Doesn’t it seem like Syracuse has a way of bringing out the best in its opponent? Seton Hall, Villanova, Pitt and now Louisville shot lights out against the Orange and add in Georgetown’s great play in the final 6 minutes on Wednesday. Louisville laid it to Syracuse by ripping apart the 2-3 zone with great passing off of penetration and clutch shooting and held off a late charge to defeat the Orange, 73-69.
It’s a reality that isn’t easy to accept, but it is what it is. In case we didn’t realize this after a four-game losing streak, we must realize it now. Syracuse is a good basketball team. Let me repeat: A good basketball team. In the end, it will have brought cheer to the Carrier Dome crowds, but not championships.
This one stings. This one stings worse than any other loss this season. It’s not just because it was to Georgetown. It’s not just because it’s a home loss (3rd in a row). It’s not just because the loss has huge ramifications in Big East standings. It’s because the Orange played a great basketball game for the first 35 minutes and then completely fell apart. Syracuse led 53-49 with 5:45 remaining before the Hoyas closed out the game on a 15-3 run to post their first win in the Carrier Dome since 2002.
When Syracuse takes the floor tonight against Georgetown, it won’t just be another chapter in this storied rivalry. It won’t just be another Big East match-up between top 15 opponents. When the Orange and the Hoyas meet at 7 p.m. on ESPN, there is a chance for one man to do what only four before him have.