Item: Do you know the way to San Jose? And… Albany… Albuquerque & Baton Rouge…
No, the above title is not the name of some new song parity, but rather four of the 37 diverse locales across the country that have hosted Syracuse NCAA Tournament games during the Jim Boeheim era (1976-present).
When the fourth-seeded Orange opens up NCAA play Thursday night against 13th seed Montana at San Jose’s HP Pavilion, SU will hope its play and results are better than the last NCAA contest on the west coast.
That was a game in which current assistant coach Adrian Autry nearly led an improbable second- half comeback to force overtime against Missouri, before falling by 10 in the 1994 West Regional semi-finals at the old Los Angeles Sports Arena. Autry even scored a late-game basket while sitting on the seat of his pants.
We’ll always remember the sight after playing his final SU game of “Red” sitting exhausted in a public telephone booth making a phone call in the arena’s underbelly, an era 20 years ago unlike today when, believe it or not, college kids didn’t own a personal cell phone.
Where has Syracuse played its most NCAA games under coach Boeheim? New Orleans and East Rutherford, N.J. are tied with three separate appearances, while Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Denver, Lexington, Providence, and Worcester have hosted the Orange twice, along with two years of home cooking playing NCAA games at the Dome in 1986 and ’87, something unheard of today.
From college campus arenas in great college towns such as Baton Rouge, Knoxville, Dayton, Chapel Hill, College Park, Ogden, and Austin, to the biggest domed stadiums in New Orleans, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, and St. Petersburg, the Orange road to the Final Four under Jim Boeheim has been one that’s been traveled far and wide.