Orange Watch: Syracuse basketball must win once to avoid ignominious distinction

The Orange seek one more win this season to avoid a first-ever five game losing streak
The Orange seek one more win this season to avoid a first-ever five game losing streak

Item: If the Orange does not win at least one of the remaining games to be played in this season cut short of tournament play; at No. 8/9 Notre Dame Tuesday evening (8:00 p.m. ET / ACCN), at No. 4/5 Duke Saturday, home in Rakeem Christmas’s final Dome appearance against No. 2 Virginia next Monday night, or at North Carolina State on March 7, it will mark the first five game losing streak during Jim Boeheim’s 39 year career.

Following last Saturday’s tough-to-swallow 65-61 defeat to longtime rival Pittsburgh in the Dome, completing a season sweep for the Panthers in the annual home-and-home set, it set up the possibility that unless the ‘Cuse can post an upset in one of its last four games, as they’re likely to be the underdog in all of the contests, added with the Pitt defeat it will equal a bitter-tasting five consecutive losses to end what’s already a disappointingly shortened season due to the hovering NCAA findings, and it’s a losing streak unheard of under SU’s Hall of Fame coach.

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The last time the Orange (17-10, 8-6) was in danger of a five game losing streak was the 2010-11 season. Ranked 17th in the polls after dropping four straight in Big East play, on a wintery February night in Hartford SU stopped No. 6 Connecticut 66-58 (a season in which the Huskies would go on to win an improbable national title with 11 consecutive post-season victories in the Big East and NCAA Tournaments, a feat not likely to be accomplished again), to make it a happy scene inside the postgame SU locker room.

In fact, talk about consistency, Syracuse has had only three other four game losing streaks during Coach Boeheim’s entire tenure, occurring in 1991-92, 2001-02, and 2005-06, each ended with a victory before the streak could reach five. This season’s record of double digit defeats during the regular season for the first time since 2008, and now facing a tough last stretch of an ACC schedule comprising of three Top 9 teams, means the Orange will have its work cut out to somehow snare at least one win between now and March 7.

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.