The Big East and its TV partners certainly didn’t do Syracuse any favors down the home stretch of its final conference season. Three games against the two teams, Georgetown and Marquette, you’re tied with atop the ridiculously competitive 15 team group, and those games are coming up back-to-back with only one day off beginning with Saturday’s Dome finale against the Hoyas.
(Side note soapbox stump here: Again, we’ll ask as we did when the schedule was released last Sept., will someone from those aforementioned TV entities please explain how Georgetown-Syracuse, the league’s all-time greatest rivalry, on March 9 for the last time in Big East regular season play was not the featured CBS game at the Dome (think number one announcing team Jim Nantz-Clark Kellogg) at 4:00 pm ET instead of Notre Dame at Louisville?
Ironically, and remember the schedule was released last fall, CBS is going to get a fantastic storyline with the rematch of the Feb. 9 five overtime game won almost miraculously by the Irish, but come on, this Saturday’s Orange-Hoyas game should have been at the Verizon Center at 12:00 pm, with the March 9 rematch in the Dome in front of the likely record crowd to be seen this weekend.)
Throw in a game against an opponent, Louisville, that was one of a group of five teams that have shared the number-one ranking so far this season, and games against a team that’s won four straight, Providence, and another against the team, DePaul, that beat the Friars by 10 on PC’s home court.
The good news, four of the final six games are in the Dome, something not far from Jim Boeheim’s mind after Saturday’s win at Seton Hall bumped his team to just 4-3 on the road in conference play after last season’s then unheard of 8-1 mark.
“It’s very difficult to win on the road. I watched a bunch of games today (Feb. 16) and I think I saw one road team that won,” Boeheim said after his 911th career victory. “It’s very difficult and you’ve got to play well (every game).”
The ‘Cuse has been pretty consistent as a top eight team all season, that’s a two-seed in the Big Dance, so it interesting to see how these last half dozen games shape this squad, awaiting the return of another big body in DaJuan Coleman, for post-season play.Brad Bierman