Orange Watch: It’s an extra special New Year at No. 1

We don’t think you’d find many in Orange Nation who would dispute that heading into the meat of the Big East schedule in January; we’re witnessing the most exciting in-season run of Syracuse basketball (14-0 1-0) in the Boeheim era.

It’s certainly a bold statement considering:

*The coaches’ overall winning percentage is nearly 75% in his 36 years running the show.

*That 19-0 dash out of the gate in 1999-2000 when the Orange was the last remaining unbeaten team nationally until Seton Hall ended matters with a two-point squeaker in the Dome.

*An 18-0 start, the second best in school history just last season that came to a streaking halt at nemesis-of-late Pittsburgh.

*Spending a week as number one in late February 2010 after the record crowd (34,616) rout of Villanova in the Dome and a win over St. John’s, before having to play Louisville in front of a record crowd (20,135) in its Freedom Hall finale falling 78-68.

*A six- week, 11-game run leading the polls starting out the 1989-90 season ending with a 19-point blowout loss to Villanova in the Dome.

*The 1987-88 squad, off a championship game defeat the previous year, began as number one for a couple of weeks in November despite losing to North Carolina in the Hall of Fame Tip Off game at Springfield, Mass., then dropped to third after losing to an eventual Final Four-bound Arizona team in the Great Alaska Shootout.

But none of those five teams, as talented as they were with 12 NBA draft picks and many other players that played professionally globally dotting those rosters of Boeheim teams, had the quality in numbers, the unheard of 10-player depth, that has afforded the coach the luxury of playing chess with just the right matchup moves on the court as action has dictated, and letting his blue chip athletes do the rest.

All while sitting perched atop the nation at three weeks and counting, and gaining admirers by the day from those that follow and cover the sport.

Bring on DePaul and let the fun continue.

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Brad Bierman

About Brad Bierman

Now in his fifth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.
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