1. Mama Said There'd Be Years Like This. Syracuse fans have just about seen it all this past season. Consider:
- Not one, but TWO players tore their ACL. Sharp shooter Andy Rautins tore his ACL in August while playing for his dad, former NBA journeyman Leo Rautins, and Team Canada in the FIBA Americas Championship (and just what the hell was Rautins doing guarding Leandro Barbosa there DAD!).
- Then, Eric Devendorf tore his ACL in a otherwise enjoyable 125-75 win over East Tennessee St in December. These injuries left Syracuse with absolutely no outside shooters. Not to mention, we really miss ESPN announcers scolding Devendorf for his constant trash talking.
- The team's only senior, Josh Wright, left the team due to "personal issues" which included being upset he lost his starting job to highly-touted freshman Jonny Flynn and the fact he thought classes at Syracuse were "optional". The high irony on this one is Wright left the team on the exact same day as Devendorf's injury. Had Wright stuck around, he would have gotten some serious playing time due to Devendorf's injury.
- Freshman Antonio "Scoop" Jardine was suspended for a few games in January due to an incident on campus where his 40-year old cousin and two girls stole another student's meal card, which they found at a local Denny's, and used it to charge over $100 of food and have it delivered to Scoop's apartment. Yes, you just read that right.
- On March 1, while fighting for their collective NCAA Tournament lives, Syracuse held an 11-point lead over Pittsburgh with 3:49 to go in the game. Because this is Deadspin and because I'm highlighting this, you can probably guess what happened next. Yep...Syracuse pissed away the lead and lost.
- Throw in a missed buzzer beater at Georgetown, some other close-but-no-cigar games, that Syracuse has the only tall, white, European player that can't shoot (Kristof Ongenaet), and the fact that the Syracuse Women's Basketball team is better than the men for the first time...well ever...and let's just say this season has been one giant kick to the head for Orange fans.
- 2. Syracuse and Sportscasters go together like lamb and tuna fish. Maybe you like spaghetti and meatball? You more comfortable with that analogy? No matter what game you are watching during the tournament, chances are good the guy doing the play-by-play went to the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University. It is a virtual factory of sportscasters that has produced the likes of Bob Costas, Marv Albert, Sean McDonough, Mike Tirico, Len Berman, Ian Eagle, and many many more. Not only have all those sportscasters come out of SU, but several Orange alumni are bigwig executives and heavy behind-the-scenes types at ESPN and various networks. So if you have ever desired to work in broadcasting, you better get out your Orange pom-pom buddy.
- 3. A 30 percent less whiny Jim Boeheim. Syracuse did not make the NCAA Tournament last season despite a 10-win campaign in the Big East and a ridiculously better resume than some teams that got in to the tournament (*cough* Arkansas *cough*). You remember this because Jim Boeheim was EVERYWHERE the next day telling us about Syracuse's snub. There wasn't a radio station or TV station to be had that didn't have Boeheim on that day. PTI, The Jim Rome Show, Mike and Mike, ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio, you name it. I think he even made an appearance on Al Jazeera to complain about the RPI. Syracuse getting in makes for a happier week of NCAA tournament related radio and television experiences. Plus, it means more crowd shots of the lovely Juli Boeheim! — Brent Axe