It’s the story of the season–Syracuse basketball is 6-3. Disaster. NIT here we come.
Surprisingly, I’m not worried about the rocky start. Maybe it’s because I’m two seasons removed from my last basketball season as a student. Maybe it’s because I’m older. But I think it’s just because I’ve come to the realization that while SU should never settle, things have been pretty bright for the Orange these last half dozen years.
Syracuse basketball fans are spoiled. But I think I have especially been spoiled. Since becoming a ‘Cuse fan in 2009 (my freshman year at SU), the basketball team has granted me with wins. Lots of wins. And there’s been few losses.
In fact, at the end of the 2013 season, it was stated that senior guard Brandon Triche was the winningest player in SU basketball history. That’s a lot of history. And a lot of wins.
Coincidentally, I happened to graduate the same year as Triche, our four years having completely overlapped. That means my year, the Class of 2013, experienced the most wins of any four-year class. Of course you could make an argument that the Class of 2014 had a great stretch, with last year’s unbelievable start.
But the Class of 2014 finished with two second-round losses in addition to a Final Four and Elite 8. The Class of 2013 finished with a Final Four, Elite 8, Sweet 16 and second-round exit. And the Final Four was even sweeter when it happened senior year. We experienced Jim Boeheim’s late-career magic.
Anyway, enough about me, and enough about the past. Let’s continue on the point of this column. The point is this: Syracuse basketball fans have been incredibly blessed. No, not just because we’re not Georgetown fans. It’s because the program has been unstoppable for the past six years. It’s done just about everything but win a title.
I spar with UConn fans when they say they’d rather have their two titles paired with their couple sub-par years than be like Syracuse, which is consistently good, but title-less. And while yes, I would have liked a title or two to show for all those recent Syracuse wins, the experience wouldn’t be as fun if SU wasn’t contending for a title each year.
I got to experience winning every year of college. And while the tourney always left us ‘Cuse fans disappointed, it was still fun. The experience is half of it. The wins are the other half.
I believe this year can be turned around. It can be made fun again. It takes time when you have so many young players.
But to complete a turnaround and put itself in position for an NCAA tournament berth, the wins must pick up. And with a tough ACC lineup, that may not happen. So while winning is usually everything, we should think about how fun the recent success has been.
Okay, enough of that. The “feel good” is out of my system. Yeah, it’s been fun in the past. But time to win. These college kids need to find their way. Any time now would be just fine.