Onuaku expected to play in NCAA Tournament, while Orange await seeding

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 11, 2010 at 12:00 pmcenter_img NEW YORK — Syracuse’s team physician, Irving Raphael, said the X-rays from the injury Arinze Onuaku sustained during the second half of the Orange’s 91-84 loss to Georgetown Thursday came back negative following the game. Raphael does expect Onuaku to play next week in the NCAA Tournament. Raphael said this means there is nothing wrong with Onuaku’s kneecap, knee joint or thigh bone, but cautioned that X-rays do not provide conclusive feedback on muscle or tendon-based injuries or ACL tears. Onuaku will be on crutches and will receive a steady treatment of pain medication and ice, Raphael said. ‘Someone said, ‘Do you expect him to play?’ And I expect him to play unless there’s a surprise,’ Raphael said following Syracuse’s quarterfinal loss. ‘But we’ll get the MRI and we’ll treat what we get.’ Raphael said that by the way Onuaku was describing his pain, it seemed like the same condition he suffered from back in 2006-07 when the center took a redshirt season to rehabilitate his left knee after injuring his quadriceps tendon. Onuaku also had surgery on both of his knees in April 2009 to clear up lingering pain caused by tendonitis. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘I don’t know for sure, but his previous condition was not an ACL, and it’s very likely in the same area as that problem from what he’s telling me,’ Raphael said. ‘But again, we’ll know after the MRI tomorrow.’Still No. 1?Though it’s still to be determined, Syracuse’s hopes for a No. 1 seed in next week’s NCAA Tournament seem to be safe at the moment. Because the Orange is the No. 3 team in the country, it would (theoretically) take two teams to push SU out of one of the spots as a No. 1 seed. The teams directly behind Syracuse, though, haven’t exactly been on a roll.  No. 4 Duke lost to Maryland on March 3 and has five losses on the season. The Atlantic Coast conference is down this year, and even winning the conference tournament might not push Duke ahead of the Orange. No. 6 Purdue will have a tough road to win the Big Ten conference tournament, and even if No. 5 Ohio State can win that tournament, it still would have seven losses on the year.   West Virginia is the only team in the Big East with a shot — though it is an outside shot — at getting a No. 1 seed. But even winning the Big East tournament probably won’t be enough to get it done.   Despite all of this, the media did not give the Orange a break Thursday, inquiring about SU’s seeding numerous times. ‘I think we’ve still been one of the most consistent teams in the country where we can get a No. 1 seed,’ sophomore guard Scoop Jardine said. ‘But it doesn’t matter, but I think we should.’ And with a two-game losing streak and a starting center battling an injury, it’s safe to say the Orange have other things to worry about.  ‘We’re not concerned about that,’ senior guard Andy Rautins said. ‘We just want to get there and play well, regardless of who we play. Either way, you’re going to have to beat teams. Everybody is going to be at their A-game. There aren’t going to be bad teams at that tournament. We’ll be satisfied and prepared wherever we’re at.’ Monroe explodes — again  John Thompson III knew Syracuse did not want Greg Monroe to score. That’s why the Orange threw bodies at Monroe every time he touched the ball in the high post, making it hard to get shots. Luckily for the Georgetown head coach, his center is quite the passer.   Monroe led Georgetown with seven assists in the Hoyas’ upset of top-seeded Syracuse Thursday afternoon. He also scored 15 points and hauled in a game-high 10 rebounds despite being hounded for most of the game.  ‘We’re fine because he did a good job of finding his teammates for open shots, open layups, open cuts. So I think that’s what they did,’ Thompson said. ‘Everyone knows Greg is an unselfish player. Had a terrific game without getting a lot of shots. I’m not sure how many points he ended up with. 15 (points), 10 (rebounds), seven (assists). That’s pretty damn good.’  Monroe scored just four points in the first half, but he never forced anything as he patiently waited to find open teammates. In the second half, he continued that process, catching the ball in the high post and waiting to discover holes in the Orange zone. He assisted on a Chris Wright field goal that gave the Hoyas a 72-63 lead with 5:43 remaining, and had four assists and 11 points in the second half.  The sophomore also hit 5-of-8 free throws down the stretch to help ice the game. Monroe kept Syracuse’s big man combo of Rick Jackson and Arinze Onuaku to just seven points combined.  ‘They found Monroe in the middle and he did a great job finding the shooters,’ Jackson said of Syracuse’s change in game plan Thursday. ‘It wasn’t about him out there scoring points, he did a great job passing the ball and that’s what it is.’  [email protected]@syr.edulast_img