The stadium may be called St. Petersburg Times Forum, but after Syracuse’s 72-49 win over South Florida, it may as well have been called the Carrier Dome Two.
Syracuse fans showed up in droves as the Forum was filled with chants of “Let’s go Orange” throughout the entire afternoon.
“They were loud, kind of like we were at the Dome,” guard Scoop Jardine said. “I loved it. ‘Cuse Nation. There are Syracuse fans everywhere.”
Especially in South Florida, as it seemed there were two Syracuse fans for every South Florida fan. When the Orange would score, the crowd would cheer louder than if the home team did.
“It’s getting even more so as it goes along,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. “I bet there were 7,000 people out there. I think there were six, seven, 8,000 from Syracuse.”
The official attendance was announced at 10,051. If Boeheim’s calculation was accurate, then the crowd was 80 percent pro-Syracuse.
Why did Syracuse have such a good road crowd against the Bulls?
“They’re not stupid,” Boeheim said. “They come down here in the wintertime.”
But Syracuse has traveled well in other arenas outside Florida. Events around the New York City area, particularly Madison Square Garden and the Prudential Center have drawn large Orange crowds.
“The thing about Syracuse is that basketball team and athletics is everything,” Jardine said. “We’ve got some die-hard fans.”
It has offered the Orange a huge advantage on the road.
“We’ve always had a lot of support,” Boeheim said. “Today was one of the best crowds we’ve had down here. Kind of like a home game a little bit.”
Wesley Cheng is the Editor in Chief for The Juice Online.