Sunday, March 31, 2013

On To the Final Four!

Syracuse is going to the Final Four after a dominating performance over Big East foe Marquette! Unbelievable, and rewarding to the Syracuse players, coaches and fans.  I was convinced Syracuse was going to win the National Title in 2010-2011 until Arinze Onuaku got hurt.  I was convinced Syracuse was going to the Final Four in 2012-2013 until Fab Melo departed.  Both those teams had stifling defenses and offensive firepower.
This year’s team has a suffocating defense, but a wildly inconsistent offense. They have however, played well and efficient enough to score the points they needed, and they have won their four tournament games with relative ease. When James Southerland hit the time clock desperation 3 pointer with about two minutes to go in the game last night, I knew the game was over.  Just sweet.
Some random thoughts about the Orange:
  • As is well documented, this is Syracuse's fifth Final Four; the fourth under Jim Boeheim. Boeheim is 3-0 in the Final Four, and he has made a Final Four in four different decades. If you count his tenure as an assistant coach, he has made a Final Four in five different decades.
  • Since February 23rd, 2013, Syracuse has played 12 basketball games.  9 of those have been against Top 25 teams, four against Top 5 teams. This team is battle tested.
  • Since the start of the Big East Tournament, Syracuse has played 8 games, five against Top 25 teams, 3 against Top 5 teams.  The Orange are 7-1 in that stretch.
  • The past four games have seen four different Orangemen lead the team in scoring: Triche (Montana), Fair (California), Carter-Williams (Indiana) and Southerland (Marquette).
  • There were a lot of former Syracuse players in attendence at the Verizon center including Pearl Washington, Derrick Coleman, Sherman Douglas, Herman Harried, Leo Rautins and Lawrence Moten.  Of course, alumni Boeheim, Mike Hopkins, Adrian Autry and Gerry McNamara were in attendence at the bench.  Is it just me, or does Syracuse have more former alumni routinely show up for games than any other program?  I think that is a testament to the loyalty between the Coach and his players.
  • This is Syracuse's 6th 30 win season.  Syracuse finished the season ranked 16th, which is the lowest rank for a Syracuse 30 win team.
  • Syracuse's previous Final Four teams finished the regular season ranked as follows:
    • 1974-1975: unranked (not seeded)
    • 1986-1987: 10th (2 seed)
    • 1995-1996: 15th (4 seed)
    • 2002-2003: 11th (3 seed)
    • 2012-2013: 16th (4 seed)
  • Boeheim is 121-25 the past four years (and still going). Simply amazing.
Let's Go ORANGE!

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