The 1999-2000 squad finished the year 26-6, going 13-3 in the Big East and winning the Big East regular season title. Like this year’s squad, that squad was a fantastic defensive team led by the Big East Defensive player of the year Etan Thomas and point guard Jason Hart. Offensively, it was a well balanced team with five players averaging 10-13 points a game. The team had a couple of snipers who came off the bench in Preston Shumpert and DeShaun Williams that made up for a relatively weak perimeter shooting starting five.
This year’s squad is running deeper than most Syracuse teams, going nine players deep routinely. Part of that is somewhat misleading in that Fab Melo really has not been playing much, putting the team into a eight man rotation shortly after tip off. However, if his effort in the Cincinnati game last night is a sign of things to come in the near future, that would be a blessing for the Orange.
I hope Syracuse fans are really appreciating the coaching job that Jim Boeheim has done the past few years and the tremendous effort the Orange have had on the court. They have been a top 10 team since November 24th, 2009. The Orange are 11-2 versus top 25 teams the past two seasons; that is outstanding and should quiet those who say Syracuse never plays anyone.
Over the past two seasons the Orange are 48-5. That is an outstanding run by any school’s in today’s NCAA basketball. Going back to February 24th, 2009 (almost two years ago), Syracuse is 58-7, and 14-5 versus top 25 teams.
They have beaten a #3 ranked UConn in the Big East Tournament in the epic 6 overtime game. They beat California and North Carolina in November 2009 to get national recognition despite having no top 50 recruits on the squad. They beat Georgetown twice last season in epic battles that just added to the Orange/Hoya legacy. The team reached #1 in the rankings in March 2010, and they earned a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
These are good times to be a Syracuse fan. For those who continuously bash Jim Boeheim, just shut up. It is the right of a fan to second guess a coach on some decisions he makes. I don't agree with every decision Boeheim makes. Coaches are not perfect, just like none of us are, but they highly successful ones like Boeheim don’t make too many of them. He knows his players better than we do, he knows what they are capable of in practice, and how well the team plays together in different configurations. It is the mindless bashing of Boeheim that is just borderline idiotic. And frankly, I should just remove the word borderline.
For his career, Boeheim is 119-125 versus teams ranked in the top 25 (48.8% winning). In games where he has played a team ranked higher than the Orangemen, he is 66-78. He wins 46% of his games against teams that the informed voters think are a better team. That is downright impressive, and yet people think he has a career of beating up on weaker teams. Eventually this season he will lose to a lower ranked team; it’s inevitable because being ranked #4, there just isn’t going to any opportunities to lose to anyone ranked higher than them. I’m sure some yahoo will criticize Coach Boeheim at that time. Not me.
I’m going to soak up the joyous ride this team is on right now, a historic run for the Orange.