Sunday, January 29, 2017
The Orange were destined to beat a top 25 team this season; it simply was a question of when it would occur. The team has a lot of talent, streaks of playing well, and it was just a matter of time before it all came together for the right game. Florida State, ranked #6 in the country, happened to be that opponent as the Orange took them down 82-72.
Jim Boeheim has been coaching Syracuse for 41 seasons now. Over that time span, only twice have the Orange failed to beat a top 25 team in the season. The first time that occurred was way back in 1977-1978, and the reason they did not beat any top 25 teams was that they did not play any. Hard to fathom isn’t it. The Orangemen were not in a conference, and none of their traditional rivals were ranked that year, at least not when the Orangemen played them. The Orange could have played some ranked teams in the NCAA tournament, but they were upset in the first round by Western Kentucky.
The last time Syracuse did not beat a top 25 team was the 1980-1981 season, when the Orangemen went 0-2. Those were the early years of the Big East, and the conference was only on the rise. The Orangemen lost to #4 Maryland 83-73, and #3 DePaul 91-69. The Orangemen would win the Big East Tournament that year, but because the conference had not yet earned an automatic NCAA berth, the team did not get invited to the tournament. They would go on a strong NIT run, and would lose to Tulsa in the NIT Final in overtime 86-84.
The Orange have also beaten a top 10 team every season since 2006-2007. The win against the Seminoles yesterday gives the Orange ten consecutive seasons where they have beaten a top 10 team. In 32 of Boeheim’s 41 seasons, Syracuse has beaten at least one top 10 team. Three times they failed to play a top 10 team, and six times they did but failed to beat one.