Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Orange Watch: Syracuse basketball and quest for regular season perfection

Published on February 17, 2014 by   •   Discussion
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Item: In this already historical season for Orange hoops, the will of this team to find a way to win, no matter the quality of their performance, has been amazing to watch.

On this President’s Day holiday with rapidly only six regular season games left for No. 1 ranked SU to navigate in ACC play, Jim Boeheim’s 38th team has dazzled Orange Nation in unprecedented fashion:

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Syracuse is a perfect 25-0 on the season

  • A program-best 25-0 start, and counting, heading into Wednesday night’s game in the Dome against a Boston College team that’s only won once on the road (Virginia Tech) in conference play (7:00 p.m. ET/ ESPN2).
  • A parallel school record 25 game winning streak since the loss to Michigan in last year’s Final Four semi-final at Atlanta.
  • In its debut season in the 62 year old ACC, getting off to the third-best start of any team in any season behind only the 1956-57 North Carolina NCAA championship team that went 32-0 and famously upset Wilt Chamberlain and Kansas in 3OT in the title game, and the 1972-73 North Carolina State team that went through the season 27-0 but was ineligible for the NCAA Tournament due to probation. The nucleus of that N.C. State team would win the national title the following year sporting a two season record of 57-1.

» Related: There is no logic in thinking Syracuse would benefit from loss in the regular season

Oh, and the most recent games in this streak have happened to feature two of the most improbable finishes concluding any of Boeheim’s current 945 coaching wins, as he steadily continues to speed up the ladder towards the unthinkable 1,000 victory mark.

“This team’s reacted well in every tough situation they’ve been in or put themselves in, and that’s something they should be given a lot of credit for,” Boeheim said after the frantic final seconds saw the Orange defense make the play it had to make against N.C. State Sat. night, and served as a stunning encore to Tyler Ennis’ miracle shot at Pittsburgh three days earlier.

“When you win games like this and Pittsburgh – I think they calculate percentages to win the game – we didn’t have a good percentage to win this game or Pittsburgh. I think these guys deserve a lot of credit.”

The bright spotlight of being top ranked and knowing his team is going to take each team’s best shot in the opponent’s attempt to grab a news cycle’s worth of fame as the one that knocked number one off its unbeaten perch, certainly isn’t lost on freshman phenom Ennis.

His meteoric rise on the national stage was punctuated first by The Shot at Pitt, and gasp, his first turnover in the final minute of a game by committing a critical offensive foul late against N.C. State.

“No, never,” Ennis said when asked after the win over the Wolfpack if the team ever thinks that they’ve won so many close games that maybe this is the game (N.C. State) they’re not going to win.

“The whole end of the second half Trevor (Cooney) was saying we have been here before and we have. We have been in a lot of situations. We just have to find ways to win and we were able to do that today.”

And at this rate, the tough Duke, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida State road games and the Georgia Tech home finale included, who’s not to say the Orange find a half a dozen more ways to win no matter the late-game circumstances.

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