Syracuse with big expectations in NCAA tournament

I would like to think that I, and most everybody, appreciates what comes their way. Never take anything for granted, right? Be grateful for what you have and what you get when you get it.

That happy-go-lucky attitude is what people point to as a sign that someone really understands what life is all about.

But, inevitably, there comes a time or two when we anticipate certain events to happen. We assume a course of events. We plan for an outcome.

In a nutshell, we EXPECT things to happen from time to time.

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Ah, expectations…it should be a four-letter word, shouldn’t it?

I’m often told, “if you never have expectations, you’ll never be disappointed.” Well, that sounds like a bunch of hogwash, doesn’t it?

Aren’t you supposed to have expectations? It seems like having expectations means you believe in something, you have confidence.

But, there are those that will just as easily turn that around and claim that expectations place too much pressure on the situation and leads to “failure” in the eyes of the expecter.

Which leads us to Syracuse.

A 31-2 record.

Ranked either #1 or #2 for much of the season.

Deepest team in the country.

Countless times where they persevered through spotty play and hard-nosed efforts from the opposition where, in the past, the Orange would have folded under similar duress. If expectations were a house, those bullet points are the bricks that build the house.

But, admittedly, the house is one that has recently been inhabited.

For years, central New Yorkers have watched Syracuse give games away on occasion during the regular season.

We waited for them to be ousted in the NCAA Tournament, even though we knew we wouldn’t be ready for it when it happened.

But we expected it. Gasp! There’s that word again…

Even in 2003, most Syracuse fans had that “happy-go-lucky” disposition.

“Hmmm…this team is pretty fun to watch. They’re young, but maybe they could surprise some folks. Let’s just go along for the ride and see where they take us.”

And, we know where that magical ride took us…

Then, there was 2004.

Armed with the confidence of being the defending champions, there was still a feeling of, “we don’t have
Carmelo Anthony anymore. It can’t happen again, can it?”

In 2010, even though the Orange were a #1 seed, the injury to Arinze Onuaku dampened any expectations of being serious contenders.

But, this year…it’s widespread thought it’s Kentucky, Syracuse, and the field. All year they have been touted as a team that can (and more importantly SHOULD) make a deep run in March.

And, for the first time since this 28-year old has been a Syracuse fan (from the days of Lawrence Moten to present), I’m not afraid to admit it… I HAVE EXPECTATIONS.

I don’t just hope they can string some wins together… I EXPECT IT.

I don’t sit there wishing they can catch lightning in a bottle. I EXPECT they can continue to do what they’ve been doing all season long. And, I don’t expect just two or three wins. I EXPECT they can win six in a row.

Sure, the offensive rebounding and tenacity of Kansas State has me worried should they meet the Wildcats in their second game.

I’m well aware Vanderbilt just knocked off the #1 team in the country on Sunday. I realize Cincinnati is just three days removed from beating Syracuse under the bright lights.

I know teams like Florida State and Ohio State are tough outs… and those are just some of the teams in the Orange’s region.

I have expectations. I am told I’m just setting myself up for disappointment.

Oh well, so be it.

Will I be disappointed if they don’t cut down the nets this year? Absolutely. But, for this team, this year…anything less than a national title will be considered a lost opportunity.

So, if being disappointed is the price I have to pay for having confidence in the Orange, I say good riddance. I would rather be disappointed for believing in something than to not believe in anything at all.

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Matt Dagostino

About Matt Dagostino

Matt currently works as an on-air talent and producer for Turner Sports in Atlanta, where he is from. Among his responsibilities are voicing over highlights for NCAA.com, NBA.com, WNBA.com, and PGA.com. He has also served as an associate producer for TNT’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs and TBS’s coverage of the MLB Postseason. Matt also has experience as a minor league baseball play-by-play announcer and as a PA announcer in D-I college athletics. Matt graduated from Syracuse University in 2005. Follow him on Twitter @MattDags28.
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