL thought: After the Rangers have traded many free-agents-to-be in recent years, it was refreshing that New York finally worked out a long-term contract with star forward Chris Kreider, who has been with the organization the past eight seasons.

n Quote book: Shane Lantz of the Mason City (Iowa) Globe Gazette, via Twitter, on MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred botching his attempt at damage control of the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal: “He’s trying to put the blaze out with a leaf blower and has basically started a forest fire.”

n Richie Rich’s Top 10 rankings in College Basketball: 1. Kansas; 2. Baylor; 3. Gonzaga; 4. Dayton; 5. Florida St. (played Monday night); 6. San Diego St.; 7. Duke; 8. Kentucky; 9. Maryland; 10. Creighton.

n Correction: Following the finalization of the David Price-Mookie Betts three-team megatrade that affected the Red Sox, Twins and Dodgers, it should have been noted that pitcher Brusdar Graterol ended up on the roster of the Dodgers, not the Red Sox.

Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at rfyle@wdt.net

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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