Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Monday was an historic night for the Orange as the team beat Pitt 71-63. The biggest historical note was the Orange going 20-0, establishing the school mark for the most consecutive wins to start the season.
Not to be lost in the excitement of the evening was coach Jim Boeheim winning his 876th career game, tying him with legendary coach Adolph Rupp for 4th all-time in wins. Three more wins and Boeheim will tie Dean Smith for 3rd all-time wins. Boeheim also extended his own NCAA record for 20 wins seasons, with now his 34th such season in 36 years.
The 20 consecutive wins this season is also the longest single season winning streak in Syracuse history. It is, however, only the third longest winning streak in school history as the Orangemen won 23 consecutive games from February 3, 1917 to March 9, 1918, spanning two seasons, and 21 consecutive games from 2/21/1913 to 2/4/1915, spanning three seasons. The Orangemen went undefeated in the 1913-1914 season going 12-0.
Syracuse also remained #1 in the polls on Monday, thus making it six straight weeks at #1, tying the Syracuse school record.
Not to get lost in the evening, was the fact that Scoop Jardine had a 10 assist night and Fab Melo had a 10 rebound effort. Outstanding for both.
Syracuse had also lost 5 straight games to Pitt, and had not beaten the Panthers at home since 2003. That’s hard to believe, but true.
I have to admit that I was afraid that Pitt would snap Syracuse’s win streak. The Panthers are always a tough team, and I know they entered the game with five straight losses, but that could have made them even more dangerous as they are desperate to win. Pitt is always a great rebounding team (which they are this year) and was always a great defensive team (which they are not this year).
I am excited to see how many in a row the Orange can win. I think a loss is inevitable, but it is a fun ride for now. I disagree with those who say that the streak does not mean anything. I think as a sports fan you need to enjoy the present, what is in front of you. Do not worry about the future, and don't worry about the ancient past. Live for the moment, and enjoy what you are seeing and experiencing today.
Syracuse is playing excellent basketball, and setting some historic marks. Nothing that happens next week or next month will impact how you feel today. Each game is a story unto itself, an experience that you may enjoy or hate. Sports is about the journey to the finish, and the journey is just as important as the finish.
Syracuse basketball gave me many fond moments from the 1980s, and they never won a National Championship that decade. My feelings are not tarnished by that. There was some heartache of course; there is inevitably some heartache with every season that doesn't end in 2003 or 1914. But there are many many fond memories and enjoyable seasons out there that did not end with the Orange winning it all.