The Orange have had 12 streaks in their history where they have been in the top 10 for 10 or more games in a row, all of them occurring in the Jim Boeheim era.
The first streak occurred in the 1978-1979 season, starting on February 7, 1979 and ending March 16, 1979, the end of the season. That was the Louie & Bouie era, and it would cover 10 games.
The next season the Orangemen would start its first long streak covering 26 games from December 15, 1979 through the end of the season, March 14, 1980. This was Roosevelt Bouie and Louis Orr’s senior season and the team finished 26-4.
It would be a dry spell for a few years until the Orangemen hit the top 10 again, and Pearl Washington was a big reason for it. The Pearl, Rafael Addison and Wendell Alexis started the 1985 season (November 23) in the top 10 and remained there for 17 games until January 25th, 1986.
The top 10 would be home to the Orangemen for the next few seasons, with Sherman Douglas, Derrick Coleman, Rony Seikaly, Stevie Thompson and Billy Owens leading the way.
They would be in the top 10 for 13 straight games from December 26, 1986 to January 31st, 1987. They would then go 26 straight games from March 1987 through January 18,1988.
Later in 1988, they would start another 20 game streak from March 17th to January 16th, 1989. A couple weeks later they would start the teams second longest streak ever with 29 games from February 11, 1989 through January 20, 1990. And finally, the last long streak of that era would be Billy Owens junior year where the Orangemen spent the last 29 games of the year (December 1, 1990 through March 14,1991) in the top 10.
It was quite a run for the Orangemen, but the threat of probation, and then finally probation itself, would derail the Orangemen for a few season.
Lawrence Moten and John Wallace would bring the Orangemen back to the top 10 with a 12 game stay from January 3, 1995 through February 12, 1995. The Orangemen would lose in overtime to Arkansas in the NCAA tournament that year. Ironically, the following season the Orangemen would never crack the top 10, yet would play for the National Championship against Kentucky (a close game they would eventually lose).
The Orangemen would have another dry spell, until December 22, 1999 when the defensive minded team of Etan Thomas, Jason Hart and Ryan Blackwell would lead them on a 17 game streak. The streak ended February 19, 2010.
The Orangemen would not make the top ten consistently again until 2004. Keep in mind, that the would include the 2002-2003 Orangemen, who would win the NCAA Championship, but never rise any higher than 12 in the AP polls.
From November 11, 2004 to February 19, 2005, Hakim Warrik and Gerry McNamara led the Orange to a 27 game streak in the top 10.
Which brings us back to the current SU squad at 44 games and counting. I don’t think the Orange are better than all the squads mentioned above, but their streak is quite impressive. And they have definitely been playing some of the best defense in Syracuse basketball history the past couple of seasons.
Tonight against Providence is the start of the Big East season for the Orange. Each and every game will be a battle, and it will be interesting to see how this squad responds each game.